In our last class with Mr Miller, we had to explore a creative writing tool that we did not know for an hour. We had to find out what it was and give it a try. I chose to try and discover Story Bird. I had heard the name before, and it sounded very good to me, but I had never actually went on the website to see what it was about. So I decided to finally give it a go, and I really liked what I saw. See, I absolutely love writing. When I was young, I spent almost all my free time to create all kinds of stories, with knights and magical creatures. In my future classroom, I want to make sure that my students explore their creativity in many ways. Story Bird is absolutely fantastic for it.
It is basically a website when you can create your own short book with pictures and share it with the world. You can also read what others have created all around the world. When you create your story, you choose a set of artwork by an artist (who drew illustrations specially for StoryBird) that will inspire the events of your story (http://teachersandcomputers.blogspot.ca/2010/11/lets-write-story-storybird.html) . That is what is great about it. No need for planning or any preparation : you let yourself get creative with what is offered to you. The website is very well-made and guides you well through the process. It is far from complicated, and in no time, you have in your hands (well, computer) your very own story. Afterwards, you can even print it, from a simple PDF file to a real hardcover book. There is also a great deal of tutorials available online to help you, made by teachers for teachers (http://www.edutopia.org/blog/storybird-new-teacher-boot-camp-lisa-dabbs).
As a teacher, it is very easy to use StoryBird in your class. The website lets you create a free “Class account” that you can manage and share with your students that don’t have an email address (you can use it with younger students, which is great (http://barrowmediacenter.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/storybird-with-kindergarten/)). It is an extremely popular tool in the world of education. Indeed, more than 150,000 schools all over the world use it (https://storybird.com/teachers/). You have very well guided again through this process. Of course, you can make your account private if you don’t want anybody else than you and your class to see the projects the students will create.
There are some great options for teachers. When your students create stories, you can give them feedback (private or not) and even assign them a grade directly on the website. This makes the whole process of evaluation much easier and eco-friendly. Sharing is also very easy, between students but also with the parents.
But why use StoryBird ? Well, as I said before, it is great for the students to explore their creativity. Instead of getting them all mixed up in plans and charts in order to write a text on paper, they have a chance to create a story online with illustrations. They can simply “go with the flow” and write the things that come up in their mind when they see the pictures. It makes them use their imagination, and also practices their writing skills (http://teachamazing.com/storybird-digital-storytelling/).
You could also use the books your students created to raise funds. (http://help.storybird.com/customer/portal/articles/828585-what-is-class-fundraising-currently-on-hiatus-)Want to take your students to a field trip somewhere, but you don’t have the funds ? Ask your students to create stories relevant to your field trip and sell the books ! It is easy, parents will love the idea, and students will feel great about their books being sold to other people.
If you are not convinced, know that students absolutely love it (http://www.teachinglikeits2999.com/2013/04/soaring-with-storybird.html). You have a chance to create a project that is not only very engaging for students, but interesting and fun to them, and that is a gold opportunity.