Friday, January 29, 2010

Collaborative Storytelling

Storybird is a way to create short, illustrated "books" online. According to the site, "Storybirds are short, visual
stories that you make with family and friends to share and (soon) print." Students write original stories to accompany(very cool) artwork provided by the site. I love that the artwork is contributed by many artists, and all of it is beautiful and evocative in its own way. Students publish their stories to the site where the stories turn into virtual picture books. Soon, for a fee, Storybird will allow users to purchase a printed version of their books. For now, it is still a beta version, and welcomes comments and suggestions from users. It bills itself as a child and family-friendly environment and I used it with my students without any problems.

How can you use this site in your classroom?

1. Students create original stories inspired by the artwork.

2. Students create a book of original, illustrated poetry.

3. Students write a biographical sketch from their childhood aimed at younger children.

4. Students create Storybirds to share with the class. Have them read their stories on their designated day.

5. Have students write a childrens' book illustrating and explaining a difficult concept in simpler terms ("How a Bill Becomes a Law," for example).

6. Have students interview a senior citizen or a member of their family, then create a Storybird to tell their subject's story.

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