Storybird Experiment

First Grade Storybird

I asked a class of first graders if they were willing to experiment with me using Storybird, a new tool for us all. They assured me that they were.

Computer lab lessons are one place that I can handle a lot of chaos as long as students are engaged with their task. When you have 28 first graders that need to click through an unfamiliar website and handle their own login it can be a challenge. I find it much easier to breeze around the room from computer to computer and coach each student on the next step rather than make them memorize a long list of steps. I’m sure there are other ways to do this. I could have made bookmarks with small screen captures of the icons they should click.

That requires being prepared in a manner I was not ready for with this lesson. I did manage to create 28 student Storybird accounts, do the initial login for each student, reset their default password to something easier for them to type and print out a list of usernames and passwords for students.

We finally got logged in! What impressed me the most was that once we made it through the login steps I didn’t really need to coach students in navigating through the art choices and in how to type on their screen. They were willing to play with adding pages, more pictures, and to do a little bit of typing. Some students got bogged down by all of the art choices. I had to redirect students who found the quirky vampires and skeletons. They’re not really inappropriate, but they were quickly becoming a trend that I didn’t think we really needed to see in all of the students’ stories.

Storybird Art Navigation

I’m not positive if I want to try Storybird with all five classes. I’m kind of tempted to try VoiceThread with at least one class and test out some other digital storytelling sites with the others. That would give me a chance to see which is really best for future projects.

Here are my initial thoughts about Storybird and the first day of my Storytelling Unit (with a lot of random thoughts…)
-I’m glad I logged in as each student and set their initial password so they could all be the same for the class
-I wish I had chosen usernames differently. I’m so used to using an underscore in document titles that I wasn’t thinking and used it between our school name and student names. I should have used a regular dash or a number so there wouldn’t be a ‘shift’ necessary. It would be okay for upper grades, but not first graders
-The art is all appropriate for students. I LOVE that aspect of it. We did get into the goth skeletons but it was a moment to teach about appropriateness without me feeling like I needed to block the screen immediately.

Storybird Poetry (in beta)

-I wish the poetry option was working for student accounts. I think it is coming, but I was so hoping to do poetry instead with these students. I like the idea of just one page for this grade rather than several pages of a story where the art may or may not connect.  Because of this I moved from poems to  stories and I really don’t have that much time with students. Perhaps I should try and print one picture from what students accomplished today, have them write a poem on the printout during our next lesson, and then type during our third class?

Stay tuned….my next project is Kerpoof!! 

Comments

  1. ACK! I just screamed at finding out there is a Storybird Poetry possibility. Thought I followed their blog but I did not know this. AWESOME.

    I shared this site with teachers once. And within minutes they’d found some … “romantic” pictures. Nothing terrible but more than any of us expected. Seriously. I still love it and not happy with teachers who were out to find a reason to not like anything tech.

    PS Kerppof is fun!

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