Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Digital Kids, Digital Storytelling!

Tell me a fact and I’ll learn
Tell me a truth and I’ll believe

Tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever

Why use Digital Storytelling?
  • Engagement: digital kids live in a world of sound, images and text
  • Student choice: allows for all learning styles to be addressed
  • Critical thinking skills: matching sound and images to text

When to use Digital Storytelling?


  • Show What You Know in...
    • Social: Explore a province, Edmonton, etc
    • Science: Show the water cycle, life cycle, circuit
    • Math: Explain how to add,subtract or how to use a graph
    • Health: Show healthy foods
    • LA: storytelling, retellings, book reports

Using Digital Storytelling with Division One:

Kindergarten: For kinders, digital storytelling is best done by the teacher using student input. Check out this video using student created letters for the ABCs. Consider taking pictures of student work and uploading it to Animoto. It's a great tool for conferences!

Grade 1: Digital storytelling in Grade 1 can follow the same idea as kinders at the beginning: the teacher uploads student work and creates the digital story. As the year progresses, older buddy classes can support Grade 1s as they develop their own digital stories. Here is an example of a collaboration between Grade 5 and Grade 1 on Edmonton Landmarks. Once this collaboration was done, the Grade 5s assisted their buddies to create another Google Slides on All About Me. Eventually, the Grade 1s were able to create their own set of Google Slides with minimal support. 

Grade 2: If your Grade 2s don't have any experience in digital storytelling tools, then a buddy class can support them as for the Grade 1s above, leading them to independence in developing their own stories. 

Grade 3: By Grade 3, your students are very capable of being shown and supported in creating their own stories! 

Beginning with Digital Storytelling:

I always suggest that you are best to start with a simple project, such as All About Me, when teaching students the use of a digital tool. Remember, you are teaching the use of the tool, not the subject, when you first begin. Once students have used the tool, they can focus on curricular objectives. A popular topic is polar bears. We find one image and use the Online Reference Centre to find one fact, create our digital story and share.

Tools for Digital Storytelling:


Brainstorming tools can be as simple as your whiteboard and a marker, or can be digital. Here are some digital tools that you can use as a whole class or individually in Grades 2 and 3. 
Popplet: Mindmapping: can be printed or exported as a PDF
Padlet: Online sticky notes
Webbing: ReadWriteThink’s online webbing tool

  • Upload images, write short bits of text and add music to create a moving slideshow
Animoto is a tool best introduced with a buddy class who has used it before. I have used it with Grade 3's after March, and they were able to use it, however, I had a parent volunteer who I had trained in its use help me when I first showed students how to use it.

  • Collaborative, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos
  • Allows people to navigate slides and leave comments in 5 ways - using voice (with a mic), text, audio file, or video (via a webcam).

Voicethread is best used as a teacher-driven form of digital storytelling. Students can create the artwork or take the pictures, and then, using a microphone connected to the computer, narrate their story or verbalize their learning. Ways to use Voicethread in the classroom:

  • Document your last field trip.
  • Have students create a story to show their learning.
  • Use it to build a collaborative understanding of a specific image or story.
  • Grade One Voicethread on mini-legends

Google Slides

As a Google Apps district, Google Slides are easy to access and use with students as it is part of their student account! Once again, this is a tool that would be best introduced as a buddy activity if you want your students to create individual stories. Once they are used to it, they will be creating their own slideshows at home and sharing them with you!
  • Slideshow tool that uses pictures, videos and text to tell your story
  • Students can create their own presentation or can edit one slide to create a classroom presentation
  • Alternative to Powerpoint if you want students to work from home
  • Can also be downloaded as a PowerPoint if necessary

Little Bird Tales is not a free site, although you can get a free personal account. With that account, you can create class stories. If you want to have an account for your whole class, it is $25. However, Little Bird Tales is wonderful for students who are in Grade 1, as it doesn't require that students be proficient readers in order to create a story.
  • Walks younger users through each step of creating a multimedia story
  • Can upload images, draw images, or record from webcams
  • Can use text or narrated by students using microphones
  • Free lesson plans on the site

StoryJumper is a free site for teachers and students. They make their money through selling hardcover copies of student work. StoryJumper is wonderful for students who are in Grade 3 and students and parents who want to create stories together at home. Teachers can create classes through the Classroom Edition, and use the Story Starter Guide to get students started.
  • Gives students a set of intuitive tools for writing and illustrating their stories
  • Can also read other stories by students online
  • Pre-made scenes and props, or upload pictures and use students' own artwork
  • Can create your own classroom, allowing students the opportunity to work on Story Jumper at home
  • I Have Many Feelings: Book written by classroom teacher

Back to....Beginning with Digital Storytelling:

Digital storytelling can seem overwhelming when you are looking at a class of Division 1 students, many of whom struggle with story writing at the best of times. Think of the gift you are giving them...the understanding that a story does not ALWAYS need to be told with a pen and paper. Once they can use the technology, you are setting them free to use the higher level thinking skills that come with storytelling.
Review the resources on this page and CHOOSE ONE. Choose one that you are comfortable with and play with it yourself. Then introduce it to your students. Bring in any parent volunteers you can or buddy yourself up with another class or teacher. You will find the time and effort worth your while!

More Resources
There are far more ways on heaven and earth to tell a story, Horatio! (Shakespeare as mangled by me!)

No comments:

Post a Comment