Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Day 8 - Storybird!


Storybird: An easy web tool that adds beauty to basic storytelling

Once upon a time, there was a teacher whose students weren't nearly as excited about writing little stories as she thought they would be -- until she showed them Storybird.

This fun and easy-to-learn web tool helps students turn tiny story ideas into beautiful, illustrated, full-blown e-books. And best of all, it's free. A bonus -- students have to think critically to make their narratives work. Students who are not at all enthusiastic about story writing surprise themselves with clever and eye-catching works they are proud to share.

The trick with Storybird is that students create their stories around a library of art works related to a chosen theme. So stories often take delightful, unexpected turns based on the images available within the image bank the student has chosen. Sometimes, students have to figure out a way around a concept that is not pictured; sometimes, the fanciful images spark an idea unthought of before.

In the end, students have a professional-looking storybook in digital form. It can be published publicly or kept private.

Step-by-step:
1. Go to http://storybird.com

2. Create an account. You can create an educator account (also free), in which case you can add students and control their user names and passwords (see below). Another simple option is to simply let students make their storybirds under your name and password, because multiple students may log in under your name at the same time.

3. Click "Create," then type in your most important image description in the search box - for example, for a story with a dog in it, you would need to type in "dog." Simple.
4. Choose "Art" at the top of the screen.


5. Browse the main images, and choose the one that matches the theme of your story best. Click "Start a Storybird."
6. Once you choose your image, you'll want to sort through the pictures provided to make sure there is enough of what you need.

7. Add as many pages as you like, and start dragging images onto the pages. You can rearrange the pages at any time. The text boxes appear either to the right or left of your image. You can also make the image take up the whole page. Once you have a picture on the page, try not to click on it, or it will go back in the pile and you'll have to hunt for it again.
8. Type in your text on each page.
9. Give the story a title.

10. Click on "Menu" at the top, and choose to publish your Storybird.
11. Write a summary of your story, and fill in the other sundry boxes. This is where you choose if the story is public or private.

12. Publish!
13. Enjoy! (Click here for an example of a student-created Storybird)


Your Challenge:

What creative ideas do you have on using a tool like Storybird the classroom?  If you have any good online book creation tools that you use other than Storybird please share!


28 comments:

  1. My first thought on this tool was for my first graders. They could use this to retell a story, which is a standard we just finished assessing. Instead of doing an oral retell, they could create a storybird!

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  2. Each year in Geometry, we create a story using conditional statements, demonstrating logic. Students have make booklets and power point presentations in the past. I think I will have them make storyboards this year. I like that students can log in using my username and password...it could mean no late projects this year!! Also, it would be interesting to see the kinds of stories they come up with since storybird limits the pictures available.

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    1. I've used this and more sites like this for my books. It worked great!!

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  3. I have used this in a high school math classroom to bring life to my logic unit. Students write a story similar to "If You Give a Pig a Pancake" using conditional statements (if this; than that). Using multiple web2.0 ideas learned last year during the 30 day challenege my students brought their stories to life and presented them in a 'Read In' right before finals. Storybird is great and easy to use. I didn't do any teaching on the web2.0 story telling; I taught the geometry/logic unit and they did the rest to learn how to use, save, and publish the stories. Easy to use and navigate!

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  4. We have an algebra teacher who uses Creative Book Builder for chapter tests. Because it is an inclusion class, the audio recording of the instructions and questions is very helpful.

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  5. Adrienne!!!! Thanks for sharing this! I wish I had known about it last year when I made my English 9 class write stories. Mrs. Gries and I looked at a different online story site (I don't remember which one any more), but in the end we decided it wouldn't work out too well.

    I think this would be fantastic for students to share myth stories with the class. They can research the myth, then tell it with their own words. It could be a lot more fun than doing a PowerPoint presentation.

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  6. I think this has endless possibilities for my ELA classroom. We are always looking for creative ways to present information and I think this website will meet many of those needs for creativity! Great website! Very fune to play with!! My students love it!

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  7. The only practical application for my students is for biographies and timelines. It appears to be a wonderful application and I am sure that students would enjoy using it.

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  8. We're always looking to expand our students' means of showing what they know. Storybird could be a new way to create the "children's book / picture book" projects that put complex topics into simple terms.

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  9. I really like this tool. I feel like it could be used to help teach vocabulary, to illustrate concepts, to summarize narratives, to create satirical pieces, to create an enjoyable classroom expectations document, to give kids voice and to do distance projects. I can imagine classes in different parts of the country teaching about their home towns via digital stories. I could also see kids teaching lessons about historical figures, science concepts, health topics or social issues via stories. Students could write autobiographical introductions in story form as well. Or what if kids put up collections of their own poetry? Very cool.

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  10. This would be a fun tool to use in World Cultures. Students could write/illustrate a story about a region of study. I could also use it in social studies. Students could put timeline events into story form or create a story about a specific event or person. In some respects I wish the graphics weren't limited, but I like the idea of students needing to work around that issue.

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  11. This looks great. I wish I would have known about this a few days ago when I was trying to have my students complete a sequencing activity. My students with special needs are so visual. I immediately can see using this tool could be used for writing narratives, summarizing stories, and sequencing plot events.

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  12. Love this one! For those reluctant elementary writers, I think this would be a great tool to get them motivated! We are always writing stories in Reading/Language Arts, but I also see this as a great tool for students to make books about our Seven Habits of Happy Kids. I'm also thinking of students making great ebooks for their grandparents on Grandparents' Day next year!

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  13. Even though this is very elementary, I can see using it with my high school students. The assignment could be to write a story about ______________( triangles, polygons, the elements, whatever) so that an elementary student could understand the advanced concept. As a finale to the project, it would be fun to visit a nearby elementary school and read the stories to an elementary "buddy". I could also see using this as a service project whereby students create these books on various educational topics and we present classroom sets to elementary teachers in our district.

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  14. Ok this looks to darn stinking cute! I can see my students creating a storybird as a wrap up for their Science investigation. We have them write in their science notebooks but this looks way more fun. I am not for sure how many science type pictures it has on it so it might be a challenge but something to for sure use in creative writing time. I can also see my students using this for IN Social Studies and writing a story as if they were a student in long ago IN and what life would be like. I usually have them do this on paper but what a unique and cute way to do it instead. Thanks for the great site!

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  15. I just found this website the other day and was really interested in looking into it. I think the kids would really have fun creating and designing books with their writing.

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  16. My 7th graders usually write a children's story based on food/nutrition and exercise, this website will be great for them to use! I can't wait to try it out. I also plan on using this with my own children, I think they would love it!

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  17. With my ELA-R classes this has so many possibilies. My students could use this to retell stories and novels that we read in class or even turn classic pieces of literature into pictures books that we can then share with younger students.
    I have a lot of reluctant writers in my inclusion class and this would be a great visual for them and a great way to jumpstart their creativity and willingness to write.

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  18. I LOVE this idea. My students do a great deal of writing creative stories, so this is a beautiful option for them to put their ideas together and see them come to life. I also think it would really help with visualizing and understanding a novel!

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  19. I love Storybird! My students use this site for creative presentations, descriptive writing, and story element lessons.

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  21. I love this tool with the idea of high school students creating stories for elementary/middle school students around high interest and much needed topics that might fall under the umbrella of "What I wish I had known when I was in ____th grade..."

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    Replies
    1. @ Allen Family Blog,
      Welcome to the blog! We welcome your comments and hope that you get some new ideas for integrating technology into your classroom! We would also ask that you post any additional comments with your first and last name as your display name. The link below will guide you in adjusting your display settings. Thanks and enjoy!

      http://icats30daychallenge.blogspot.com/2012/10/pre-challenge-warm-up.html

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  22. I have used Storybird the last couple of years in my computer club. I have the kids write a story and length is depending on the grade level, 3rd-5th. They have to have a beginning, middle, and end. We had a Storybird "Young Author's" day and they each presented their stories to the group. It is a teacher friendly program, in that they don't have to have an email to sign up, and you can assign usernames and passwords and print a list for yourself and your students.

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  23. I love Storybird. I have not had the chance to use it with my students yet, but I agree with Adrienne--the illustrations are absolutely gorgeous and remove the fear of writing / illustrating because of a lack of skill. Any time that I can provide my students with the opportunity to be creative or tell stories, I definitely do that, whether it is through websites like Storybird or just taking a good-old-fashioned sheet of paper and creating a comic strip or poster, or even stick puppets.

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  24. I love this and can't wait to jump in! We will soon study fantasies and fiction and this would be a great tool for extending their thinking.

    I like Tim's idea of using it to display students' poetry. I plan to give it a try. The illustrations can quite possibly motivate our less-than-enthusiastic writers. Cool stuff!

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  25. I am not sure about this one. It might actually be to cute for my seventh graders and being in a math classroom I am not sure it really applies to me. I believe it could be a good tool for an English classroom and a great tool for creating childrens stories. Who doesn't like to make up stories.

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  26. An anatomy teacher-friend here had her students take an anatomy topic and had them create a children's story that explains simply to a child how it works. I always thought that was a cool idea. I never knew how I could use tools like these in my chemistry class, but it would be fun for students to create a story that explains something like how bonding works to an elementary audience.

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