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Have you heard about Storybird? Updated information and new ways of using: Revision

Storybird

Storybird is a wonderful e-Learning tool to support student writing, reading and other literacies.  It creates a level playing field for struggling writers who can now produce a book with pictures by real artists that looks fantastic and can be published on the web for others to read, downloaded as a pdf into iBooks, or for a few $US ($30 softcover $50 hardcover), published and posted to you to put into a school library or personal bookshelf.  Your kids will love it.  Watch the videos of Jill working with a group of Year 3 & 4 children from Ashhurst Primary and then having a debrief session with the teachers.

I usually start out by reading the students some of the published stories and discussing the language features and strategies that engage the reader.  My favourite is "Perfectly David" by Hamorobyn and pictures by Cat-alogue.  I read this story, pausing during the parts that repeat and my audience generally start to read along with me - just like joining the chorus in a song because we all know the words so well.  We talk about this as a strategy to engage the reader.  I also dwell on the synonyms for David's father - not very happy, unhappy, angry, furious - building the story to the penultimate moment.  You can find this story on the Storybird site at http://storybird.com by doing a search for "perfectly david" in the search box.  Alternatively you can browse for others in the "Stories" or "Authors" sections or check out the featured stories.
Storybird Search    

Click on the book, click the page opener at bottom right and read away.

When you find books that you like you can now save them to your bookshelf for easy finding next time.
Add to Bookshelf  

Bookshelf

You can also follow authors that you enjoy.
Follow author  

Once the students know what to expect of a Storybird book, they can then start to create their own.  Click the sign up free and choose the Educator/Teacher option.

Sign up

and then if you like you can set up logins for each of your students, but I don't bother with this as a whole class can login simultaneously on individual computers just using the teacher login so why make work for yourself. This also makes it easier for your class to see each others stories prior to publication and to give each other feedback.

To write their Storybirds, students go to http://storybird.com and log in, and then click on "Write" at the top of the page.  
Select write    

They will now see screenloads of packs of pictures from which they can select.
Select pics   

Once they have found a set they like, click on the picture, and then click "Use this art" and select for a story or a poem.  In the latest version you can also create a longform book (Chapter book).

Use this art
   

The book format will load with all the pictures in the pack available for drag and drop onto the page - note that you can have 1/2, 3/4 or full page pictures and generally locate them on left, right, top or bottom of the page, leaving room for the story text on the remainder.  

Drag and drop   

Students can select a different picture and decide where on the page it goes by dragging and dropping over the one inserted already.  
Change picture

Students can then select the cover layout,

Cover style

background colour and picture and type the title and their first name as author.  

Cover

To return to the pages:

Back to pages

Pages can easily be added or removed (kids will guess how so don't show them - they need to work things out for themselves).  I usually get the students to select all their pictures prior to writing so that they can develop a storyline that can be supported by the pictures.  

Work it out

Work can be saved, and revisited for further work in the "Unpublished stories" tag upon log in.  Note that as more books are saved these are filed on several pages so don't panic if you think one has gone missing - just look on the "Next" page of books or select the page number if you know where it resides.
Your work   

Once the Storybird has been worked up to publishable standard, go to "Menu" and select "Publish Storybird".
Published  

 You will now be able to "share" this with other people, send people the url for reading and comment, embed the Storybird in your school or class web page or download a pdf version to iBooks.  

Share

Embed or send url

If it's really superb, buy a real book version of it for your school or class library - these also make great presents for doting grandparents!

And the good news for the day - Storybird is now supported on iPads.  Storybird have changed to html code instead of Flash so you can both write and read Storybirds on iPad.

You can read my first effort at http://storybird.com/books/sandys-birthday-party-bedlam/  What language features and strategies could you share with this story?  What do we call a story that has a moral?  Perhaps a first assignment for your class could be to write a story with a moral.

Here are some newly published Storybirds that you can use for language features and reader engagement strategies.  What would you share about these?

Not yet, but soonWaiting, repetition.

No Peaschildhood dislikes (identify with writer)

Wishpoetry and rhyming

Beautiful Mommyrhyming

There's lots more to Storybird than I have shared here, but that's for you and your class to explore - please do come back and share your discoveries - especially those that your students discover as this is so important for "learning for their future".

Comments

  • Steven Wills
    •  
    Steven Wills 429 days ago

    Storybird allows you to set up teacher accounts. You can sign up your whole class and they receive individual logins. You or they need to reset the password to one that is easier for them to remember before they can create. Information on that here

    All storybirds can be embedded in blog/wiki/site.

  • Enabling e-Learning
    •  
    Enabling e-Learning 252 days ago

    For anyone interested in finding out about Storybird, there is an international webinar running this week:

    Storybird Webinar on Wednesday! ...in NZ this is THURSDAY:-)

    Please join us for the 1 Tool at a Time Webinar on Storybird Wednesday.  

    Join the Webinar here: http://goo.gl/rDRey

    Topic: Storybird (Use this link for additional resources http://1toolatatime.wikispaces.com/Storybird)

    When: Wednesday, December 14th 2011 at 8:00pm ET/7:00pm CT/6:00pm MT/5:00pm PT = Thursday 15th @ 2pm (NZ)

    Presenter: Tara Park, 6th Grade Teacher, PA Virtual Charter School

     Description: Want to help your reluctant writers? Promote literacy, imagination, and self-confidence? Allow students to showcase their stories to classmates, family, and people around the world? Storybird http://storybird.com/ is the tool for you! Storybird is a collaborative, fun, storytelling site where students can create art-inspired, short stories that they can read, print, and share.

     Storybird was created to let children publish creative writing pieces through art-inspired stories. It is a popular tool that teachers around the world are using. Users will log in to one of many types of accounts. They will choose one artist to “work” with per story. The user will arrange the artwork in any order they choose and create a story around the selected images. The story can be published as a PDF, email, link or published into a blog or wiki with an embed code. In addition, Storybird has an option to publish printed books.

     Join the Webinar here: http://goo.gl/rDRey


    Help us get the word out and Tweet the below:  
    Free Webinar Wednesday, Dec 14th on Storybird at 8 PM ET, 7 PM CT, 6 PM MT & 5 PM PT! http://goo.gl/iKuvV #sigilt #iste #sigms

  • Jane Armstrong
    •  
    Jane Armstrong 181 days ago

    Check out the new page on Using Storybird in the classroom to improve literacy on the Enabling e-Learning site. It includes two video clips with Susan Lee, teacher at  Te Kura o Kutarere sharing how using Storybird in her classroom has made a significant impact on the literacy development of her students and made a change in students attitude toward, and ownership of, their learning.

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