- The key for me was to do a whole class Storybird as a model rst. We did this by reading a shortstory from our textbooks, and then retold the same story, in our own words, through Storybird. I foundit easier to start creating Storybirds by rst having the writing done before logging in - and not creatingoriginal, creative pieces but rather simple retelling stories.- At rst, most of the kids were so literal about retelling the events. For example, we did a retelling of The Titanic. Kids were so frustrated because they couldn’t nd illustrations in Storybird that includeda big ship or water or ice burgs. Then, luckily, our Leah had an amazing moment. She understoodhow to interpret the story into a creative manner. She had her writing completed rst, and then beganto search for inspiring art from Storybird to represent her story. Her high school cousin helped her athome to work on her project (what a natural Tier 2 home intervention). I was so excited that she, onher own, sought out additional support to complete her project. Leah has given me permission to tellher story. Leah named her protagonist “Spoon.” I thought this was so creative and adorable. Whenasked about how she came up with this name, she explained that she and her cousin were discuss
ing ideas for the story over dinner -- hence, she was eating with a spoon. She thought I would thinkit was lame and silly. Quite the contrary... when she rst told me this, it was through a whole class
discussion - each child turned to me wondering how I’d handle this idea of just giving a random name
to a character. We took advantage of this teachable moment to explain how creativity stems fromour own lives and how our audience begins to relate to us as authors as we begin to humanize our
selves and make connections to our readers. Then, I began to see others take the permission (thatI thought was assumed) to think outside of the box. Leah offered her peers something that I couldnot... an authentic example of how to tap into an internal, creative spark that each of them possessedyet didn’t realize where to nd. You see, as much as I told them that they were all creative, they didn’tsee it. They thought they had to be these experts, artists. Now, they started to see life as a creativeopportunity - common objects began to personify themselves... I was able to tie in gurative lan
guage mini-lessons into natural conversations within the classroom. Students began to swap ideasfor metaphors -- collaborative learning took off in a way that I could have never asked for... they tookover the class. I was in teacher heaven. I wasn’t leading the discussion but rather bopping back andforth between groups to either offer advice or listen to an idea a group couldn’t wait to share with me.Kids were even buzzing at lunch about their stories and encouraging others (families, teachers, andfriends) to view their work. We began to work in our celebration stories as a part of our daily classdiscussions. This encouraged others to jump on a computer and x up their stories.
- Another idea we did that worked was to offer choice. After students had a start on their writing
drafts, they were given a choice to publish their digital writing stories. Not everyone chose to do aStorybird. Actually, I found that mostly girls gravitated to Storybird. The boys in our classes (2 sec
tions of 7th grade language arts) chose to create a Capzles or a Glogster. The males were into up
loading video into their digital posters via Glogster. They needed multi-media.
- I will share with you the document I used to introduce the digital writing project (click here and down-
load the Word le - next to the Voki). The choice option gave everyone a creative inspiration. With
out the children realizing it, I personally created a Capzles (see here), a Glogster (see here), and aWeebly website (see here) so that they could be introduced before I even threw the assignment their way. Then, they were comfortable with the web 2.0 sites before I even asked them to use them for aproject. Naturally, when the kids saw my personal Capzles, they wanted to know how I did it so they