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Giving Students a Creative Voice Through Digital Storytelling
By: Jennifer Judkins and Traci Jansen Creative Commons License: CC BY-SA Author contact: email@example.com
Author Biography: Jennifer Judkins, a grade 8 Science teacher, and Traci Jansen, a grade 3 teacher, are passionate about engaging students through technology. In addition to teaching, both have the privilege of sharing their love for technology with other educators in their roles as District Technology Trainers in Wilmington, MA. They design and facilitate afterschool workshops and present at local technology conferences to help support teachers in their integration of technology in the classroom as well as for their own professional use. Activity Summary
Free, web-based, digital storybook creation tools offer students the opportunity to take on the role of author, illustrator and even narrator of their own stories. Topics for student-created stories can vary widely depending on the learning objectives set forth by the classroom teacher. All digital storybooks are rooted in fundamental writing skills but stories can be adapted to virtually any topic or subject area. The following chapter will describe the basic steps in implementing a digital storybook project suitable for students in grades 3 through 12. Class or subject area: General Education Grade level(s): 3 - 12 Specific learning objectives: • Understand the basic steps involved creating digital storybooks with students including: • Time management tips for organizing a digital storybook project • Graphic organizers for pre-writing phase • How to use storyboards • Review several free online e-book / digital storybook creation tools • Resources for assessing digital storybooks • Preview sample storybook project
Digital storytelling combines the age-old practice of storytelling with computer- based tools resulting in a unique product that weaves together a series of images, text and even sometimes a student’s own voice to narrate a story that they have created. Storytelling has always been a powerful way for students to demonstrate their knowledge of topics from their own point of view. With so many free, online tools to choose from, students can showcase both their content knowledge and creativity. Online tools allow students to work independently or collaboratively, in the school computer lab or at home. There is virtually no limit to the range of topics that could be adapted as digital stories. While the format of digital stories can vary widely, this chapter will focus primarily on the digital storybook or student-created e-book format. As with any student project, proper planning and guidance from the classroom teacher is key to successfully incorporating digital storytelling into a lesson. What follows is a summary of those steps as well as a sample digital storytelling project.
Creating Digital Stories
Much of the planning and preparation for creating a digital story can be done outside of the computer lab. Creation of a digital story can be broken down into five basic steps, the first three of which can be done in the classroom. Below you will find a summary of the basic steps as well as some resources. Step 1 – Pre-writing / story outline • Students use a graphic organizer to lay out their plan for their story • Sample graphic organizer below. Additional graphic organizers can be found at: ReadWriteThink Storymap, Sequencing Chart, Time Order Chart, Step by Step Chart Step 2 – Writing the script/story • The core of any digital storytelling project is the story itself. Allow adequate time for multiple drafts needed to create the script. Step 3 – Creation of the storyboard • A storyboard is a graphic organizer which allows students to plan the layout of their book, page by page. • Use a storyboard that has a place for each individual digital storybook page. The storyboard should include a place for students to sketch or describe their planned illustration and space for a
script reference. • Sample storyboard: Storyboard Sample 1, Storyboard Sample 2, Storyboard Sample 3 • Sample storyboard worksheet: Step 4 – Illustrating your digital story • Depending on the digital story creation tool you choose, there are a number options for illustrating storybooks. These may include: • Using illustrations or drawing tools provided within the e-book tool • Uploading personal, student selected digital photographs • Hand-drawn illustrations that are digitally scanned or photographed • Locating online digital images for use in your story • See Table 1 for a comparison of different digital tools to determine which allow for uploading of your own images. • Students should search for digital images through a Creative Commons search or other search engine such as BeHold to find free, public content. Step 5 – Creating the digital story • Select the free, e-book creation tool from one of the many options available. Review the table below for a brief comparison: You use School/ Rec. Grade Email Address Record Tool your own Student Level Required Narration artwork account Elementary & Story Jumper Yes Yes No No Secondary Elementary & Story Bird No Yes No No Secondary Elementary & Tik-a-Tok Yes Yes No Yes Secondary Bookemon Secondary Yes Yes No No Zoo Burst Secondary Yes Yes No Yes Little Bird Tales Secondary Yes Yes No Yes
Overview of Online Story Creation Tools Link: www.StoryJumper.com Overview: StoryJumper is a site that allows students to create and share digital stories. Students can use their own drawings and photos or choose from a gallery of art to illustrate their own narratives. StoryJumper has a wide range of characters, scenes and props available for use in your story. --Getting started tutorial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeYSCNbT--g Link: http://storybird.com/ Overview: Be inspired by stunning original artwork by a range of artists. Begin your story by selecting the illustration style from a specific artist featured on Storybird. Pick the illustrations by that artist that you want to include in your story and develop a storyline based on the images you select. While the artwork is beautiful, there are only a limited number of illustrations available by artist but more are being added as the site continues to develop. --Getting started tutorial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ad6svo2ndD8&playnext=1&list=PLFE30 27F0E8FEFFC7&index=5 Link: http://www.tikatok.com/ Overview: This flexible story creation platform has something for everyone. Create a story from scratch or get started with TikaTok’s “Story Sparks”. With Story Sparks, kids choose a story theme and TikaTok provides the basic storyline including text, and page layout. Kids can edit every aspect of the stories to show their creativity. --Getting started tutorial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VS3843NP0nU Link: http://www.bookemon.com/ Overview: Create a story all your own using basic templates which can easily be modified to suit your needs. Although there is no pre-loaded artwork available from Bookemon, students can upload their own images or clipart. Bookemon allows you to import work from other file sources such as Adobe Acrobat, Word or Powerpoint. This helpful feature makes it possible for students to begin writing their story as a Word document before introducing Bookemon. --Getting started tutorial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Upsvj4bNQL8 --And more on the basic tools: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4GYdqTZjMRI&NR=1 Link: http://www.ZooBurst.com/ Overview: ZooBurst has the unique ability to allow students to create “pop-up” digital stories using images provided within ZooBurst or student-created illustrations. Characters can “speak” when clicked on by recording audio. Once completed, the ZooBurst books can be viewed from any angle in 3D. Limited to 10 books per free teacher account, and limited to 10 pages per free book. --Getting started tutorial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwE25dx2CaU Link: http://littlebirdtales.com/ Overview: Littlebirdtales is a great, easy to use, digital storybook tool making it an ideal choice for use with younger students in grades K-6. Students create their own artwork to upload or draw illustrations directly on the site using the tools provided. Students can easily record their own voice to narrate their story and then their story is ready to be shared electronically through email. --Getting started tutorial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=playerembedded&v=P3CcWUtOiBk
Sample Lesson Idea Topic: Laws of Motion Digital Storybook Grade Level/Subject: Middle School Science Tool Used: StoryJumper Project Overview: Create a digital storybook to teach kids about Newton’s Laws of Motion • Aimed at elementary-aged students • Story should be creative and have a consistent theme while covering each of the 3 laws of motion • Each law must be stated & you must include a picture demonstrating each law, based on your theme, with an explanation of how the picture you chose is an example of that law of motion Requirements • Minimum of 12 pages • 2 page Introduction • 1 page per law (defined) (approx. 3 pgs) • 1 page per picture of each law (approx. 3 pgs) • 1 page per explanation of the pictures you choose (approx. 3 pages) • 1 page conclusion • Pictures/clipart can be from the Web or your own personal photos Pacing Guide: (50 minute class periods, 1 day = 1 class period)
Day 1 – Introduce project & pre-write, finish pre-write for homework
Day 2 & 3 – Story / script writing and editing, continue working on as homework between classes Day 4 – Complete Storyboard for each page Day 5 – Introduce digital story tool & begin digital storybook Day 6 – Complete digital story Sample Student work: Take a look at the Livebinder created to accompany this chapter at: http://www.livebinders.com/play/ play_or_edit?id=374381 Attached are student work samples showing different uses of StoryJumper. In the first example, the student utilized the built-in tools for illustration found on StoryJumper. Example 2 shows a how a student used photographs of a family pet to illustrate their story. In example 3, an artistically talented student hand-drew a Charlie Brown-themed book. Example 1 – Illustrations using uploaded digital images & tools found within StoryJumper Example 2 – Photos taken by student incorporated into book: Example 3 – Student-drawn illustrations Assessment Custom rubrics for digital storybook projects can be created using iRubric or Rubistar. The following rubric was created using iRubric for use with the Laws of Motion Storybook project. http://www.rcampus.com/rubricshowc.cfm?code=P6XX53&sp=yes
Conclusion Digital storybook creation allows students to expand literacy skills, display understanding of curriculum concepts, and showcase their creative gifts in a unique way. There is virtually no end to the ways in which digital storybooks can be adapted to different grade levels and subject matter. The pride that comes from authoring one’s own book is a powerful motivator to encourage students to write. Introduce your students to this wonderful opportunity and be amazed by their creativity! http://storybird.com/
The storybook page featured to the right was created using the beautiful artwork available from http://storybird.com/
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