"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Friday, February 7, 2014

Second Grade Pioneers

That's right, that's what I called my second graders yesterday. I explained that they were the first students at Mason-Rice to explore this tool, that they were the pioneers and would help me understand how best to teach students to use the tool and how the tool would best fit into the curriculum. (See the end of this post for the answer to this query.)

The tool itself is not new. I learned about it a few years ago, I had explored it, but I had not incorporated it into my library program. Thursday afternoons are an alternate instructional time in my school and sometimes allow for a more flexible library period -- the perfect opportunity for this exploration.

Did I mention the tool? As with all projects in the library, the exploration or project is not about the tool itself, but about how that tool can be used as a vehicle for expressing ideas and knowledge. It's about the message, not the medium. Enough of that. 

What is the tool? The tool is Storybird, a digital storytelling program that provides art and a storyboard for students. There are two aspects to the program, a picture book and a poem: with the picture book, the student provides all the text; with the poem, the student can choose from a word bank.  You will have to explore the program for all the other nuances, but let me just share that the exploration was hugely successful in terms of ease of use and engagement.  Stories and poems were pouring out of the students.

You must look their creativity.

Not sure how this connects to the image, but the poem is incredible.

I did not set up classes (which is quite easy) because I wanted to observe the students using the tool before I committed to it.  Therefore, I taught the students how to take a screen shot of their work.  Soon after the students left for the day, I set up classes. I don't see this tool fitting into the opinion and persuasion writing our students are focusing on this year, but I am seeing some poetry connections and library curriculum connections. I think it helps to set up assignments (easy to do), which will set parameters for students. Stay tuned!

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