Regular readers of my blog probably already know that I am a huge proponent of the online student writing program known as Storybird. For those not familiar, Storybird is a way for students to use professional illustrations from thousands of artists as a starting point for story. Each student in the class has an account that is registered under my name as the classroom teacher. When they publish stories, they are able to share them within the class and leave feedback for one another.
It always takes me a few weeks to get everything up and running, since I have to create the students’ usernames, reset the passwords, and make sure everyone’s account is correct. But I finally got it all done last week and was excited to introduce Storybird to my class this morning. After taking our weekly multiplication quiz, I told the students how to find the link to Storybird on our Destiny (library) catalogue, and explained what their usernames and passwords were.
As with past years, that is all I had to do! I didn’t have to give a tutorial on using Storybird, I didn’t have to share examples, I didn’t have to show all the functions. My students figured it all out on their own before I was even done getting everyone logged on! For about 30 minutes, my fourth graders found illustrations and started writing their own stories. There were a few glitches with some of the computers that I am working with our librarian to fix, but it was wonderful to see everyone using this program for its intended purpose!
One of my students used Storybird last year at a different school. She wanted to know if she could transfer her account. I couldn’t find the answer, so I emailed the customer support folks on the site and asked. I received a reply back in just a few minutes that they are working on creating a way to invite a student from another class to join a new class and it should be rolled out within the next few weeks. In the meantime, this student can either use her old account or invite herself as a collaborator with her new account so that she can share completed stories with her peers.
We will be using Storybird throughout the year but, more importantly, any student in my class can get onto the site from any computer with access to the Internet and work on stories whenever they want! That is the great strength of this program. It increases accessibility to student writing exponentially!