Archive for October 2012

Digital Storytelling

What is Digital Storytelling?

I didn’t know how convenient and important Digital Storytelling is for students. In this day in age, technology is taking over the world. It is also taking over the minds of our young ones. However, this doesn’t need to be a negative thing! Incorporating technology in the classroom is beneficial in facilitating learning and engaging students. Digital Storytelling is a positive and educational way to incorporate technology both at home and in the classroom. Digital storytelling is similar to traditional storytelling in that they both focus on an explicit topic and a particular point of view. However, Digital stories rely on computer based tools to tell the story. Digital stories are very appealing and engaging to students because they contain a variety of multimedia such as images, text, voice recordings, music, and video clips. These stories do not need to be long and time consuming; Digital stories can range between two to ten minutes long.

Why should students participate in digital storytelling?

There are many positives to having students create their own digital story. They are able to take ownership of their work and make the most of their creative potential. It is fairly easy and user friendly to create a digital story. It improves a variety of skills such as research skills, organization, problem solving, and critical thinking skills. Students can develop technology and presentation skills. If students calibrate with one another, they also develop interpersonal skills.

Can ELL and students with special needs benefit?

YESSSSSS!!!!! Digital storytelling is recommended for ESL and special needs students as well. For ESL students, digital stories can be used as an accommodation in the classroom since it is both visual and students can listen to the audio. Teachers can introduce new vocabulary through text and pictures in both English and the native language. Digital stories can be used as a form of communication between the teacher and the ESL student. For ASD or other special needs children digital storytelling can be used as a method to express emotions and a way to communicate as well. Digital stories are used also to improve communication and social skills.

How can I integrate digital storytelling in my classroom??

Children love to talk about themselves more than anything. The great thing about digital storytelling is that it can incorporate more than one subject area, engage and facilitate student learning. We have been working on Personal narratives for writing and problem/solution for comprehension skills. I had my students write a brief personal narrative on a problem they had to overcome. This would be a great topic for a digital story.

Websites you can use for digital Storytelling in your classrooms!

1. Animoto Turn your pictures, music and video clips into a classroom video.
2. Voicethread A collaborative and interactive multimedia. Children can tell a story and collaborate with others.
3. Photobucket Upload your own pictures or images. You can also browse images and pictures to use in a digital story.
4. Prezi Great website to start your digital storytelling experiences. The best part, is that it is very user friendly!!
5. Flickr Upload your own photos or browse thousands of photos based on categories. Great to use for digital storytelling.
6. Web of stories Upload and share your own video story and pass history on from generation to generation.
7. Lego Digital Story Great site to introduce digital storytelling to children.
8. Little Bird Tales Children can expand their creativity and create their own digital story.
9. Carnegie Library for Kids Children can create their own story using different backgrounds, characters, and sounds!
10. Chogger What greater way to engage boys than to create their own comics and develop into a digital story!


Digital Storytelling in the modern day classroom!

Technology is such a huge part of teaching these days. And with the dreadful teacher evaluations, it is a HUGE part of being labeled a “Highly effective” teacher. However, I love using technology in my classroom because the kids love it and have more motivation to learn. I use a bunch of websites in my classroom to reinforce the skills being taught. I also give the parents a list of websites that they can use at home. All of these can be used anywhere with internet access!! Check some of these out and use them in your classroom. I am on the search for more 
PBS Kids is a great website for children, parents and teachers. As a teacher I use this in my classroom for lesson plans, slide shows and videos. I can search by grade, subject and the skill. Not too long ago we were working on punctuation and I was able to pull up a video and the kids loved it. Parents can also navigate this site for homework help, tips, interactive games, child development and educational articles. Children love it because there are hundreds of interactive educational games, music and television shows.
The music box is a great tool for your computer or smartboard. I use this on a daily basis for “quiet time.” The children love it because it is very captivating by the colors and animation. Put it on your Smartboard when students arrive and they will be silent as they watch and listen.
Every teacher needs to use this in their classroom!! I was getting very fed up with my students taking so long to unpack and just write their homework in their planners. I found this websites with tons of fun times to use in the classroom. My students love the “bomb ticker”; you just set up the time and the children will rush to get their stuff done before that bomb goes off. The children love when the bomb goes off and I am a happy teacher because they get their stuff done in a timely manner.
This site has lots of great language arts games and they are even adding math games as well. There are songs, animated video clips and interactive games. Starfall is great because it focuses on letter/sound recognition, early reading, phonics, and reading practice for 1st and 2nd graders. At the computer centers my students use this site daily.
This is a newly found favorite! I love this website because it is dedicated for grades K-5. It is so easy to navigate, you just go to the homepage and select the grade. The computer educational games and divided by subject and skill. My students love this website! So glad I found it 

Tumblebooks is a website I always recommend to my students parents. There are tons of animated, talking picture books to choose from. You can select by grade level, reading level and make your own favorites list. After you listen to the stories, there is a comprehension questions quiz which I use to test their comprehension skills. The children absolutely love it!! There are additional extension activities that you can do with the story as well. You do have to have an account but many schools do, just ask the reading coach at your school!