Submitted by Fiona Beal
1. Sign up your class
The first thing you’ll need to do is add your class or your classes as in my case. This takes a wee bit of time but once it is done its done. Your students won’t need email addresses. At your next lesson the class will each log in on their temporary password and change their passwords to something they’ll remember. (try and keep a copy of these). What I do here is I already have the class added to Google Classroom. I create a form that says ‘Storybird’passwords. They log into Classroom as well in the lesson and fill in their passwords on that form. Google forms collect all the details on a separate page.
2. Log in to Storybird
The first time your students log in to Storybird they will need to update their passwords. Let them do this and let them pass on their new passwords to you for safekeeping.
As they log in they’ll notice that one is greeted everywhere by exquisite art.
3. Pre-signing up activities
Prior to joining in Storybird it is assumed that you’ll prepared your students on what to expect. I told mine that this is a free program with the most exquisite art. They don’t need to think of a story before they start – they’ll browse through many images until they see one that inspires them. When they select this image they’ll suddenly be surrounded by a large number of other images that match their chosen theme.
At the end of their writing the students will end up with a lovely e-book. Just to wet their appetities I take them to the September roll-out of the top stories in the September challenge from the Storybird blog and give them five to ten minutes to browse through https://goo.gl/LxY88h . Here’s the top pick entitled ‘Alligators don’t go to school’.
I revise paragraph construction, and especially ways to write descriptive paragraphs, with the class before we start. Descriptive paragraphs include details that appeal to the five senses: sight, taste, touch, smell, and hearing. A good description allows the reader to be a part of your world, to clearly imagine the scene, to feel the sensations, the smells and the tastes of the subject you are writing about.
We also talk about creating exciting headings for stories and different ways of starting killer first lines! The storybird blog had five great examples for this:
1. Start with a shocking statement.
2. Start with an introduction of the character.
3. Start with the character talking directly to the reader.
4. Start with a description of the setting.
5. Start with an interesting fact.
6. Start with clever dialogue.
So get your students started on this fascinating journey of writing stories inspired by pictures. They”ll love it.