Gets students excited to create a story!
In the SAMR model, I'd put this website on the redefinition stage. Students are able to design their own story independently, or with a small group, which allows for collaboration. Additionally, students can share their stories with people from all over the world in the community section. This section also allows students to read stories written by others students their own age, which can at times be difficult to find. In the TPACK model, StoryBird helps teachers reach the TCK section. Creating a story isn't new in language arts classes, but this tool enhances the content and allows students to interact and analyze original stories from all over the world. Overall, I found that StoryBird helps students develop critical thinking skills, while working together, and gets them excited to be more creative.
The only downside that I found was that students cannot add their own photos to StoryBird. Because they have to pick something on the website, they can get a little frustrated; however, the images are nice and there are a wide array of options.
How I Use It
After studying theme, setting, and many other parts of a story, students were able to create their own stories. The website has a lot of original stories featured so students can view other stories in order to get inspired and excited. The illustrations are beautiful, and I found it made the project go a lot smoother because students weren't on Google images all day. I have quite a few students who are interested in poetry and many found time to type their poems in StoryBird and add illustrations. Additionally, parents have the option to buy the book that their child creates, which more than a few have done.
I like the idea of picking the top two or three and displaying them in the classroom, or in the library!