Website review by Ana Beltran, Common Sense Education | Updated September 2021

Historias Para Armar

Spanish site combines storytelling and media meaningfully

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Grades
3–5
Subjects & Skills
English Language Arts, Communication & Collaboration, Creativity

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Pros: It's designed to engage students, teachers, and families, making it an ideal tool to enhance writing at school and at home.

Cons: The platform doesn't offer an English version yet, so it's ideal for native Spanish speakers or Spanish learners.

Bottom Line: The interactive tools, educational videos, and collection of projects and resources seamlessly lend themselves to meaningful storytelling.

Use Historias Para Armar to incorporate 21st century digital skills into the classroom and leverage media to help students tell stories. It's ideal for Spanish dual-language programs, bilingual classes, and Spanish-based writing classes. Students can use media to create characters, design settings, and write stories. Though the project ideas might appeal to middle school students and lend themselves to differentiation, the tools are likely more appropriate for grades three to five.

The Contar tab includes resources, lessons, and project ideas that can be used to supplement writing units. Use these resources to introduce students to different styles of storytelling and publication formats. For example, explore Kamishibai, a form of Japanese street theater and storytelling, and use the included description, examples, list of materials, and step-by-step instructions to incorporate high-interest projects. You'll also find resources geared toward educators that address the learning trajectory, outlining key concepts about writing; that dive into 21st century skills such as creativity, communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and trans-media storytelling; that explore the connection between storytelling and social-emotional development; and that expand on how to promote a meaningful use of media. 

Educators can also use this website to inspire and motivate young writers. The website explains different aspects of storytelling through an engaging and age-appropriate miniseries that chronicles two best friends as they explore and cultivate their own understanding around brainstorming, developing characters, crafting problem and solution, and other key storytelling and digital skills. These videos lend themselves as hooks to more in-depth lessons. The educational videos are also an ideal differentiation resource, presenting standard-based skills in a student-friendly way. The Crear tab, where students can write their stories, is another feature that can be used for differentiation in the classroom. It's structured to help young writers isolate beginning, middle, and end and provides suggestions to help them sequence events and make clear transitions. The digital storytelling platform also incorporates supports such as explicit explanations, examples, sentence starters, and suggested vocabulary that students can access as needed. Through the teacher account, you can create assignments for the whole class or for individual students. The activity creator allows teachers to customize assignment goals and reminders. It includes the option to incorporate a digital revision tool and self-evaluation activity as part of the assignment. Students can access teacher-created assignments through their own Crear account by entering the auto-generated code into the activity field. 

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Historias Para Armar is an educational platform that's entirely in Spanish. All content and resources are free. Its features are organized into three distinct categories: Explorar (explore), Crear (create), and Contar (tell). Under Explorar, you'll find a collection of videos designed to help students better understand different elements and approaches to storytelling. The miniseries-style educational videos not only address storytelling but also delve into ideas around collaboration, creativity, and practicing responsibility when engaging with the digital world. Clicking the Crear tab takes students directly to a digital platform designed to help them put their ideas into writing. Access requires a username and password, which means each student can have unique access and can revisit their work. The platform walks students through selecting setting, creating characters, and writing a story with a clear beginning, middle, and end. Embedded scaffolds include sentence starters, transition word suggestions, and more. All work can easily be downloaded into a PDF to save or share. The Contar tab explores different storytelling formats and offers a collection of detailed project ideas. All projects are rated based on difficulty: easy, medium, or hard. The Docentes (teacher) tab includes lesson ideas, information about digital culture, an explanation of 21st century skills, and a guide to designing a coherent and meaningful learning trajectory. 

Historias Para Armar integrates the craft of storytelling, writing skills, digital skills, and hands-on projects in a fun and engaging way. The variety of project ideas and the customizable assignment creator guarantees that the platform will appeal to a wide range of students, though the tools themselves are likely best for grades three to five. It promotes real-world connections centered around storytelling and writing, helping students see how the process is at the core of the things they enjoy, such as movies and video games. It also provides clear tutorials on how to take story ideas and combine them with digital components to bring them to life through movies, video games, animation, and other interesting formats. The little explanations, vocabulary suggestions, and other similar supports empower students to become better writers and help them stay on track. This website has something for students, teachers, and families, making it even more appealing. Offerings go a step further by outlining and explaining key concepts for educators. The snapshot provides insight into digital culture and its implications; the importance of storytelling and its value to developing coping skills and social-emotional skills; the scope of 21st century skills and the importance of incorporating interdisciplinary opportunities into the learning experience; and ways to promote a responsible and creative use of digital media. Historias Para Armar also makes a good recommendation for families looking to enrich the at-home learning experience in a fun way. The Familias (family) tab includes detailed game and project suggestions to promote storytelling and digital skills that the whole family will enjoy. 

Overall Rating

Engagement

Educational videos, interesting project ideas, and an interactive writing platform will pique students' interest.The user-friendly design makes navigation simple. 

Pedagogy

The engaging mini-series, detailed tutorials, and project ideas explore storytelling and digital skills to complement and enrich creative writing units and lessons. 

Support

There's extensive support for both teachers and students. Teachers will appreciate resources that tackle 21st century skills and the learning trajectory, while students benefit from built-in scaffolds that promote independence. 


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Ana Beltran Other

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