How I Use It
My students used Storybird demonstrate their grasp of a particular concept through storytelling. We found it best for students to create their own accounts and then join my class account, though I teach high school students who could be trusted with these steps. I liked that once they joined my class account, I could check on their stories whenever I wanted to. I also liked that when we shared our finished stories, I could access them all through my class account instead of wasting time by having each student log-in to share his or her story. This product could be used for any storytelling project assigned in a variety of content areas.
At first students felt restricted because they had to design their stories around the illustrations they selected. They soon realized, however, that the illustrations forced them to be that much more creative in accomplishing what they needed to say in order to demonstrate competency. The result was professional-looking digital books that students seemed to be proud of.
Students also had trouble when getting started because they would select pictures to use that would soon get "buried" or "lost" under others on their desktops within the site. It would be helpful to tell them to put the pictures that they see and think they might like to use on one corner of their desktops. Otherwise, students spent little or no additional time learning to use the site, which was important to me. It allowed them to focus almost entirely on the content of their stories.
I teach a foreign language class, so this gave my students an opportunity to express themselves freely. It would be great for any class in which students had to explain concepts in creative ways in writing, including ESL classes, English classes and social studies classes. If I needed to provide students extra support, I would have done so by giving them a sheet with sentence structures or a general outline to follow for guided practice.