Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Adventures of the Digital Storytellers

This year my teaching partner in crime, Bess, and I decided that we were each going to take a team of students to the 2013 Horry County Schools Technology Fair. This event has been going on for a few years and we decided it was time to get our feet wet!

Our team's project was not a far reach from what we had been working on in class. The children had been mapping stories they read, and creating their own written pieces concentratng on characters, setting, action, and emotion. I approached some of the students and asked them if they would be interested in creating a digital story. They looked at me funny at first, but when I explained to them that we could use different apps to "publish" our stories, the Digital Storytellers were born!

The Digital Storytellers
Janasia G., Hudson S., Zane G.

The three students met with me after school one day a week for several weeks. We started by drafting a story on paper using the elements we used in class. The students created characters like a gorilla, a "fancy" princess, and a hunter, that morphed into a poacher, and then into a veterinarian, and finally a zoologist! Great imaginations :) The students worked together to create the setting and emotion, but my favorite part was the discussion about action in the story. The students collaborated to decide on the problem and the solution. That was interesting... I could see clearly who may have been in trouble before and who may have been able to get out of it :) Don't worry guys, I won't tell!

After the story was drafted, it was time to publish. We used an app called Toontastic. If you do not have this yet, you HAVE to check it out. It really does an awesome job walking children through a story arc that develops a complete story. Love it! I just had to make my own story. It was so I could show the students. Model, model, model. Right? *wink *wink This app is really easy to use and the kids loved it!
Check us out :)

We also documented our entire journey with the Book Creator app. We added pictures and videos of our project along the way and published it as an iBook. We used this as part of our documentation for our display for the fair.

Our project shined in a sea of hundreds :)

The day of the fair was full of excitement, for students AND me. Our group was the very first group to go to the fair from our school. This really worked to our advantage. There were hundreds of entries at the fair. The children had their heart set on bringing home a trophy. The parents and I were sweating, thinking we may have to run out to the store to get our own trophies. We kept telling the children that we were the first student to EVER come to the tech fair and that alone was prize enough. As you can guess, they didn't buy it! Luckily...
They were not a bit nervous during judging.

We won! (We did not need the trophies and medals to tell us that... but they were nice)