Drop by every Friday to discover what wonderful website my classes and parents loved this week. I think you’ll find they’ll be a favorite of yours as they are of mine.
New readers, early readers–the same children who are interested in the wonderful reading website, Starfall
An easy-to-use, interactive tool to teach children how to write a good story–plot, characters, setting, etc.
There are lots of story makers out there, but this one is a cut above. It was developed by graduate students at Carnegie Mellon University to increase literacy rates among young children while appealing to their techno-gene in this fast-moving society. Students begin their story by selecting characters from a wide variety available including a scientist, a mermaid, a ghost, a dragon, a dinosaur, a robot and more. They then select a setting from choices such as a desert, a sea, the moon, a forest, a room and more. As they ‘write’ their story, they are encouraged to think about and understand the characteristics of a good story. The story maker reacts to student choices, building the plot based on selections made by the student. Student use tools they are familiar with, such as drag-and-drop to move objects and text. This reinforces the same skills they have been using in other programs and makes the program user-friendly for tech’s newest users. If students get stuck, there’s a story helper to provide guidance.
Here are some of the steps children will take when they use this website:
- Name the story
- Select a picture of their character as they select his/her goal
- Add scenery with relevant objects
- Determine the characters’ feelings, actions and interactions within the story
- Print and save to the desktop as a pdf.
Instructions are written and verbal, to satisfy both types of learners. I like that–it’s rare. No registration is required. No log-in or password. Just go to the website and start. That’s easy enough for my first graders to do independently in those sponge minutes after they’ve finished the regular class lesson.
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