This week, I’ve been exploring several different storytelling websites. One of my favorites is the site Little Bird Tales. I wanted to share a fairy tale story I created using this site. I plan on using Little Bird Tales with my first grade students in the future as they create their own fairy tale versions.
Enjoy my original story, Oliver and the Three Porcupines!
Instructional Focus: In collaboration with the first grade classroom teachers, I will introduce the Little Bird Tales website. Students will use the tools on the website to write and illustrate their own digital story based on a traditional fairy tale. Prior to creating their original story, I will share traditional fairy tales with students during their library classes. Students will have background information about traditional fairy tales to draw on as they create their own stories. This project addresses many standards in the Pennsylvania School Library Model Curriculum, including:
Objectives Coinciding with Pennsylvania School Library Program Model Curriculum Standards for Grade 1:
CC.1.2.G: Describe key ideas through illustrations and text.
CC.1.3.G: Identify characters, setting, and events that occur in story and describe based on illustrations and details.
BCIT 15.4.L: With help and support, use web browser to locate content-specific websites.
CC.1.5.F: Add drawing or other visual display to presentation to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
CC.1.4.U: With guidance and support, use digital tools to produce and publish writing in collaboration with peers.
BCIT 15.3.M: With prompting and support, demonstrate proper etiquette while using and handling technology.
BCIT.15.3.T: With prompting and support, answer questions about importance of safe, legal, and responsible use of technology.
Purpose for learning with this tool: The purpose of having students create their own versions of classic fairy tales is to extend the library fairy tale lessons while also putting a personal spin on them. A unique way to do this is to have students use the Little Bird Tales website to write and illustrate their stories. This is an alternative to the traditional writing and illustrating students have done in the past. It still emphasizes the same creative writing and drawing skills, and students will still use their imagination to create a story based on a fairy tale, but this lesson also introduces several 21st century technology skills. I think the best way to introduce technology skills is to seamlessly implement them into something the students are already studying, and that is what my goal is here.
How this tool enhances instruction: The Little Bird Tales website enhances instruction by re-imagining traditional creative writing. Students will have the opportunity to create their own original stories that are rooted in traditional fairy tales, but they will be using digital tools instead of traditional paper and pencils. Students will be excited to share their digital creations with their family via email or by posting them on the teacher’s webpage. They will also be relying on background knowledge they learned in library class, writing skills they practice in their classroom, and computer skills to complete this assignment.
Explanation of how to use the tool (script for screencast):
The Little Bird Tales site is pretty easy to navigate, and I think it will be great for elementary school students. One of my favorite parts about the site is the large, colorful buttons. Also, there aren’t too many options, so students won’t be confused or overwhelmed when visiting the site for the first time.
If students want to create a new story, they begin by clicking the blue “Create Tale” button. This opens a new blank story. Students can give their story a title at the top of the page, and they can fill in their name as the author. The title of my story will be “Oliver and the Three Porcupines,” and I will type my name – Mrs. Bozievich – for the author.
The first page of the story is the cover, so there won’t be any story text to write on this page. To create the story cover, students have three options. They can either click the “Draw” button to draw their own unique cover, click on “Galleries” to import a picture they created for a different story, or click “Upload” to upload a photograph or other image that is saved on their computer.
Let’s click “Draw” to create some original artwork for this story’s cover. Since my story is called “Oliver and the Three Porcupines,” I am going to draw Oliver and some porcupines on the front cover. The drawing tools are very similar to Microsoft’s Paint program, so if students have some familiarity to creating pictures in Paint, they will not have any difficulty using the “Draw” options.
The icons for each of the different drawing tools are along the left side of the page. If you move your mouse over the icon, it tells you what each tool does. You can adjust the size of the paintbrush by clicking “Pen Shapes,” and you can also adjust the size of the brush. You can also use basic shapes like circles and squares to get you started, and you can use the paint can to fill in a shape and the eraser to erase. The “Undo” and “Redo” buttons are also helpful to know about as you work. Let’s start the illustration for my story. I think the front cover should have three porcupines and a boy.
When you are finished creating your drawing, click on the “Save” button at the bottom of the screen. Then, click the “X” in the top right corner of the screen to return to the main screen. Now that your cover drawing is finished, you can record narration. To begin recording, hit the green “Record” button. Hit “Stop” when you’re finished, and click “Play” to hear your recording. Each time you record, a box will pop up asking if you will allow the Little Bird Tales site to access your computer’s microphone. Hit “Allow” to continue recording. When you are finished recording, click the green “Save” button at the top of the screen.
To add additional pages to the story, click the orange “Add page” button at the top of the screen. This new page will be the first page in your story that has text. Type your story text in the box that says “Text.” Then, create your drawing and record your narration. You can read the text you typed in the box as your narration. Save your changes, and click the “Add page” button as needed until your story is complete.
When your story is finished, you have a few options for sharing it. Click on the picture of the house at the top of the screen to go to the Little Bird Tales main page. Your story will be in the box labeled “Recent Tales.” Here, you will see options to play your story, edit it, and share it. To share it online, click “Share” and enter the email address of the person you would like to share your story with. The Little Bird Tales site will send the recipient an email with a hyperlink to your story. You can also use this hyperlink to post your story online, like on your website or in your blog.
You can find this screencast in two different locations:
You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/edit?video_id=QkfXHp_UFzQ