Every Story Has Wings

Writing in a second language. I, myself, would write all the time if I could, but let’s face it: I’m a teacher. Of course I love writing and all that nerdy stuff.

Unfortunately, I can’t help but notice that more and more students seem to despise the idea of writing texts in English. After all, writing seems to have lost a great deal of its creative aspect in the school system. Students couldn’t feel less motivated about sitting in a classroom while having to write a 600-word argumentative text about global warming. I realize that it is time to put the ”fun” back in writing. Hey, I heard you all ”BUT MARIANNE, HOW IN THE WORLD DO WE ATTRACT SUCH TECHNOLOGY-DRIVEN KIDS TO THE ARCHAIC TASK OF WRITING TEXTS???”. Do not panic, my friends, for I have found a nice little tool for us, teachers.

This baby is called Storybird.com. I am not ashamed to admit that I was mostly attracted to the web page’s title. I am, of course, a bird lover. The great thing is that, as a teacher, I find it is as much of an exciting tool to present to students who are reluctant about writing as it is to introduce to students who already appreciate writing.

Sans titre 1

WHAT IS IT?

In short, the website describes itself as a ”global community of readers, writers, and artists of all ages”. On it, everyone can read/post stories and create their own visuals for them.

SWEET, ANOTHER COMMUNITY OF NERDS.

Hold on for a second. We have to think about what this implies for our students. Now, not only can they be creative and write stories without feeling like isolated misfits, but they can also share their stories with each other in an online community. Not only is it more fun for them to know that someone will actually read what they wrote, but it also gives them inspiration that is abundant and easy to access to. With the easy click of a button, they can feed their imagination and produce much more valuable texts for their classes. What is better than stories when it comes to imagination?

LET ME GUESS. BORING TEXTS ABOUT TREE-HUGGING PEOPLE? STUDENTS WON’T LIKE THIS.

You’ll find topics for every single person. From romance to animals, going through education, sci-fi/fantasy, adventure and poetry, you’ll find great general topics for your students to write on. StoryBird’s Quick Glance Guide gives clear indications on how to get started. In other words, don’t worry because your students won’t get lost in the instructions. The stories can be published online or kept private. A great collaborative idea is to match students in pairs and to have them collaborate on a story. Students can switch roles using the ”It’s your turn” button and/or invite someone to contribute to a story. That way, even the entire class can create a story together. In other words, the tool can be used both in group work and individually.

STORIES ARE FOR KIDS.

Actually, they’re not. And the website proves it. Stories are categorized in age categories, ranging from texts for preschool level kids to stories for adults. There’s something for everyone, which mean something for every educational level.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES ALREADY?

Well, aside from the ones previously mentioned, registration is free, which is always good. After all, students hate to have to pay additional fees for anything school-related. Pedagogical website Recit.qc.ca and StoryBird’s blog stress the main ones, in my opinion:

Students can search for writers, specific themes or titles directly. This saves a great deal of time trying to find that one text for which you remember the author but not the title, or the story, but not the name of the person who wrote it.

Students can save their favourite stories from other authors as they browse through the site.

The website is linked to a twitter page, which makes it easy for students to follow updates about new stories.

The website is also linked to a blog, which frequently posts information, tutorials, and updated tools for writers to refer to.

For teachers, this tool is convenient because it requires little preparation.

Students can include amazing artwork in their writing and feel free to be creative as they can always go back and edit out their stories.

Students can comment on, read, and exchange other students’ stories.

Above all, it brings the ”fun” back in writing AND reading.

ALRIGHT, I’LL GIVE IT A TRY.

That’s what I wanted to hear.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: