What it is: As I mentioned a few days ago, I am starting a virtual classroom/club for digital storytelling. I have been on the lookout for great resources, I listed my favorites here, and now I am remembering a lot of tools I left off of my original list (like Toon Doo!). Today as I was going through my Google Reader, I learned about this gem from Richard Byrne’s Free Tech for Teachers. The Delaware Art Museum has provided a great website dedicated to storytelling. The tagline is “bringing visual art to life through stories”. On the site, students can picture a story, experience a story, or tell a story. The Picture a Story was the most intriguing portion for me, as it provides a great tool for telling a digital story. First, students choose a genre of story that they want to tell, next they choose a famous painting background for their story, students add characters (also from famous works of art), props, and then tell the story. In the tell the story section, students type out the story. If a microphone is available, students can even record the story in their own voice. When students have completed their story, it can be shared via email.
How to integrate Picture a Story into your curriculum: Stories are powerful. I love the way that Picture a Story weaves together famous works of art with story. It teaches students to reflect on the art that they encounter and think about the stories that it represents. Picture a Story is a great way to discuss genre, characters, and parts of a story. It is also a fantastic way to bring a little art history into your classroom. It would be a neat class experiment to have students choose all the same genre, background, characters, and props and, without talking to others, write their story. After students are finished they can share their stories with the class. Students will learn about perspective, creativity, and voice as they listen to all the different stories that originated from the same picture. If you don’t have access to a computer lab, this activity could be done with an interactive whiteboard or projector connected computer and students writing on paper. Let your students experiment with story and share their finished pieces with each other. Picture a story is ideal in a lab setting where each student has access to their own computer. If that isn’t a possibility, you could also have students visit Picture a Story on classroom computers as a storytelling center. The site is quick to navigate through and students can tell a story in a sentence or a few paragraphs making it a good center. If students don’t have access to email or can’t email the finished product to you, have them take a screenshot of the story to save in a digital portfolio or to print out.
Tips: The teacher section of this site has some great lesson ideas for every grade level.
Please leave a comment and share how you are using Picture a Story in your classroom!