**Click on the image below to view Liana’s tale :-)!
Last week a student of mine wrote a short story that I really enjoyed reading. Liana is in the second grade of high school and this writing task was part of her preparation for the FCE exam she is about to take in December. I thought that creating its digital version using Little Bird Tales would make the ‘chore’ of writing and proofreading much more meaningful and pleasant! Luckily, I was right since Liana seemed to enjoy every minute of it :-)!
Little Bird Tales is a free storytelling tool you can use to create multimodal stories with your students. Teachers can sign up, add students and manage their classes on a safe web environment. Students type their tales, upload or draw images with the embedded drawing tool and then record their voice to narrate their stories. Very young learners may also create illustrations on paper and you can later scan and add them to their stories.
Little Bird Tales is very simple to use as the website itself is straightforward and walks you through this creative process. Although at first glance, one assumes that Little Bird Tales is intended solely for younger learners because of its playful interface, I can assure you that older students find it equally fun and engaging. It helps them get a clearer understanding of how to organize their thoughts into paragraphs& book pages, build up tension, deliver a resolution, write a catchy title and so on. Besides, students practise their pronunciation and skills of reading out loud gracefully (pausing, breathing, colouring their voice) until they are pleased with themselves and the result of the recording.
The overall experience is usually very rewarding! Students feel proud of their digital story books and can e-mail or share them on a blog or website. Apart from digital stories, you could also ask them to create class presentations as an interesting alternative to PowerPoint.
If you decide to try Little Bird Tales and intend to use online images, you could also seize the opportunity to familiarize learners with copyright issues and Creative Commons. Students should be clear about the fact that they can’t use an image just because they’ve Googled it! In Liana’s story, we used images from http://www.morguefile.com which has a big collection of copyright free images. Below I’m sharing two posts I’ve found really useful myself so as to learn about fair use and copyright. The second link provides you with a great list of the best sources for free images on the Web.
Hope you’ll get inspired by Liana’s story about a secret, magic tunnel in the Louvre museum and encourage your students to create their own digital narrated stories too :-)!
All the best,