Christina Martidou's Blog

EFL Teacher

Little Bird Tales: ‘A Magic Tunnel in the Louvre Museum’.

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**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 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.

http://theedublogger.com/2012/02/09/the-educators-guide-to-copyright-fair-use-and-creative-commons/

http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2008/10/11/the-best-online-sources-for-images/

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,

Christina

2 Comments

  1. Dear Christina,
    I got to discover you when I read Ken Wilson’s post about six bloggers.
    This girl’s story about the Louvre is so awesome. And her English sounds wonderful.
    I also teach teenagers who want to take Cambridge Exams, and writing is usually a challenge, or they write somehow in a certain mechanic way, like following the rules.
    This year I encouraged them to write a story collaboratively with me, as I give one to one classes. My students loved the experience of writing, then we used http://www.pimpampum.net to make the ebook.
    And believe it or not, the other day we were having an assessment talk and when I asked my students which activities they enjoyed the most, most chose the stories we wrote together.
    I believe that they felt so free to create, and writing two stories almost at the same time was even more fun for them, and for me too. Also, I think that the fact they were not relating this activity to the exam was a very positive.
    Here I am sharing of the stories with you http://www.pimpampum.net/bookr/?id=38099
    I would love to ask you to send this girl a huge hug from this teacher in Buenos Aires, and I would like to know if I can share it with my learners.
    It is a great pleasure to have reached you.
    Debbie

    • Hi Debbie!!!
      thank you sooo much for your feedback and nice comments! Of course you can share the story with your students! Liana was delighted to hear that you enjoyed her story and that students in Buenos Aires will read it too!!! Storytelling becomes so creative, meaningful and rewarding with the use of Web tools! I had a quick look at the links you sent me and was impressed with pimpampum.com! I’ll definitely give it a try with my students ;-)!
      I’ll be posting tech- related stuff regularly so if you’re interested, stay tuned :-)

      All the best,

      Christina!

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