I want to share my excitement about using Storybird with my 1st graders. It is a free website that allows students to choose pictures and write stories to create online "books." Teachers set up classes and manage the accounts. You are allowed 35 students for the free account. You can upgrade to a paid version to allow additional features.
I am the tech teacher. While the classroom teacher does guided reading with the other reading groups, I take a small group to the computer lab. The kids just love it. They are very motivated to write, and it reinforces many skills they are learning - initial capitals, ending punctuation, etc. It also reinforces sequencing the story : beginning, middle, end. I could also envision using it to write a collaborative story with the whole class on the smart board. You can also choose to write poetry.
We find there is a little quirk with the cursor while you're writing, but it's easily overcome. Also, as usual, everything takes longer than you expect but the results are terrific. Here are some samples from my 1st graders:
Bella: "The Lost Puppy" http://storybird.com/books/the-lost-puppy-82/?token=3xxdtxutt7
Ava: "The Dogs in Love" http://storybird.com/books/the-dogs-in-love-2/?token=cm6pfa58ct
Julia: "The One Special Family" http://storybird.com/books/the-one-special-family/?token=8my7tfybnj
Aren't they fun?
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