Creative Writing with Storybird

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A 4th grade teacher at my school has been using wordless pictures books with her ELA students.  They are examining the details in the illustrations and writing descriptive paragraphs to tell the same stories with words.  (Yay visual literacy skills!)  She came to me asking where to find more artwork that students could use for individual writing projects, so of course I thought of Storybird!storybird

Storybird allows anyone to “make gorgeous, art-inspired stories in seconds.”  (Or, more realistically, minutes.)  The site has a huge collection of searchable and browse-able artwork, and a simple drag-and-drop format for creating online books.

storybird art

First page of art results for the tag “rain.” (Click to enlarge.)

Once students have chosen the artwork they want to use, they add the pictures to their book pages (as many or as few as they want) and type in their text.  Students can save their work and continue to edit it, until they are ready to publish.  Published works can be shared or kept private.

storybird storyboard

Once an art collection is selected, students are given a template for creating a book. (Click to enlarge.)

The basic features of the site are free, and education accounts allow a teacher to create classes and assign user names and passwords to their students.  This makes it easy to monitor their progress.  Premium accounts offer additional features for a small yearly subscription fee, and printed copies of finished books can be ordered from the site.

We are planning this as a two-day project.  On Day 1 I will give students a brief tutorial on logging in and using the site, followed by 20 minutes to explore and select their artwork.  For homework, students will do some pre-writing based on the illustrations they chose.  On Day 2, they will create and publish their stories.

Here’s the Storybird book I created in preparation for working with the students.  (We were trying to emphasize using adjectives to make your writing more descriptive.)  It only took about 30 minutes from start to finish.

I hope our students enjoy creating with Storybird as much as I did!  If you’ve used Storybird and have any suggestions for us, please share them in the comments!


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