Since time immemorial (or at least since I began teaching a long long time ago!) The first few days of school were meant to establish norms, understand expectations and get to know students. It was easier in a small school where I had a graduating class of 50, not so much when I worked in a school with 2500 kids. But regardless of class size, knowing a student’s name is ESSENTIAL to creating a positive relationship with them.
Here’s a great idea you can create to allow students to know you better, and also be a great example for them to jump into the waters of technological creativity. Write a short story about yourself! There are SO many ways to do this, but here are a few sites you may want to try and get students to try to make it happen:
Book Creator – You create a library, give students a code, and it fills up with their creations. Add audio, video, images, text and hand drawn items to the book in either a traditional storyboard or a comic book. The free version allows one library with up to 40 books in it and is compatible with Google accounts and email. After creating a library, give the code to students to start creating their own. You can even invite other teachers to make a bookshelf for your PLCs or department too.
Storyboard That – Storyboard that is an amazing tool to tell a quick story with a few boards. Add images, text, characters, shapes and create a story with them through simple drag and drop. There’s a lot of customization you can do with this too. It’s easy to log in with Google, Microsoft or social media and the story board can be saved and edited later, shared via slideshow or embedded. Students can create a free account, but there is an option for an educational account as well.
Toondoo – Create a simple comic book strip with easy layouts (compile them into a book for a longer story). All of the features have drag and drop capabilities, which makes creating easy. Once dropped, users can use various tools to adjust size, font, and even have your own gallery space. You can share it with the world or keep it private and it allows users to save their work. The user needs to create a simple account for this without using an email. This site a more wieldy than the others and may require some tutorial, but not rule it out as an option.
Flipsnack – This online digital book creator allows the user to upload pdfs or start from scration and create a streamlined, flippable online magazine. Add text, images, videos to start creating your layout or upload your pdf to make an attractive book. Users can create up to 15 pages for free (more pages will come with a small cost). The outcome is a beautifully flippable online magazine you can share via social media, send as a link or embed. It even has a handy chat with someone from Flipbook if you need help.
AND….if users don’t have access to internet (or connection isn’t as great as it should be…think afternoons at schools) you can always use Old Reliable, Powerpoint. It has the option in transitions for a page curl. But alas! With the newest version, that transition is gone (GRRRRR!!) Just a head’s up on that….
Sharing stories has been around since the beginning of mankind. How to tell stories has changed and morphed throughout the years, but one thing stays constant – people enjoy talking about themselves and seeing others listen. Using digital tools like these not only shares the stories, but also expands their narrative and expertise, both in the telling and the creating.
Happy New School Year!!!