Awesome Apps for K-6
Edu 210- Module 9
In this module, I am exploring different apps available to enhance the story writing process in elementary classrooms. The above photo of a classroom of enthusiastic students was taken by Chris Lewis.
Story Kit provides kids with the opportunity to publish their own stories and then share them electronically with a wide audience, including family members at home, whenever they want. In this way their writing is for an authentic audience outside of the classroom, which is very motivating. They can use the drawing tool to illustrate their story or they can upload photos or images. They can also record audio of themselves reading their stories, great for fluency practice!
If students need a little help coming up with ideas to write about, this is a great tool for them to have access to. It has over 150 different story prompts. It could be used as a short writing exercise to get the kids ideas flowing, or as a prompt for an entire story writing project.
Sock Puppets is a great alternative to simply using text for story writing. The children have the option of creating and telling their story orally. They can also collaborate with another child and they could each have their own character and voice. In this way, you could have a child who is more knowledgable about storytelling scaffold the concept for another child with less experience, thus modelling for them and helping them develop their own concept of story. The sock puppets come in two versions, real-life or cartoon. You can also select different props, scenery, and backgrounds. When you record your voice, the puppet lip-synch's to what you have recorded.
The Flat Stanley App is another tool for creating authentic audiences for writing. You can use it to contact another classroom teacher in another city or country and the kids from each class can create their own Flat Stanley or Stella, write about their community and their adventures, and send them off. This begins a pen pal type of exchange, but without the pressure of necessarily revealing all of the children's personal information. It gives the children more freedom in the creative process because they have the option of writing about a third person, or they can write about themselves if they choose to. This would also lend itself very nicely to Social Studies and Math lessons (learning about another culture, mapping, distance calculations, etc.)
Talking Tom and Ben News
Talking Tom and Ben News gives kids an opportunity to practice writing dialogue for a real audience. They can create a script for the Tom and Ben characters, make voice recordings of their dialogue, and then share it with each other, family, friends, or by uploading it to YouTube.
PicCOLLAGE is an APP that allows you to create and share visual content. I think it would be a great way for kids to design a story board to inspire their writing. If they knew the general topic they wanted to write about, but needed some thinking time, they could take photos of real life, take photos of drawings, or upload other content from the web. It's free, has no advertising, and is easy to use, as you can see in the review YouTube video below.