"Three (or more) Ways to Tell a Story"

Abstract: Every child - and teacher - has a story to tell. This workshop will provide a hands-on experience that will prepare participants to produce curriculum based projects that promote creativity and critical thinking. Using free technology tools, you will learn three ways to tell a story. First we will create stories with SOUND using Audacity and see how it can be used for interviews or creating dramatic stories or poems. Second we'll use PhotoStory and Voicethread to create stories with PICTURES and see how simple it is to create professional looking documentaries, narratives, and riddles. Third, we'll incorporate the idea of PLACE into our stories and see how tools like Google Maps and Google Earth can be used to create projects that connect to personal journeys, history, literature, and more. Finally we'll brainstorm and share our own ideas of how we might use these tools across our own curriculum.


Stories with Sound

Family History: EXAMPLE: NPR StoryCorps Project. Their "Great Questions" list is a great place for your students to start when planning to interview a friend or family member. Below is a podcast I made with my Grandpa and the story of how the podcast was made.

Audacity (Mac/Windows/Linux) - Use to record, edit, and mix your podcasts.
GarageBand (Mac Only) - Don't want to use Audacity? Use Garageband to record, edit, and mix your podcasts.

Posterous.com - If you can send an e-mail attachment, you can use Posterous.

FLORIDA/GEORGIA LEC 2012 - Here is the Jungle Story we made at our session -----> CLICK HERE

Stories with Pictures

See "Digital Storytelling" wiki

Microsoft PhotoStory3 (Windows) - turn your images into a Digital Story. So easy even a teacher can use it! CLICK HERE to download.

iMovie 08 (Mac)

Voicethread - Share stories online. Collaborate with others across town or around the world.
  • VoiceThread Tutorials (made with Voicethread of course!)
  • EXAMPLE - The Hungry Caterpillar. Kindergarten students present their own version of the story with pictures they created in Kid Pix.
  • ANOTHER EXAMPLE - Christmas Traditions. 3rd Graders tell about their family or community Christmas traditions. Pictures were hand drawn, scanned, and imported to Voicethread. The text comments are from our partner school in Brisbane, Australia.
  • MORE EXAMPLES - Digital Storytelling with Kindergarten- From Bridget Belardi, a library/media specialist in Pittsburgh, PA.
  • Voicethread 4 Education - a comprehensive collection of Voicethread examples from students and teachers.

Power Point - Yes, even Power Point can be used to share stories. Bring in a collection of photos and pictures using the Photo Album tool. Then add text and voice narration.
  • Slideshare - Share those Power Point slides online, or embed them on your web site or blog. Add audio to your slides using their SlideCast feature. NOTE: When upload slides to Slideshare, you will lose any animation effects you've added to your slides. Slideshare treats each slide like a photo. If you want progressive builds, you'll want to create separate slides for each step.

Animoto - Want something without narration? Upload photos and short video clips to tell a story with images and music.

Create your own video slideshow at animoto.com.

Creative Commons Licensing - Make sure it's okay before you just start grabbing images from the web and ALWAYS give credit if you use someone else's work. What is Creative Commons? (pdf document) What do the symbols mean? (pdf document)

DIGITAL KITS - Rather then have kids search the Internet for pictures, save time by providing them a folder or collection of images to use. This will help them focus on the lesson objective rather than spend the entire class time looking for the perfect images. By selecting the images yourself, you can also make sure the images are copyright safe and appropriate for your students. For more information on creating your own digital kits see Jennifer Gingerich's Blog.

Online Image Sources:

Stories with "Place"

Tell a story of a personal vacation, class field trip, or track a the journey of a real or fictional character. Describe what happened at specific places using words, pictures, or other "embeddable" multi-media content.

View Alaska Adventure in a larger map

Google Maps - Big Anthony's Journey from Strega Nona (by Andy Losik)
Google Earth - Visit Google Lit Trips to download kmz files with info, pictures, and though questions for various books. Add your own words and pictures to placemarks for an "alternative" book report assignment, or tell a story from your own travels. How to add your own pictures to Google Earth.
Picasa Web Albums - is an online site for uploading and sharing your photos (like Flickr). You can add captions & location information to your photos then download a Google Earth file with placemarks of all your photos. Learn more.

Stories with iPads

Make Stories with Digital Puppets
Puppet Pals
  • ADVANTAGES: Free, can import your own images, stories export as videos to your camera roll
  • DISADVANTAGES: Extra characters require "in-app" purchases
  • ADVANTAGES: Free, animated characters, app walks you through steps for creating a good story: setting, character, conflict, resolution
  • DISADVANTAGES - Extra characters and scenes require "in-app" purchases, stories cannot be exported as videos - they can only be shared on the ToonTastic web site.

Make a Storybook

Storybird - Free web tool. Select a "collection" of art, then use that art to inspire you to write a story.

Tips for Good Story Telling

1. "We don't pay attention to boring things" (Brain Rules #4) Keep it under 10 minutes.
2. Be descriptive. Give your information an emotional context. This encourages long term memory. (Brain Rules #6)
3. When possible, use pictures. “Vision trumps all other senses” (Brain Rules #10)
4. Have a point! It makes it so much more interesting for the listener.

CLICK HERE to see story ideas or add your own.


Brain Power of Storytelling
Teaching Storytelling
Brain Rules
Qualities of Good Storytelling(pdf document) from ReadWriteThink