As part of my fiction unit, I decided to create class accounts on Storybird, a site used for writing stories using artwork different artists contribute to the site. I hoped the online writing component would engage my sixth grade writers, especially since there would also be a visual component for learners who work better with pictures; images; and visual media, but I certainly did not guess the kids would like Storybird as much as they do! They come into class asking if we’re going to the computer lab to work on more Storybirds and they’ve started commenting on each other’s writing, since the site allows readers to respond to the stories created on the site. Last night as I was monitoring student comments (I was clear about making sure to be respectful and supportive but still feel I should check comments to be sure), I came across this little snatch of conversation…
Student 1: really good story
Student 2: Very cute! I like the idea for that story!
Student writer: Thanks [classmate’s name]!! hey im having trpuble coming up with other ideas for another story do you guys have any ideas?
Okay, I noticed that the students were not watching their conventions, but something big was happening here…. The student writer who was getting the comments about her work reached out to her peers for more writing ideas!
I felt really proud of my writer for generating an open forum that would help her start a list of ideas she could use to keep her writing going, especially since this young writer sometimes has trouble with getting her writing work started. If Storybird work keeps going in such a positive direction, I might work Storybird into poetry or other writing we can do in May 🙂