Storybird: A Collaborative Storytelling Tool



What is it?


Storybird is a collaborative storytelling tool. Students use collections of art to be inspired to write stories. One the art is chosen, students are able to build there story by dragging and dropping pictures and creating a story to match. It’s great for teachers because they’re able to easily create student accounts and assignments for students. It’s also simple to collaborate with others whether it’s another student in class or someone from another country! Storybird is an extremely engaging site that allows students to focus more on the content of their writing rather than drawing pictures!

Video Tutorials


I’ll be sharing four different video tutorials with you. The first video will show you how to sign up for a teacher account on Storybird. With a teacher account, you can create student accounts (without needing an email for them), give students assignments, and easily view any stories your students have written. The second video will explain how to use Storybird. You’ll see how to choose a collection of art, how to add pictures to the story, how to write the story, and then how to publish. The third video will share with you how to collaborate using Storybird. You’ll find out how to invite someone else to write the story with you whether it be a classmate, friend, parent, or global connection. The final video will show you how to embed Storybird so you can share student work on your blog, wiki, or other website.


Examples


Below you’ll find a couple example Storybirds I’ve created. Being able to embed them into a blog, such as this, or other site allows for students to have an authentic audience to write for. As you’ll notice, you have the ability to make the Storybird full screen which really brings it to life. As for the iPad and other similar devices, the stories can be purchased to download for $1.99 (USD). This will allow you to download a PDF file of the story which can easily be opened in the iBook app, on a Nook Color, or any Android device. This adds a whole new element to sharing student work.


Application in Class


Storybird is excellent for many writing assignments. It’s an engaging site that will help bring even the most hesitant writers out of their shell. As I mentioned previously in one of the videos, Storybird can be used as a way to collaborate between parent and child. What better way to bridge home and school than by having a child and their parents take turn writing pages in a book. You could then have a Book Share day where parents come in and read the story with their child to the rest of the class.

You could also find another class from another state or country to work with. Pair up students from the two classes and have them write a story together. Each child will bring their own style to the story while working together. Each class can work on them when they have an opportunity so the stories don’t have to be worked on at the exact same time. Once the stories are finished, Skype the other class and have students take turns reading stories. Each pair could read the pages they wrote from the book.

Storybird can also just be used to have students write on their own. The fact that the work can stay unpublished until it is finished allows it to be worked on over several class periods. Students could all work on their stories during a computer lab, if you have a laptop cart, or are lucky enough to have a 1:1 classroom. It can also be done as independent work in a center if you have fewer computers. Either way, I highly recommend that you give Storybird a try!

Resources and Links

  • New Teacher Challenge – Using Storybird
  • Examples of Storybirds – 2KM and 2KJ Blog
  • More Cool Tools – Storybird (2KM and 2KJ Class Blog)
  • A Collaborative Storybird Project
  • Collaborative Project Part 2

    *Have your students used Storybird before?*

    *Do you see your class being able to use this to collaborate with others?*

  • 27 thoughts on “Storybird: A Collaborative Storytelling Tool

    1. My grade 6/7 students love using Storybird. The only problem I find is that they cannot embed their stories in their own blog. This has to be done by the teacher instead. This can be a nuisance as I have over 50 students using storybird at the moment.

      My get around this is for students to have their own page on their blog for their Storybirds. They can add the links instead of the HTML embed code.

      • HI Miss W,

        My students have definitely enjoyed it as well! Even though they can’t embed it, it’s great that they’re able to post links to make it easy to reach. We keep a class wiki partly for this reason. If we use a website like Storybird, it’s easier to create a new page on the wiki so we can embed all of the stories on there rather than in a post on our blog.

        I can’t imagine having to embed over 50 of them though!

        Thanks for visiting and commenting!

        Best Regards,
        Shawn

    2. Hi Shawn
      My class in New Zealand found Storybird to be a great tool within our writing program, especially last term when we collaborated with Melody Watson’s class in Canada to produce some stories.

      The children quickly figured out how to add pictures, enter their text and then swap turns with their Canadian buddy.

      Here’s a link to our stories:
      Collaborative Storybirds

      Thanks for another informative post!

      Judy McKenzie

      • Hi Judy,

        Thanks for sharing that post! I’ll be adding it to the links and resources section at the bottom of the post. I think what you and Melody did definitely highlights one of the great benefits of Storybird. I’d love to see more classes work on projects just like yours. Melody’s such a great person to pair up with as well. We loved Quad-blogging with her last year!

        Thanks for sharing!

        Sincerely,
        Shawn

    3. Hi Shawn,

      I’m enjoying your new blog!

      Storybird is a great tool that I want to start using more regularly in my classroom.

      When we first started using Storybird, we didn’t use the collaborative feature. Definitely keen to do that though. Judy McKenzie and Melodie Watson have done some terrific collaborative Storybirds http://mrswatson.ca/2011/06/20/partner-storybirds-with-b4/

      I didn’t know about the iPad feature so thanks for that! Unless you have unlimited funds, maybe you could reward a student who has created the best story (or worked well) by downloading it onto the class iPad?

      Looking forward to the next post,
      Kath

      • HI Kathleen,

        I’m glad you’re enjoying it. As mentioned previously, I’ve been inspired by some great professional blog and used yours as a template to try to figure out what else I needed to add.

        Thanks for sharing that link. I’ll definitely be adding that from both Judy and Melody. That really highlights one of the great aspects to Storybirds. Even though I’m not teaching writing this year (which I’ll miss), I’d love to have students use Storybird during our computer lab to collaborate with another classroom. I know students would love it.

        Paying money to download a PDF is definitely impossible to do for every student. I love your idea of rewarding students who worked hard and wrote the best story. I also like the fact that it gives parents an option to be able to download them and maybe put them on a device at home. Knowing that they can have their book show up on an iOS, Android, or another device definitely could be motivating!

        Thanks for commenting!

        Regards,
        Shawn

    4. Hi Shawn,
      Storybird is one of my favourite digital story writing tools. Your post will be great for introducing it to people who haven’t given it a try yet.

      I love how your posts all have videos in them! When I try a new web 2.0 tool I often look for tutorials on You Tube.

      I hadn’t thought about the download for the iPads. It would definitely be a special treat like you and Kathleen mentioned. As a parent of a child who loves to write Storybirds, I have also thought about ordering one of the paper books they offer as a keepsake.

      The collaborative project with Judy was my first time giving that feature a try. The kids were so excited to see what their buddies on the other side of the world would write next and were very motivated to do their best writing.

      Can’t wait to see what the next tool will be!
      Melody

      p.s. Thanks for all the kind words :) I consider myself the lucky one to learn with all of you!

      • Hi Melody,

        I love Storybird. One of the most disappointing aspects of changing grade levels is that now I’m only teaching math and science. I’m going to struggle to find time this year to incorporate writing since that will be done during ELA. I love sharing this site with students though and I know they love it. I’m still going to have to try to connect with a class and have students write stories like Judy and yourself. It was brilliant.

        I think either a paper book or iPad download would definitely be a special treat. I could definitely see that being a motivating tool.

        Thanks for visiting!

        Sincerely,
        Shawn

    5. Shawn,

      Terrific post about Storybird! I signed up last year, but never used it. This has been motivating, and I’d like to give it a try! I missed it on Twitter, but had it delivered to my email inbox. Nice!

      Question: If I add student names and passwords, could they log in from home?

      I like the way you have broken the videos up into useful segments. It’s a great format.

      Thanks for putting the time into this project!

      ~Linda Y♥llis

      • Hi Linda!

        Storybird was one of the sites I covered at a workshop I taught over the summer. The teachers there loved it! I hope that they’ll be trying to incorporate it into their classroom this year. If you do as well, I’d love to see some of the results. You work magic in your classroom and I know the finished products would be amazing.

        Once students have user names and passwords, they can log in from anywhere. This would give them the ability to collaborate more easily with someone else. It’d allow them to finish up a story they started in school or even just to write their own story.

        Let me know how it goes if you try it!

        Shawn

    6. Aloha Mr. Avery,
      Thanks so much for putting together this tutorial. It is so easy to follow and answers every question.
      It’s great to have a resource to refer to while you’re learning how something works!
      Thanks again,
      @JoAnnJ68

      • Hi JoAnn,

        I have to say, every time I see your state in your email, I get so jealous. The temperature is starting to drop here in Massachusetts and it makes me wish I was somewhere warmer!

        In my own personal experiences, I’ve visited a lot of sites for tutorials when I’m trying to learn about a new tool. I always found the ones with videos to be most helpful. I thought if I could create some videos that would share what I thought would be most useful to educators, it’d help to simplify the process and hopefully get more teachers involved.

        Thanks for visiting!

        Shawn

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    14. Hi Shawn,
      Thank you for all the tips! I do have one question though–my open house is coming up and my students are working on Storybirds–is there a way I could make a slideshow of their stories to run during the open house?
      Thanks!
      Rachel

      • Hi Rachel,

        I’m not sure that there’s a way you could create a slideshow. My only thought would be to do screen shots or screen captures that would allow you to just save each page as a jpeg file. You could at least do that with the cover page of each book so you can share what each child’s story is about. I hope that helps a little!

        Sincerely,
        Shawn

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    19. I am getting ready to use Storybird in my high school environmental science class. This will be my first storybird experience and I am very excited about it!!! We will be writing a story about pollution which may be a little challenging but I plan to have students use a theme, like “people” or search art using “forest” and have the students use a set list of vocab words to write a fiction or non-fiction story (but using factual information). Do you have any suggestions or tips for me?
      Thanks for the excellent tutorials!!!
      Terrie

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