Friday, May 23, 2014

Using Google Apps to Make Interactive Stories

At this point in the school year my students are quite comfortable with GAFE and are doing a lot on their own time outside of school. In class they are working on meeting learning goals that we have established which means that they are not as "free" to experiment as they wish. As we near the end of the school I want them to continue to stay engaged and focused. One of the culminating tasks that I would like my students to engage in involves creating interactive choose your own adventure stories. This activity would allow my students to incorporate many of the Language literacy skills (reading, writing, media, oral) they have learned this school year as well as the technological skills they have gained & refined, particularly their knowledge around GAFE. I mentioned this to them yesterday and, no word of a lie, they began salivating at the idea! I had to tell them to 'hold their horses' so I could gather some knowledge around this type of work.

By no means is this activity MY idea. I became aware of this innovative activity from +Sylvia Duckworth. Sylvia has experience doing this type of activity with her students and has presented on this topic. She blogged about this and explained how she was inspired by Jonathan Wylie when she read his blog post on the topic.**

Thanks to Sylvia and Jonathan, I have a great starting point where I can read more about the technical aspects of this type of activity so I can support my students. We will establish our learning goal and success criteria so that we know where we are going on our learning journey. With the goal and criteria in place the students will have a focus and context as they create, communicate, and collaborate in order to be successful in meeting their academic goal. All this while having fun and learning how to use technology that provides them with many opportunities that wouldn't normally be available to them.

I look forward to sharing our learning with you in future posts. Stay tuned for what I imagine are going to be some pretty awesome products created by my students! Until then, check out the quick interactive story that I created. 

** This is why it is so important for educators to share what they are doing. Sometimes we feel like no one cares, no one wants to hear about the engaging and innovative work that we are doing. This is not the case. Sharing helps build capacity and provided people with ideas that they can then experience and build on and then share. It is an amazing cycle that benefits everyone. **

June 10 - Update

We recently created our Learning Goal (LG) and Success Criteria (SC) for our interactive stories. Our goal is to create a fictional 'choose your own adventure' story using Google Presentation. Our success criteria involves 1) using our graphic organizer map to create several story lines, 2) explaining (to the teacher and the class) how we came up with our story, 3) identifying the different parts of our story (beginning, middle, end, characters, setting, etc), and 4) using the vocabulary we learned during the creation of our story (e.g. character, setting, plot, etc) as we share our ideas/thoughts.

Here is the graphic organizer map my students and I co-created to help us create our stories:

Together, we came up with ground rules to assist us in being successful in creating our stories. It was their idea to have something to lead them through their FIRST story. They tell me that after they have successfully met the requirements for this activity, they can then create more complicated stories. I agree with them - to a certain degree. Students that require support to meet the standard we set will receive it and students that require enrichment will get that as well. This is a great start and they directed it. 

As a way to organize their stories, they are using recipe cards set up similarly to the organizer you see above so that they don't get confused. Currently, I find myself suggesting that they simplify the stories that they are sharing with me. They are excited and have some great and creative ideas, but I am advising them to hold back in a way, in order to ensure that they don't bite off more than they can chew. In my next update, I hope to have some samples of their stories to share with you and provide you with some more information about how this activity is playing out.

June 25 - Update

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