Friday, March 9, 2012

Storybirds in the French Language Classroom

My grade 6 French Immersion students have been using Storybird to create stories in the classroom.  I can't even think of one student who is not excited about using this site.  Even the students who usually struggle to construct a few sentences on paper in French seem to have a plethora of ideas to write down using this tool.

Storybird contains several colorful illustrations that its audience can use to create stories.  You can then publish them for the world to see or mark them as private.  Because this service is only offered in English, Storybirds will not permit public views of stories in other languages at this time.  You can, however, create stories in other languages and keep them marked as private.  Should you wish to display them on a blog or wiki, you can send them to yourself by e-mail, create a screenshot of the Storybird's cover page, and add a link to its image that you received via e-mail.

Our students are still working on mastering some of the verb conjugations in the imperfect and past tenses (l'imparfait et passé composé).  In order to bring their creativity and grammar practice together, I have asked they create Storybirds using both verb tenses throughout.  We then will take some of the Storybirds I anonymously save on my account and edit them for spelling and grammar.  This correction exercise is certainly not intended to devalue the writing process.  Quite the contrary, it is intended to help them develop better writing skills that will enhance the quality of their written work in French.  Students will of course still receive positive comments about their stories and choice of images to accompany their writing. 

Another positive aspect of this exercise is that students acquire ideas from each other for future writing activities.  They also may be using the same image for different story lines and become more aware of different perspectives writers might have of images.

Below is a Storybird created by one of my students in class today: