Flying with StoryBird

I few months ago I came across an application called Storybird (thanks to my favorite blog Box of Tricks).  I knew that it was an online application that allowed users to make beautiful, children’s style short books.  While I thought that it was an amazing program, I was stuck knowing that I couldn’t use in Spanish, as the books can only be published in English.

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But then Storybird had a reinvention.  Storybird now allows teachers to create classes and setup accounts for all of their students.  These students can create and publish storybooks under this classroom umbrella.  And since the teacher controls that classroom umbrella, they can be in any language.  My Spanish students can now start writing short children’s stories in Spanish!

Here is the low-down on Storybird:

  • Choose from a sampling of internet artist storybook art to begin creating your book
  • Type in your text and arrange the photo/art however you wish
  • Publish and share books online



Map Making and City Investigations

My Spanish 3 students have been learning about places in a city.  Eventually in this unit, they will be learning how to give directions and read directions.  A map making activity seemed like a logical extension activity and I thought about how I could use modern technology to enhance that basic lesson.

I played around with a website called CommunityWalk where users can make maps using the GoogleMap satelitte images.  There is no log-in and no software necessary.  I researched about 25 cities in the United States: each was at least 25 miles from a major metropolitan area and each city had a Hispanic population of 50% of higher.  Students each chose a different city and looked for real life places in these cities.  For example, they had to find a hair salon, or peluqueria, in Odessa, TX or Salinas, CA.  This real world application made the map activity a little more relevant and I think made an impression.

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The maps that my students created are marked with Spanish vocabulary words of the places in a city we have been studying.  We will be using these maps later in the unit when they learn how to give directions.  They will be giving real world directions, navigating through the streets of Haverstraw, NY and Hollister, CA.