This too is a NaNo-story of sorts. Fair warning.
I introduced Storybird today.
Not like talked about it and had kids sign up.
Like actually got them started using it.
It was epic.
Some kids whine about the art selection.
They'd rather use their own artwork.
Maybe another year we can do something with that.
Not this year.
A few kids got really frustrated.
Mostly those who are intensely literal and want pictures of exactly what they wrote about.
They need help thinking a little more symbolically.
Or sometimes, just with searching well.
We learned a few things.
First, it is both easy to do and hard to figure out.
I mean the system is easy to use but nothing about it is obvious.
It takes some experimentation and instruction to use.
Another thing we learned is how to make chapter books.
That was definitely one of those easy but not obvious things.
So much so, I had to look it up.
The third thing we learned was how to kind of cheat the system.
Storybird kicks back a percentage to the artist whose work is used.
Because of this, you are only supposed to be able to use one artist in a piece of writing.
But there is a cheat.
You can create each chapter of your book as a new longform book.
When you do that, you can use a new artist for each chapter.
Once you are done and ready to publish, you have the option to "add to an existing book."
Multiple artists in the same chapter book.
My kids are loving this.
It is frustrating and hard and makes them crazy chatty, but they love it.
I know because three different kids said so.
"Ms. Hirsch, this is so cool!" surprise dripping from every word of a struggling student.
"I like this, why'd we wait til now?" from an overachiever.
"These pictures are good. I found the perfect one for my story," from a usually apathetic, though grade conscious kiddo.
A crazy idea coming to fruition is a pretty great thing.
Fun for me and fun for them.
Students publishing their own books--magic!