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Teaching With Technology: Hi-Tech Storytelling

  • Grades: Early Childhood, Infant, PreK–K, 1–2

Welcome to a new generation of software! Interactive and interesting, these selections give children tools to create original stories.

Kid Pix Studio Deluxe Version 1.0

Ages: 3 and up. Teaches: creativity, art, writing, language. This all-purpose program will turn your computer into a stand-alone art area with paint that never dries up! You'll find a range of tools (paint, fill, cut, paste, etc.), a vast array of tiny stamps, plus a feature that lets children undo any mistake. Children can record their own narration or add text by typing directly on their pictures. Kid Pix creations can be incorporated into a professional-looking slide show, complete with fades and music -- great for back-to-school nights! Broderbund Software, $29.99, Win 9S, Win 3.1, Mac OS (CD-ROM), 800-521-6263.

Orly's Draw-a-Story

Ages: 5 and up. Teaches: writing and creativity. For a fun new twist on storytelling, you can't beat this CD starring Orly, a young Jamaican girl with a penchant for making up adventures. As she tells her tales, she invites kids to create characters, vehicles, and buildings at a well-stocked art center. For instance, while telling a story, Orly might stop and say, "Hey! We need a submarine for this story. Can you make one?" Children then sketch out a submarine, and when the story resumes, there it is, cruising across the screen! When Orly asks for a creature or character, she provides animated eyes and mouth so that the child's new character can talk and make facial expressions. This software won the 1997 Bologna New Media Prize for both the language and innovation categories. Broderbund Software, $29, Win 9S, Win 3.1, Mac OS (CD-ROM), 800-521-6263.

Sunbuddy Writer

Ages: 5 and up. Teaches: word processing and writing skills. If you're looking for a gimmick-free, large-letter word processor, this CD will do the job. The program works well in a classroom in which children are ready for a simple word processor with built-in features such as the ability to save work automatically under each child's name. As children write, they can easily add pictures to their text and also take advantage of a collection of story starters. Sunburst Communications, Inc., $59.95, Mac OS (CD-ROM), 800-321-7511.

TIP: On-the-Spot Publishing

Materials: any word processor or computer, a printer, a good typist.

Next time you get back from a field trip or a walk in the park, gather around a word processor and set the font on a very large setting (60 pts. or higher). Make sure every child can see the screen. Then ask children to contribute their ideas and observations while you (or a parent helper) type. Heighten the learning value of this activity by typing exactly what children say. Give all the children a turn and offer them the chance to reread and polish their contributions until they are satisfied with the story. Select "all of the text" (Control - A) and reduce the font size to 12 or 14 pts. Hopefully, the story will fit on one page. Then print a copy for each child to illustrate and take home that very same day.

  • Subjects:
    Reading, Language Arts, Early Learning, Curriculum Development, Literacy, Writing, Creative Writing, Arts and Creativity, Early Writing, Professional Development, Visual Arts, New Teacher Resources, Teacher Tips and Strategies, Technology, Communication and the Internet, Software and Apps, Computers, Educational Technology, Teaching with Technology
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