Apps to inspire group storytelling activities in the classroom

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I’ve written blogs in the past focussing on different storytelling apps which allow you to create a story from scratch using your own pictures and words. But how about when children have difficulty coming up with ideas themselves or have difficulty retrieving the right words to use?

There are many apps that can be used to motivate children with their narrative skills through characters, pictures or sounds. When stories are developed in groups, children can motivate each other and focus on listening as well as expressive skills.

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All the apps below are free unless otherwise stated. If using as a whole class activity, don’t forget to use a programme such as AirServer (see previous blog) so that the whole class can see the screen.

 

Story sound effects

storytimesoundsThere are lots of ways of using sound effects to inspire group narratives:

  • Start the story by agreeing on some characters and a scene (draw these out if possible!) Then play sounds one at a time and ask children to name them and volunteer ideas about what is happening in the story.
  • Take turns to say a sentence about the story based on the sound you have just heard and then choose a sound for the next person to describe.

Story time sounds is a great app with clear categories e.g. pirates or monsters, each with colourful pictures to choose from.
Movie Sound Effects has words instead of pictures and contain many sound effects in SciFi/Action/Comedy/Cartoon categories.

See previous blog for ideas of random sound effects to incorporate into stories.


Setting the scene

Some apps let you choose the scene and characters and allow you to move them around to create mini movies. The three shown below also have inbuilt recording facilities.

Puppet Pals (free lite version or £3.99 Directors Pass allowing you to add your own photos). I’ve done a previous blog on using this in class group activities so won’t add more here except to say it’s one of my favourite apps for stimulating expressive language and the combination of photos and fantasy characters can be a great source of inspiration for a wide range of ages!

Superhero HD Comic Book Maker and Princess Fairy Tale Maker by Duck Duck Moose have a large range of backdrops and characters to include in stories. Pick your scene, choose your characters and record the story as you move them around.


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Using story frameworks

Some apps are set up precisely for the purpose of group story telling. Easy to adapt for a classroom activity.

Story Wheel Lite has different themes e.g. Knights and Princesses/Space etc. It is set up for more than one player – each takes turns to spin the wheel and record a few words or phrases about the picture they are allocated. At the end all scenes can be merged.

Story Dice (£1.99) allows you to roll as many dice as you choose, each with drawings on from which you can obtain prompts to include in a story. More abstract pictures, might work well for older children.

img_1248Tell a tale provides the first line of the story, three random pictures and then the final line. Definitely one for older/secondary children.

Using your iPad for story telling with your child using free apps

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imagistoryNarrative skills are an essential part of children’s language development. Young children learn to structure stories and put events in sequence by talking about things they have done and seen. These skills support their ability to create their own imaginative stories as their talking develops.

Below are some ideas for (mostly) free apps which you can use to support your child’s narrative and story telling skills from a very early language stage onwards. Some of them allow you to record a story bit by bit and play it back at the end and others provide visual prompts to help you let your imagination run wild!

 

Story Creator  story creator

How to use: This app can help develop a child’s story telling skills by supporting them to retell stories of things that have happened. Whenever you are having an exciting day out or doing something interesting at home, think about taking photos/videos on the iPad and creating a story about it afterwards. Make up a story when you get back and tell another family member astorycreatorbout what you saw or play them your recording.

  • Click on the + and Add New Story.
  • Give the story a name and add a photo for the front cover.
  • Click on Add new page symbol to add new pictures to the story.
  • Click on the microphone picture to add a recording.

 

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How to use: This is a wordless picture book to encourage you and your child to make up a story yourselves.

  • Click on Create and choose one of the two free stories available.
  • You can either fill in your name and take a photo first, or just go to Quiet Read to start the story.
  • Talk about what is happening and swipe left to move between pages.
  • Read the story again and again and use new words each time!

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storytime sounds

Story Time Sounds

How to use: This is a great resource of sound effects which you can incorporate into youstorytimesoundsr stories. A motivating resource for story telling and a few prompts to help develop the plot…

  • Choose a category e.g. Space, Lost World etc.
  • Choose a sound to mark the beginning of your story.
  • Take turns to choose a sound and say what is happening next using that sound!

 

puppet palsPuppet pals

Cost: free for basic version/ £1.99 to add your own photos

How to use: You can use this app to make up a story about you, your child and fictional characters at the same time. You can record the story while moving the characters around on the screen.

  • Either choose ‘actors’ from the menu or click on ‘Add actor from photo.’
  • Choose a background scene (you can also Add backdrop from photo).
  • Use the scale in the bottom left hand corner to make the picture fill the screen and move the characters about.
  • Click the red button to record a story and save to the iPad using the disk symbol.

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Suggestions for activities:

  • Take photos of you, your child and your home. Create a movie about something you have been doing that week.
  • Make a short movie to show your child and then let them do the talking.
  • Make up a story using photos of your child’s favourite toys.
  • Dress up and take photos of yourselves, then make them into a movie that you can show other people.

 

story wheelStory Wheel Lite

How to use: This ‘Spin the Wheel’ app allows you to record a story and helps you decide on a character to talk about next. You can use this app as a tool for creating stories with more than one person.

  • storywheel Click on Create a Story. You will need to fill in your names before you continue.
  • Select a theme from Pirates, Story Teller, Knights and Princesses etc.
  • The first person spins the wheel to show a character.
  • Record a short sentence or two about this character as the first part of the story.
  • Press Next Player and spin again.
  • When you have completed creating a story, press Done
  • Say Yes to saving and then Listen to Story.