Thursday, February 6, 2014

Pass the Story Please!

My fourth graders are working on writing fiction. We added two twists using Google docs. Each student created a document in which they started writing a story with two characters. They are creating rebus stories, in which some words are omitted and are replaced by images.

Using Google documents makes this task seamless. Using the research tools, students can conduct searches in the same window in which they are writing. Research is opened under "Tools."

Students select "images" (signified by the camera icon) in the pull down menu of the search window. I help them narrow the type of images they find by asking them to use "clip art ______." When they find an image they wish to use in their story, they simply drag it into the sentence and resize it. If they want to use the same image later in their story, it is easy to copy and paste it.

Students wrote the beginning of their story only. They then shared their document with a classmate designated by me. Each student went to their "Shared with me" folder to find their classmate's story beginning. After reading the story beginning and selecting a different font, they continued the story. My instructions gave them freedom to change anything about the story except the characters. After writing the middle of the story, they share it with a third student who changes the font again and writes the story ending.

Students enjoyed writing these collaborative rebus stories.

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