As the first student-created “Great Book Stories” shared with VoiceThread on the collaborative book-sharing project I started today, my two oldest kids shared some perceptions about why “Who Was Helen Keller” by Gare Thompson and the books “Eragon” and “Eldest” by Christopher Paolini are some of their favorites. These were each created and recorded from start to finish in 15 minutes each, just before bed tonight! I helped them find the pictures and typed the title on each one to save time, they imported the images and recorded their voices. Alexander actually “drove the mouse” doing all his recording, Sarah had me do to mouse work for hers. Sarah re-recorded at least 3 of her voice narrations several times, Alexander just re-recorded one of his.

I consider these more “proof of concept” digital stories rather than exemplary “best practice” digital stories. When I help teachers learn about digital storytelling, I emphasize the writing process and a four step process:

  1. Plan
  2. Produce
  3. Chop
  4. Publish

We did minimal planning for these digital stories, so in the weeks to come I’ll likely work with both Sarah and Alexander to have them actually write scripts to go with their storyboard for these “Great Book Stories.” Despite these acknowledged limitations, I think they both did a good job and shared some worthwhile perceptions about these books. They certainly demonstrated this can be done quickly! 🙂

Here they are!

Alexander’s is particularly poignant because, as I wrote last spring, the book “Eragon” was his “home run book” that first hooked him into reading. On the fifth and final image of his VoiceThread about the books, he shares (in his own words) this fact that Eragon was his home run book. This was an unsolicited comment and observation from me. As a young fourth grader, Alexander now defines himself as a reader. This is a HUGE change from the start of third grade when he did not like reading by himself! This summer he started reading the Harry Potter books, and just finished reading book four over the weekend. He’s now over 100 pages into book five. All hail the POWER OF READING!!!! 🙂

One big “lesson learned” from our quick VoiceThread digital stories tonight was to click the SWITCH button when you are changing the actual author of a digital story. I neglected to do this, so as a result the author for Sarah’s digital story shows up as me, and the author of Alexander’s shows up as Sarah. This could have been avoided if I’d clicked the SWITCH button before making their separate VoiceThread stories. Instead of doing that, we just clicked the avatar/user icon at the bottom of the VoiceThread to change the icon of the person recording, not the actual identity of the person logged in:

Click SWITCH to change authors in VoiceThread

Tomorrow evening I’ll share these as examples with teachers in MidDel Schools in Midwest City, Oklahoma, just east of Oklahoma City as we start a five-part workshop series on digital storytelling. More VoiceThreads are coming about favorite books! 🙂

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8 Responses to Alexander and Sarah share favorite books

  1. Kim Cofino says:

    Fantastic! I was just looking for a simple (easy tech) way to introduce book reviews with our lower elementary kids and I had totally forgotten about Voice Thread – it’s perfect! The integration of audio and visual and the ease of use makes it a natural choice for the littler kids. Thanks for getting me back on track!

    Btw: my Chinese visa came in yesterday – looking forward to meeting you at Learning 2.0 next week!

  2. Wesley,
    I am trying to view the story, but even after I sign in I get the message “You don’t have permission to see that VoiceThread.”

    Are the stories private?


  3. Wesley Fryer says:

    Silvia: Duh, I am so silly – yes! I had them set to private! Of course since I was logged in they were playing fine for me… sorry, and THANKS so much for letting me know!!!!! They should play OK now, please let me know if they do, I set them to public with comments allowed!

  4. Awesome! What a great way of getting kids involved and creative. I am on board with the “Great Book Stories”.

  5. […] Great Book Stories: Listen and See: A great (new, but existing) digital storytelling project based on book reviews produced by students using Voice Thread to integrate audio and visual elements. Find an overview and two samples on Wes Fryer’s recent post. […]

  6. […] Great Book Stories: Listen and See: A great (new, but existing) digital storytelling project based on book reviews produced by students using Voice Thread to integrate audio and visual elements. Find an overview and two samples on Wes Fryer’s recent post. […]

  7. Renee Stewart says:

    Good to see this project. I had been thnking along similar lines, but just with using the vioce recorder only laptop. I will checkout voicethreads.

  8. […] their expected learning results with reading. So, I was very excited to read Wes Fryer’s recent post about using VoiceThread for book reviews. To be honest, I looked at VoiceThread last year, but I […]

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