Thursday, September 20, 2012

Digital Storytelling with Kerpoof

First grade teachers at one school in my district have been using the KidWorks writing program for years.  This computer program is very child-friendly and helpful in teaching students how to write before they can spell.  Unfortunately, the program developer has not continued to support this product and it's been difficult finding a replacement.  My district moved to Windows 7 over the summer and this KidWorks program could not make the move with us (it IS compatible with Windows 98, if you're wondering!)  For the past year, I've been on the lookout for a tool that works in a similar capacity to KidWorks.  Obviously, I've been looking for something web-based.  If you know of a product or tool, please let me know!

In the meantime, we will be experimenting with various free digital storytelling programs.  The easiest one for the kids to use this early in the year is Disney's Kerpoof.  No log-in is required and kids love creating their story scenes!  The first-graders had minimal trouble resizing and dragging/dropping.  Although the teacher modeled how to type a describing sentence, most of the students were just interested in creating their scenes, and that was okay with us for the first day of independent computer use.  I will say that the text box is not very user-friendly since kids have to delete the "type here" text and it defaults to uppercase.  Also, if the text extends off of the page, it does not wraparound to the next line.  Anyway, I wanted to share one of the scenes that a first-grader created today (see below).  Check out the expression in her sentence!  I can't wait for students to learn about the speech bubbles which automatically appear when you insert a character.  What are other ways that you use Kerpoof in the K-2 classroom?  Also, do you use Storybird, Little Bird Tales or Storyjumper?