Friday, May 23, 2014

Free Friday: Google Doc Story

One of my students greatest challenges in our second grade writing curriculum was the concept of dialogue - how to read it, how to write it, and when it was appropriate to use it! When I discovered Google Doc Story Builder, the concept easily clicked for them. Not to mention, it motivated some of my reluctant writers to beg to be able to use this resource in the computer lab.

Retrieved from
The Google Doc Story Builder allows students to create an interactive story in which multiple user-created characters can interact or collaborate to tell a complete story. Each character is able to add new text, as well as go back and edit any text previously entered by any characters. My students have enjoyed creating plays or telling narrative stories using this tool recently. They create a narrator or character that serves to explain the setting and help move events along and then they add other characters to partake in their story. The final step to creating your Google Doc Story is to select theme music to accompany your story's playback. Once you've selected the music, you can watch your story unfold before your eyes!

Unfortunately, there is no way to save your Google Doc Story or edit the doc story once it has been "Finished Up." You CAN save the share link you are provided with though and access your story in that manner. This is not ideal though for the early childhood student as the concept of keeping/maintaining a link library is not a common practice nor a realistic one for the age group. However, the process of creating and viewing a Google Doc Story has the potential to be extremely powerful!

This is also a great way to introduce and practice the process of editing or revising with students as it creates an animated running record of the changes made similar to what the Google Doc App does in a more static form. You might consider typing in your model writing and then documenting student suggestions for changes through the Google Doc Story builder so they can easily follow the transformation. You could then personally save the link and play it back for students when you need to review the revising/editing process or as an introduction for the following year's students. Not to mention, it would also serve as a great way to model what a peer revision conference would look like as an alternative to a whole class conference.

Better yet, maybe you are brave enough or have the technology tools/devices in your classroom or in the computer lab to allow students to create in Google Doc Story and then document their peer editing conference within the tool. This is perhaps a bit challenging given the age of our young learners, but for those who are in second grade and are preparing for the more rigorous expectations of third grade it may be more feasible.