Using Storia in the classroom: A teacher talks!
By Guest Blogger on September 20th, 2012
Last week we celebrated Storia, and the good news is, we’re going to continue sharing insights into our new (free!) ereading app! But we’re going to make them worthwhile for you–giving you real advice and tips from real teachers who are using Storia in the classroom. Today we have Victoria Jasztal, a fourth grade teacher (in her ninth year of teaching!) and literacy advocate. She blogs at love4thgrade.blogspot.com and tweets at @love4thgrade, so her love of teaching is pretty clearly documented! Read on for some fantastic tips from her about reading and technology in the classroom!
As an advocate of Storia, I will be providing many resources this year on how you can incorporate it in whole-group and small-group instruction, MAXIMIZING its potential. Last week, I introduced Storia to my two fourth grade reading classes. If you have not heard of this FREE iPad application, it is quite the invaluable resource because there are numerous features that enhance the digital reading experience.
Storia is phenomenal, in my opinion, because of the highlighting and Post-It features. As an educator, I can choose an ebook to be a mentor text, highlighting portions that illustrate the skill I am teaching, and using the Post-It notes to guide discussions from one page to the next. Additionally, students can highlight skills you are asking them to focus on and the Post-It notes to guide their thinking from one page to the next, as you may regularly do with paperback books.
When I oriented my students with Storia, I asked how many had used a tablet to read digital books before. It amazed me that only a few had. First, I told the students which books they would be working with this year, from The Hunger Games to Dragon Rider and I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic, 1912. I showed how they were displayed on a virtual bookshelf with vibrant, full-color covers.
From there, I explained how The Guardians of Ga’Hoole: The Capture by Kathryn Lasky would be used to illustrate the skill of being a “word collector.” I used my Ladibug document camera and projector. Here is how I guided my students over the course of the lesson (obviously, I prepared in advance):
- Post-It note: “Starts with a quotation. Introduces scene of owlet sister being born, yet there is a major problem. While we search for words, we are going to figure out what the problem is.”
- Words and phrases highlighted: “edge to his voice”, “low soft whistle”, “seemed to have resented him since the moment he had first hatched”, “said dully”
- Words and phrases highlighted: “owlets”, “flapping their wings”, “impatient”, “flight feathers”, “crack”, “extraordinary”, “rapturously”, “glistening”, “pecking its way”
- Words and phrases highlighted: “absorbed”, “urgently”, “slithered”, “maggots”, “hollows”, “vermin”, “broods”, “doubted”, “hatching”
- Words and phrases highlighted: “prided themselves”, “noblest”, “nice neat bundles”, “yarped”, “reverberate with a huge cracking sound”, “slimy blob”, “shree call”
You get the gist! As I chose the words to be highlighted, I thought about sensory language and particularly examples of onomatopoeia when I found them. It was also exciting highlighting words like “reverberate” and “rapturously,” two vivid words to add to my students’ schemas. After this demonstration, students went through their own books (paperbacks for now) to locate and gather words.
I think the best part about Storia, besides the fact it is an iPad application, is that it can be downloaded on computers in the classroom. Currently, Storia can work on up to five devices. I have two iPads and my home computer it is downloaded on, so I can download it on two classroom laptops as well. That will be useful for small group instruction at my teacher table. –Victoria Jaszta
Teachers, we would love to hear from you about how you’re using Storia in your classrooms! And as a reminder, you can follow Storia on all sorts of social media accounts: on Twitter @Storia_ebooks and on Pinterest!
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