My Story Maker was developed by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. It can be found at http://www.carnegielibrary.org/kids/storymaker/. Students will create their own online book that can be viewed online or printed out as a PDF file.
The process is simple. Students will start by naming their story. They will then select characters, settings and various objects to insert into the pages of their story. As students develop their story they can edit the type and location of objects on their pages. A text box is provided at the bottom of each page for writing the story. As characters are added to the story the software provides an opportunity for students to change a characters feelings, actions or interactions. There is also a small character on the bottom right of the screen that provides guiding questions for students to help with the development of their stories.
When you finish your story you are provided with the option to share it. The software will display a numeric code for your story. You can access your story at a later time by visiting the site and entering your code. My Story Maker will keep stories on file for up to 1 month.
My Story Maker is a great interactive tool for teaching students the craft of developing a short story. The entire software is loaded with excellent resources that will guide students through the process. Because it is web-based we are providing students the opportunity to publish their work. We are allowing them to write for an audience other then their classmates and teachers. These types of activities have proven to contribute to a students motivation and enjoyment for writing.
Grade 1 - Towards the second half of first grade this could be a great activity for whole group instruction on an interactive whiteboard. The teacher can work with students by going through the process of developing a short story using images. Students can participate by using the interactive whiteboard to add items or text to the story.
Grades 2-3 - This is an excellent lesson for the computer lab at these grade levels. Students can work in one or two sessions to complete a short story. Students or teachers may record the access codes for each students story. This will allow the students to present their stories to the class on an interactive whiteboard at a later date. If time is limited the stories can be printed out immediately.