I think that Story Jumper can an interesting project for elementary and secondary students.
It is simple and fun!
The possibility to create an original story is the part that kept my attention.
Two choices are available depending of your need and school level:
1. Students can choose through the templates offered with a topic, which give them the first few pages that are already designed. That way, they get inspired by the proposed visuals and create the following pages using the available scratches and their imagination.
2. Or, they can create the whole story. So, each students team will develop a complete story by starting from the beginning with a blank template. Thus, students create the whole book by themselves.
I think this last option is the best because it makes them work together through all aspects of the project.
Previously to the project, I would distribute a questionnaire to compile the 1 task or 1 topic that interest each student. Following that, I would form pair teams based on their answers. I would try to satisfy their individual interests.
Story Jumper, good for L2 teachers because it is…
1. An interesting project that can be used with students of all levels, because the website’s functions are pretty easy to use.
2. A real occasion to create something very personal. They have the occasion to use their imagination for an artistic creation.
3. The perfect activity to make them work in cooperation team. Within their teamwork, they will find the characters and the setting (which could be link with a specific topic introduced in class), gather ideas from every teammate, discuss, and make decisions that take in consideration all members.
4. A good occasion to make all students develops personal skills in second language learning: brainstorming, researching, reading, writing, creating, and speaking.
5. A good way to enjoy practicing a second language because they pick their topic and everything based on their interest.
6. A good occasion to put students’ talent at the front. If they have a gift in drawing, they create some characters and scan them for the use of the story.
7. A good occasion for an interesting oral presentation. As they explain to the class their process of creation, they reuse their new vocabulary. It is also interesting for all students because they discover new and original topics and ideas.
8. A good way occasion to draw their attention and increase their interest by including a contest. The price for the best book could be: to print one official version of the best book (selected through a general vote), which will be kept in the classroom, available for everyone but also as a modal for students of the further years.
When you choose to create the whole book, you have a step by step section that you can follow. It is easy and it helps you to think about your idea, prepare the visual, the characters and the lyrics, and finally create everything online. Story Jumper also provides you many images data bases including many different interests’ topics which help you in this last step, the creation of your novel original story.
Practical for teachers
There is an interesting section that teachers can use to follow the evolution of the projects. Just by creating a new class, you log in with the digits of your class ID, and have access to all teamwork or individual those have begun their story.
Three other interesting ressources
ToonDoo is also a very good program that could give a first opportunity to my student to try the creation of cartoons. I would use the program with my lower level students, but also with teenage if a have a short activity to introduce for the evaluation of the second language application. The big difference is that Toondoo proposes cartoon pictures to create the story, instead of creating all the book with pictures and texts. My students would only have to fill empty bobbles with the lyrics, which could be good enough in the context of ESL teaching. “A handy guide to help teachers utilize ToonDoo to engage students” is available and help you in every step of the project, but also, to evaluate students.
Bitstrips is another option for teenagers. Students “create cartoon avatars (…) and put them in all kinds of comics, ready to share” on Facebook. It is much more to fill an empty 10 minutes in classroom schedule than to create valuable project, but it can be fun for everyone, and I think that students need some entertainment during second language classes to keep interest. As a teacher, it is a good B plan!
Pixton is also a website for cartoon creation, even better. There is a complete section for teachers & students use in classrooms. “It gave my students a new way to express themselves.” The disadvantage of this site is that you have a cost of to afford after the month of free trial, which I find pretty expensive. (e.g.= 1 student: 15$, 30 students: 30$, 50 students: 43$, etc.) Even it gets cheaper as I add student, I don’t think it will be paid by the school!
Now, it is your turn, use them and see what works better with your topic, and let your students surprise you!