Monday, May 12, 2014

Pourquoi Tales & Narrable, Marcia Mariscal, Goethe Elementary

I chose to have my 6th graders write pourquoi tales as part of a unit I taught on Folk Tales.  They worked with partners making sure there they followed all the literary elements found in pourquoi tales.  I decided to choose to publish their pourquoi tales. is a company that allows you to download images, photos from a camera roll and record a narrable for each picture.  Some of my students drew their pictures on the Doodle Buddy app and others took pictures of their own drawings.  Most of the student’s googled images to support their characters and setting and downloaded those images.  What was great about this project was the collaboration that took place between the students.  They all worked together making sure their story told “why” or “how” their animal, person, or feature came to be as it is today. The hardest part for them, believe it or not, was to record their stories.  They didn’t want to hear themselves retelling the story.  Knowing that they had to share their stories with the rest of the class was even more difficult for them.  Soon they realized the assignment was fun and they got over their reluctance since every group was expected to complete a narrable. 

What was easy about this using narrable was the uploading of images from the iPads camera roll.  The functions in narrable such as resizing of an image, moving an image, deleting an image, and voice recording of the story were user friendly.  When you place play, the narrable moves from one scene to another playing back what was recorded for each scene.  What I found missing in the program was the ability to crop an image.   You can’t also use the iPads to record the narrable.  My students had to finish their project on the MacBook Pro. is currently working on an app that would allow voice over recording. 

Currently Narrable has a program that is free for teachers.  Teachers can create unlimited solo narrables, view any public narrable, and share narrables with anyone.  They also sell a classroom plan that is $49 a year with student logins, centralized class content, and privacy controls.  There is a 60-day free trial.  I am currently using the classroom plan and I love the ability it gives me to manage the students.  If they forget a password, I can assign one.  All students have to register their username and password under the teacher’s account in order for me to be able to see their work.  My students shared with me that they love seeing the other 6th grade classroom’s projects.  That’s what the program allows.  It functions as one unit, allowing the entire grade level to view each other’s work.

As I heard the students read their pourquoi tales, I saw this as a powerful tool for my ELL students.  They practiced reading their stories over and over until they were happy with their recordings.  They were able to listen to themselves speak the English language.  That allowed for quick grammatical feedback.  It allowed for all my students from diverse learning levels participate in a project that allowed them to be creative.  The visual learners were quick to set up the images that supported their stories.  The auditory learners were able to hear their story as it was set to pictures.  The students collaborated in turning one project in and sharing their project with the rest of their classmates.  Using was very empowering for the students and different from your typical story presentation.  I recommend its usage for any stories that your students are writing and would like to share with their classmates. 

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