1. What is a collaborative chain story? A chain story is an easy way to have students learn vocabulary and work with their friends to create a collaborative story. In a chain story, the teacher begins the story, student A continues the story, student B continues where A stopped, and so on. The students have to listen to each other and understand each other so that the story makes sense and flows.
2. How do I carry it out in the classroom? Since I am working with first graders I can't let them do everything on their own or the task will be a total mess. They don't have the best writing skills to develop an accurate story by themselves so I carry out the activity in a big group. I am the one who writes down the story and help them develop a story that is simple enough for their age. I make sure that the grammar and the vocabulary that is used is not very complicated so they will be able to read and comprehend the final story once it is done.
3. Procedures: 1. Divide students in small groups. I actually arrange the groups according to how the are sitting in the classroom. In my first grade classroom, I have 5 smalls groups made of 5 or 6 students each. 2. Explain to your students what a collaborative story is and ask them to think of a title for their story. Brainstorm some ideas and write them down on the whiteboard. Altogether, choose the title you like best and write it on the whiteboard using capital letters. In this way, students will realize that it is the title of the story. 3. Ask the first group to tell you ideas for the begining of the story. Remind them that they have to raise their hand to participate and only the first group can contribute at this time. You can give them a sentence frame such as "once upon a time...". Once students have an idea about what the first part of the story is about, rephrase their ideas with simple and correct English and ask for their approval. When they agree with the content and the form, write it down on the whiteboard. 4. Now, it is time for the second group to contribute. This time, ask them to read the first part of the story aloud. Then, ask them for ideas as done with the previous group and write them down. 5. Continue until you feel that it is time to finish the story and ask a group to think of an end. 6. Once your collaborative story is done, it is time to make the pictures of our story. You have several options to do this: - If you created a long story, you can divide your students in very small groups ( 2 or 3 students) and ask them to write and draw one page of the story. Remeber that one group will have to make the book cover. You can make a big book or a standard-size book. Make sure you assign roles to each member of the group so the activity flows. One can be the one who writes, another the one who draws and another who helps or leads the group. In this way, your will create one book for the whole classroom. - If you created a short story (around 5 pages), you can ask each person in each group to do one page. In this way, you will create several books with the same theme. 7. When everyone has finished their part of the book, you will collect them and put the pages together to created the book. 8. Now it is the teacher's turn to turn the paper-based book into a digital book. There are multiple tools that you can use to do so. I used "Voicethread" to create our digital tool.
What is Voicethread? It is a digitial tool that you can use to create your digital stories. It allows you to add text, pictures, audios and comments on your work. Anyone can make a comment. It is a very intuitive tool. I scanned the pictures and I recorded my students' voices when reading the story. I chose one student for each page.