Wednesday Words 11.18: Storybird Play

Last week I went to a seminarย on instructional technology, and for part of the session we were presented with a list of online tools and told to use 30 minutes to explore and have fun with one of them.

There were others on the list with far more practical application to my work than the one I chose, Storybird. I thought that there might be some way to connect it to what I do in my job, but within minutes I realized it wouldn’t provide much (if any) clear value to the work I do in schools. (If I were still a language arts teacher or worked much on curriculum with ELA teachers, yes. But I don’t.)

The directions, however, were to “have fun,” and I decided that that’s what I’d do.

I made poems by selecting a Storybird image, and then playing with a palette of words provided by the tool. It’s like having a big digital box of word magnets.

At first I chafed against the limitations; it was when I surrendered to them that I began having fun. Limitations always lead to new kinds of creativity we wouldn’t otherwise discover.

If you need permission to play with words, consider it granted. Go have some fun.

7 thoughts on “Wednesday Words 11.18: Storybird Play

  1. Marian says:

    I should probably not tell you how happy it made me to see this post (because that perhaps puts rather unfair pressure on you, and it also, I think, speaks just a bit to “get a life, Marian!”) … but I’m going to say it anyway: this post put a big smile on my face this morning. Thank you, Rita ๐Ÿ™‚ .

    I LOVE both the way the words completely suit the picture in the first poem, as well as the words themselves, which (coincidentally) speak to me very personally right now. I’m also reading a comma in the slightly bigger spacing between the words “chances” and “you”, and although it probably makes only a slight difference to the meaning of the poem (as I read it), it does affect the rhythm, and this noticer-of-all-the-details (and punctuation geek) is curious as to whether that was your intention.

    My 10 year-old son and I got a kick out of the second poem and picture. While I noticed the details of what the kids were doing while their Ms. Frizzle-like teacher had her back turned, my son had a laugh over the errors on the math posters. I’m also seeing a bit of irony now, too: their exuberant teacher is effectively telling them to have fun/be joyful and there doesn’t seem to be a single child listening! (Although one could say the kissing couple under the desk IS following her advice ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

    The third poem and picture are definitely more sombre. The barren landscape and the scarf are making me think of Siberia, and yet the words seem very hopeful and positive. I hope this reflects where you are…
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    • Rita says:

      I am glad to make you smile! The first one is my favorite, and it came the most quickly, while I was actually in the workshop. I spent most of my time exploring the tool and seeing what was possible with it, and then I threw that one together in the last 5 minutes so I would have something to show for my time.

      With all of them, I liked how the words given to me suggested meanings for the illustrations that I might not have considered. That kind of playing is a great creative exercise, I think.

      As for Siberia, it’s been OK this week. Some bright days, for sure.

    • Rita says:

      I wasn’t a college kid in the 90s, but I love poetry magnets. I have a big box of them. One day when I was teaching I brought them into class with a bunch of cookie sheets and let my kids just play with them. That was such a good day. ๐Ÿ™‚ (The fox one is my favorite, too.)

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