Storybird is such an amazing resource that it is hard to know where to begin to write about it. It is a collaborative storytelling site, designed to let children, or anyone, write art-inspired stories. The tremendous variety and excellent quality of the art make Storybird a wonderful tool for teaching and learning Spanish or any language.
There are endless ways that the beautiful illustrations on this site can be used as a teaching tool. For the moment, I will make a few suggestions about how you can use Storybird with Spanish language learners without even creating an account. Of course, you will want to create an account, because it is free and fabulous! With an account you will be able to make stories, save them and take full advantage of all the features of Storybird.
The art on Storybird lends itself to all kinds of Spanish language activities, many that are simpler than telling a story with a series of pictures. Each of the pictures can be considered individually in terms of creating activities. Also, because you can use the themes (tags) to see a selection of art related to one subject, you can easily find pictures that have elements in common.
The easiest way to see the wide selection of art available is to click on Art under the Read/Explore heading at the foot of the page. To choose art related to a theme, click Tags under the same heading. (The tags are also called themes on this site.) You can also click Create to see a selection of pictures and from there click See more art.
These are just a few suggestions of how to use the art on Storybird to speak Spanish with children. Look at the art and use your imagination. You will think of many more!
1) Choose pictures related to a subject and describe what you see in the pictures.
- To talk about the weather, try the tag winter or rain.
- To find pictures to describe people, try tags like girls or dad.
- To talk about family, try tags like this one for daughter.
- Find pictures to talk about color by using the tags, like blue.
2) Talk about one character to focus on actions (to practice verbs) or emotions.
- From a selection of art, choose a character that interests you. Click the artist’s name and then See all art. There will often be several illustrations with the same character. Give the character a name and ask ¿Qué hace? about the different pictures.
- To talk about emotions, give a character a name and ask ¿Cómo se siente? about different pictures.
3) Play guessing games from a selection of pictures.
- Use a theme (tag) to see pictures with a common subject. One person chooses a picture to describe and the other person identifies which picture it is.
- From a selection of art, one person describes an object in one of the pictures and the other tries to find it. You can get a random selection of art by clicking Create and then See more art.
- Play 20 questions choosing an object or person in a selection of pictures. You can get a random selection of art by clicking Create and then See more art.
4) Create information for a character in a picture.
- Answer questions like ¿Dónde está?, ¿Cómo se llama?, ¿Cuántos años tiene?, ¿Qué hace?.
- Tell what the characters in a picture are saying. This is good for understanding point of view and practicing verbs in the first and second person.
- Tell what a character in a picture is thinking.
I have a suggestion about using the tags, or themes, on Storybird. The website shows a selection of tags and you can reload them to see others. If you are looking for something specific, it is easier to put the word you are looking for into the url. For example, this is the url for the tag animal: http://storybird.com/tags/animal/artwork/
If you would like to see the art tagged dog, just change the word animal to dog in the url at the top of your page: http://storybird.com/tags/dog/artwork/
Teaching language to children in any setting, we often depend on pictures to help communicate ideas and establish context. At times, the pictures are just functional. When the pictures are also beautiful and engaging, teaching and learning have another dimension. Being able to incorporate the art on Storybird into our work with children learning Spanish is a wonderful opportunity.