This past week in the AT&T Classroom the Wait Primary first graders explored two new tools for writing, design, and animation. Using design and animation tools to create digital stories and media provides opportunities for children to further develop their literacy skills (e.g., reading, writing, speaking & listening) and also builds important “twenty-first century skills” for critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication. This past week the first graders were introduced to MyStorybook, a free web-based tool for creating short story books and digital stories. The platform provides blank pages on which a student can draw, type, and insert images. Students can select an image from the gallery that can be inserted on a page or used as a background.
This past week the first graders were also introduced to Scratch Jr., a free application developed for young children ages 5+ by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. Scratch Jr. engages children in using an introductory programming language to create animations, interactive stories and games. Children combine graphical programming blocks to animate characters to move, jump, dance, and sing. Children are also able to customize the characters in the paint editor, add their own voices and sounds, and insert photos of themselves. In addition to introductory programming and coding skills, Scratch Jr. also supports the development of skills related to sequencing and numeracy while also fostering children's’ creative and critical thinking.
The app is available for free download for Chromebooks, iPads and Android tablets.