Reflecting on Adventure Story Search Stories

There was a lot of “cool” and “check this out” in the classroom yesterday as my students used Google Search Story to create a different version of their adventure short stories. They had to put themselves in the minds of their main characters and give a flavor of their short stories with just seven (no more, no less) search engine queries.

The results were mostly interesting, I think. It’s always funny how the choosing of the music is the part they love the most. Even when we use Photostory, the same thing: they obsess over the music. Which is fine, but interesting to me.

I was thinking of the pros and cons of using Search Stories as a classroom tool.

Pros:

  • Inferential thinking is at the heart of composing and reading these kinds of stories;
  • Understanding character — from the writing standpoint, they had to imagine they were their characters — what would they be searching for?
  • It’s an easy-to-use digital story format;
  • Certainly engaging activity — my students were very focused on what they were doing;
  • YouTube as classroom outlet — we loaded up the stories into YouTube, which sparked some interesting discussions among my students about how they use YouTube at home.

Cons

  • It’s a Google site, and they have built it to generate more search traffic, thus more revenues. I made this clear as day to my students before we got to the site;
  • Having seven query slots (no more, no less) was tricky for some kids;
  • Spelling is critical because the search is built around the words;
  • Not every student is at the critical thinking stage, so some stories are stronger than others.

Here are a few of the Search Stories my students created yesterday in class.

By the way, if you are wondering, I have set up a classroom YouTube account, so they all uploaded into that account (I gave them the password and then changed it at the end of the day) which cloaks identity completely. I then made a playlist of all of their search stories, which I will share out at our class blog. Here, I made a playlist in my own Youtube account of a sampling of videos from my school account. Needless to say, I was toggling back and forth a bit with this but it is worth it.

Peace (in the search),
Kevin

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