Digital Storytelling as a Morning Meeting Activity

Responsive Classrooms always are looking for morning meeting activities that are fun and energize students for the day. If the students can warm up and use their brains, too, it’s even better! Recently, I learned about Pechaflickr from Alan Levine‘s #ETMOOC session: Web Storytelling: 50 Ways, 5-Card Flickr & Pecha Flickr. The gist of the game is that random pictures will be shown on the screen and change at a certain pace. Players are to tell a story based on the pictures that appear. The challenge is that the story should flow together. Does this remind you of a chain story that you may already play with your students going around the circle? What makes this game exciting is the element of the random pictures as well as the timing constraints to compose the story. This activity looks like it meets the requirements of a good, rousing morning meeting activity.

How to get started:

  1. VisitĀ Pechaflickr and set up the parameters:
    • You will need to choose a tag that will filter pictures at flickr. You will want to choose something that is appropriate for the age of your students. Maybe, there is a topic that you are studying that would work. Airing on the side of caution: I recommend trying out a tag a couple of times first on your own before going live with students.
    • Click on Show Advanced Options. This will allow you to set the number of slides/pictures and how long they will appear on the screen before advancing. This also will give you calculation of how long this game will take- important to know when you are sticking to a morning meeting schedule.
  2. Click Play!

OK- so you may be feeling a little nervous still about the element of the random online photo appearing on a full screen in front of your students? Understandable. Here’s another option: use iPhoto, PowerPoint, your computer’s screen saver or some kind of slideshow maker set to show photos at random for a specific amount of time. You can load in the pictures yourself to have more control, and your students can still compose an impromptu story. A good alternative? This also gets me thinking about how a teacher could use pictures from classroom events such as field trips, science experiments, etc. or pictures that review a topic in a random slideshow. Students would be asked to recount a story in the game’s fashion… another fun way to make morning meeting activities relevant to classroom content and to exercise those brain muscles!

So, fire up that mounted projector and have some creative, improv fun! I’m planning on giving it a try during a 4th grade morning meeting in the near future.

(And please send Alan Levine some feedback right on theĀ Pechaflickr site. It’s a quick survey form. He’d love to know what you think about his tool.)