Lighting the menorah, eating latkes, playing dreidel. Your students likely know and love these parts of Hanukkah already, but do they remember why those traditions exist and the dramatic story behind it all? One way to get them excited about the Hanukkah story is to have them tell it in their own way. There are a number of great apps for storytellers of all ages. Contributing their own individual take on the Hanukkah story using educational technology will change students from passive consumers to creative producers.
Storybird uses artwork to inspire students to write. Younger learners can design their own picture books, while students in higher grades can create longer chapter books. Artwork can also inspire students to write their own poetry. As StoryBird’s website says, “starting with pictures is powerful” and indeed starting with pictures of the Hanukkah story will serve as a great starting point for your student’s storytelling.
This tool provides your students with an excellent digital space for group projects and especially team collaboration. If your students are planning out a video or other kind of multimedia presentation about the Hanukkah story, Trello will help them stay organized. They’ll be able to organize their boards by topic and can add notes to each board with the details for that section. Students can also comment on each other’s notes, providing an additional way for them to collaborate even when they’re not in class together.
Draw and Tell
For the youngest learners, this app is a great way to get them thinking about the basics of Hanukkah as well as the meaning of the Hanukkah story. Students can first draw their own Hanukkah picture using a number of colors, stickers, and more. Then they can record their voice explaining their picture. For young learners who aren’t writing yet, or are struggling with writing skills, the drawing and voice recording features of the app will enable them to express their creativity and what they think and feel about Hanukkah.
This movie-making app is a powerhouse tool but at the same time is also user-friendly enough for later elementary grades and middle school students. There are 14 movie trailer templates and eight movie themes from which students can choose, giving them many opportunities to unleash their creativity in interpreting the Hanukkah story. Imagine a dramatic Hanukkah story trailer!
If you want your students to do digital storytelling but don’t feel they’re quite ready for iMovie, then you might want to try 30Hands. The features it offers are similar but the tool is much simpler and students will be able to create a video in just one class period. Learners can get creative with the Hanukkah story with this tool by adding images to slides, dragging the slides to reorder them, and then recording voiceover for each slide. The app’s simplicity could make it a good homework assignment in which students tell “their Hanukkah story” by taking photos around their home.
This popular language learning platform isn’t for storytelling per se, but through the game-like practice your students will be able to reinforce their Hebrew skills in order to do their own storytelling. The platform is entirely personalized for each student, and there is also the ability for teachers to track student progress. Once students have gone through a number of lessons, they’ll be better prepared to use those new vocabulary words and grammar structures in telling the Hanukkah story.
If you’re looking for something a bit more playful and fun, then Pixton is a great option. It works on just about any device, and provides a platform for students to design their own comics. Since there is usually less text in comics, Pixton is another tool that can help students demonstrate their learning without having to write extensively. Teachers will also like the tool because it encourages students to plan stories with storyboards and gives them the ability to express an unlimited range of emotions through customizable characters.
If you want to challenge your advanced students, then Videolicious is the app you want. It’s used by journalists and media professionals, and your students, too, will be able to create professional quality videos by integrating interviews, videos, photos, music, and more. You could challenge your learners to create a newscast of the Hanukkah story or a sales pitch from either the Maccabees or the Greeks.
Do you have another storytelling tool you like to use? Let us know in the comments below!
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