Story Jumper is a website on which you can create illustrated story books.
How it works & Features
With story jumper, the stories are very easy to create. The interface is simple and user-friendly. To create a story, you just need to click on the page you want to edit, and you choose whatever you want from the menu on the left. You can choose settings, characters, props, face expressions and many other things among a large selection. If you want, you can also choose from your own pictures on your computer, or from Flickr. You can move, rotate and resize your props however you want them on your page. You can also add text, in different fonts, colors and text box styles. You can copy pages already done, and you can also interchange the page order as you wish. It is as simple as this to create a story. Here is a screen capture of the interface, with 2 pages from my own story.
The website offers many features. There is a Teacher’s Guide that helps you navigate through the site and explains every steps in details. There is also a video tutorial to help you with the steps in a more visual way.
There is also a worksheet that can be used by the teachers. This worksheet can be printed and handed out to the students, prior their visit to the computer lab. It has some guidelines to help students prepare and create their story.
There is an online bank of storybooks made by people using the website all over the world. These can be used to get inspiration, to use as examples, or simply to read interesting stories. There is also a translation feature. Any book can be translated in over 40 languages (Like Spanish, French, Hebrew, Chinese, and more.)
Teachers and students log in in different places. The teacher logs in as a teacher. He has to mention which school he works at, and must create a class, and add the students, in order to create them a session. The teacher can have more than one classroom, and every time the teacher adds a student, it creates a funny username like “funnygoat53”. The teacher also has the ability to see all of the students’ books, either finished or in progress. He can comment them and see the evolution. The teacher can also share the class collection, for the students to be able to see their peer’s work.
The students cannot create their own account. They have to log in on a school in particular. They absolutely need to be part of a classroom in which the teacher created a session for them. This is a security question. Once the teacher has created an account for the student, the student needs his/her parents’ authorisation to open his session outside of school. During class, the teacher activates a timer that allows students to log in on their session.
The website is totally free to use. The pricing options are for when you want to print out your work. If you are ok with reading your stories online, this is also completely free. There is a free printable version, except that there is a logo that appears on all pf the pages. If you want, you can buy the digital downloads version at 1.95$, which allows you to print it as many times as you want, with a higher quality. There is the paperback version that costs 12,95$, and the hardcover, which is 24,95$. There is a 10% discount that can be offered to teachers who print more than 15 copies.
Story Jumper for ESL teachers
Story Jumper is a great tool for English teachers. In fact, I had the chance to attend a conference given by Mark Miller, which was destined to all of the English teachers of a Québec schoolboard, about this particular tool. There are many ways to use this website in a teaching context. Here are a few:
- Teachers can garnish their English books library by printing out copies of stories, either created by the students, or by the teacher himself/herself. If the books are created by the teacher, the teacher can construct his teaching around the books. Let’s say that he/she invents a character, and this character will be the class’ mascot throughout the year. The students will be very eager to read the adventures that happen to him, or even write new ones about him too. Also, the teacher can include whatever vocabulary or grammar forms he wishes his students to encounter and work on. It is a great way to find stories that are just the right level for where the students are at.
- Writing productions can be hard and sometimes are a source of discouragement for some students. Using Story Jumper can be a great tool to motivate them. If the students know that when they are finished writing their texts, the group will go to the lab and put their stories on the computer, they will see it as a reward. Their goal will be to create a nice story on the internet, so they will be more motivated to write it in the first place.
- Story Jumper can also be used as an ongoing project that lasts through the whole school year. Students may be allowed to log on their account and continue their story whenever they finish the class activities early. Or, they can be given a few minutes at the end of some classes to work on it. Teachers can also assign a schedule for every student to get one period on the class computer.
- Story Jumper can be used as a team creative writing tool. For instance, the teacher can start a story and share it with his students. The students could be asked to complete the story, keeping the characters, setting and core idea of the beginning, but adding their own turn of events, as they imagine it.
- When projects are finished, the teacher can choose to present them to the classroom using a Smart Board. This way is free and every student get to see their peers’ work. Teacher could also decide to print all of the books. Either to keep them in his library, and therefore have the students be proud to leave their mark in the school library. The other alternative, which is a little pricier, is to have the student’s stories printed into a hard cover book that they keep as a memory. Either way, the students get to be published, and that is a really rewarding accomplishment.
My personal opinion
As a future teacher, I was very happy do discover this tool, because I am pretty sure that I will use it with my future students. I think that it is really easy to use for the students, teachers and parents. It can motivate the children for writing tasks, by making them more fun and interactive. The only thing that is disappointing is the level of security measures that avoid children to freely work on their projects outside of school. Apart than that, everything is positive about the tool. I myself had a great time, and got to feel like a kid, when I experimented on the tool, creating my illustrated story on pirates and sea creatures at the conference! I recommend it to everyone!