Tech Tuesday

Finds and Thoughts about Tech Integration

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.)

6 Comments to

“Digital Storytelling as a Morning Meeting Activity”

  1. February 19th, 2013 at 11:26 am       Lisa Noble Says:

    Kind of excited about the possibilities here with French second language students. I’m going to begin with 5 Card Flickr, as our brains don’t work quite as quickly sometimes in our second language, and we need a little more lag time. I appreciate your solutions for those who may be cautious about the images that might show up.

  2. February 19th, 2013 at 11:28 am       Vito Says:

    Great idea! I ran the one you attached. You also made a great modification for teachers. Thanks

  3. February 19th, 2013 at 11:58 am       Alan Levine (@cogdog) Says:

    Thanks for sharing (and promoting) pechaflickr, Lisa.

    I do have the flickr search set to “safe” mode si if should not get offensive photos.

    One way you can use it for more focused purposes is to create your own unique tag and set up your own pool of photos- it needs to have about 4 x as many slides as you want to run, so if you want a 20 slide show, you will want to tag at least 80 photos. More is better! Or maybe it can be photos tagged by students.

    Just see if your tag is unused, e.g.

  4. February 19th, 2013 at 12:11 pm       lsanderson Says:

    Lisa- I really like the choice in 5 Card Flickr. Although it’s not as on the spot as PechaFlickr, it still is fun to see what you get and then have a little more time to make a connection. I can see it as a morning meeting game as well, and I like that you can archive it giving opportunities for revisiting and possible reinventing a new story. Good luck integrating these #ETMOOC ideas with your students, and thanks for stopping by my blog!

  5. February 19th, 2013 at 12:13 pm       lsanderson Says:

    Vito- I think the more opportunities we give students to be creative and compose on the spot will pay off big dividends for when they encounter anything new and have to take risk. Thanks for checking out the idea.

  6. February 19th, 2013 at 12:20 pm       lsanderson Says:

    Alan, thanks for clarifying about the safe mode at pechaflickr. I wondered about that, and I couldn’t remember if it was brought up during your session. That definitely will put teachers’ minds at ease when trying out the tool. Also, great idea about setting up our own unique tag at Flickr. We actually could make one for our entire school to access. It probably would be very easy to get 4X the photos with a collective contribution from staff. I’ve got a new project… thanks for the continued inspiration!

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