A photo of Shanna Martin over a gradient background soundwaves behind her. The text says Episode 163 and "Elementari: Brining Stories to Life"

Elementari – Bringing Stories to Life

We have a super cool tech tool for you to check out this week! Elementari is helpful for ELA and computer science teachers alike! This nifty online platform lets students create and share their own interactive stories using a library of professional illustrations and sounds.

Elementari

Building narratives on Elementari.io is a blast for budding authors. No artistic skills required! Students can customizing characters, settings, and plots. The sharing feature allows them to proudly present completed tales to classmates.

Elementari.io also introduces coding concepts in a fun and natural way. As students build their stories, they’re actually writing code! The visual block-based editor makes early programming lessons a breeze. Older students can even view the JavaScript their projects generate to see code in action.

Educators, Elementari.io delivers an engaging blended ELA and computer science curriculum. Storytelling and coding skills unite! With an ever-expanding gallery of art, the possibilities are endless. Unleash your students’ creativity today with this super cool edtech tool. Let their imaginations run wild on Elementari!

TECH MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

Related Episodes:

Shanna Martin 0:19
Thanks for listening to the Tech Tools for Teachers Podcast, where each week we talked about a free piece of technology that you can use in your classroom. I’m your host, Shanna Martin. I’m a middle school teacher, technology instructional coach for my district,

Fuzz Martin 0:32
and I’m her producer and husband, Fuzz Martin. And when it comes to producing podcasts, it’s just just Elementari, my dear Martin.

Shanna Martin 0:42
So collaborate to that. Oh, yes. It’s been a week or two. It’s been busy, busy. We had parent teacher conferences,

Fuzz Martin 0:53
it’s work, travel, and all kinds of things a treat time. I started a full Jeep out of cardboard and foam laying around the house will stem in action me it’s not an actual jeep. It was our child’s Halloween Halloween costume. Yes.

Shanna Martin 1:10
So. So all the adventures have happened. And I have so many tools. And I’m like backing up on tech tools. I’m like, Okay, I have so many things to talk about. We’re only going to highlight one tool today, though, because I don’t want to go into the land of I’m going to talk about seven things. And then we all get overwhelmed. So I’m just going to highlight one tool. But now I have lots of tools to talk about. So great.

Fuzz Martin 1:30
Buckle up teachers.

Shanna Martin 1:33
Just you wait, I have so many things to talk about. So season six, Episode 163. We’re talking about Elementari today, Elementari Elementari. It is so cool. This site is so cool. How cool is it? It’s the coolest. So Elementari is E L E M E N T A R I dot IO, okay. Okay. And it is awesome.

Shanna Martin 2:02
So this site can be used, like the land of language arts, okay, so writing, creative writing, grammar practice, you know, kind of like anything, that’s your anything that deals with writing. So creative pieces, you can do stories, you could do a narrative you could do, you could even do informational texts, if you want to, it’s however you want to set it up. And so you can use it in a language arts class. Or you could use it in a computer science class. Because it does both, which is really what will crossover it is I feel like more and more of these things are coming out, Oh, this one is, this is so cool.

Shanna Martin 2:40
So Elementari, basically, what you get to do is, as a teacher, you sign up, and it’s free, you will notice that, like overall, it’s free. You can have a paid version that will give you like the pro extras, you know, extra pictures and extra fonts and backgrounds and all kinds of stuff. But the free version works just fine. And it will connect to your classroom. So when you go to sign up, you have like your lessons, and all of that kind of stuff that you’ll be able to set up.

Shanna Martin 3:10
So you have a classroom. So you sign up as a teacher, you create a class, and then you can choose how you want to set that up. So you’ll have your class name, you’ll have your description of your class, like select your grade that you’re gonna pick from, and it is k, 2,3 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9-12, they do have access for all age levels, which is awesome. And then you’re able to connect it right through your Google Classroom if you want to, or you can connect it in a various like ways. So you don’t have to just sign up with Google Classroom, they have different ways to set up your, your classroom space.

Shanna Martin 3:46
Once you have your classroom set up, or your classrooms plural, you can have your classrooms, then you’re able to assign a like assign minutes to your classrooms, students. So you can choose there’s a whole collection of public lessons that you can work from that are pre created. So you can do like personalized Halloween cards and animated things, or they switch them out. And they have interactive books about myself or hidden picture books or dragons. So they have pre created lessons. If you want to walk through those or you’re welcome to write your own. That’s also an option. Once you do so, and students can also write their own directly. The pre created lessons walk you through everything step by step. So I suggest that you come up with the pre created lessons to begin with just because it’ll give you some background and information. And your students get the hang of how to do this.

Shanna Martin 4:40
So it’s language arts and coding at the same time. So while you’re writing your piece, you’re also going to be coding the digital aspect of the story because they’re interactive. Is it like coding is that yes, it’s gonna be like drag and drop. block coding. And it walks you through step by steps of what needs to happen. So it’s like the progression of each one. They also have a video, like a finished video to see like what happens with the interactive card. So or whatever lesson you choose to pick from.

Shanna Martin 5:16
What’s cool about this is it’ll show you like the code, so you need to click here, drag here, enter this information. And if you do it wrong, he doesn’t move on. So you know, like kids try and skip the process. I know, especially when they’re starting to learn to code, they skip through to try and like, I’ve just skipped the step. And so keep on happening, what’s great is, Nope, it’s not going to keep on happening, it won’t let you move to the next step, if you haven’t coded the first step correctly to begin with, like, I just picked the element like the holiday card.

Shanna Martin 5:49
So first you like choose your image, and they have this character will be asking the reader the question within your story. So it gives you the click the images icon, so it gives you the coding information, and then also gives you language arts information at the same time. So these are the pre created lessons that are a little bit of writing, and a little bit of coding. And they’re built in together. And this is like real world application. Because as you know, when people are like coding a website, doing any sort of graphic design, these pieces have to work together, right?

Fuzz Martin 6:21
If you want to make the story come to life, you need to have somebody that’s able to code and if you’re so as a student here, you can write the story, and then write the code and then bring your story to life. I think it’s genius. It’s awesome.

Shanna Martin 6:33
Yeah, it’s super cool. And while they do have the planned lessons, they can walk you through. And to me that really gives like a teacher a sense of like, here, you want to try this with your students, let’s all do this one together. So we’re all going to do like the holiday card, and we’re all going to do the two truths in a favor, we’re all gonna, so they’re gonna do like those, that piece to practice with it. But then they can just write stories. So then students have the option, or you can give them the setup, if they want to do a story or informational text or whatever you’d have them write, then they get a blank page. And all of the interactive pieces are there. But they have to go in and choose their image for their background. And then they have to choose their animations. And then the Event Graph flips to the layout design. And what the cool part is, it then shows you how to map out the code.

Shanna Martin 7:24
Okay, it flips back and forth. So the Event Graph is on the top of the screen. Yes. So you have like a normal looking like almost like Google Slides. And then the right hand side, the screen has all the tools. So event graph will give you like the basics, your text, your images, your backgrounds, your animations, whatever widgets, templates, when you flip it, when you flip it, you click to layout design, then it’s transformations, sounds, controls, variables, logic, and events. And it flips to the coding side, like almost like flips the piece of paper over. And this is how the code has to connect. So if this piece like the arrows have to match each other, so one piece like orange arrow goes to orange dot, and it teaches you that this code has to connect like this piece has to connect to the other one. Otherwise, like your animation isn’t going to work in your story, or this sound effect has to connect to something else. So it like is like code mapping on the back of like the story page that you write. Yeah, gotcha. It’s really cool. Yeah. Because it’s really teaching those two skills like tie them all together. Like here’s the front facing. And then here’s like, the web design backside. Yep. Of what you’re creating.

Fuzz Martin 8:41
Yeah. Yeah, that’s really cool. That’s, I don’t know of many tools that are teaching, oh, same time. Because a lot of times with the block coding stuff you like go through like a set of, you know,

Shanna Martin 8:53
directions, or even Java, the kids know how to like, type in the directions and move the next steps. And they’re getting really good at that. I feel like kids coming up like they’ve been exposed to this more and more now where they are understanding. But you don’t always get the correlation between like this leads to this unless it’s , because they know how to code like I use Ozari a lot in my classroom, like the kids get into coding a game, you put the code in the character runs through a door, they blow up something like they get that piece of it. But like this also applies to writing and web design. And so this exposes them to how writing and website design works, both on the front and on the back side of things. Yeah, it’s very cool. And it teaches so many skills at once.

Shanna Martin 9:35
\Once they’ve designed their story or their images or other cards or their home or their informational text or whatever you’re having them write about, and they’ve done the coding piece to it. And you can choose as a teacher like I want seven things to move throughout your story. Like you can set up your parameters for them. You can preview them their design, and it will play right through and then you can choose to publish so or they can go to publish what they’re gonna do. And they can test it out. And once they have done that, then it becomes live. And they, once they have published your story, they always have to process through to you today. And then you can read through your story. And then they’re able to have that available. And as a teacher, you’re able to see it in their classroom and stuff once you put it in as an assignment.

Shanna Martin 10:23
So there’s just so many cool things, and ways and skills that kids are learning. And you can even add, like collaboration links, so some of them on the, when they’re public, they’re collaborative, so that way they can work. And they can see, you can see what they’re doing and stuff like that. So there’s just so many different cool pieces to this, and so many skills to learn. And again, they have very basic lessons that are for like a two, and they bring you all the way up through 9-12. So there’s a lot of ways that you could build this into your classroom, as an ELA teacher, or as a computer’s teacher, or a combination of both, which I think is pretty awesome.

Fuzz Martin 10:58
I’m coding something,

Shanna Martin 11:00
I wondered if you were distracted,

Fuzz Martin 11:02
I made a story called Sleeping Bear on a mountain. Nice. And he said, Yawn… Eek, how did I get on top of this mountain? Okay, so that’s,

Shanna Martin 11:12
so you got really far. So we’ll all wait. And we can’t wait to see the rest of your story. And you can add it to the smartinwi.com website this week

Fuzz Martin 11:21
Can’t wait.

Shanna Martin 11:24
So elementari.io is such a cool site. So check it out. Think about different ways you can build this into your classroom and teach these skills and again, once the the freedom lessons, you could pick a choose a few of those to introduce this to students, then you’re able to, like have them go off on their own and try it out and explore and write and code at the same time. Which is so cool. Love it you go.

Fuzz Martin 11:47
Love it. So thank you Elementari yeah, pretty simple.

Shanna Martin 11:53
There you go. Well, thanks for tuning in. This has been the Tech Tools for Teachers Podcast. If you ever have any questions you can find me on the app formerly known as Twitter (X) at smartinwi or on Threads. And if you want to get more information on the links to the technology discussed in this episode, you can visit smartinwi.com. If you’d like to support the show, please consider buying me a coffee or two go to buymecoffee.com/smartinwi or smartinwi.com and click on that cute little purple coffee cup? Your donations help keep the show going. New episodes each week. Thanks for listening, go educate and innovate.

Fuzz Martin 12:26
The ideas and opinions expressed in this podcast on the smartinwi website are those of the author Shanna Martin and not of her employer. Prior to using any of the technologies discussed on this podcast, please consult with your employer regulations. This podcast offers no guarantee that these tools will work for you as described, but we sure hope they do.

 

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