I have written a few times about using object stories in the classroom. Most recently in this blog post for ASCD Inservice.
One of my favorite apps to do this with is Voicethread. There are plenty of apps (Chatterpix and Explain Everything), but I like Voicethread because it allows people to comment on the object stories.
Here is an example of one I did for elementary grades:
There are a few ways to do object stories. The example above gives more of a history of the object, but I also love allowing students to take the perspective of the object, personifying it in a story. It’s an idea that ties in well with Kate DiCamillo’s book The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. The book tells the story of a china rabbit’s journey after being separated from his owner. Students can do the same with historical objects related to units of study. It incorporates narrative writing and research.
I also like what the Portland Art Museum has done with their Object Stories exhibit. It takes the idea of show and tell up a notch. Object Stories is a participatory exhibit that tells the story of personal objects. Museum visitors are encouraged to record the stories of objects they value in a video booth. Those videos and images of the visitors with their objects then form the meat of the exhibition. If you are looking for samples of personal object stories for your students this is a great resource. What better way for you to get to know your students than through the objects they value? Many of us already do show and tell or something similar. Recording those stories integrates writing, speaking, and listening with technology.
If you are feeling inspired by the exhibition idea, why not have a Collection Night? Instead of an Open House, invite your students to bring in their personal collections. Give them their desks or part of a table as their exhibition space. Students can design the space in a way that reflects the theme of their collection. You can discuss object placement. Then, include a label explaining the objects or the collection. The challenge is to be like a museum curator and limit your label to 50-100 words. Key skills like summarizing and main idea are used in label writing.
The possibilities are limitless. I would love to hear some of your ideas on using object stories in the classroom.