One of our members, sclareau, passed on a website recommended by her tech director: Storybird.com.
Storybird is a teacher- and kid-friendly collaborative storytelling site that allows you to choose from hundreds of lovely images and characters (graphics, watercolors, etc). I created an account and found I could quickly and easily browse story art, drag-and-drop the images, create a story with their beautiful pictures, and send it to friends. This is how they describe themselves (note: it's fine for one person too):
"We’re building Storybird in the open, collaborating with artists and enthusiasts to produce fun, simple tools to make short, visual stories."
There's more on the informative Storybird FAQ page. Note that they suggest that families and kids age 3-13 may enjoy it most.
Have you tried it? What did you think?
I began using Storybird with my second graders last year. We had a monster theme going at one point during the year, so we decided to create a book about monsters. We chose enough monsters for the class. Each monster page was going to be its own "mini story." That meant that each child was going to tell the story of that particular monster. For example, one monster was going to the be monster who loved to add. One monster loved to read, another loved to learn about the earth. Then, once the characters were established with their personalities, we were going to pull out each monster and make new books about each one. The "addition" monster was going to have books about adding. The "reading" monster was going to have books about reading, etc. Although the projects didn't get completed, the good news is that the project is still there for next year! The second graders really enjoyed the process and collaborating with one another.
That sounds wonderful—a series, of sorts! Your new class of students could read the first book you created, pick a monster, and focus on creating one new book. On and on through the years...a library by the kids, for the kids! You may be encouraging the next J.K. Rowling...
I had to give an opening of school speech to the staff. As standing in front of a podium, and talking at people isn't my style. I used Storybird to tell the staff, we have a great learning community and the best is yet to come. Of course I was trying to "tempt," other teachers into using Storybird in their classrooms. I have had several teachers ask about Storybird, and they are beginning to use it in their classes as group projects.
I did attend a technology workshop this past summer where we covered several resources with one being StoryBird. We did create a story in the workshop, and we did have a lot of fun with it. The group consisted of teachers/technology instructors/facilitators, etc, and all seemed to enjoy it and found that it could be useful in the classroom.