Use Google Search Stories tool to develop narrative and expository language

Every year during the Superbowl, a few commercials stick out from the sea of repetitive beer, snack food, and summer blockbuster ads. This past year, one of the best was Google’s Parisian Love ad, which told the story of an American’s romance with a French woman in a simple and brilliant way, as an unseen character “Googled” various search terms that reflected events in his life. A follow-up ad about a girl switching schools, which I never saw aired, would be even more relatable for kids and is definitely a great model of a complete episode.

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These commercials were so popular that Google created a wonderful tool that allows users to make their own Search Stories. Simply pick your search terms and the type of search you want shown in your movie (e.g. web, image, product, map, etc), select the music and upload to a YouTube account (if you have Gmail, you already have a YouTube account).  Among countless applications, this tool would be a great way for students to:

  • make up their own stories
  • describe a character or tell an existing character’s story through searches (here’s one I made while playing around with the tool- it reflects what happens in the first couple of episodes of one of my favorite shows ever, Alias. Yes, I know I am a geek.
  • display an expository structure such as a list

I made my own “List Story” about the seasons using the search terms below.
Search Stories Picture
Though it is often a good idea to use different types of searches, “Image Search” worked better for this one — you can use the preview window to help you decide.

Try using the Search Stories tool after pre-planning with a ThemeMaker List Map to develop categories or break down a more complex expository text.  Perhaps leave off the Topic name and end with “What do these things have in common?” Students can share their Search Story with peers in order to develop understanding and use of the Topic icon.


Sean Sweeney
Sean Sweeney

Author

Sean Sweeney, MS, MEd, CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist and technology specialist working in private practice at the Ely Center in Newton, MA, and consults to local and national organizations on technology integration in speech and language interventions. His blog, SpeechTechie (www.speechtechie.com), looks at technology “through a language lens.” Contact him at sean@speechtechie.com.



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