Friday, December 7, 2012

iPad Lesson: Persuasive Writing with Puppet Pals App

One of my 2nd grade teachers asked me for a fun way to showcase her students' persuasive writing about trees and Arbor Day.  I showed her the Puppet Pals App ($2.99 upgrade to the Director's Pass) and she was hooked!  (Puppet Pals is also available as a FREE version, but you cannot import your own images as characters in the FREE version.)  She had the students work in small groups to write a script using the facts from their persuasive writings and create a background for their video from construction paper prior to working with me.

I worked with 5 groups of students, and it only took about 10 minutes per group.  I used only 1 iPad for this lesson because I only own 1 copy of this paid app, but students could certainly do this on their own.  First, I took each student's photo and showed them how I traced their body outline to make them a character in the movie.  Then I took a picture of their background to add it to the video.  Next, the students gathered around the iPad to record.  Since they had practiced their lines, students were able to move their own character as they spoke their lines.  Only one group needed to record a second time.  This project was fun and easy!  The kids had a blast and we were instantly able to watch all of the videos on the SMARTboard when we were finished recording.  This is an app I would consider purchasing for all of our student iPads.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

iPad Lesson: Water Features with Popplet Lite App

Popplet (which can be used online at or as an App) has so many educational applications whether your students are brainstorming story ideas, organizing facts, or just creating a collage of images that relate to a topic or idea. 

One of my 3rd grade classes used the Popplet Lite App (FREE) to organize information on their choice of fresh water or salt water features. The students found it very easy to add popplet (information) boxes and to link them together.  When the projects were done, they were exported as .jpg images to the camera roll.

The Popplet Lite App does have some limitations: only one popplet can be created on the iPad at a time (so this project will have to be deleted in order for another project to be created now), and images must be imported from the camera roll or taken by the camera (no import from Flickr).  There is also no option to add video or for students to collaborate on the FREE Popplet Lite App.  Although the paid version of the app would take care of these limitations, the $4.99 price is too steep to consider.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

iPad Lesson: Native American Video Reports with Videolicious

The fourth grade teachers wanted a unique way for their students to present what the students had learned about Native American tribes.  I suggested that they use Videolicious to present the students' research.  However, this project was not created without some problems.  I spent two 45 minute sessions with the 4th grade classes to complete this project with them.

In the first session, I worked with students to help them to locate and save images to be used in their Videolicious video.  The students needed to find a minimum of six pictures as their research included six main facts about the Native American tribe that they were researching.  The research was completed with the classroom teacher prior to me working with the students. 
In the second session, I instructed the students how to use Videolicious to import their images and to record their research facts.  Students spread about the room and began to work on their own.  PROJECT LESSON #1: Videolicious allows up to 10 images in one recording session; however it usually freezes if you use more than 4.  PROJECT LESSON #2: Videolicious (FREE) only allows 1 minute of recording time!  Oops!  New directions- since we already had started using Videolicious, students would record their projects in multiple parts.

Finally, projects complete!  But now since projects had to be recorded in multiple parts, I had to combine them in Windows Movie Maker.  Next time I might consider using PixnTell (FREE) which seems to have an unlimited recording time, but only allows 4 images.  Or, Storyrobe (.99) has a 3 minute recording time limit, but allows more images. 

Image only, play above:

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Christmas and Holiday Games for Your SMARTboard

UPDATE: Find even MORE Christmas games for the classroom on my updated site by clicking here!

It is that time of year where our students get restless and have the holidays on their minds.  Keep them busy and focused on skills with some fun games that can be used on your SMARTboard or in the lab for individual, small group, or whole group fun.  Or, set up a site as a station on your SMARTboard in lower grades.  My site: has activities for all areas of curriculum, but there is also a great collection of (newly updated) holiday activities:




Saturday, December 1, 2012

iPad Lesson: Animal Reports with FaceTalker

Click to play this Smilebox collage

My students LOVE to make things talk with the FaceTalker App (FREE), so when I heard that 3rd grade was doing animal reports I knew that we needed to make their animals talk about themselves. 

Students completed their research and wrote their scripts from the perspective of the animal prior to working with the iPads.  Then, with the iPads, students did a search on the Internet for an image of their animal.  The image needs to be front-facing with a closed mouth.  This image was saved to the camera roll.  (Save images from the Internet by holding your finger on the image until a menu pops up and touch "Save Image".) 

Next, the students imported the image into the FaceTalker App, and then with a little pinching and pulling they size the image and add the mouth.  Then it is time to record, save, and send to the teacher when complete!

I created a SmileBox to share all of the students' completed FaceTalker projects.  SmileBox is a great way to share them all in one place and it looks great on the teacher's website, too.  Learn more about SmileBox at (Hint: Look for a FREE educator's account at the bottom of the page under Teacher's Toolbox!).
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