Story time! mLearning Writing Tools for the Elementary Classroom

Toontastic

What is it?

Toontastic is an iOS app that allows students to create their own animated cartoon stories. It is designed to mimic traditional doll play. You can pick the setting and characters (or draw your own), and then animate the characters to move them around. Multiple characters can be animated at once, allowing for collaborative play, and background music can be added to set the mood. Pressing the record button will capture your story in action--and record your voice so you can share your story later!

This tool could be used for a language arts project. The app outlines the parts of a story (conflict, challenge, climax, resolution), guiding students so they can create a complete, creative story. The assignment could involve students collaborating in groups to create cartoon stories and then share them with the class.

There is a free version of this app that includes limited settings and characters: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/toontastic/id404693282?mt=8

Alternatively, there is a $9.99 “School Edition” that includes every setting and character Toontastic has to offer: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/toontastic-school-edition/id563403725?mt=8

Sock Puppets

What is it?

Sock Puppets lets you create videos--as you speak, the sock puppet will sync to your voice (in a higher register to make it sound cartoonish). You can choose different puppets, backgrounds, and props, and share your video with others.

This app could be used for students to create fun, short presentations on a specific topic. For example, if students were learning about weather, they could work in small groups, each with a topic (e.g., lightning), and create a sock puppet video with tidbits of information on their topic to share with the class.

Learn more: http://my.smithmicro.com/mobile/sockpuppets/getstarted.html

Find it on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/sock-puppets/id394504903?mt=8

Storykit

What is it?

StoryKit is an app that allows students to create a story on an iPad using a simple drawing program and adding text. You can also import photos from your photo library to use in your story. These stories can then be shared with others via email. The app also includes four public domain children’s stories that you can change to make into your own. For example, you could re-write “The Three Little Pigs” with the wolf as the victim. You can also record audio.

This app could be used to showcase students’ learning after a field trip, or as a research-based science project. It could also be used for a creative writing assignment, where students could either re-write one of the four children’s stories, or create a brand new story of their own.

Little Writer - The Tracing App for Kids

What is it?

Little Writer is a tracing app aimed at young children who are learning to write letters, numbers, and shapes. Colourful graphics outline the shape, and students use their finger to trace over the outline. The app speaks to you as well, telling you what you just wrote, and encouraging you along the way.

This app would be useful for students getting the feel of letters and numbers. As a precursor for writing these with a pencil, this app could be used as a fun way to practice the shapes and start learning basic words. You could work through them as a class, or allow students to explore individually or in groups.

My Story - Book Maker for Kids

What is it?

This app allows students to create their own ebook. They can draw their own pictures or use photographs taken by the iPad. Then they can add writing or a recording of their voice to tell the story. These stories can then be easily shared via email.

In the classroom, this app could be used in a creative writing assignment, where students have to write and illustrate their own story. It could also be used for a science project, with students creating an informational story on a particular topic.

Find it on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/my-story-book-maker-for-kids/id449232368?mt=8

These are just some of the amazing apps out there that can be used in connection with writing in the classroom. I hope you found it useful and interesting!

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