Archive for the ‘French’ Category

Rererecording with AudioNote

Posted on: November 20th, 2013 by Chris Loat

Just returned from Homma Elementary where librarian Carole Wilson is having some grade 3/4 French Immersion students create animations with the istopmotion app on the iPad. Students had completed taking the photos for the animation and were ready to record the audio voice-over.

Before recording the audio, students practiced the narration of the animation by reading their scripts and recording themselves with AudioNote app on the iPad. Students were shown how to record and playback their narration with the app, and then found a quiet place in the library to practice. Students recorded, listened, rerecorded, listened again, and even tried it a third time. This practice proved useful for speaking their script in a fluent and clear voice. The repetition of oral language was beneficial for some as they required repeated attempts to pronounce their words correctly. Working in partners also gave students another means of feedback to ensure they are pronouncing the word properly. This iterative process is very important for language development and having the feedback loop by tapping the playback button gave the students a great idea of how they were pronouncing the language.

Using Toontastic in the Classroom

Posted on: October 24th, 2013 by Chris Loat

The app Toontastic allows students to create an animation in which they move characters and provide the audio to narrate / explain their animation.  The results is an animated cartoon in which their characters speak, and the combination of moving characters and audio recordings often results in a well crafted product. This app is a favourite among many students as it allows students to express their toontastic website, called toontube, dedicated online repository for publishing student creations.
Screenshot of some student
work from Toontube

understanding or emotions with verbal rather than written language and allows students to creatively show what they know in a variety of ways. Student work can be published online at the 

Allowing the students to explore Toontastic often proves useful in getting the students to understand how it works. The free version of the app has some built in settings and characters; students also have the option to create their own setting and characters with a basic paint tool built into the app. Unfortunately they are not able to import images or characters created outside of the app. The app has a  built in storyboard template for the telling of a story and is organized into 5 scenes: Setup / Conflict / Challenge / Climax / Resolution. Students can add or eliminate these scenes or can disregard them altogether (if they are going to animate a non-fiction piece of work or a poem). Whatever format they choose, Toontastic provides an alternative way for students to communicate their information and, IMHO, is one of the more versatile apps on the iPad.
Tips for using the app
  • Be sure the students record their voices in a relatively quiet place as the iPad picks up background noise.
  • Students should rehearse their lines as it is a bit tedious to review and redo each scene. Most students will need more than one trial for each scene, but rehearsing their lines will limit the number of ‘takes’.
  • Doing the work in groups works quite well as this lends itself to multiple voices and more than one character moving at a time.
  • Remind students to use emotion in their voices as the character’s don’t show facial expression to show how they are feeling.
Ideas for Using the App
  1. After writing a fable or myth, have students create custom characters and settings, then narrate their story. (see the below example of a First Nations legends created by a grade 5 student )
  2. Use the characters to develop a balance of dialogue and narrative in their creative stories. Often, students will only have dialogue when experimenting with the app, so practicing with the narrative explanations helps develop this aspect of writing.
  3. Animate a poem they wrote.
  4. Create a cartoon version of a novel read in class that contains a similar problem / solution.
  5. Animate some reading responses that involve the interaction between two or more people (e.g. some of the action strategies developed by Jeffrey Wilhelm).
  6. Tell a news story and use the animation as live video footage of the story.
  7. Practice French vocabulary. For vocabulary, students can create objects with the draw/paint tool and then record a sentence (or just the word) as they move the object
  8. Practice French conversations. Students can use the stock characters and record a basic French conversation between them. Or ESL students can practice conversations in English with the characters.
  9. Create a conversation between geometric shapes and highlight their properties.
  10. Narrate and animate the steps of a process in Science. For example, student could draw the different phases of the water cycle as their setting and then have arrows and labels as characters that are brought in when each phase is explained.

Using Popplet in the Classroom

Posted on: October 13th, 2013 by Chris Loat 2 Comments

Popplet Lite is an app that allows students to create a word web, mind map, or any other organized collection of ideas. The big differences between using Popplet and creating one by hand is that the ideas can be easily moved around and colour coded, and that photos/images can be easily inserted instead of written ideas. Students add ideas by double tapping the iPad screen to create a cell or ‘popple’.

Inside the popple, students have the option to:

  • type text in the middle of the popple
  • use their finger to draw a sketch (or handwrite) with the pencil
  • add a photo taken with their camera
  • add a photo from their photo library
  • colour code and resize each popple.

Most students will figure out how to add the different elements; however here are a few tips for using the app:

  1. For drawing sketches with the pencil, enlarge the popple, draw the sketch, then resize the popple down to its smaller size.
  2. To select multiple popples, tap each one with two fingers.
  3. You can copy a popple by holding your finger one the popple. ‘Copy popple’ will appear and then tap this button.
  4. Paste an image copied from elsewhere by tapping and holding your finger on a popple. ‘Paste image’ will appear and then tap this button.
  5. Move the entire popplet by dragging your finger outside of a popple.
  6. Move one popple around the screen by dragging your finger inside of a popple.
  7. You can cut/copy/paste text within and between popples by tapping and holding on the text. A selection of buttons will appear which allow you to cut/copy/paste text.
  8. Create a new branch between two popples by tapping on the popple, then tapping on the grey circle just outside the popple, then dragging your finger to the popple you want to connect to.
  9. Colour code your popples so each similar idea / word is the same colour (e.g. all proper nouns are green).
  10. Change the arrangement (left, centre, right justified) or size of the text by tapping and holding on a word, then tapping on select or select all. A new dialogue box appears on the right side of the screen to alter the text. This is done while in text mode, so tap the T on the popple before selecting your words.

Ideas for student use of Popplet Lite in the classroom include:

  • brainstorm ideas for a written essay in an organized manner. Remember, the ideas can be images from a website, photos they take with the iPad, or sketches made with the pencil tool.
  • make a word web for a specific unit of study or in second language. This is a great tool for ELL students or for learning French vocabulary.
  • make a concept map with connections between ideas (sadly, words cannot be placed on the lines in popplet). One could make a concept map without the adjoining words and print it off, then have the students add the words to show their understanding between the concepts.
  • categorize ideas / words / concepts
  • create a timeline by arranging the popplets in a linear fashion
  • collect facts for a research project (using popplet makes it difficult to copy/paste long sentences or paragraphs, therefore helps to prevent plagiarism)
  • create a family tree with photos and names
  • Ideas for teacher use of Popplet lite in the classroom include:
  • create your own 4 Pictures 1 Word game
  • seating plan (with names and photos)
  • class brainstorm of ideas
  • create a unit plan

See the examples below of how popplet can be used in the classroom

Canada Vocabulary for an ELL class, with words categorized
Seating Plan for a Classroom
Framework for brainstorming essay ideas
Fact Collecting for a Research Project on homo habilis

Represent Your Understanding Orally on the iPad

Posted on: September 17th, 2013 by Chris Loat

The iPad has become a versatile tool that students can use to represent what they know in a variety of ways. One feature that separates the iPad from other tech tools is the ability to easily record students’ voices with visuals, thus tapping into students’ verbal and kinesthetic intelligences. Earlier, I reviewed some different screencasting apps, which allow students to orally explain their ideas. The below apps incorporate characters (1a,b,c) or still photos (#2-5) with oral explanations to generate a verbal and visual product.
1. a) Sock Puppets - Lets students create their own lip-synched videos and share them on Facebook and YouTube. Add Puppets, props, scenery, and backgrounds and start creating. Hit the record button and the puppets automatically lip-synch to your voice. The app is free, but need the paid version ($0.99) to save creations to the iPad’s camera roll.

b) 

Toontastic - Students produce their own animated short story by moving pre-made characters and recording the dialogue. Students can also make their own backgrounds and characters. Also has a support page and a paid version (all-access pass is $19.99).

c) Puppet Pals – Students can create a virtual puppet show with this app that has various sets and characters in the free version (and many more in the paid version). After selecting the characters and set, move the characters while you speak and movements and sounds will be recorded. Paid version ($2.99) also allows for custom sets and characters (e.g. your own photo).
2. 30 Hands - Create a photo / image slideshow, then add narration for each slide to produce a narrated slideshow. Great for students who are reluctant writers, students who are working to improve verbal fluency, and students who want to have fun telling their story. This app allows the user to draw on the photos before recording their voice for the photo (e.g. can circle a certain part of a photo and then talk about it). Export options include sending the finished video as a .mov file to the camera roll. The app is currently free.


3. PixntellAdd voice to your photo slideshow with pixntell. Has an intuitive interface that is easy for younger kids to use. Free version gives you only 5 photos, which forces the students to be thoughtful in the photos they choose. Paid version ($1.99) allows for up to 70 photos to be added.

4. VoiceThread - Combines a screencasting and slideshow creating together.  Load a photo/image and add an audio note while marking up / annotating the image with your finger. Visit their support page. Online account needed to share and view. The app is free.

5. Sonic Pics  – Students can load a bunch of photos, record your voice for each photo, and show them in a slideshow; however it does cost $2.99. Export the slideshow to your camera roll for easy sharing.