Tellagami App with 4th and 5th Graders

4th Graders wrote and illustrated Autumn Poems with their classroom teacher. Using the iPad and the Tellagami App (free!) the 4th graders published their poem. What I love about using technology to publish writing is that it adds that often missed step of reading and sharing the writing. Too often my students would finish a writing project and I would post it in the hallway and then we would move on to our next assignment. Using technology the students need to read and often re-read their poem or report, and as they record their voice, they are often critical and want to record it again (and again.) Having a student read a report or poem in front of the class does not always mean you have an attentive audience. When we play the Tellagami App recordings of each student, the audience is engaged. Posting these on the Kidblog gives them the opportunity to listen to each other over and over and leave comments.

The 5th graders created dioramas in response to

    “The Cricket in Times Square”

. They also wrote a description of their diorama. I helped them use the Tellagami App to take a picture of their diorama and record their description. I do find it easier to take the picture with the Camera App on the iPad and then import it into Tellagami. The Tellagami App also has a 30 second limit. The 5th graders needed to look at their written descriptions and figure out what the important details were. It gave them a chance to edit their writing, and others learned how to read a little faster.

I love the Tellagami App because it is easy to use, and does not take long for students to figure out. It is relatively quick, and the product is fun to view. The students enjoy creating their character before recording, this sometimes takes the longest. After they record the Tellagami, I have all the iPads set to email the Tellagami to my school email address. Then I can easily grab the embed code and pop it on the student’s Kidblog for sharing. (To make that a quicker process, I ask the students to create a Blog Post Draft for the Tellagami then I only need to sign in to Kidblog as myself to copy and paste the embed code.)

Digital Stories – A Glimpse of …

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This was my first attempt at this kind of a digital story with my students. The bulk of the work was done in the classroom. The students created two pictures in class. One a self portrait, the other a religion picture. The other two pictures were objects the students brought in or photos they brought in of special objects, places or pets. The students then wrote a script for each picture. They were given a script template to get them started. After the scripts were written and edited, the children practiced reading them aloud to another student. Digital pictures were taken of the artwork and these were put in a folder on the server along with the other pictures. The students then entered the computer lab, and were taught how to find their folder of pictures, import them to iPhoto, and then create an iMovie by recording themselves reading their script as narration for each of their pictures. After the narration was recorded the children were to add a title, music and then export as a Quicktime Video. (You could also use Photostory 3 to create digital stories on a PC.)

I am very pleased with the results. These stories are amazing and the children are also very proud. It did take a bit longer to record each student’s narration as we needed the computer lab somewhat quiet and could not record more than one or two at a time. I did need help the students as they worked, although some of the children that finished first were able to assist the other students as well.

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2nd Grade Claymation

The second graders love playing with clay! They created characters, put them together and then came up with a story. Usually they have an idea of the story, but it isn’t fully formed until they start acting it out and taking pictures. After the pictures are taken and converted to a video, (We used iMovie 09 on these. We have used FRAMES from tech4learning in the past.) the students added a title and background music. They also worked together to write the story.


My second graders enjoyed using Voicethread to publish their stories. Each student wrote and illustrated a Leprechaun story (inspired of course by St. Patrick’s Day) and a Husky Dog story (inspired by a picture they created in art class.) After each child finished writing, editing and then re-writing their story they then created three pictures to illustrate it. They could create the pictures using paper and other art supplies, create the pictures using Skitch or a by a combination of the two. Many children enjoyed combining their art with Skitch. This method was the idea of the children. They held their picture up in front of the Mac’s camera – took a picture with Skitch and then drew on top of the picture with great results. As Voicethread is a collaborative tool, I plan on having the children comment on each other’s story.

Spooky Digital Storytelling

My 2nd graders took a picture they created in art class and used it as inspiration to write a spooky story. After editing, the children read their story in front of green screen (they were also wrapped in another green screen to create the floating head effect.) I put the videos together and added a beginning and ending sound effect. The videos are available for viewing on our class wiki.

I am sharing one of the videos below, but be sure to check out the wiki to see the rest.

The spooky stories were also used in computer class for word processing practice. Each child typed their story and inserted their picture (These had already been scanned in.) The pictures and typed stories will be displayed in the hall to share with parents at conferences. (With a sign noting the integration of art, writing and technology!)

When I first put the videos together, I created 3 videos with 9 students per video. However, even though these were short, 5 min videos, they were too big to upload to my photobucket or google video account. I shortened the videos and ended up with 9 movies, highlighting 3 students each. I used google video, the private setting, to upload the movies and get the code to embed them in our wiki page.(I like google video as it has a setting to view the video as full screen.)
One important note: I have a child in the classroom with special needs. He was at first reluctant to read in front of the camera, but after he did, the entire class cheered for him! It was a wonderful moment for all.  It was amazing to see how the other children applauded not only his efforts, but those of all of their classmates.