Are you looking for fun, free and easy ways to integrate “Kid-Engaging” tech into your character unit? Our Common Core Standards require teachers to find ways for students to digitally publish their work and work collaboratively, so this character unit is the perfect place to start! To help you with this, I would like to share four great app suggestions with you below; ChatterPix Kids, Pic Collage, Educreations and Tellagami. I have included links to iTunes to download them and my own examples so that you may show them to your students as an example for their assignments.
I have the apps/projects listed by order of concept difficulty below.
I began my Character Unit at the beginning of October with one of my favorite stories, “The Hallowiener” by Dav Pilkey. I love this book and any of Dav Pilkey’s books. You may know his other books – “Captain Under Pants” and “Super Diaper Baby”. Many of my reluctant boy readers love this series. You can feel Pilkey’s child-like sense of humor when you read them. Sorry Dav, but it is the secret to your success!
Here is a great video of Steve Edward reading – “Hallowiener” by Dav Pilkey on Video via Vimeo
- We read “Hallowiener” (I posted a link to the books’ Vimeo recording above just in case you do not have the book) then we found character traits from a list on my Smart Board to match Oscar’s behavior. Next the kids found a favorite book character and followed my same procedures for their “ChatterPix” projects. I used the free ChatterPix Kid App to create a talking Oscar after I read the book to my class to show a digital example of character trait development for setting up my students’ project that they would complete independently or with a partner. My “Oscar” ChatterPix Video
2. Next we read several “Pete the Cat” books and found overall characteristics from each book which took a bit more critical thinking. We used the Pic Collage App to create a Character Collage to display different overall characteristics of “Pete the Cat” from each of his books. Students share their collage and the evidence for each trait. The collage can be saved to student camera rolls and iPads can be set to automatic Camera download in Dropbox for all the kids to see each others’ work when they open the Dropbox app on our class iPads.
3.Then on to the Educreations app for a screencasting of close reading procedures for a character of choice. The Educreations App best known as an easy to use screencasting app for kids, was used to show an in-depth look at close reading techniques. For my example below, I took pictures from the book, Ira Sleeps Over and inserted them in the app as I annotated how I found character traits for Ira, the main character.
4. Finally, we ended up with carrying over what we learned in our Character Unit, to our Fairy Tale Unit, by choosing a Fairy tale character to compare and contrast either two versions of the story or the main character talking about their perspective looking back at their story. I love how the Tellagami App allows the option to place my own image in the background as my “Gami” (Avatar) can be recorded speaking in my voice or I can choose from four different male or female voices to read the text that I enter. Pretty awesome! My kids have a blast with this feature. I have an example I used for my character & fairy tales unit.
Let me know your thoughts or if you have other app ideas to share! I love gathering new resources. 🙂