Go For Broke or Maybe Gopher Broke.

18 Jan

This was a difficult week to get through, mainly because the cold that has been running rampant through the school population finally got me. Even after taking a day off,  I haven’t had as much energy. Our neck of the country was also settling in for a cold spell when the boiler  gave out in the main building.  It made the classrooms quite cold.  You just never know what teaching environment you will have in these older buildings. I am looking forward to the three day weekend.

The title of my post this week refers to a video I put in the video section. Look for Gopher Broke.   I used it this week to talk about prediction, developing conflict  and story plot.  It is a 4 minute animated video that does not have words and is great for interpreting what will happen next.  I stopped it along the way and asked students what clues they noticed and what predictions they could make from them. We also talked about what details in the story made it interesting.

I used the video to lead up to my instruction on story telling.  I have used  a free app called “Toontastic” in the past that the students have really liked.  Unfortunately some of my students are obsessed with  fighting scenarios and can’t get past these to develop other forms of  conflict or plot.  They need help in getting their creative juices flowing.  I came across Story Sticks on Sarcasm 101.  I decided to try something similar and made my own story  craft sticks.  I color coded for characters, conflict, setting and miscellaneous like she did.  However, I printed them out on paper and used a  glued stick to glue them on the sticks.  I then just color coded the tips and edges with a color  crayon.  I find writing on craft sticks is a bit difficult and hard to read so I opted for the paper.    Click here to see what I wrote on the sticks.  Story Sticks.    You may want to make some changes to the list so I kept it in Word format.

Story sticks

Toontastic is Fantastic for Therapy

2 Jan

I find that many of  my students  have  difficulty telling a story.   I usually start with sequence cards.  They start  getting the idea of sequencing a story and understanding a story has a beginning, middle, and end.  At this point they get bored with the sequence cards and still need work on being able  to elaborate from that basic structure.   I am always looking for  ways  to expand their experiences from the typical sequence cards and allow for more imagination and story plot development.

Just before winter break, I found an free app for my iPad  that allowed students to develop story plots much like using puppets.  They were  able to make animated stories and the structure of the program encouraged them to construct a story with sequence and plot development. The best part was they could replay their creations and critique them.   The program has built in  flexibility allowing them to add their own drawings and speech.   It also allowed them to  add  music and set a mood.   I was impressed that it was child friendly and allowed for imagination to develop.  This is a program that actually allows  for imaginative play.

My daughter and I had a fun time trying the program out.   The app came from toontube.launchpadtoys.com.  I want to thank this company for providing a high quality program free.  It runs with little  interference from advertisement, although they would like you to purchase more characters and scenes.

Currently my employer has restrictions on purchasing apps for our iPads until they get the logistics worked out.  This leaves me  exploring  the world of free apps. When this  restriction is lifted,  this app will be on my list for more characters and scenes.

Here is an example of my daughter’s creation..

http://toontube.launchpadtoys.com/9370