Appy Classrooms {Shadow Puppet}

I'm here to bring you another amazing app to use in your classroom today!  

App Name:  Shadow Puppet
Here's what you'll be looking for in the app store.  It's FREE!

I actually stumbled upon this app by mistake.  I was searching for a puppet app to use and this popped up.  It is not a puppet app, but no worries - it's even better!  I think the name comes from the fact that it is a digital storytelling app.

What is it?
I like to think of this app as a new way to create slideshows.  Think PowerPoint, but much simpler and quicker and using voice to narrate it instead of being text intensive.  Students use images (their own or from the web) to create slideshows that they narrate to tell a story.

What are some ways it could be used?
 Due to the simplicity of this app, it could be used in SO many ways.  Here are a few ideas.

Take pictures of students' original published books and let them read them!

Have students take pictures of shapes in the real world and explain them.
Let students solve the same math problem in different ways and explain.

Take pictures of STEM projects and let students narrate their thought process during the stages.
Take pictures of weather/clouds for students to tell what they know.

Social Studies
Let students locate pictures of famous places, landmarks, or people in history to narrate a tour of a particular city/state.

Community Building
Students can create slideshows of pictures that represent themselves as introductions at the beginning of the school year.


How does it work?
It really is SO easy!  My 2nd graders picked it all up on day ONE!
 This is what the app looks like when you open it.  It shows any existing slideshows and has the "create new" slideshow button.  Simply click that button to begin.

The app defaults to your camera roll, so you can see lots of pictures of my students showing.  If students were using pictures that they had taken, they would select them here.  If they want to find images from an outer source, they would simply select that source on the left.  I usually have my students search the sites under "IMAGE SEARCH."

Image Search is my most favorite thing about this app!!  When my students create PowerPoints, it's such a pain for them to find images.  Not with this app!  Simply click Web Images, Flickr Creative Commons, or Wikimedia Commons - all without leaving the app!!  #LOVE  Students simply type their search term into the top search box and choices appear!  I will say that I think the reason you need to download the "Edu" version of Shadow Puppet may be for the filtering.  I was a little concerned when my students were creating region slideshows and one group wanted to talk about Mardi Gras in Louisiana.  I searched it myself first and all of the images were fine! {whew}

Once an image is selected, students can simply type a new search word to add more images.  Once all images are inserted, they will click the "next" button at the bottom.

Then, the first image in the slideshow will appear.  At this point, students can name their slideshow by clicking the little pencil above the image.  They can also use the T button to the right to add text to the picture, or the music note button to add music to their slideshow.

Students can use the top right menu button to add pages, reorder pages, or delete pages.  They can also go here to "save draft" at any point if they need to leave the project and come back to it later.  Or, they have the option to delete the project altogether.  If they are ready to narrate their project, they simply click the START button at the bottom.

After narrating all of their slides, students will click the SAVE button.  This automatically saves the slideshow in the app.  If students mess up while recording one of the slides, they can simply click UNDO on the left.  This will only delete the narration of this single slide.

After saving the project, a Preview/Save pop-up will appear.  Students can click on the slideshow to preview it.  They also have the option to save it to other places - don't worry, a "grownups only" pop-up appears on many of these choices!  But, if you use the SeeSaw Digital Portfolio app, you will love this!  Your students can save their projects directly into their portfolios!!!!

 Need even more ideas?  The app has pages and pages of ideas for classroom use! 

 Helpful Hint:
I've found that students are much more successful if they have a plan before creating and narrating their shows.  Therefore, I created these simple planning pages for my students to use.  They write what they're going to say and write/draw what they are going to use as a picture/photo.  You can download this planning page below to use with your students.
{Download Here}

So, what are you waiting for?  Go download this FREE app and let your students start creating!


Genre Studies Series: Part 7 {Fables}

All Posts in This Series:

Toward the end of the year, all of our focus goes on Folktales.  I teach my students that folktales are just that - tales that folks passed down by word of mouth for years.  This is why you may hear the same story in different variations.  As they were passed down, they changed slightly based on who was telling them.  We focus on three types of folktales - fables, tall tales, and fairytales.

Fables are the quickest to study.  We begin with a little background knowledge on Aesop, since most of the fables we read will be Aesop's fables.  Did you know that many stories say Aesop was a slave?  He supposedly wanted to write stories that told of his mistreatment and would teach his owners to treat others better.  However, he was too smart to use their names or characters with their likeness.  Instead, he chose to use animals to teach these lessons so that the slave owners wouldn't realize he was writing about them.  Pretty smart, huh?

We begin by learning the characteristics of fables:

1) The characters are usually animals who talk and act like people.

2) The stories are short and teach the reader a lesson about how they should behave.

3) Fables have morals - sentences at the end that sum up the lesson that was taught.

Since fables are short, they area a great way to practice fluency, as well.  We use the You Read to Me, I'll Read to You {Fables Edition} a lot.

I copy the pages and highlight the parts so that I can have multiple pairs practicing reading at the same time.  They love to "perform" them for the class to show off their fluency.
While we're studying fables, I also pull out this read-aloud book.  In it, Gooney Bird's class is learning about and writing their own fables so it is a perfect tie-in!
One of my main focuses during this unit is to get my students ready to read in front of an audience.  They've had a little practice with this thanks to our Living Museum during biographies, but I want to move them a little further.  To do this, we perform Fable Puppet Shows!  They eat it up!
I can easily differentiate for various reading levels by assigning parts in puppet shows carefully.  Some characters have lots of lines while others have fewer.  A quick examination of the scripts and I'm easily able to find roles that are perfect for each student.
We spend a lot of time practicing for our puppet shows.  After all, "practice makes perfect" as we learned from one of our fables. :)  Students read their scrips to become fluent with the words.  They read them more to become expressive.  They read them even more, learning to use character voices.  Then, they have to practice reading while also controlling a puppet.  As one of my little gems said, "Puppet shows are hard work!"  Indeed! :)
I purchased fable puppets, but if you don't have access to any, you could certainly let your students create their own!  How fun would they have creating sock puppets or paper sack puppets of their own!?

I purchased all of the puppets and puppet show scripts (this is just a small showing...I probably have 30 puppets - this would make a great Donor's Choose grant) from The Creativity Institute.  They have both Aesop's fables and some original "Gwynn's fables."  
Our celebration at the end of this genre is performing the puppet shows for the class.  This will be excellent practice for reading in front of an audience since students are "behind" the stage.  It will build their confidence for the plays we'll be presenting to larger audiences in our future genres.
After a group performs the fable, the audience (classmates) explain the lesson that the fable was teaching.  We then discuss how these lessons can help us in our own lives.  This is a tough concept at first - for example, "slow and steady wins the race" - at first students say things like, "When I am racing my friend, I should go slow and steady."  But, I ask if they enter a lot of races.  No?  Then, that's not really a good example.  We try to connect them to the classroom and our daily lives.  "Slow and steady wins the race" - students who work carefully on their math tests and go back and check over their work will do their best.  They quickly begin to make connections and recite morals throughout the day. #teacherheartmelts


Periscope: PD in Your PJ's!

Periscope.  Are you on it?  If not, go download the Periscope App and start following your favorite teachers.  It is the BEST way to get professional development, y'all!  Why?  You can watch in your PJ's!  Everything is better in pajamas and professional development is no different!  We know teachers are the best multi-taskers out there, so while you're watching The Bachelor, catch some Periscope replays during the commercials!  It's my favorite way to see what's working in other classrooms and stay on top of current classroom trends.

I've been a scope lurker....just watching everyone else share amazing ideas, for the past several months.  But, I've just decided to jump aboard myself.  You can catch my first (no-flip) scope here where I share a new favorite app.

My plan is to share a new app with you every Sunday evening at 7:30; hopefully one that you can try out in your classroom that week!  You can find me on Periscope (@teachingmaddeness) and follow along!  I've got a long list to share! :)

Not sure who to follow once you're on Periscope?  Here are a few of my favorite scopers.

Aris has a show called The Paperless Classroom where she scopes about using Google Classroom.  This is a hot topic since our classrooms are becoming more and more digital and since Aris has been doing it for years now, she offers valuable tips from her classroom!

I LOVE whenever I catch Jennifer scoping!  Her scopes are always entertaining - love a dry sense of humor SO much!  She always keeps it real and brings teaching tips that I know will be tried and tested!

There's NO way I could leave out Hope King!  If you want to be re-energized about teaching, follow this girl.  She brings the energy from The Ron Clark Academy straight through your phone so you can take it back to YOUR classroom.  Seriously, she's brilliant and her dedication to the profession is inspiring!  You won't want to miss a single scope.

Math is not my thing.  I mean, it's okay, but I'm definitely a reading/writing girl at heart.  Therefore, I like to keep math gurus close by to keep me fired-up about teaching math.  Let me introduce you to Angie.  Her Math Motivation Mondays will leave you excited about your math block on Tuesday. :)

Finally, if you just need a dose of happy to get you through the day, Sheila Jane is your girl.  She radiates happiness and after watching one of her scopes, you'll pretty much feel like you can conquer the world.  Or, at least your classroom. :)

Sheila Jane is also the founder of the iTeachTVNetwork which is where you can see a list of many Periscope shows that air weekly.  Think of it as your very own Periscope TV Guide. So, go ahead, kick your feet up and pick out the perfect PD in your PJ's!

Visit the links below to see what other teachers think about Periscope and find more great teachers to stalk follow.

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