Tag Archives: Puppet Pals

App-Smashed Character Strength Floor Plans

Scan with the Aurasma app to see a video explanation. (You must be following the Hidden Forest Elementary channel.)
Scan with the Aurasma app to see a video explanation. (You must be following the Hidden Forest Elementary channel.)

Several years ago, I got a fabulous idea from a book called What’s On Your Mind? by Joel Anderson and Joan Brinkman.  One of the lessons recommends that gifted students create an “Eight Trait Floor Plan.”  The students are asked to think metaphorically about what a blueprint of their attributes might look like.  Which “rooms” would be the largest?  How many doors would each room have – and where would they lead?  The book gives many excellent questions to help students visualize this “House of Traits.”

I’ve used variations of this lesson with my GT 5th graders over the years.  Sometimes the students created the floorplans in MS Excel, sometimes on graph paper.  Generally a description accompanied it, whether typed or written. It’s been so interesting to see the creative ways students visualize their own attributes – from hidden rooms to indoor pools to closets with no doors.  The project is always insightful for me and for them. Last year, it was an excellent introduction to their Dream Team projects.

We were kind of cutting it close on time this year, so I gave the students graph paper instead of asking them to complete the floor plans on computers.  I directed them to the Periodic Table of Character Strengths to choose their traits.  Instead of adding paragraphs to the bottom that explained their floor plans, they were told they could use one of the creation apps on the iPad, such as: Tellagami, Puppet Pals, or ThingLink.  I promised the students who created videos that we could add some “Aurasma-tazz” by linking them with the Aurasma app.

One of the projects is pictured at the top of this post.  If you have the free Aurasma app, you can follow our channel (Hidden Forest Elementary), and view the Puppet Pals video that accompanies the floor plan by scanning the image above.  Or, you can view the video that I’ve embedded below.

The advantage of using the Aurasma app is that my student can take this project home, and her parents don’t have to go to a website to look for her video explanation.  All they have to do is scan the picture with Aurasma.

If you are not familiar with Aurasma, which is one of several augmented reality apps, here is a link to my page of Augmented Reality Resources.  This page includes links to tutorials, as well as other activities.

Advertisements

Puppet Pals 2 + Aurasma = Reward Coupons

aurasmarewardcoupons

I’ve posted some QR code reward coupons for the classroom on this blog in the past.  The kids enjoy the air of mystery when they get a coupon and get to “discover” their reward.  As regular readers have probably figured out, though, I easily get bored.  So, I decided to change up this year’s reward coupons by adding a little “Aurasma-tazz.”

Before I go any further, if you are not familiar with Aurasma, I highly recommend that you visit the Two Guys and Some iPads blog to learn about it.  You do not have to know how to make an aura in order to use these coupons, but you do need to know how to use the app to scan and to follow a channel.

I created these coupons using Puppet Pals 2 on my personal iPad.  We have the first version of Puppet Pals at school, but I like that the second version incorporates moving mouths and limbs.  It also adds music.  It costs a bit for the All Access pass, so we haven’t purchased it at school, yet.

Because Puppet Pals 2 did not have a turkey, I used the one from the first version by importing the photo and cutting the character out.

From my Tellagami app smash, you will have learned that I dislike the sound of my own voice.  This time, I used a website, naturalreaders.com, for the character voices.   Also, I used Canva to create the images for the Reward Coupons.

All of these coupons mention being “thankful” so I thought they would be good to bring out this month, when we Americans celebrate Thanksgiving.  But, as I know many of you are not in the States, they are not centered on this theme.

I will be placing these in my class treasure box.  At first the students will not know what each reward is, so they will enjoy the element of surprise.  Once they become more familiar with the images, though, I will probably put them in envelopes, or disguise them in another way to keep them guessing.  Another way that you could use them would be to put them in cards for the students.

I am giving you links to the images in case you want to put them in a different format, as well as the PDF with all of them on there.  The images and/or PDF need to be printed in color in order to trigger the videos.  Also, you need to be following the Hidden Forest Elementary channel in the Aurasma app.

By the way, if you would like to see some more Augmented Reality Resources, check out this page, or my Augmented Reality in Education Flipboard magazine.

Aurasma Reward Coupons PDF

Tellagami, TypeDrawing, and Aurasma – an Awesome App Smashup

UPDATE:  Tellagami no longer offers the text-to-speech or customization in the free app.  You can read more about the Tellagami changes here.

I originally found the term “app-smashing” on TechChef4u.  According to Lisa Johnson, the term was first coined by Greg Kulowiec, and she gives some great examples in her post, “App Synergy: The Art Form of App-Smashing.” I’ve been smashing apps for awhile – though I didn’t know that was what I was doing.  When you use the iPad as a creation tool, it’s natural to begin combining apps in order to refine your creations.  It’s rare to find one app that will meet all of your creative needs, and it’s fun to see the new ways to fuse different ones together. Last year, my students often used Puppet Pals, along with Aurasma, to create 2-d bulletin board presentations that morphed into 3-dimensional ones when scanned with an iDevice (see the post, “Misunderstood Monsters” for an example). When I learned this summer about the release of a free animation app called “Tellagami“, I saw immediately that it could be used in a similar manner to Puppet Pals.  The fun twist to Tellagami is that it allows you to choose an avatar to speak for you.  You can type the words, and select the person as well as the accent. I really don’t like speaking in front of groups.  I know this sounds odd coming from a teacher, but I am much more intimidated by a congregation of adults who would prefer working in their classrooms to listening to me, than to an enthusiastic group of curious kids.  So, I decided to enlist Tellagami to help me with a presentation that I needed to give to our staff. (As a side note, I used iMovie on my Mac at home to weave several Tellagami’s together.) Tellagami, like the all-access version of Puppet Pals, allows you to add your own backgrounds, and that is where I used TypeDrawing for one piece of the introductory video that I used.

Tellagami + Type Drawing
Tellagami + Type Drawing

I created an Aurasma scavenger hunt for the staff.  They went around the school to find papers with images to scan.  Each image triggered a new Tellagami video that give them a little bit of information about the GT program.  (I would share the presentation with you, but it’s specific to our district’s GT program.) Tellagami videos can be saved to your Photos on your iPad.  And, one easy way to get your images to use with Aurasma is to play your Tellagami (or any other) video, pause it, and take an iPad screen shot.  You can even use the editing tool in Photos, then, to refine the image.  Then, open your Aurasma app, match up the trigger image with the video, and you have a new “Aura.”  Be sure all participants are following your Aurasma channel.   Print out your Tellagami screen shots, and post them around the school if you are doing a scavenger hunt.  I like to put some kind of title at the top of each paper, so people do not remove them accidentally, like, “This is for a GT Presentation, so please do not remove.”  (If you are not familiar with using Aurasmahere is a basic introduction.  Also, I have a Flipboard magazine on Augmented Reality in Education.  You can search and subscribe on the Flipboard app, or you can access it on the web here.) I can’t wait to see how the students use Tellagami.  What I like about the concept of app-smashing is that it really brings another level of problem solving into using the iPads.  The students might want to do something with a particular app that does not have that feature, and they need to consider how to combine apps to achieve the result they desire.  I added a bunch of “creation apps” to my iPad over the summer, and I am working on getting them organized so the kids can do some more app-smashing of their own!

Dream Team

Angela Maiers, an educator/consultant/writer whom I greatly admire, has mentioned on her blog the idea of having a “Dream Team” – a group of people who you would like to emulate.  In her book, The New Habitudes, she also mentions this, and offers a free reproducible here for conjuring up your personal Dream Team members.

I loved this idea, and mentioned it to my 5th graders, who also seemed excited about the concept.  Then I thought of a way they could present their Dream Teams to the class using their current favorite technology tool – the iPad.

dreamteam

The students chose 4 character traits that they believe to be the most important, and then 4 people from history who exhibited those traits.  After researching some specifics, they developed “Dream Team Talk Show Scripts” to use with the full version of Puppet Pals.  The full version has a cast of talk show characters, and also allows you to create your own puppets from photos.  (Puppet Pals 2 is even better – but we haven’t been able to upgrade yet!)

Here are the planning sheets we used:

Choosing My Dream Team

Design Your Dream Team Talk Show Script

The entire class is not finished yet, as the students need to rotate through our iPads, but you can see some of them on our class blog by clicking here.

Misunderstood Monsters

A few weeks ago, I posted about a charming video called “Monsterbox“.  I offered some ideas for using it in the classroom, but I was not very specific.  One of my colleagues sent me an assignment that she created for the video based on Kaplan’s icons for Depth and Complexity, and that got my brain churning.  (Thanks, Michelle!)

I decided to use Monsterbox with my gifted 2nd graders.  First, we watched and discussed the video in general terms.  They immediately all wanted to make their own monsters.  Since I am a horrible art teacher, I enlisted the help of a paid iPad app – iLuvDrawingMonsters (.99) – installed on my personal iPad.  I connected that to my projector via VGA cable, and each student got to choose a monster to draw in the app while the others drew the same monster freehand.  Once they got the basic Principle of Monster Drawing, they embellished and modified their pictures however they wanted.  Some of them then felt comfortable to invent their own new monsters.

After decorating their monsters, the students did a gallery walk, so they could give each other feedback, and then make a final selection of a favorite monster to display.

Our next class was spent on decorating boxes for their monsters.  We used duct tape, markers, scrapbook paper, and whatever else we could find.  The kids loved it!

Now that their creative appetites were sated for a little bit, I encouraged the kids to do some deep thinking using the Ethics and Multiple Perspectives icons from Sandra Kaplan.  The video does a good job of showing some of the “prejudices against monsters”, and we discussed this, as well as how it would feel to be a monster.  I’ve attached two worksheets for this activity to this post.  (You can go here to generate your own “monster font”.)

Finally, the students took photos of their monsters with the iPads, and used the Puppet Pals app (Director’s Pass, $2.99, allows you to use your own photos as actors) to create skits about what monsters do for fun.

As an added bonus, I uploaded their videos to Aurasma Studio so people can scan the monsters on the bulletin board with smartphones equipped with that app and see the videos.

From start to finish, this unit took about 5 hours.  I hope that some of you can use these ideas, and I would love to hear yours!

The Ethics of Monsters

If I Were a Monster

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Puppet Pals

Puppet Pals is an iDevice app that allows students to make puppet show videos.  The free version offers a limited number of characters and backdrops, but can still be fun.  For more options, you can pay $2.99 for the Director’s Pass, which you gives many more themes and backgrounds, including Talk Shows and Politics.  Once the videos are completed, they can be e-mailed (if short enough), uploaded to YouTube, played on your big screen if you don’t have the original iPad (but do have a connector), or saved to DropBox.  Be open to “workarounds” if your school district blocks YouTube and/or DropBox.

Below, I have embedded a video created by my 3rd grade Gifted and Talented students.  Their assignment was to create a video that explained the use of P.M.I. (Plus, Minus, Interesting), a CoRT thinking skill developed by Edward de Bono.  First, knowing the characters they would be using, they planned their show on a blank storyboard, then had to explain it to another group, revise it based on the other group’s suggestions, and get it approved by me.  Finally, they could record their video.  All groups were very engaged during this assignment.

The video shows President Obama trying to decide if there should be year-round schools.  No irony was intended by the students when they chose former President George W. Bush to be the one who gave President Obama advice on how to make this decision 😉