Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Using Toontastic in the Classroom

Toontastic is a free and fun app that can be used for creating and publishing cartoons.  So what kind of academic skills can your students learn from using Toontastic?  Here's a few ideas:

  • Comprehension: Book summaries that include settings, main characters, and key plot points
  • Fluency: 1-minute animated Reader's Theater scenes
  • Scientific Method: Animated "Lab Reports" that show the process of an experiment and the results
  • Fiction writing: Create your own story using a Story Arc
  • How-to writing: Show how to do something in 3-5 steps
  • Math Problem Solving: Create number stories that integrate language arts story-telling and math
  • Social Studies: Tell a story from history, like the Battle of Gettysburg, or the March on Washington
I'm willing to bet that teachers around the world have used Toontastic to teach even more skills.  Here's an example of how our kindergarteners published a piece of original writing based on Mo Willem's Pigeon series: 

To get yourself or your students started on using Toontastic, take a look at these video tutorials (used by our students during our 5th grade 1:1 iPad Bootcamp) teaching the technical how-tos:

Lesson 1

  • Delete scenes
  • Create the Setting
  • Use the drawing tools
  • Change colors and textures
  • Undo and erase
  • Save the setting

Lesson 2

  • Draw characters
  • Save characters
  • Draw animals with movable parts

Lesson 3

  • Plan for recording animation
  • Shrink and enlarge characters during animation
  • Record

Lesson 4

  • Add music that matches the mood of the scene

Hopefully, these videos help you and your students learn the ins and outs of Toontastic.  Integrating this app into your teaching will bring out the creativity in your students and it will engage your visual learners more fully.  Don't forget that students can create one-scene animations if you are running short on time. Each scene records for only 60 seconds, so beware of the time limitations.

In my next post, I'll explain how to publish work through Toontube, a safe sharing site for Toontastic videos (hint:you'll need to create a password that you feel comfortable sharing with students).  

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