Thursday, February 13, 2014

Thursday's App: Puppet Pals

So, I believe that storytelling is an essential part of every primary grade classroom. Storytelling helps improve oral language skills and story writing. It also develops students' understanding of sequence and plot and encourages reading and critical thinking skills. These are critical skills for most students, but even more important to our kiddos with special needs who may have a challenging time grasping the concepts of sequencing. 

Although storytelling has been traditionally incorporated with language arts curriculum, it can be easily integrated into history, geography, and social studies curriculum. 

I was recently at a math conference when I was introduced to the app Puppet Pals (at a math conference nonetheless!) I thought it was such a great app that I immediately came home and downloaded the app. 

There are several different versions of the app. The original Puppet Pals HD comes in two different versions - one is free and the other is paid ($2.99). The updated version is Puppet Pals 2; it, too, has a free and paid version. I paid $4.99 for the paid version of Puppet Pals 2 and, like all apps I buy, is worth the investment if you're going to utilize it in your classroom. The only downside I found so far? It took FOREVER to download the app…but again, well worth the wait!

The paid versions of the apps give you access to more characters, with Puppet Pals 2 adding some characters such as Cleopatra, Rosa Parks, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King Jr. (Just imagine the stories students could tell with them!) If you didn't want to use any of the provided characters, you can superimpose your own images onto cartoon bodies. 

Here is a short demo video I created to show you what you could do with Puppet Pals. You can even add music to videos!

TechChef4U provides an excellent tutorial on how to create videos, along with a great list of possible projects for Puppet Pals. If you're looking for an interactive app that allows your students to work on storytelling concepts while also practicing oral language skills, Puppet Pals is the way to go.

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