Interested in having your students turn their stories into cartoons? If so, you will want to check out the Toontastic App on the iPads. The app allows students to create an animated rendition of their own stories, in this case their personal narratives. The students began the assignment by working their way through the writing process: brainstorming ideas to write about, selecting an idea, drafting a story, revising the first draft, editing with classmates and the teacher, and finally writing a clean copy of the story. The next step was to publish their stories. We decided that the students would enjoy creating cartoons based on their personal narratives using Toontastic.
The app is fairly simple to use. Students begin by designing 5 scenes or 'settings' (setup, conflict, challenge, climax, and resolution). They then create characters to use in the scenes. Each scene can have up to 6 characters. The characters are the only things that will move in each scene, so some students created objects that they wanted to see move as well (i.e., waves, trees blowing in the wind). Next, they added the characters to each scene and recorded their animations.
It was easier for the students to first create the animation with no audio, then press 'start animation' again to add their voice-over. For the narration, they simply read their personal narrative into the microphone. Before recording, students had to decide which part of the narrative to read during each scene and to practice reading fluently and with expression. The app then asks one to choose a 'theme' for the scene, which adds background music. Once the students were satisfied with the animation and narration of each scene, they completed their cartoon by giving it a title.
Toontastic has its own ToonTube website where students can publish their movies. The videos are password protected for privacy proposes. We look forward to sharing the videos with you when they are completed.