Monday, February 17, 2014

Create a story bot and more!

I cannot say enough good things about a collection of apps from Storybots on the iPad. I stumbled across Starring You Books on Facebook one day and knew my girls would love it. This app allows you to create a character with your child's name in the story and a picture of their face placed on the body of the main character in the story. They essentially become the story. Even my two year old laughs and giggle when she is part of the story.

The apps are free in iTunes and you have access to one book about dancing feet to try out, which we did for a month. I wanted to see how much my girls would use it because the subscription is $4.99/ month which is about $60 a year so I didn't want to jump in without trying first. With the subscription you get access to all their great apps like Math Racer, Starring You Videos and Books, Coin Flip, Share Timer, Learning Videos, Kid Quoter, Tap & Sing, ABC Videos, Kids Radio, and Beep and Bop and a couple holiday specific Starring You Family Videos. If you think about it that is about 40 cents per app, which is not such a bad investment for a child's education.

I was ready to jump in after watching my girls have fun reading with the app, but I also just bought a Kindle for my daughters so wanted to know if the apps were available in Android version. I emailed Storybots and not only did they give me a quick response that they are working on Android apps, but they also let me know as an educator that I could get a free subscription - yes I said free! I just had to fill out this form - I filled it out and they sent me an acces code to get started. They also followed up with an email to see if everything worked and was going well. It was very great service. So big props to them!

Here are some ideas on how you could use the apps in your classroom, library, or at home with your kids.

Take pictures of your students and show them how to add to Starring You Books. Then they can read the books during free reading time or read aloud to other students during center time. Or you can read the books together as a bedtime story. My 2 year old even likes to watch her character dance across the screen even though she can't read the words.

Take pictures of your whole class and put them in the Starring You Videos and show the videos on your Smartboard (or even just your screen or whiteboard if that is what you have.) I guarantee there will be giggles! 

Start your circle time with a different ABC video to grab everyone's attention. Share the learning videos to compliment your curriculum. Turn on the kids radio during work time as an incentive to help keep the class quite and working. 

I have not had a chance to use some of the apps, but this is how I think you could use them. Use Mather Racer as a center during Math time. Use the Share Timer to keep track of rotation during centers if you rotate. Use the Coin Flip to decide who is your helper for a certain job or where students will go to centers. Use Beep and Bop to keep track of classroom behavior. Use Kid Quoter to keep track of fun things students say to share in a newsletter or at conferences. Create a book at the end of the year for the class or each student. 

Just have fun and play around with all the apps and see what you can do! The possibilities are endless.

This is my toddler enjoying the ABC song video on the Storybots website. (She was giggling before I made her stop watching to look at me for the picture.) 

Before you close the page - how could you use these apps in your classroom? Please share below. 

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