Toontastic is another one of those apps we used "way back when" that was free (with paid add-on packs) but went to an all paid model and is now back to free... ALL free. Google bought the company awhile ago and now EVERY "playset" and feature that used to cost money is FREE.
Students can create cartoons with scenes. It defaults to 5 scenes but you can delete the ones you don't need or you can add more if necessary. Each one has a category (setup, conflict, challenge, etc.) to guide a full story but the individual scenes can be whatever you want them to be... they're all the same.
The first time students go through the app, you'll want the sound to be on (with headphones probably!) because it walks students step by step through the process of creating their cartoon. There are all kinds of background scenes to choose from... great for stories about community, animal habitats, biomes or even the signing of the Declaration of Independence! Students can also use their own drawings or pictures from their camera roll as a background.
After selecting a scene, students pick their characters ("toys"). Again there are tons to choose from in a variety of categories. There are even some famous people like George Washington, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Susan B. Anthony. Just like the background, they can create their own characters from drawings.
Once the scene is set and characters are picked, students record their voice acting out their cartoon. This is where the content comes in. Students can create an animation for an original story they've written but it doesn't stop there. Just like with Scribble Press, Toontastic can be used to create non-fiction videos for all subject areas. Here's some ideas I shared in a blog post back in October of 2013 (http://goo.gl/FCho2D):
- Math- Explain the steps used to solve a problem or explain a concept such as rounding or estimating
- Science- Create a story explaining the 3 forms of matter or the water cycle (or any other science topic!), document a lab experiment by telling the hypothesis and results; create lab safety videos
- SS- Create a story using characters to represent two or more historical figures and have them discuss or debate an historical topic relevant to their era.
- ELA- Create stories to present various grammar topics in a conversation or to demonstrate sentence types; retell a story; book reviews; show their knowledge of literary elements
- Foreign Language- Students can create a story with a two way conversation to practice asking/answering questions in a new language.
- Other- Create PSAs on bullying, Red Ribbon Week or Internet Safety
Final products can be saved to the camera roll and uploaded to Google Drive.
Check out this blog post from Irene Boynton, 1st grade teacher at Cannon Elementary. Her students recently used Toontastic to share their learning about animal characteristics. http://boyntonbuzz.blogspot.com/2016/03/science-meets-storytelling.html