Hook Your Students Through Video App Smashing

I am always looking for new ways to “hook” students and make them excited about learning a new topic or unit. As the school year is coming closer to beginning, my colleague and I were brainstorming ideas about how to introduce Spanish class. At our school, when students enter grade four, it’s their first year of taking Spanish, which in itself is exciting enough. Normally, I show a little powerpoint, but thought this year creating a video would be more intriguing.

I used four apps to make the video, which initially took about two hours, but I’m hoping over time will become less. I’m sure the students could have made it much quicker than I did! Here are the apps I used:

1) Tellagami: This is a free app that allows you to design your background and character, and record up to 30 secs of either your voice or text. It is very user friendly! This app was used at the last scene in my video.

2) Puppet Pals 2: The version I used is free, so is limited to selective scenes, characters, and props, but it is optional to upgrade. This app allows users to choose a scene and character, and manipulate the character’s moves throughout the scenery, while simultaneously recording your voice.

3) Explain Everything: This app is $2.99, but well worth the price. I was able to import my previously created videos, and add specific props/pictures that I wasn’t able to add in the other apps. This app is capable of doing so much more than I used it for, so definitely challenge your students with this one.

4) iMovie: The price for this app is $4.99, or free to new iPad users (I believe this is free as a package on all the new iPad 5s). Through this app, I compiled all of my clips to make one coherent and fluid movie.

From this video, it’s clear that I am an amateur, but through making it, I came to the realization that the capabilities with app smashing and the abilities of our tech-savvy students, is a recipe for greatness!

Give Children the Tool of Technology


At my school we have an iPad cart, with a set of iPads that can move from class to class. This has proven to be a little challenging, and we had many hiccups along the way, but they finally seem to be up and running consistently. I brought them into my class yesterday, and as a fun activity wanted my students to create a movie trailer for their parents, for our student-led conferences next Thursday. Prior to starting the activity I questioned how many students had used iMovie before, to which I was shocked by the surprise of only 3! I went through some minor instructions, but thought it might be best for the students to play around with it themselves.

After the first 5-10 minutes of constant questioning, “How do I do this? How do I do that?” it was incredible to see their abilities with a tool they had never used before. It was so intuitive for them to discover how to use it and their level of engagement was significantly high. They were out of their desks, collaborating together, mentoring other students, and fully appreciating the task at hand.

I think sometimes as teachers we over think our lessons. Our perfectionism and desire for control over takes the voice and ability of our students. I think we’re scared sometimes to let go and let our students lead. This proved to me, that if they have the tools necessary, the technology to enable, their voices and skills are apparent. Being a teacher in the 21st century, we need to be able to give control to our students over their learning and allow them to shine.

My class thoroughly engaged in their iMovie project.

My class thoroughly engaged in their iMovie project.