Kids love to tell stories. I have found that their stories either go around and around in circles or they end abruptly rather than follow a plot sequence. The app, Toontastic, a storytelling app (that just went completely free!), addresses the “plot problem” in a simple way using cute, animated toys and lots of fun backgrounds as settings for stories.
How does Toontastic Work?
Toontastic is a free storytelling app by LaunchPad Toys, which was just acquired by Google. It has many different settings that students can use to tell their stories, or students can draw their own. There are also many characters, called toys, that students can use. The toys fit with the setting themes.
Toontastic walks the students through a basic plot sequence after they choose Create Cartoon.First, students decide whether they want to edit a story they’ve already started or if they want to create something new.Next, they set up the scenes in the story. Tap a section of the story arc, and the edit paintbrush and the trashcan appear. Notice the use of the red and green icons for editing or deleting– this is great touch for our youngest students.Students can create a scene and then record the animation and voices, or they can put the scenes together and record the animation once all the scenes are created. Each time a student adds a scene, they can choose the same setting as before, or they can choose an entirely new one. As students create scenes and finish recording them, the app returns to the Story Arc. Characters can start on screen, or they can start off in the “wings,” and enter the scene as the student drags them in. Dragging characters animates them. Students can also resize their characters with their fingers by pinching or zooming on the characters.Once a scene has been recorded, students will have the option of including background music. If they don’t want the music, they just tap the flashing arrow in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. Dragging the scene up or down increases the intensity level of music; for example, “frustrated” is the first level, but dragging the scene up increases the level to “enraged.”In addition to all of the background settings that already exist within the app, students are also able to use the camera to take photos. This way, they can pre-draw the story’s setting, or they can set their animated story in an actual location.
If you have used Toontastic previously, you’ll know that the only way to share ‘Toons was to upload them to ToonTube. Now, however, students can save their creations to the camera roll! I can’t even tell you how happy this makes me!This means they can app smash Toontastic into other apps. If you have Green Screen by Do Ink, student could also record their animations on a green background and use them in the Green Screen app. Students can save directly to camera roll from the start screen, as well. They just choose the share button underneath the video thumbnail, and as long as a recording has been done, the video will export immediately.
Common Core Connection
Common Core Writing Standard 6 has students using digital tools to produce and publish writing, and Speaking and Listening Standard 5 requires students to make strategic use of digital media in presentations. Using Toontastic helps to address both of these standards. Students are creating cartoon movies in this app, but in order to do so, they first must write the situation. There isn’t a length limit for the stories students create, which means that they could create a Toontastic story as a small part of a larger presentation. The app is simple and intuitive enough for the youngest students, but it can also be used to tell sophisticated stories, which makes it a winner for all of K-12.
What Do You Think?
How have you used Toontastic in your classroom?