Get Students Using Evernote in the Classroom

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 8.09.21 PMI am a list-maker. I’m also a note taker; I need to write things down to remember them. As much as I love to write things down, though, I often forget to bring my list with me or I don’t have my notebook handy, and then I’m really lost. But I always have my smart phone with me (or some other device), so I use Evernote to keep my lists and to take my notes. Evernote is great as a personal production tool, but it also has many great uses for the classroom.

Evernote in the Classroom?

There are so many great ways to use Evernote on a personal level. I use it to curate the web, collaborate with my husband on home projects, keep lists (of course!) and more. After I got hooked on it personally, I wanted to figure out if there was a way it could be used in the classroom to promote the Common Core Standards. Here’s a short list of the benefits of Evernote:

  • Teachers and students collaborate and share resources easily
  • Create notebooks for each class, and create a new note for the class each day with the agenda, images of notes, and/or audio comments
  • Each note has a shareable URL, so teachers can post their notes for the day to social media and allow parents to access
  • Email notes to parents if they don’t use social media
  • Record audio comments as feedback directly in a student note
  • Tag notes with labels for easy searching
  • Prevents backaches: Instead of having to lug giant notebooks around for grading, the shared notebooks are in the Cloud!
  • Having the premium version means that you can view “note history” if you create the note
  • Having the premium version also means you can share entire notebooks instead of just single notes
  • Students can collaborate together (but not in real time)
  • Present notes to the class in presentation mode
  • The Web Clipper and iPad work-around (bookmark feature) means that students using iPads can save websites into Evernote
  • Chat with group members who are online in the app
  • Change the email associated with the account so that when students leave the district, they maintain ownership of all of their notes.
There are plenty more that I could add to the list, of course. These are just a few ways that students and teachers can use Evernote in the classroom.

How Does Evernote Work?

Evernote uses notebooks and notes. Notebooks are like spirals– you might have one for each class you are taking. Notes are more like the pages in each spiral. Each day, you might start on a new page in a spiral and take your notes there. That could work with Evernote, but students could also have one note for each week, or they could have one note for each unit of study just to cut down on how many notes are in each notebook if they wanted to.
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To quickly start a new note in the app, tap on one of the buttons shown below. Starting this a specific type of note doesn’t mean that you can only have those things in the note. Notes are dynamic, so if you start a text note, you can always add images later, or vice-versa. Once you have a note open, you will also be able to add voice recording clips to a note.
Evernote_4The latest update of Evernote introduced Work Chat, where you can chat with your collaborators. This is a good feature if you have multiple partners working on a project and you want to talk about changes you are making to a note, but you don’t want everyone to be making changes at the same time.
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If you are working on the desktop or on the Web version of Evernote, you will have the option to stack your notebooks. This is like putting all of your spiral notebooks into a binder.
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 Collaboration Project

Some of my colleagues and I put together an Evernote Collaboration Project that we presented at the Annual CUE Conference in 2013. We grouped the students into quartets: two students from a fifth grade classroom in one district partnered with two students from an eighth grade classroom in a different district. The teachers decided that their collaboration project would focus on Science and Language Arts standards, and students collected information and resources about disastrous weather. In an effort to circumvent asking for funding from the principals, I created a shared account and all the teachers and students had access to the same account. I created notebooks for each group and each group took written notes and audio notes in their respective notebooks. There were incidences of students putting notes in the incorrect places, but we didn’t experience any issues with students doing anything unsavory to anyone else’s notes. They were extremely respectful and they “kept their digital hands to their digital selves.”

Common Core Connection

The collaboration project proved that Evernote can be a valuable resource not just for personal use but also for classroom use. Students were able to communicate and collaborate using the app because all of the students had access regardless of the device they were using. Common Core standards call for students to collaborate and to use the appropriate tool for the appropriate job. While this is a predominantly a personal productivity tool, using Evernote in the classroom can be beneficial for teachers and students as they work to build their technology skills.

What Do You Think?

How have you used Evernote in your classroom? Please share in the comments!

Flip Out over Flipagram

Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 10.30.55 AMFlipagram is an app that allows you to create videos from the images you have on your iPad or in your social media accounts. Of course, there are other apps that do the same thing, but with Flipagram, students don’t need an account to create and save their video creations (unless they want to go back and edit a video they’ve already finished). Adding audio is as simple as choosing a 30-second song clip from the app or a song that has already been purchased, or recording a narration by the student.

How Does Flipagram Work?

When you open the app, it will probably tell you that you’ll want to start following friends and other interesting people, because Flipagram is a social sharing app. You can skip it if you wish– sharing isn’t required for using the app.  flipagram1Tap the plus sign to start adding images from the camera roll or from social media accounts (if that’s acceptable in your district/school/classroom).flipagram3Tap Camera Roll and choose all the images you want to use. Then choose Next.

flipagram5Once you’ve chosen your moments, you can rearrange them by tapping, holding, and dragging the images to the desired location. From this same screen, tap on any image to crop, edit, or add text.

filpagram6When you are finished cropping the images (moments) and adding text, choose Next. You’ll see the first image and you’ll be able to add a title.

IMG_4669The rest of the images can be seen in the timeline below the first image. You can tap on the smaller images to bring them up to the larger window. You can continue to add text to each image or edit images with filters. This is also where you will be able to change how quickly the images change, and you’ll find the music icon to add your audio. Tap Music and you’ll be given three options.IMG_1078Choose “Find Music” and you’ll see that the app has a number of 30-second song clips that can be used in the Flipagram video. Better, students can record their voices and narrate their creations. Before students add full versions of songs they own, they should be aware of Fair Use limitations. When you are finished, choose Done, and then choose Next. You’ll be taken to the Share screen. You can caption your video if you want to, but it’s only necessary if you are going to post the video to your Flipagram account. Personally, I keep the option of posting to my profile off.IMG_1083Students have many options for sharing their videos via email, social media sites, YouTube, or just by saving it to the camera roll, which is the best option. Saving to the camera roll means that students can “App-Smash” their videos into other apps, including Aurasma, iMovie, Explain Everything, or any other app that allows students to import video.

IMG_1084If you choose More to save to the camera roll and you don’t see that option, it’s because the app saves to the camera roll automatically by default. If you don’t have automatic saving turned on, one of the options under “more” will be to save to camera roll.

flipagram2If students do want to edit a flipagram after it’s been completed, they will need an account. However, if students don’t choose “Done,” they will be given the option to resume editing the unfinished flipagram.  IMG_4671

Common Core Connection

Flipagram can easily be used across grade levels and across content areas to help students in all standards of the Common Core, especially the Anchor Standards for Writing and Speaking and Listening. Using the app helps students to show their understanding of concepts. Students can work together to create a Flipagram video or they can ask others for feedback on the feeling their video promotes. In this way, students are boosting their collaboration and communication skills as well as their critical thinking and creativity skills. Post their Flipagrams on a website or tweet the links to build a broader audience for students.

What Do You Think?

Have you used Flipagram in the classroom? How have you and your students used the app and shared videos?

Get Creative with Paper by FiftyThree

Screen Shot 2015-01-02 at 4.04.09 PMYou might have heard an increase in the term “sketchnote” being used over the past year or two. Sketchnoting is a way of taking notes that involves using creative text and images to record notes. I’ve tried it a few times, and not only do my notes look really cool, but it helps me to remember the really important bits of a presentation or conference. If you are an educational psychology buff, you are probably saying to yourself, “Of course it does! That’s the Dual Coding Theory!”

You don’t have to be an artist or even a creative-type to sketchnote. All you need is a paper and a pencil— or if you are on the iPad, you will want to experiment with Paper by FiftyThree.

How Does Paper 53 Work?

Paper is a free app that has some in-app purchases. When you download the free app, you will have a limited palatte of colors, the calligraphy pen, and an eraser. You might want to start by checking out the guide, Making Paper.

Paper is organized into Journals. Users have the ability to create new journals or add pages to existing journals. You can also customize the front cover by choosing one of the covers available in the app or using an image from the camera roll, and of course you can name each journal.IMG_1033.PNGThere are two ways to unlock the color palette and additional drawing tools within Paper by 53. The first way is through the in-app purchases— roughly $8.95 in all. The other way is to purchase a Pencil by FiftyThree, which is the special stylus made by the company. When you sync the Pencil with the app, it unlocks all the tools. I was fortunate to receive a Pencil as a gift for my birthday (and then again for the holidays, but that’s a different story), and it has made all the difference in my ability to create sketch notes. I have found that using the Pencil greatly increases my comfort with writing and sketching/drawing in the app.

IMG_1059Notes or sketches made in Paper can be captured to the camera roll from the landing page. Open a journal, choose a page, and select the share button. Tap “Save to Camera.” This allows the sketches made in the app to be app-smashed into other apps.

IMG_1057.PNGBe sure to watch the video tutorial on the Paper by FiftyThree Website. Also check out Mix by FiftyThree. It’s a great way for students to play off the work of others.

Common Core Connection

Like many apps featured on this blog, using Paper by 53 helps students develop their communication, critical thinking, and creativity skills more than it helps them with specific Common Core standards. As students learn to take visual notes, highlighting key information with words and images rather than recording every word of a lecture, they are thinking critically about main ideas. When students start a Journal or notebook, it’s blank– and the blank pages mean that students have total creative control over what they will do with each page.

Classroom Ideas

Students can use Paper to do a number of things in class:

  • Take visual notes
  • Sketch an idea
  • Create a Thinking Map
  • Remix an image related to curriculum found on Mix
  • Draw the background for slides used in Keynote, Haiku Deck, or Google Presentations

What Do You Think?

There are so many more ideas for using Paper with students in class. How are you using Paper with students?

 

Get Students Playing with Kahoot!

Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 12.18.15 PMGames are fun, and turning a quiz review or a discussion into a game can make these activities exciting and engaging for students. Kahoot.it! is a game-based Web 2.0 tool that teachers and students can use for content reviews or formative assessments. All you need is a projector, a host device, and mobile devices in the classroom to run a game of Kahoot!

How Does Kahoot! Work?

  1. Sign up for an account at getkahoot.com.
  2. Start a quiz, discussion, or poll, and give it a name. Kahoot!1
  3. Type in your first question. You can add an image or a video to make the question a little more engaging, especially if it has something to do with the question! You have options to make the question worth points or not, and you can also change how many seconds you provide to click an answer. Each question starts with the same number of points, and points are awarded to correct answers based upon how long it took to choose the answer.Kahoot!2Kahoot!4
  4. Add answers at the bottom of the page. You will probably need to scroll down to see where to add the answers. There’s a 60-character limit to the answers which is reflected by a number to the left of Incorrect/Correct button. Each answer defaults to incorrect, but you just click on the incorrect/correct button to change it. You can have up to four answers per question, and you can also make all of the answers correct if there isn’t just one right answer.
    Kahoot!3Kahoot!5
  5. Continue to add questions by clicking on the “Add Question” button at the bottom of the page. You can also move between questions by clicking on the numbers at the bottom left.Kahoot!11
  6.  When you are finished with the quiz, choose Save and Continue. You’ll be asked to provide a little more information about the quiz. You can keep the quiz public or set it to private, and you need to indicate who the audience of the quiz is. You can add a description or tags if you wish.Kahoot!6
  7. When you are all finished with that, choose Save and Continue. You’ll be taken to the final page, which allows you to play or preview the quiz. I recommend doing the preview because it shows you exactly what your quiz will look like to the students.Kahoot!8
  8. When the preview screen comes up, make sure to choose “Launch” on the right so that you are given a code to enter the quiz. Enter it on the little phone on the right and you’ll be able to play just like the students would.Kahoot!10
  9. When you are ready to allow students, launch the Kahoot! game and provide the code to your students. Project your Kahoot! on the screen so all students can see it, and you are all set!

Classroom Connection

Kahoot is a fun way to have students work individually (if you have 1:1) or in teams to play a review game or have a class discussion. If you have a few devices in your classroom or even if you only have two, have students work in larger teams. When you create the game, make sure to allow a little longer to answer each question so that students have the opportunity to talk about the answer with their group. Pass the device around so that all students have the chance to choose an answer. They get really competitive with this game and they want to be at the top of the leaderboard! It will get loud in the classroom, but it’s the kind of loud you want– engaged-in-learning-loud! Even adults get into the competition with Kahoot! Students could also make their own Kahoot! quizzes for themselves or their peers as review.

Common Core Connection

As a review game, Kahoot! can potentially help students meet the standards because the questions you ask will be Common Core-aligned questions about the content you are studying. If you choose, you can wait between questions and discuss answers that were given to help students process the questions and answers. This will help students go deeper and explain their thinking on an answer, which helps with their communication and critical thinking skills.

What Do You Think?

Have you used Kahoot! in the classroom? How have your students responded to this type of review?

Create Digital Thinking Maps with Popplet

Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 10.44.50 AMMiddle school teachers in my district have been using Thinking Maps since 2009. When I was in the classroom, I loved using Thinking Maps to give my students a conceptual net for gathering their thoughts. Students took ownership of the maps quickly and they were able to use them in all areas of their learning. When we started using iPads in the classroom, students were interested in learning to create Thinking Maps in a digital way.  The app that I have found to be most user-friendly in creating digital Thinking Maps is Popplet or Popplet Lite.

How Does Popplet Work?

Popplet starts with a blank canvas. Tap anywhere on the workspace to start a new popplet.

IMG_1022Within each popple, you can draw, type, or insert an image. You can also change the color of the outline of each popple. This is helpful for color-coding Thinking Maps.

poppletTap on any of the round gray buttons to create a new popple branching from the current one. Once it’s created, you can drag it around the page to format your Thinking Map properly. Some Thinking Maps work better than others using Popplet. For example, it is going to be very difficult for your students to create a Circle Map that actually looks like a Circle Map. However, others are much simpler. Click on the photo to enlarge it.IMG_1027

It’s also possible to make a Double Bubble Map. It requires a little creative Popplet action to get it done, but it’s possible! Watch the video below to see how.
If you are using the free version, you can only create one Popplet at a time. To start a new one, just save your current Popplet to the camera roll, and then you are free to clear the workspace and start on a new one.popplet1 The paid version is $4.99, and if you plan on having your students use Popplet pretty often, it might be worth the purchase price.

Popplet is also available on the Web at popplet.com. If you are working online, you are able to invite collaborators to work on Popplets together. You are also able to make your Popplet public and share via social media directly from the website. Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 4.11.39 PMThe free account on the Web allows you to create 5 Popplets before upgrading. The upgraded subscription is offered for a fairly reasonable price and you can make unlimited Popplets. You can read more about education pricing for Popplet Groups here. You can also subscribe as an individual.Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 4.22.29 PM

Common Core Connection

Most creation apps have Common Core connections— but it’s all about how you use them. As far as technology integration goes, using Popplet is more than likely within the Substitution and Augmentation levels of Reuben Puentedura’s SAMR model. Using the app in conjunction with Thinking Maps, however, will have students using the app while thinking critically, so it can address any Common Core standard.

What Do You Think?

How have you used Popplet in your classroom?

Create Beautiful Infographics on the iPad with Canva

Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 10.06.27 AMInfographics are visual images used to represent images or data. We used to just call them graphs or charts, because that’s usually what they were. Over the past few years, however, there has been an upswing in the number of infographics created to portray data in a visual way. There are many free online tools, such as Piktochart and Canva, that allow students to easily create infographics on their own. Now Canva also has an iPad app that students can use as they create visuals to communicate knowledge and information with others.

 How Does It Work?

Students begin by choosing a customizable design. Any designs that have already been created will be in the “Your Designs” section.

IMG_0974From there, students will choose a vibrant layout. Each layout is customizable, even down to changing the entire background. The text that is part of the layout is just a place holder– students can double tap on any word and change the text on the page. They can also change the font, the color, the size– anything!

IMG_0975Using the Uploads tab on the left, students can also upload their own images from the camera roll or take a photo. Then they can add a background and add different artistic text features. Just tap on one of the choices and it will pop into the graphic. Even with the fancy text features, the text is just a placeholder and everything can be customized.

IMG_0977When students are ready to share the infographic, they have a couple of options.

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The first option is to share via mail or Twitter. The other option is to download the infographic either as an image or as a PDF. Students can then “Send image to…” which allows them to open the document or image in another app. However, in order to save the images to the camera roll, a couple of additional steps are required.

  1. Download as an image.
  2. Choose “Send image to…”
  3. At the bottom of the two columns, choose “Quick Look”
  4. This opens the image. In the upper right hand corner, you’ll see the share button (square with an arrow)
  5. Tap the send button and choose “Save Image.” This saves the images to the camera roll. You will need to do this with each page of the infographic.IMG_0984

Common Core Connection

When thinking about reading in the Common Core, it’s important to remember that text doesn’t necessarily have to be articles, essays, novels, and the like. Text is all encompassing of many different types of media.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1
Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.7
Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.6
Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.

Students are practicing creativity and communication skills, as well, when they create infographics, and the best part is that they can be used for students to show their understanding of just about anything. They can also be used for students to synthesize information they have gathered from multiple sources around one idea or argument.

What Do You Think?

How are you using infographics in the classroom with your students? What are your favorite tools for this?

Google Drive: How to Share Folders When Using iPads

DriveIf your students are using iPads in the classroom and you have Google Apps for Education, here is a relatively quick way for students to share folders with their teachers. The best thing about shared folders is that anything a student puts in his or her folder is shared with the same permissions as the folder. In other words, if the student shares a folder with the teacher and then adds a document to that folder, the document is already shared with the teacher and the student doesn’t have to take any extra steps in sharing the document.

Using Google Classroom will do all of this for you, but if you aren’t using Classroom and you still need to share folders (and you aren’t ready to try out using gClassFolders yet), this is an easy way to do it.

The Steps

  1. Launch the Google Drive app and have students sign in using their Google Apps account.
  2. Tap the plus sign in the upper right-hand corner.
  3. Choose “New Folder.”
  4. Title the folder and tap Create. Students should follow the same naming convention:  For example, Period_1_LastName_FirstName
  5. Now back at Drive, the student needs to tap the little i on the right side of the folder. This brings up a Details menu.
  6. Tap the Share button.
  7. Type in the email address of the teacher. Make sure to have “Can Edit” checked.
  8. Tap the blue check mark, and you’re done!

The teacher will now see all of the share folders in the tab marked “Incoming” (which used to be Shared with Me). Folders can be moved from Incoming to My Drive in order to organize them into one folder in your Drive for each class period.

Visual Steps

I like to see things in video form, so here are two short videos I created to show the process.

What Do You Think?

How have you streamlined the process of sharing folders for your students, aside from using Google Classroom or gClassFolders?

QR Codes: Hanging Digital Work on Classroom Walls

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 10.38.30 AMQR codes are everywhere, from product packaging to business cards. But what is a QR code, and why should teachers care? One of the biggest concerns I hear from teachers as students create more and more digital products is that there won’t be any student work to hang on the walls. Using QR codes allows students to create a portion of a project on paper– such as an illustration or some other work of art– and the student can then make a QR code that contains the digital product they’ve created to go along with it. Print the QR code, attach it to the artwork, and anyone with a mobile device can view the project in its entirety.

Reading QR Codes

My favorite app for reading QR codes is i-nigma. It’s the quickest reader I’ve come across. Just launch the app, hold your phone or iPad up to the QR code, and wait for the ding. You won’t have to wait very long– the app uses the camera of the device and it uses the whole screen to scan the code, not a little red line within a special place on the screen. It’s seriously fast. There are other apps you could use, such as Red Laser (an iPhone app that works on the iPad), QR Reader for iPad, or Qrafter. All of those apps are great because you can also create QR codes directly from the device. But the fastest reader out there is i-nigma.

Below is an infographic I created about QR codes with some ideas for how they can be used in the classroom.

Common Core Connection

It is a stretch to say that there’s a Common Core connection when using QR codes in the classroom, but they do help with the dissemination of information. Using QR codes provides students with easy access to materials you create or websites you would like for them to visit. It also provides a quick way for anyone coming through the classroom to have access to the digital products your students are creating, and those digital products are all reflective of their understanding of Common Core State Standards. Additionally, having students create QR codes for their own work helps them develop their digital literacy skills as they learn new ways to share their work.

What Do You Think?

How have you used QR codes in your classroom? what is your favorite tool for reading or creating them?

Student Authoring with Book Creator

Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 6.42.04 PMBack in the days before technology was so readily available, I had my students write stories and turn them into books using file folders covered with construction paper as book covers, and we would bind them using the giant book-binder and plastic bindings that I purchased for my classroom. We would create collaborative class books in the same way. Today, students can use apps on the iPad that to write and publish their own e-books. One such app, Book Creator, by Red Jumper, is easy to use and allows students to create beautiful books on the iPad that are viewable in many different apps, including iBooks.

How Does Book Creator Work?

If this is your first time using the app, be sure to take a look at the Getting Started guide. It allows you to see a book and it gives you the chance to move things around and explore before having to create your own.Book_Creator_start

When you tap “New Book” to create a new project, you will have the chance to choose the type of book you’d like: portrait, square or landscape. Book_Creator_shape

The book will open to a blank cover. It’s up to the author to decide what should go on the book’s cover. There are many different types of elements for students to add to the cover and to the pages of the book.Book_Creator_elements

Elements can be moved around the page, resized, and deleted if necessary. Tapping on an element and then on the “i” icon will open an editing menu for the element.Book_Creator_edit_text

You can also tap on the “i” icon without having anything highlighted, and that will open the menu to edit the page.Book_Creator_edit_page

When the book is finished, you can open it in other apps, or it can be exported in a variety of formats. You can export it as an ePub, a PDF, or a video. Books can also be opened in other apps. This can be done from within a book or from the “My Books” page.Book_Creator_open_in

Common Core Connection

If I listed all of the Common Core State Standards that could be addressed as students use Book Creator app, this post would go on forever! The app can be used for students to meet just about any Common Core State Standard in English Language Arts or in Math. Writing books helps students show what they know about any topic in any subject matter. Using Book Creator is a fantastic way to help students not only show their understanding to the teacher and their classmates, but they can share their books with the world, as well. Along with the Common Core standards that are being met, students exhibit the 21st Century Skills of communication, critical thinking, and creativity when they create. Of course, if the book is a collaborative effort, and if students share their books with others and ask for feedback, they are also using collaboration skills.

What Do You Think?

How have you used Book Creator in your classroom? What kinds of books have you asked students to write?

Create Awesome Comics with Comics Head Lite

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 11.32.35 AMI used to love to read the Sunday funnies. I’d wait (somewhat) patiently until my parents were finished with the paper, and then I’d read the entire comics section. When I became a teacher, I bought the Sunday paper each week just so I could have some comics to bring into my classroom and share with my students. Sometimes I would incorporate them into a lesson, and sometimes I’d bring them in just for giggles. I also had my students create their own comics to tell short snippets of a longer story, much the way the comics do each week. So when the iPad entered my classroom, I kept searching for a comic creator app that was easy to use… and free. I’ve tried many different comic creator apps, and each one hasn’t been what I needed. And though the search has been a couple of years long, I think I’ve finally found what I’ve been searching for in Comics Head Lite.

What is Comics Head Lite?

Comics Head Lite is the free version of Comics Head, which is a powerful comic creator app. The Lite version is pretty robust itself, and teachers and students can easily use the current free version to create comics. Choose from different layouts, different templates, or create your own. There are so many options— I just have to show you!

There are a few ways to get started. If this is your first time to the app, you can choose to Create New Comic, or you can pick from a template at the bottom of the screen.

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Next, select the toy box icon from the icons list at the top. This will give you access to all the different backgrounds, characters, props and fx, and your photos. Swipe to the left on a row of icons in any of these areas for more choices.IMG_0900

To add text or dialogue, choose the speech bubble icon. “Edited” means that you can actually edit the size and shape of the speech bubble. “Simple” means that you can re-size the speech bubble, but it changes proportionately. Just pinch the speech bubble to resize it. IMG_0901

Draw your own pictures, add shapes and lines, and change the colors of pretty much anything by choosing the icon that looks like a pencil cup. You can always tap the image if you want to delete them once they have been added to the comic.IMG_0902

Choosing the icon that looks like three pieces of paper will show all the layers of your project. This allows you to lock layers so that you can adjust parts of the comic without moving everything.

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Free Vs. Paid

There are benefits, of course, to purchasing the app for $3.99. The free version has limited sharing options, but it allows the most important one— save as image! Once the image is in your camera roll, you can open it in any other app (known as app-smashing) or you can upload it somewhere online. The free version also limits each comic to only one page. You can get around this by saving a finished comic page to the camera roll and then editing the comic to preserve the characters and background. When you are finished with the next page, save it to the camera roll and continue like that until the comic is finished.

The paid version allows many more options for sharing and exporting comics, and it allows more saving options, as well. As I noted above, in the paid version, students can create multi-page comics, and they can also save their comics as templates for future use. You also get many more art assets, parental controls, additional editing features, and there’s also the option to print pages via air print.

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Common Core Connection

Comics Head Lite can help your students with many of the Common Core State Standards for Literacy and Writing. It can be used across the curriculum for students to show what they know on any number of subjects. While it may seem like Comics would be used mostly for narrative writing, comics can be used for students to write informative/explanatory pieces as well as opinion/argument pieces. I came across a free Teacher’s Manual download from Dover Books, which highlights specific standards (for grades 3-5) that are addressed when students create comics. If you teach other grades, you can still follow the strand to see which standards apply for your grade level. The manual contains activities that are specific to the Word Play! text sold on the website, but I included the link because the lesson activities are ideas that can be adapted to work with your curriculum and Comics Head Lite.

What Do You Think?

Have you found a different comic creator app that you like? Have you tried Comics Head or Comics Head Lite? How have you used it with students?