Thursday, May 21, 2015

Our Very Own Plays!

This year has flown by and we were TERRIBLE about blogging!  We tried so many new things this year that we SHOULD have blogged about but for some reason we just never got around to it.  To our loyal followers we humbly apologize...

at a math conference when I was introduced to the app Puppet Pals ...
Puppet Pals 2: School Edition
Now that that is out of the way, lets move onto something really neat that we just finished trying out on this year's guinea pigs first graders.  Just like many of you we really try hard to squeeze in technology all throughout our curriculum.  Unfortunately, many of the activities out there that we have found are just not "meaty" enough.  They feel like filler or the technology is just an add-on.  We feel like we are always shouting "Give us the MEAT AND POTATOES!" But alas, the technology is either boring or not educationally worth the time and energy.  After much time researching in the the blog-o-shere for a completely unrelated technology initiative (that we will talk about in our next blog post) we happened to come across an i Pad App called Puppet Pals 2: School Edition.  You can find it in the Apple iTunes store.  They also have a free version but for $5.99 we thought that the purchase was worth the extras that were included in the school version.  As we explored the App we thought "What a great way to have students publish their writing!"  Since we had been reading some short plays and reader's theater stories in our reading curriculum, we thought that it was fitting to have the students write their own plays as well.
Available on TPT

So we created a TPT unit called "Our Very Own Play: A Writing Project" to help our students plan and write their own plays.  We spent a lot of time discussing the text features that make a play or skit a unique type of text.  When the students completed their plays we let them act out and record their plays using the Puppet Palls 2: School Edition App.
Character Options
The App allows the students to choose a background, choose their characters, move them around the background, talk, enter and exit vehicles, and move from the foreground to the background and back again. This App would also work great for non-fiction reports on major historical figures since the character choices include select historical figures such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks and some others.

Please feel free to view our awesome sample of a published play below.  Keep in mind that these plays were written by first graders...beware of the cuteness!

Keep on Dancing in Your Teacher Shoes!

Deanna and Jenelle