This morning in the AT&T Classroom the Rootstown second graders were introduced to two tools for creating animated stories. Sock Puppets is a free iOS app that allows students to explore creative storytelling by creating lip-synced puppet shows that can be shared on the ipad or via Facebook or YouTube. Children are able to select from a variety of hand puppet characters as well as themed backgrounds to create their own unique show. Using tools such as Sock Puppets to create digital stories provides opportunities for children to further develop their literacy skills (e.g., reading, writing, speaking & listening) and also build important “twenty-first century skills” for critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication.
The second graders also learned to create animated scenes and stories by programming with Scratch Jr, a free app developed for young children ages 5+ by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. Scratch Jr. engages children in using an introductory programming language to create animations, interactive stories and games. Students combine graphical programming blocks to animate characters to move, jump, dance, and sing. Children are also able to customize the characters in the paint editor, add their own voices and sounds, and insert photos of themselves. In addition to introductory programming and coding skills, Scratch Jr. also supports the development of skills related to sequencing and numeracy while also fostering children's’ creative and critical thinking. The app is available for free download for iPads and Android tablets.