Tuesday 16 September 2014

#Peel21st Blog Hop - Cool Tools for School

On Twitter, several #Peel21st folks were discussing their favourite digital tools and tools that they were planning on exploring this year. @tina_zita came up with the great idea for everyone who was interested to write a blog post and link those posts into this #Peel21st Blog Hop.  Please check the other blog posts linked at the bottom of this page after you read my post titled:

PUPPET PALS2 - Not Just for Primary

As the new Teacher-Librarian in my school, I wanted my orientation sessions to grab the attention of our junior students and teachers who already know the "Library Rules" but who might not already know that the possibilities are endless when you pair up with a Teacher-Librarian :)

I used a variety of my favourite digital tools and a few new ones to review the Library Routines. The new-to-me digital tool that I found most interesting was the free version of Puppet Pals. Many FDK teachers recommend this app, but I hadn't tried it until last week. Here is my first take - but I will warn you that it isn't very good.

Now the best thing about my attempt not being very good was that it prompted a lot of discussion with the grade 4s and 5s. In addition, the students were eager to come up with one important library rule or routine and create a digital text that I could share with students in lower grades.Many thought that my video would be too creepy for younger children and gave evidence from the text (creepy music, Abraham Lincoln in a police car was weird, Abe's voice was creepy). Others mentioned that the changes in music helped to set the tone for 'happy' kids and 'serious' man. Some students mentioned that the free version didn't offer multicultural choices and that they couldn't choose a character that looked like they did. They critiqued the movement of the car going through the bodies and were very serious when listing success criteria.

Not only were students engaged, they were demonstrating the expectations outlined in the Language Curriculum Overview for Grades 4-6:

The expectations for Grades 4 to 6 focus on students’ ability to use their knowledge
and skills in listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing, and representing to 
understand, critically analyse, and communicate a broad range of information
and ideas from and about their multicultural, multimedia environment. 

It is pretty exciting and powerful to see how digital tools can enhance teaching, learning, creativity, communication, collaboration, citizenship, character and critical thinking.

Puppet Pals 2 for the iPad is easy to use - just pick a setting and character(s) and record voice(s) while animating the character(s) using simple gestures. Finished videos can quickly be saved to the camera roll and shared in a variety of ways or exported to iMovie for editing. With the paid version, you can use your own photos and you have access to a larger variety of characters.

A Parent & Teacher Guide can be found here.

Please visit the rest of the Blog Hop Posts below

Notability by Phil Young

Pocket by Greg Pearson 

NFB StopMo by Graham Whisen 

Code .or by Erica Armstrong

Scratch Jr. by James Cash 

Educreations by Matthew Oldridge 

IFTTT by Jason Richea 

Photo Editor by Aviary by Tina Zita


  1. Great post, Debbie! I love the fact that you and students analyzed your Puppet Pals creation and thought about different audiences. What great modeling for when it is their turn to create a media text. Great post and thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Jim! I appreciate your kind words :)

  2. The clip was hilarious! Love it and the process you and the students went through to best persuade your audience with the app.

    1. Thank you Tina. I love that you get my sense of humour :)

  3. You. Are. The. Best.