Teach Through Apps: Toontastic

Teach Through Apps: Toontastic

Age level: Early elementary, upper elementary, middle school, high school
Description: Let me start by saying that I love this app. It is highly motivating for a wide range of students, and can be used to teach both low- and high-level learners. At it’s most basic, this app allows students to draw, animate, and share a cartoon. It splits the cartoon into five scenes: setup, conflict, challenge, climax, and resolution. For each scene, the child can choose the setting and characters, then click “Start animation” for that scene. They can move the characters around the screen AND record dialogue and sound effects. After creating each scene, they can add music to each scene, a movie title and their own name as the director.  Then they can label what their story is about from a menu within the app.
Modifications: I use this app for a variety of skill levels. For some of my early learners, I may create a story on my own and use it to teach a specific skill, especially for social skills for my students with autism or language delays. For some students I will create the entire story except for the resolution, have them listen to the story, then have them create the resolution on their own. The app also easily works for teaching story structure.
Students with autism or language delays can use this app to practice a conversation between characters. Because you can record dialogue for each scene, they can listen to what they have said and make improvement/adjustments on their own. I also work on requesting with these students if we are creating an animation together. I will ask them where they want me to move my character and require them to use adjectives, prepositions, and/or adverbs in their response. Additionally, because this is a highly motivating app for typically developing students, it can be a great tool for initiating age-appropriate peer play.
Finally, it is a fantastic skill for teaching recognition of emotion to older students with autism. Identifying the emotion the character might be feeling, having them respond appropriately to that emotion, and identifying music that would match that emotion are all important skills to practice.
Skills: Intraverbal skills, Story structure, Sequence, Retelling a story, Summarizing, Picture comprehension, Problem solving, Peer play
Pros: This is very user friendly, highly motivating, easy to modify, and a great tool for teaching a variety of comprehension and language skills.
Cons: After you have created a story and want to re-watch it, it is a little too easy to accidentally record over your initial dialogue. When you want to watch the animation, instead of pushing “Start Animation” you should push the clapboad in the upper right hand corner.
Cost: Free, with in-app purchases of additional scenes and characters. Should I buy this? Did I mention it’s free?
ABLLS: F16, F17, F22 G2, G10,  G13, G21, G39, G43, H48
VB-MAPP: Social Behavior & Social Play 12, Social Behavior & Social Play 13, Social Behavior & Social Play 14, Social Behavior & Social Play 15, Intraverbal 13, Intraverbal 14, Intraverbal 15, Linguistic Structure 15

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