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Toontastic

Educational Value:
Fun Factor:
Skills:Storytelling, Creativity, Story Elements

What we like best:

A detailed how-to guide offers comprehensive directions, as well as supplementary questions for kids to think about as they invent stories.

What you should know:

The link to in-app purchases is large, and too appealing to young kids.
Full Review:

Storytelling is a tried-and-true way of sparking creativity and building an understanding of story elements such as set-up, conflict, challenge, climax and resolution.

With Toontastic, kids are presented a detailed explanation of what makes a good story using a step-by-step guide to create something all children love—cartoons! Using the short descriptions of Story Arc events, little producers are directed through the app's features in an intuitive manner; no parental involvement required. Choosing from pre-made scenes and characters—or using simple paint tools to create their own—kids control everything in their story, from scene and animation to music and sounds. Children can record their voices to give life to their animated stars, and choose fitting theme music for each action that occurs in their movie. Once the small screen gem is complete, upload it to ToonTube (with parental permission) or browse others' films for inspiration.

Kids will be so engrossed in the storytelling and movie-making processes, most won't realize that they're building a basic knowledge of story elements, which is critical for reading comprehension skills. Bonus? The app itself is free—but offers in-app purchases for budding Spielbergs who can't get enough of controlling the storytelling process.

Teacher Features:
The “Parent Guide” link takes you to a step-by-step how-to for using the app, including what to do and questions to ask students during each element of the story arc.
Reviewed 2012-09-30 on iPad iOS6 by Vicki Windman

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App Icon
Price:Free – $9.99
Grade:Fourth Grade
Topic:Writing
Platform:Apple
Publisher:Launchpad Toys
Standards:Text Types and Purposes: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique descriptive details and clear event sequences. W.4.3. Production and Distribution of Writing: With some guidance and support from adults use technology including the Internet to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of one page in a single sitting. W.4.6 Research to Build Present Knowledge W.4.7: Conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.