Tag Archives: ipads

Old Hong Kong… New Ideas

Primary Four students took on an ambitious project that involved all classes visiting the Hong Kong History Museum over a six month period as an extension of their English unit of study, titled Old Hong Kong.  In their groups, they planned what aspect of old Hong Kong they wanted to explore, assigned roles including a narrator or emcee, took videos and pictures with an iPad, and brought it altogether using iMovie.


Students were taught to:

  • plan their visit with questions and decisions about what video and pictures should be included
  • assign key roles of narrator, photographer, writer, reporter, etc. where necessary
  • use specific grammar structures  and target language which they learned in their unit of study
  • develop positive group member skills
  • use the basics of iMovie and the camera feature on an iPad


At the end of each video, students were given the opportunity reflect and express how they felt about the trip and what they had gained from the experience.

Thank you to the English Panel Head, Ms Lai and to the Primary Four class teachers for their constant support throughout this unit of study.


Stop Motion – Start the Fun!

This past week was the culmination of the Extra Curricular Activity I presented using Stop Animation technique to create short video animations.

Stop motion is an animation technique that physically manipulates an object that appears to move on its own. The object is moved in small increments between individually photographed frames, creating the illusion of movement when the series of frames is played as a continuous sequence.

Students created their stories using Plasticine figures. Stop motion animation using Plasticine is called clay animation or “clay-mation”.

IMG_6789Students were introduced to this method through an app called, myCreate.


They started with storyboards to record their ideas, drawings and details to direct their work. This was a new experience for them which, at times, was challenging as they were not quite aware of the precision and number of photos that have to be taken just to create a thirty second clip (easily, over 300!).


Once they became immersed in the project and understood what was needed to be successful, they surprised themselves with their creativity and the quality of the outcome. Bravo to them all.

That Final Touch

Students in my various classes continue to amaze me with their ability to engage with multiple languages over the course of any day.  After typical startup routines within my lessons, they review content and high- frequency vocabulary associated with various units/themes and large books we read together.

COMPOSURE Composure, Today at 7.25.22 pm.png

It is at this stage that they look forward to a variety of activities to help reinforce the goals of the lesson.  One of these activities, commonly, is the use of the iPads.  Students are seen here practicing vocabulary and, in some apps, being introduced to new vocabulary with the aid of graphics and audio.

I learn so much watching them have their private time with the iPad to see which assigned apps grab their attention, and which ones rarely get used.  I have been using various phonics apps that allow for customizing vocabulary.  I recommend you looking at Alligator Apps for samples of these type of apps, and most are generously free!


Alligator Apps Firefox, Today at 7.39.29 pm.png

iMovie = Happy Students

Students in P4 are enjoying the challenge to create an iMovie project that represent their experiences and inquiries at the Hong Kong Museum of History in Tsim Sha Tsui.


Students are planning their group’s exploration with specific questions and topics they want to take video and photos of.  They are comparing Hong Kong then and now.  The unit is entitled, ‘Old Hong Kong’ and will be presented in a iMovie project that highlights what visitors to Hong Kong should go and see.


Skills they are developing:

  • group skills
  • question and answer
  • clarity and pronunciation skills
  • proper video and photo capturing skills
  • “less is more” concept with video lengths
  • interview and presentation skills while using the video capture function
  • iMovie skills in arranging clips and photos, titles, captions, voice over, cropping/trimming, volume control, transitions and basic effects – again, “less is more”


iPads Love the Zoo

Early this week, our P1 classes had an adventure at the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens.  This was the culminating activity of their unit on plants and animals.   They were able to see many of the animals and plants they leaned about.


Students enjoyed having the freedom to take photos with the iPads for later use at school.  We have been talking about curating various forms of information for use in activities, making it more personal and student-driven.

Creating Film Reviews with Sock Puppets App

Sock Puppet

Grade Six students have been learning what constitutes a film review and, as part of their unit, they  have been putting their new learned skill to work through the use of an app – Sock Puppet.  After having watched and discussed the film, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, they set about in groups to prepare and record their project.

Sock Puppets allow just about anyone to quickly and easily create short animated movies using not only sock puppet characters, but (via in-app purchases) aliens and Halloween characters.  To create a video, simply select your puppets, a background, some props and tap the record button. The app detects a voice, and attempts to move the mouth of the puppet along with the vocals.
Using Sock Puppet is one of the many ways in which children can have an interactive learning experience practicing a second language.  Even for the shyest student, the puppet they select acts as their Avatar, allowing them to feel at ease while recording.  Furthermore, they can self-correct any mistake and practice their pronunciation.


My Create

A new Grade 4 ECA has just begun and the students are eager to see what’s planned for them.  I want something that is rich with:

  • inquiry
  • technology
  • student independence
  • ESL common goals
  • content transferable to other areas
  • memorable and fun

We are going to work with a free app that available from Apple’s iTunes App Store called, My Create.  It is stop motion photography.

My Create icon

In groups, students will be using storyboards to create a brief 10 to 30 second stop motion animation about a topic they find interesting.  It requires creating a background and assembling small characters and props that will add to the ‘movie-like’ illusion that stop motion creates.

The storyboard promotes a structure to their brief tale… brief, because typically, stop motion animation takes approximately 10 photos per second of video.

Create ECA 2

Group skills include a team approach where each student is valued and has a task.  Tasks could involve:

  • director
  • photographer
  • background creaters
  • props creators
  • storyboard creator
  • sound creator

Create ECA 1

This week, we will be focusing on planning strategies, samples, and storyboard development.  Each week, students will see sample videos that are popular stop motion type from YouTube and Vimeo.

Students are encouraged to download My Create if they have an Apple iPad or iPhone at home.  My goal is to see them using this technology outside of school for their own purposes, and, hopefully to support their learning in other subject areas.

Here’s a stunning example of stop motion by a pro:

Sock Puppets App Lends a Hand

Sock Puppet

One of the apps I have started using in the classroom is Sock Puppets.  It is a free app but it does have the option for several in app purchases.

Sock Puppets P1

It is a wonderful tool that allows my ESL students at all levels, to practice their oral skills.

P1 iPads

This app allows children to create a high tech sock puppet play, and the finished product can be used for a myriad of other activities.

  • up to four different puppets can be selected
  • you can also choose a background or upload one of your choice
  • select props and scenery

Once the stage is set, participants can create a 30 second recording of their play.  The sock puppets mouths move when the user talks and it can also be moved around the screen by touching it.  The app has a feature that allows the user to change the tone/pitch of their voice so it is very non threatening for those children who are shy.

Below is a short video done by my P1. ESL students.  This is their first time being exposed to English and they used it to introduce themselves and welcome the rest of the P1 classes during our opening assembly.

I will be using this app in many different ways and will continue sharing the various ways children can “create” and put into practice what they have learned.