Crayola DJ App

Screen-Shot-2015-05-27-at-6.25.49-PMCrayola DJ App

Age Scale:  6+

Device:  iPhone, iPod, and iPad (available on Google Play also!)

Quick Line: Look Out Calvin Harris!

What Educators Need to Know:

Our school will soon enter the Maker Movement with the addition and development of a true makerspace in our building.  Exciting!  But not every student will have access to this creative location every day.  What to do?  Combine our Makerspace To Go with some terrific apps on our iPads!

Crayola DJ is a great app to get students started in the creation process.  It is especially appealing to those interested in music.  And while the target age range is 6-10, I would argue that even older students would enjoy mixing tracks. While the options are minimal, it is very easy to create professional-sounding mixes.

Here’s how it works:  

Crayola DJ

First, add a drum track. There are only a few to choose from, but I think this was a good plan.  Too many options for such an important foundation could get confusing.  Second, add looping a sound effect from one of five genres. Repeat this process on the second turntable.  Slide the balance to make one turntable sound louder than the other.  Change the tempo to create some variety.  Add special effects to make your beat unique.  Then produce your song and battle it out on the “stage” by scratching and adding a light show.  Save the song and share it with family and friends!

crayola dj 2

You certainly don’t have to keep my basic guide handy when you use this app.  A nice tutorial will lead you through the steps easily and help you produce something slick.

You might be thinking, “But what would I use this for?”  We have done some terrific projects in the past by having students create original songs and/or jingles to advertise fictitious products in Health classes or points of interest in Social Studies.  How awesome would it be for students to create original beats to use alongside these?  The truth is, the students have these ideas in their heads.  Why not allow them to produce something of professional quality!

Price:  $4.99

I received a free copy of this app from Legacy Games, but my review and opinions are my own.

Toontastic and Telestory are FREE

I have been so busy designing new and creative ways for my students to tell stories digitally. We’ve been using Animoto, StoryboardThat, and Thinglink to share our reading experiences.  I absolutely love these programs.

But once upon a time, when I had my whole team reading the SAME novel, I had the students use a fabulous storytelling app on the iPads.  It was called Toontastic.


We read the intriguing story of Claudia and Jamie searching for the mystery of the Angel statue in From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg.

Well, I am happy to announce that Toontastic is joining Google and is now FREE!   This is a huge deal as this was a pricey app!  I love Toontastic as it offers so many great choices to showcase stories.  You start by planning your story via the plot diagram or story arc.  Choose your scene, characters, and mood music to communicate your ideas.  There are dozens and dozens to choose from.  Animate your characters and record your voice.  Put it all together to show what you know!  Is there any better way to show that the students understand the parts of a story? Love, love, love!  See our example below.

Now, I have not used Launchpads Toys sister app, Telestory, but judging from the App Store reviews, it is just as fabulous and FREE too.  According to the description, you can create and broadcast your own TV show!  The steps seem to be simple.

“Pick a theme, then mix and match over 30 animated scenes to film your own story.  Craft a script using our playful TV tropes (or write your own).   Dress up in 50 different digital costumes with face tracking.  Perform and record your own show with animated settings and special effects.  Broadcast your show by exporting it to the camera roll and sharing your creation with family and friends around the world!” 

This app is compatible with the iPod and iPhone too!  Moms and Dads might like to have this one too!


Our Digital Journey: Animoto

We’ve been hard at work this year integrating technology and telling  great stories. Animoto has been a favorite program!  You can create beautiful videos and presentations very simply!  Sophia’s video will tug at your heart as she introduces the book Blindsided by Priscilla Cummings.


Click on the image or here to play it.

Lauren was inspired by The Hunger Games:  Mockingjay.  She was able to upload a song purchased on her own device to convey the mood of this popular title.


Click on the image or here to play it.

Animoto is very easy to use.  Students can import videos, images, music, and text to share their learning.  Teachers can get all of the Pro features for FREE by applying for an Animoto For the Classroom account.  That means unlimited, 20 minute, unbranded videos that can be shared via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and email.  Click on the logo below to get started.


All About Me Using Pic Collage

The Tech Club is working on All About Me using the FREE app Pic Collage.  I love Pic Collage for its ease of use.  You can take pictures, use pictures from your camera roll, add effects, crop them, and add borders.  You can customize your creation with a bunch of really fun backgrounds and layouts.  Best of all, you can search the web for pictures of your favorite sports teams and celebrities.  Note:  Sign up for an teacher/educational account and you can limit students’ ability to search the web which is important if you are teaching younger students.  I can’t wait to share our final products next week!

But, first…

Let me take a selfie!

Up close and personal!

Sweet Background!

DocScan HD Pro

doc scan hd pro

DocScan HD Pro

Age Scale:  10+

Device:  iPhone, iPod, and iPad

Quick Line: No Scanner?  No Problem!

What Educators Need to Know:

How many times do you wish you had a copy machine in your classroom?  I mean, the printer is nice, but sometimes, you just need…one.more.copy.  So, you trek down to the copy machine, wait in line, waste your precious time.

Well, wait no more.  Snap a picture with your iPhone camera while in DocScan HD Pro.  Drag and set a perimeter, choose color or black and white, and save that sucker!  It even removes shadows and corrects curled or wrinkled pages!  Continue scanning and adding pages to your document, or export your new pdf to email, Dropbox, or Evernote.  Create folders for subjects, topics, or skills.  Preserve your best resources digitally or print them when you are in a bind for that single copy!

I have found so many uses for this app.  I’ve certainly scanned my share of lost/misplaced documents for students.  And I’ve copied collaborative student notes, so individuals can add on  at home.  But most importantly, I’ve used it to post resources to Edmodo, the social platform we use for our classroom.  Students who are absent don’t have to wait for work to come home.  They simply log on and print.

DocScan has made reproducing documents so easy and convenient.  I absolutely love it!

Price:  $1.99

Pic Collage


Age Scale:  9+

Device:  iPhone, iPod, and iPad

Quick Line:  Easy Artistic Summaries

What Educators Need to Know:

As you may have noticed by my current social media promotion, I absolutely loved using iMovie to produce trailers as a culminating project after reading novels.  If you didn’t catch it, see it here:

But we recently finished reading The Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss.  This sensitive autobiography is set during WWII as young Annie, a Jewish girl in German-occupied Holland, is forced to live in hiding.  Naturally, I wanted to be sure that our project matched the seriousness of the topic.

I asked the students to create “visual summaries” using the app Pic Collage.  They began by brainstorming words and phrases on paper for each of the main characters, setting, and events.  They selected the 30 most powerful ideas to represent with words and pictures.  [We learned quickly that users are limited to 30 items.]  Quick Safari searches yielded a Camera Roll full of terrific examples.  Pic Collage allowed them to “cut” them as if they were creating true collages from mixed media.

The results were stunning.  Now, I’m no art teacher, but I shared several examples of collage art and encouraged them to use the space wisely and create a focal point of some sort.  We also talked about smart text, color, and font selection.  Without too much guidance in this department, I thought they did an amazing job.  If we hadn’t run out of time, they would have written paragraphs explaining some of their choices.  Their final products were evaluated on content, appearance, and mechanics.

Check out one of my favorites:


Pic Collage is a free app available for all devices.  Many of my students downloaded it at home as it can be used for all sorts of projects.  There are a number of backgrounds, layouts, editing options, and text effects to meet the needs of just about any project.  In fact, the students are now using it on independent research projects regarding our current novel, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli.  Pic Collage also offers “School Settings”.  You can disable a user’s ability to grab photos from the web from within the app as well as disable the social media and profile tabs.  Good thinking!  This app is easy and fun to use!

Price:  FREE