Thursday, March 6, 2008

Get Your Cat to Teach Reading - Crazy Talk 5

"Get your cat to teach reading," my email to the district office read. I had previously received a picture of a cat, Steve McQueen, via email and in return I made a video clip. The animated video is of Stevie the Cat reciting a poem about....cats. This clip is making the rounds in classrooms and sparking many ideas of how to motivate students.

How did the digital photo transform into an animated video? With CrazyTalk 5 you can transform photos and images into animated characters with suprizing ease. As with most technology I have found that you can use a little or use a lot - the results are impressive. Upload an image and then manipulate the face with a few puppeteering tools. Use Crazy Talk's recording tools, text-to-speech or even your own sound file for the voice. Another click of the mouse and characters reward you with their crazy moves.

What about the part regarding motivating students? Animated characters are a given for motivation. Admittedly no big news there. The big idea is to integrate creating characters to motivate students to build their communication skills of reading, speaking and writing. Students create scripts and practice recording - writing, reading, and speaking. It is up to us to help our students build these skills well.

So many ideas have come out of Stevie the Cat. Biographies, poems, storytelling, story characters, speeches, my pet, your pet, and many more.

I took pictures around our school to make clips of a cast of characters to play on our morning newscast. Who am I? Where do I live? Can you find me? Interest is building, questions are being asked, ideas are blooming. But they have to wait to find out, "How did she do that? When can I do that too!"

Here is the first announcement below. More applications with examples next time, but first meet Digiraffe- our own digital giraffe!