Friday, June 13, 2014

Bringing Characters to Life Using Chromville and Write About This, by Katherine Hlousek, Emiliano Zapata Academy Librarian

During the fourth quarter, second grade library lessons focused on bringing our characters and stories to life and action with iPads.  Over the course of six classes students worked in teams to design characters using the app Chromville and then write and record an original story using the app Write About This.  This library unit supports and extends the second grade classroom character traits unit and further develops students’ writing, fluency, technology, and creation skills.     
Second graders had an absolute blast using Chromville!  Chromville is a new free augmented reality app that brings characters to 3D life.  Visit the Chromville website to download and print the character pages.  There are six different character options available for download and more character pages will be added in the future.  To allow for greater creativity, there is an option for students to design an original character with the Customizable character page.  Tip - In order for the character page to work with the app, students need to color in the lines and avoid coloring the Chromville village icon in the corner.
Chromville is easy to use.  First open the Chromville app and click play.  Then locate the village icon on the character page and click the corresponding village icon on the iPad.  Next, hold the iPad over the paper to scan the character page; this is similar to scanning a QR code.  Scanning the character page might take a few tries since students need to hold the iPad still for three seconds.  Try putting the character page on the floor or a chair for easier scanning.  When the iPad is lined up with the character page, the iPad screen will turn green and will count down (3, 2, 1).  Then the character will become 3D and will move around, wave, and dance, among other actions.  Students can take a picture of the 3D character using the camera option within the Chromville app.  There is a camera icon and the photo saves to the iPad camera roll.  Using Reflector and AirPlay, second grade students shared their 3D Chromville character photo with the class.

The Chromville characters provided the perfect starting point for students to work collaboratively in teams to create an original story.  Students used an Elements of a Story Storyboard Planning Worksheet to map out their creative story.  During the next class students used the Write About This app to write and record their original story featuring their Chromville characters.  Students took turns in their teams writing and recording the team story.  Lastly, students added a picture of a Chromville character to the story.
At the conclusion of the unit, we had a story celebration!  Students shared their team stories created using the Write About This app.  Second grade students had tons of fun with Chromville and Write About This and are very eager to use Chromville again in third grade!

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