On the "Main Page" of the application, you will see an adorable, white puppy popping out of a backpack welcoming you to the application! There are five different options for pages to head to next - More Apps, Info, Users, Table of Contents, and Play.
Pressing the "Info" button will bring you to a Question and Answer page about the application, the population it is intended for, how to use the application, and examples of using the challenge words in sentences as well as answers to the questions on the application. In addition, you will find the developer's website at the bottom of the page. You can view a video demo of the application below:
Pressing this button will bring you to the iTunes App Store in which you can see additional applications created by Hamaguchi Apps for Speech, Language and Auditory Development.
The "Home" edition of this application is for a single-user only but the "Pro" edition can hold up to 30 user profiles! To add a user to the application, press the white bar that states, "what is your name?". Then, type in the user's name via the keyboard and then press the green "Add User" button. You can delete users by pressing the red circle with a "-" button in the middle and then pressing "Delete" next to the user's name. Once you have chosen a user to play the application, press the green "Play" button at the bottom of the screen.
Table of Contents
Pressing the "Table of Contents" button allows you to view the different "Chapters" of the story along with their associated titles. You can select any chapter to view the video and other options associated with it. You can also play the full original two minute, non-verbal animation/story by pressing the "Play Original Story" button. If this is selected, the story will play with music in the background (which you can turn on or off via a button). This menu also allows you to print the written story that a child has made by pressing the "Print" button or e-mail the story by pressing the "eMail" button. Finally if a child has a story saved to the application, you can play it all the way through by pressing the "Play My Story" button.
Brief Story Overview
The story is about a young boy who brings a little, white puppy home from school. So that his mother will not find out, he places the puppy in his backpack and pretends to be sick. He hides the dog in his bed and when his mother comes in to give him medicine, he begins to resist, but she still insists on giving him the medicine even though she knows the truth. This story is non-verbal, so while there are environmental sounds, the characters do not speak.
Video Chapter Play
To begin application play, choose a user from the "Users" menu. The person selected will be highlighted as well as have a check mark next to his or her name. Then, press the "Play" button. This will bring you to the first chapter of the story. A short video will play for each chapter (approximately 20 seconds). There are eight chapters in all. To pause play the video, press the triangle button. To pause the video, press the double lines. If you would like to make the video full screen, tap the two arrows facing away from each other.
Writing Area/Narrator's Tools/Questions
Students can write a sentence or more about what they viewed in the writing area by pressing the white space and using the keyboard. There are challenge words for children to incorporate into their story for each chapter and one can view these by pressing the "Challenge Words" star button at the bottom of the page. Three words will then appear. If a student is not writing their story but telling it aloud, they can still incorporate the challenge words. Press the "Tell Your Story" microphone button to record a sentence or more about the video chapter. Then, to hear the recorded segment, press the "Playback" button. The video will play at the same time as you are speaking, so it may take a couple practice trials the first time around. Pressing the "Questions" dog bone button will display three questions about the video just shown (mainly inferential questions). Answers to the questions are found on the "Info" page. The narrator also discusses and shows with highlights on the first chapter instructions of what the child should do.
Moving Between Chapters
Once you have completed tasks for the current chapter, press the green arrow pointing to the right at the bottom of the screen to move on to the next chapter. If you need to go back a chapter at any time, press the green arrow pointing to the left at the bottom of the screen.
Play My Story
Once a child has completed a narrative for the entire story, you can press the "Play My Story" button on the "Table of Contents" page. The whole two minute video will play with the child's narrator over it (the sound effects within the original video will still play, but no music). If the student had typed text in the Writing area, it will appear beneath the video unless it is in full screen mode.
What I Like About This Application:
- You can use the application for narrative language samples or speech samples of students. This may also be used as a baseline at the beginning of the year. You can save the story on a user profile to assess later.
- It is wonderful that you can save each chapter separately in case you do not have time to write or have the student narrate the whole story in one session.
- Saving up to 30 profiles in the Pro version is great because I have multiple students whom I would be using this application with.
- Working on narratives in written as well as verbal forms is great for discussing the connection between speech and writing as well as working on expressive language in spoken and written formats.
- I love that this application uses a video to help students with narrative skills instead of flat images. This is much more motivating, offers more information, and allows students to better make inferences.
- It is great that you can use this application to ask students questions throughout each chapter related to inferences about the story!
- Playing back an entire story once a child has finished it is incredibly motivating for students! They can hear their own voice and see their own words on the screen which should make them proud!
- The story is non-verbal, so the characters do not speak, allowing students to make inferences, dialogue, and narrate the story on their own.
- I would love to use this application at the beginning of the year and then at the end with a student to listen to his or her progress, so it might be nice to be able to save a baseline and then end of the year story.
- It would be great to have questions and challenge words read aloud if you press on the text.
- I would love to see more applications in the You're the Storyteller format (as separate apps) someday from this developer!
- Language/Writing/Narrative/Speech Sample: Use this application for a language, writing, or narrative sample to assess a student's ability to infer, use story grammar (character names, setting, feelings, etc.), sequence a story together, use complex sentences, use transition words, have the characters talk, and use correct grammar. You can also use the application's recording function for a language/narrative sample of spontaneous speech. Finally, use the recording function to play back and listen to a student's fluency, voice, and articulation during a spontaneous narrative about the video shown.
- Baseline: Take a sample of a child's speech/writing on this application to use as a baseline of narrative language/speech at the beginning of the year.
- Articulation/Fluency/Voice: Have a student practice using his or her speech sounds, fluency strategies, or vocal strategies in spontaneous speech while recording on the application.
- Sequencing: Have the student re-tell the story in order. Create flashcards of the different chapters and have the student place the cards in order to what happened in the story.
- Story Re-Tell: Have the student re-tell a story recorded by another user using correct story grammar.
- Expressive Language: Have the student state or write/type 1+ sentence(s) (depending on the age level) for each chapter using age appropriate grammar and sentence structure. Make sure that each sentence is about the corresponding chapter and that the student uses appropriate vocabulary. If a student is typing on the application and has difficulty with the built-in keyboard, a different iPad keyboard may be more appropriate. Discuss conjunctions and transition words to use within the story.
- Receptive Language: Have the student discuss different vocabulary within the story. If there is a challenge word that he or she does not know, explain it to the student and practice it.
- Inferencing: Throughout the chapters, have the student make inferences about what will happen next, why a person is feeling a certain way/pretending to feel a certain way, or why a person is performing a certain action in the story.
- Questions: Use the "Questions" button on each chapter to ask the student questions about each chapter of the story.
- Emotions: Discuss the characters' different emotions throughout the story. Talk about different facial cues and body language.
- Learning Environmental Sounds: Have students listen to the application with their eyes closed and discuss different environmental sounds they hear. For example, the puppy barks, the door creaks open, the puppy growls, the window opens, etc.
You're the Storyteller: The Surprise Home Edition is available for the iPad for $5.99 (single-user). You're the Storyteller: The Surprise Pro Edition (up to 30 users) is available for the iPad for $9.99.
Consonantly Speaking was provided with two application codes to give away with this review. No other form of compensation was received.
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