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Les Histoires Farfelues

People have asked me why I don’t rate the apps that I blog about. Truth is, most of the apps aren’t for me…they are for my kids. To truly rate the apps my children use, I feel  I need to give the apps the test of longevity. My children may love a new app once, but then not seek it out ever again. To be honest, I have not been able to successfully predict which apps my children will like best. For example, when I purchased and tried out “Les Histoires Farfelues” I did not think the kids were going to like it. In fact, I thought I had just wasted another $3 on an app that would go untouched, along with dozens of others.

I was wrong.

This is one of the first and only French apps that the kids seek out even when they are allowed a few minutes of free-choice on the iPad. They think it’s hilarious. You get to choose the characters and backgrounds. The characters can have either matching heads and legs or unmatched. It has fun sound effects and the stories are short. During story time, I usually tell them they both can have two stories but they always ask for more and I usually want to create my own mix-up after their turns are over as well. It has become kind of addicting for all of us…in the best sense of the term!

One thing I’d love to see added to the app is subtitles. I always like seeing the written word in my children’s apps. It gets them used to seeing the text and it helps them start to associate the sounds with the words.

We are all learning more French with this app. It includes vocabulary that is even above my head! Sometimes this may be a hindrance, and I fear the kids aren’t truly understanding everything that is being said, but I am not going to worry too much about that because they are having fun with French!

Why, though, do they love this app so much? Especially when initially I thought it was another wasted purchase!?!


Now that I think about it, this app gives them something the others don’t. It gives them control over what the story becomes. They are the creators, so to speak, of their own story. As an educator, I understand the power of providing choices for learners. The smart people who created this app have very cleverly incorporated the users choices into every story. It is addicting and fun and I am sorry that I doubted its ingenuity!

If I had blogged and rated this app before giving it the test of time, I would have scored it low. Now that we have had it for several months, I see that the children are seeking it out ON THEIR OWN! (That is huge!) The rating has gone through the roof and I now recommend this app very highly to families learning French! The Sunny Earth kids love it! (Ages 4 and almost 6) Hope yours do, too!!!!!

Enjoy! C’est vraiment amusant!



I have used sock puppets with my own children as well as at school with Kindergarteners. It is a winner!

As a primary school teacher, I am always looking for ways to enhance the learning experiences for my students. As we have recently set up a partial class set of iPad minis, we are encouraging all of our teachers to use content-creation apps as opposed to content-specific consumption apps to share our knowledge. Sock Puppets (free, with optional in-app purchases) is a great storytelling app that both educators and students alike will enjoy.

If you have yet to hear about Sock Puppets, it is an app that will let you create funny and original lip-synched videos that you can share with your class. We have already had a few classes try this app, and our students (ages 7-11) have had no trouble with it all. Learning how to use the app is actually fun, and the many options of backgrounds, props (most of them moveable!)…

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As a teacher in the U.S., this is of interest to me! Thank you, Steve, for yet another great blog post! 🙂

“The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them.” —

The Common Core Standards

If you are a teacher from the US, you will no doubt be familiar with the Common Core State Standards. I have been introduced to this great lesson planning app which focuses heavily to these standards. Here in British Columbia, Canada where I teach, learning standards will be found in the BC Prescribed Learning Outcomes.

Check out this video which will show the main features of the app:

Here is a snippet from the developer, Thomas Story, a teacher of over eleven years himself:

The Common Core Lesson Planner is must-have app for teachers who want to fully utilize their iPad into their daily teaching routine. The Common Core Lesson Planner was created…

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I love blogging! Following other blogs is a great way to get tips, tricks and to learn new things! I just read up on one of my favorite blogs and found out about I am now a proud owner of 22 gigs of free cloud storage. That is HUGE!

If you’d like to get a free 5 gigs of cloud storage, just use this link! It’s only for a limited time, so don’t delay! You get 15 gig for just signing up, an additional 5 gig by using this referral link (I get 5 gig more as well!) and another 2 gig if you link your twitter account. If you’d like to found out even more about how this process works, please visit this blog post, where I found this awesome information, along with step-by-step directions!

Here’s a quick informational video about (Once again, thanks to Steve Lai’s amazing blog post)

If I had to choose just one favorite creation app, it’d have to be Explain Everything. My husband, Kevin Misiano, is using Explain Everything to create his flipped class videos. Here is his YouTube channel. He is using Explain Everything to make his flipped lesson videos that his pre-calculus students watch as homework.

Kevin started using Explain Everything way before I started using apps. He kept talking about it, so I knew I had to give it a try. I ended up using it to create video tutorials for AIM Language Learning’s online teacher training. I was looking for a way to create a video using screen shots and Explain Everything had everything I needed for the tutorials. It was extremely easy to use and edit. I normally use iMovie and I was reluctant to take the time to learn about Explain Everything. After I figured it out, though, my only regret was not having tried it sooner.

I immediately thought of how I could use this with my children for some fun with French. The first creation is called “Mimi la souris” and you can read more about this project here or simply check out the project below.

Currently, my four and five-year-olds are helping me create an alphabet project about one of their favorite books. What I really love about Explain Everything is the ability to work on the very portable iPad. This gives flexibility, especially when creating with young children. I can meet them on the floor in their bedroom and they can help add slides and sound with ease. As you work within the app, it autosaves and it is not “bulky” to open or save. Only at the end when you are completely finished will it take some time, just as all videos do.

To see a tutorial I made with this amazing app, check out this blog post. I have not even begun to scratch the surface as to what Explain Everything can do for my children and students. I cannot wait to see what else we will use it for!

If you’re interested in a screen casting tool for your iPad, then look no further!

Check out this tutorial to see more about how it works…and enjoy!!!!

Click here for another blog resource for Explain Everything.

Today’s freebie choice is called Backyard at Twilight: A Stella and Sam Adventure. It is available in English and French.

Take a look:

It’s free today. To learn how I find out about these great freebies, check out this previous blog post.

I think the kids are really going to enjoy this app. It’s interactive and fun. It will definitely peak their interest about the stars and constellations.

The only wish I had for this app on first sight is French subtitles. I prefer my children to see the written word along with the dialogue. They aren’t quite literate yet, but I still like them to get used to seeing the words as they listen. My favorite type of subtitles (or writing on a “page” in a story app) highlight the proper word as it is being read aloud. I wish there were more apps with this feature! It’d probably be even better if you could turn that feature on/off according to the level of learner.

At any rate, this app looks like a good freebie catch! Enjoy! 🙂

Content Creation Apps

Creation apps are perfect for making fun experiences with other languages!
The “Sunny Earth” kids love Sock Puppets and PuppetPals. We have also used Explain Everything and Voicethread. We will be checking out the other apps mentioned in this blog for sure!

The trend in the past year of iPad usage is slowly moving towards using the iPad as a creation device, as opposed to just a consumption device. More and more people I know are creating great material with iPads. Outside of the education spectrum, however, I still know a lot of people who just use their iPads for surfing websites, checking email, and playing games. I bumped into an old friend that I had not seen in years, and noticed he had the latest Blackberry smartphone, the z10. I asked him how he liked it, and how it compared to an iPhone. He told me that he also had an iPhone and an iPad, but that he only does “real work” on his Blackberry. The stigma is still there. Will it be there another year from now?

This is a screenshot of the content-creation apps folder for our class…

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