Audio Alphabet Books in Keynote & Clips


My name is April and I am a Keynote junkie. There, I said it. I feel better already. 😜

Anyone who knows my work, knows that I love to use Keynote to do just about anything creative. I love finding workarounds and new ways to use an old favorite tool. When Apple updated Keynote this summer, I was instantly engaged with all of the new shapes and all the things you could do with them. You can easily break apart the complex shapes and come up with your own creations. Before the addition of all these new shapes, I would draw my own shapes with the pen tool, so this is definitely a time saver and a great way to add creativity to projects.

This particular project focuses in on vocabulary, letter sounds, phonics, shape recognition, and organization. Students will open the Keynote template and insert shapes inside each of the block letters. What I noticed when I had students complete this assignment was the time they took to go through each shape and say the shape’s name out loud and determine if the shape started with that letter (even older kids did this). It’s also important to note that some shapes have multiple meanings, for example, the party hat could be viewed as hat, party, or birthday. Once they have filled their shape, then I told them the trick to see how many shapes they may have missed. This is always a great “gotcha.” If you click on the search bar in the shape tool, just type in the letter and you will see all the shapes that begin with that letter or are associated with that letter. For this project, I gave students one to two letters to work on, I do not have them create all letters of the alphabet. You will see the template I’ve created down below.

I also really love it when important learning and technology come together. This project takes students down a powerful path in using Keynote to change slide background colors, insert shapes, change a shape’s color, size, and rotation as well as exporting slides as images. I love a good work flow and this project turned out to be really fun.

This project is suited for elementary aged students and would be particularly helpful for our ELL students. However, think about ways to stretch this type of project to suit the needs of older students in language arts classes or to accompany literature unit when studying the main character’s traits. I could see this same type of idea used for science classes when studying the periodic table of elements. I challenge you to think about how you could create your own Keynote slides to use in conjunction with shapes, words, letters, or other elements.

This project can range from complex to simple depending on grade level, user experience, and time. Here’s some ideas from simple to complex:

  • Using the template provided, create an alphabet book in Keynote and fill each outlined letter with shapes that begin with that letter. To take this further, if you are using Keynote for Mac, students can record narration on their slides.
  • Using the template provided, create an alphabet book in Keynote. Use animations to bring their letters and shapes to life. Export this as a movie.
  • Using the template, each student in the class creates one slide with one letter using their iPad. Once all students have completed their slides, they can take a screen shot of their picture (only once they press play in Keynote) crop the black out of the picture and use the picture to create one big class book in Book Creator or iBooks Author. To do this, I’d select one iPad as the master iPad and have students Airdrop their photo to the one iPad to create one book. Additionally, if photos are on one iPad, you can select all photos and tap share and send them to iBooks. This is a great option for those using iPad and don’t have Book Creator.
  • Finally, for this project example I share below, students used the template. Each student had one or two letters to complete. Once they were finished, they exported their slide as an image (Mac). They used Airdrop to send it to one iPad in the classroom. Once all slides were collected, we opened Clips and each student added and narrated on their slide. Then, this becomes a whole class published project.

If you create your own slides, here are some tips and some workarounds I went through when creating this project:

I searched for fonts that were outlined. I downloaded the font to my computer. I created all of the slides and then using Airdrop, I sent the files to my student’s computers. What I didn’t initially think of was that they would be missing the font. So, my workaround was to create the slides and export the slides as images. I created a new Keynote presentation and imported my newly created images on each slide. I used Instant Alpha to create transparent letters. Then, I saved those files and used Airdrop to resend to my students. You will be able to download the Keynote file with no workaround! YAY!

Here’s an example from one of my classes (4th grade):

Download the Keynote file HERE

Hope you have as much fun as I did with this little project! Cheers! 😀

Parts of Speech iMovies

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 11.55.45 AMWhat a better way to demonstrate knowledge of a topic than by creating a video using iMovie! One of the great things about iMovie is the built-in trailers that kids can use to demonstrate or show their learning. I have kids create movie trailers to show their learning in all content areas and the result is always amazing. This time around, I had third graders showcase their knowledge of verbs, nouns, and adjectives. I have included a few of my favorites below. One thing that is very important to note is that I never allow my students to just take off with the iPad and begin taking pictures and videos for their projects. They must always do a rough draft where they complete an outline as well as the built in storyboard in iMovie. Additionally, this is also where they can decide what type of shot (video or still photo) they will add to their movie. A great resource that I love to share with others was created by Tony Vincent. He has created planning PDFs, which include fillable or printable templates for students as they plan their iMovie trailers. I love this resource and I use it all of the time! Once students have planned their trailers, then they get right to work in editing the text and adding photos and videos.

Verbs Can Be Fun! from April Requard on Vimeo.


Verbs are Everywhere from April Requard on Vimeo.

Scary Verbs from April Requard on Vimeo.

Nouns by Dylan and Landon from April Requard on Vimeo.

Nouns by Ahmed and Shayan from April Requard on Vimeo.

All Sorts of Verbs by Parishi and Asha from April Requard on Vimeo.

Verbs from April Requard on Vimeo.

Adjectives: Reese and Caitlin from April Requard on Vimeo.

100 Days of School with Technology

Days of School Activities with Tech

Are you looking for some fun ways to engage your students with the 100 Days of School by using Technology tools? Here are some fun ideas to get you excited about how you can use technology as a tool to create fun and engaging lessons and projects for students to interact with the number 100 (and all the numbers in between).

100 Gum Balls in Keynote I created this Keynote template that you can download here. You can use this on the Mac or iPad and have students practice inserting shapes using the circle tool. Students can format the circle by choosing a color. Next, they will practice using the copy/paste feature to re-create their circle. This is such an important skill for even the youngest of students. For a fun extension, students can animate the gum balls as the drop through the black slot! The gum ball machine is not clipart! It was created in Keynote with the “Draw with Pen” tool! Isn’t Keynote awesome!!!!

100 Gum Balls (


When I am 100 Years Old Using the app, Aging Booth, students can take a photo of themselves and see what they will look like when they are 100. From there, they can save their 100 year old photo to their camera roll and then use an app such as 30 Hands,  iMovie, or Explain Everything to tell a story about what they will have accomplished when they are 100 years old. For this example below, I had students create their photo and then Air Drop it to my iPad. From there, we created one large class recording in 30 Hands where students talked about what they would have accomplished with they are 100.

Personalize a 100 dollar bill with student’s photos. Click here to create 100 dollar bills. Once students save their image, they can drag it into a word processing app, such as Pages, and write about what they would do if they were president and had a 100 bill with their photo on it.



Typing and Formatting a Document Practice:

Type out a bulleted list of

  • 100 Animals
  • 100 Things that Make You Happy
  • 100 Favorite Things to do for Fun

Web Activities (whole group on Smart Board or individual)

Give the Dog the Bone

100 Balloon Pop

Splat Square

Ghost Blasters

Number Grid Fireworks

100 Snowballs

Before 100 and After



Sharing Made Easy with iPhoto for iPad

Have you ever had photos from an event, field trip, or project your students were working on and wanted a quick way to share them with families? Look no further than to utilize the iPhoto app on your iPad to create an awesome web journal and share the unique web address with others. In order to do this, you need the iPhoto app (free) installed on your iPad (iOS7) and an iCloud account. Once you begin, you can add text, photos, videos, and customized items. This is such an awesome resource for educators and students! The web journal acts sort of like a webpage that you can hyperlink your pictures to text and websites!

Here’s a sample of what a web journal can look like:;CAEQARoQKCtNjTTcGEVLt3WrukmkhQ;F14AB19A-9956-4805-B956-D56295D9DFC0

Sample of my Web Journal

Screenshot of my Web Journal

This is something that is very quick and easy to do. Even quicker if you take the photos/video from your iPad! Share your next event, project, or even have students create a web journal to showcase their learning! Possibilities are endless!

Using Creative Apps with iCloud’s Photo Stream


Who knew that using iCloud’s Photo Stream would be such a powerful classroom tool in sharing resources, encouraging discussion, and promoting collaboration? Teachers can share resources with students and students can share their work with their teacher and classmates. The most powerful tool in the Photo Steam is the ability to comment on one’s photos or videos. This creates a very rich dialogue for students working on a collaborative project, or for a classes to share their work with one another. The Common Core Standards and the NETS states that students should be able to:

With guidance and support from adults, use technology to produce and publish writing (using keyboarding skills) as well as to interact and collaborate with others.

(NETS) Interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital media.

(NETS) Demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.

(NETS) Create original works for personal and group expression using a variety of digital tools.

The first step to using the Photo Steam is to make sure you have either an iCloud address for each student, or as in my case, a shared iCloud account.




Here’s a sample project from what we did in my second grade group today. We used the app called Faces iMake. I love this app because it really encourages originality, exploration, discovery, and right-brain thinking. For this assignment, I didn’t give my students guidelines…I just left it open-ended to promote creativity. In this app, students use everyday objects to create art. My students LOVED using this app and they were unhappy when time was up! Once students were finished with their art, they saved it to their camera roll. Next, I had students open their Photos and select the Shared camera roll. From there, they chose the Photo Stream I made Called “Faces iMake” and there they were able to add their creation to the stream. Once their photo was added, they could add comments to their classmates’ photos. They loved doing this! The guidelines I gave them for adding comments where that they had to add their name so that we knew who was commenting (if you have individual iCloud accounts, you can add your name as a contributor and then you don’t have to add your name again for individual comments you make to photos). Once they added their name, then I asked them to give a positive comment/feedback to their classmates. Maybe it’s a comment about the unique way they added hair to their face, or perhaps it’s a way they used layers in their picture…it just had to be positive. Now that my class has finished this project, I would clarify that they HAVE to use complete sentences with correct punctuation. Once I looked through the stream’s comments I saw a lot of “LOL” and “That’s cute” which isn’t what I wanted them to write, but since this was their first go at it, I let it go. As I reflect on this lesson, next time, I would make all of the above a requirement.

Since we were combining multiple technical skills in this lesson, (creating a face in Faces iMake, saving to camera roll, uploading picture to shared photo stream, commenting on classmate’s work) I’d call our learning a huge success. My students loved going back through and reading the comments that others posted on their photo. Other ways to use the Photo Stream are in collaborative projects (creating group iMovies), shared writing projects, research projects, debates, math, reading, and vocabulary, creating visual posters, poster made in Keynote or Pages, the list goes on and on…think about the power in having students discuss an idea, concept, or project with each other. Think about the ease in sharing photos out with your students! This is engaging for our students, which results in powerful learning outcomes here, friends!





IMG_6151Here are my students adding comments to the Photo Stream:



Bring Literacy to Life with Technology!

Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 2.51.38 PM

Sometimes I wish I were a kid growing up in this digital world. I think I would understand math concepts better and I’d have so many resources at my fingertips. I also think using technology allows children to be creative in ways they couldn’t before. Here’s a fun literacy project that I did with second graders this week and they LOVED it. It really was so much fun. When kids have this much fun, they don’t even realize that they are learning! I love reading the book the Z Was Zapped by Chris Van Allsburg to my students. If you haven’t read it, it is a book where the letters of the alphabet take center stage and all of the letters have something happen to them that they probably would’t prefer. For example, A was in an avalanche. We discuss the pattern in the book and what the term alliteration means.

I usually have them do some type of digital project that coincides with the book, but this year, I decided to change it up a bit. I read the book aloud to the students and then I distributed a different letter of the alphabet for them to do their own “page” of the book on the iPad. For this project, we used two apps: Drawing Pad (paid)  (You could use any drawing app as long as it saves to the camera roll) and Chatterpix Kids (free). When the kids have their letter, they are instructed to draw something happening to their letter. It’s pretty fun to see what they come up with. They save their drawing to their camera roll and then open up Chatterpix Kids. Chatterpix Kids is an app where you can make a picture have a mouth with a voice. The kids import their drawing into Chatterpix Kids and draw a mouth and read a sentence just like the book. From there, they can save that to their camera roll and link to their blogs or the teacher can share their finished products. So fun. See some examples below:

The Z Was Zapped Literacy Project from April Requard on Vimeo.



Creating on the iPad: Type Drawing App

Featured App

I love the possibilities that exist when combining words and photos. Let me share with you one of my favorite apps for working with words and pictures: Type Drawing! I downloaded Type Drawing when it was free this past summer. It is normally $1.99. I didn’t realize the possibilities for integrating this application into so many content areas until I began exploring it with my students. I used this app with second and third graders this week and we talked about how to utilize the app and then I let them explore. There are some really cool features within the app. You can import a picture from your camera roll and adjust the opacity as you trace over it with words that coincide with the picture. After your drawing is complete, you can press “play” in the gallery and watch your drawing in an animated form–the kids think that feature is pretty cool. You can save your finished project to the camera roll. This app would be great to use in areas of vocabulary development, demonstrate knowledge in a particular unit of study, make a self portrait with descriptive words, or create a picture with spelling words. The possibilities are endless when you think about students using this app to creatively demonstrate their learning.

Here’s a little video of the work my students did this morning.

Learning with the Type Drawing App for iPad from April Requard on Vimeo.



App Showcase: Drawing Pad and Wordfoto

I love when you can use one or more apps together (app smash) to create an awesome project. An amazing colleague of mine and fellow Apple Distinguished Educator, Sue Gorman, asked me if I’d showcase an app for her to use at one of her presentations. It was hard to decide, but came up with this one. Drawing Pad is a great drawing app with so many options for creating and sharing. Wordfoto is one of my favorite apps and the possibilities are truly endless for creating word clouds on top of photos. In this case, kids were studying parts of speech and synonyms and antonyms. For this particular project, they were given a common word and had to come up with at least 5 synonyms for the word. They wrote the word in Drawing Pad and made the word come to life. Saving it to the camera roll, they could then import that photo into Wordfoto. In Wordfoto, they can enter the text for the synonyms and insert into picture. Wordfoto has a variety of preset styles or you can customize your own style. Here is the video I put together, which includes some student examples.



Drawing Pad