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Tell A Tale (4mation)

Available from 4mation

CoL link

You couldn't possibly have any idea how long this one took, and I need to thank 4mation for sticking with it over such a long period. When it started out it was going to be a floppy-based package for the Arc, now it's a CD for the PC and (I hope soon) the Apple.

The idea was to take some of the obvious teaching points of talking stories but to somehow get over the fact that children seem to tire of them so quickly. What I came up with was the notion of putting the child in control of the story. Obviously, these are going to be pretty damn short stories, but for early readers that's just fine.

Each story starts with an opening phrase which the child chooses; 'Once upon a time', 'Long long ago' and so on. It then moves on to '...in a' and the child chooses a location from a forest, a bedroom, a beach and a classroom. With five introductions and four locations we already have 20 possible language combinations.

Now they choose a character from John Godfrey's inspired pen; a dragon, a teddy bear, a mushroom and a donkey - we're now up to 80 combinations. The character appears on the landscape and finally the child chooses an action for it out of the four on offer - now we are up to 240 combinations.

The whole story can then be 'performed' by 4mation's software and printed out as just words, just pictures or both. Not only that, we've put in three levels of difficulty on the language so you can have your differentiation and eat it :)

Tell A Tale 2 (4mation)

School Zone review

CoL link

The Exploding Robot Now we're cooking with gas! With the engine up and running this sequel gave us the opportunity to look at ways of expanding the language available, and gave John the chance to come up with a bundle of great new animations.

The extension here is to add (optional) adjectives to the actors. You can not only have a robot, blob, tree and dinosaur, but a rusty robot, spotty blob, evil dinosaur or a baby tree; each actor has four adjectives which give you about 700 possible combinations of text, background, description and actor.

All the features of the first pack are included; three difficulty levels, printing options, plenty of printable worksheets etc., so this provides a natural extension to the work children are doing with it.

Here's a couple of animations, without backgrounds, so you can see the sort of thing we've been doing.

Exploding robot
Flying blob

The Flying Blob

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