Thursday, May 21, 2015

Awesome iPad App: Tell About This

For the last several months I've been working with Ms. Blackwell's kindergarten class to help them become familiar with their class set of iPads and the apps installed on them. I'm only able to stop in once every two weeks, but we've become fast friends and have a lot of fun! We've created stories together, made screen casts to share our math knowledge, and explored a variety of ways to take pictures with the iPads.

The last time I stopped in we took a look at the Tell About This app. This is a cool app that lets you capture student's thoughts and stories using visual prompts and voice. It is perfect for developing oral skills with these young students. It addresses these Common Core State Standards for Kindergarten:

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas
4. Describe familiar people, places, things, and events and, with prompting and support, provide additional detail.
6. Speak audibly and express thoughts, feelings, and ideas clearly.

There is a free version that has one visual prompt in each category. It's good for evaluating the app, but the paid version at $2.99 is a great value and gives you access to everything.

This 30 second video gives you a good idea of what it does.

I started them out with a very simple task of trying out one of the prompts. I guided everyone to a specific picture so we could practice together. Each category has about 15 beautiful, real-life pictures. Students tap the picture to go full screen. There is a prompt at the bottom of the screen that is immediately read out loud. Students can tap the sentence to hear the prompt again. 

To record their answer, students simply tap the Tell button in the bottom right corner. Students recorded themselves, listened to their answer, and then saved their project.

Teachers can create profiles in the app if the iPad is shared. Since the class I'm working with is a 1:1 iPad class, I just had the students skip the part about creating a profile.

I then let student choose any picture from any category they wanted. They recorded their answer to the prompt and then switched iPads with a partner to listen to what each other did. They had a lot of fun with this part! Sharing is always a fun part of any project.

Another cool feature of this app is that teachers (and students) can create their own customized prompt. I believe that the best way to learn a skill is to teach it to someone else, so I walked the students through these steps to create their own custom prompt.

At the app Home screen tap the Create a Prompt button. The students used the camera to capture a picture of something in the classroom. Since this is kindergarten I only had them record themselves recording an audio prompt instead of typing out a sentence. If I had more time with them I certainly would have had them type it as well.

These custom prompts are then saved into the Custom group on the Home screen. After creating their prompts, I then had the students share with a partner who would answer their prompt.

This was a really fun activity for the kids and it was fun to hear their thoughts and personalities come out in their answers. This was only their first time using the app so their responses were only one sentence. I imagine that after using it more they will talk more and more. It could be a great way to create a small digital portfolio of their oral expression.

My only with for the app would be to have an online management feature. For example, if the teacher wanted to create the same visual prompt for all students, she would have to recreate it each iPad. It would be much better if she could create it on one, either an iPad or online, and then have it pushed out to the students.

This is a simple, easy to use, and fun little app that I think every kindergarten teacher should have.


  1. Have you used Write About This? It is a counterpart to Talk About This geared more for some of the older kids. It too allows for custom prompts to be made. Here is the video tutorial I made for it last year. Feel free to use it or share it as you see fit.

    1. I was aware of it, but had not played with it yet. If it's as good as Talk About This, then I'm definitely checking it out. Thanks for the heads up!