Speech & thought bubbles …the best app for that!

Adding captions, speech and thought bubbles  can be done digitally with ease and simplicity. Although this can be achieved by Word, Power point, Keynote etc the quickest method in my opinion is using the app Balloon Stickies Plus. This great app is also FREE! The app allows the user to insert speech and thought bubbles and captions onto images very quickly (there is another free app called Bubble but most of the features are locked unless you are willing to pay).  Balloon Stickies Plus app also allows the user to convert spoken word through recording into text – this has a lot of potential in the classroom for SEND and/or EAL pupils. Here I share some examples of how I have used the app with my pupils.

Russell Tarr, Head of History and creator of Classtools.net and ActiveHistory.co.uk, has created resources where he adds speech bubbles and captions to historical sources such as paintings, photos and cartoons. To read more about how Russel does this with his pupils click here. Below is an example by John Mitchell. I have adapted this idea using Balloon Stickies Plus to insert speech and/or thought bubbles for individuals studied in History.

Thought bubble – What do you think Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt are thinking? This task requires pupils to use their subject knowledge of events and put into historical context.

Thought bubble vs Speech bubble. This task made pupils think about the importance of propaganda and Stalin’s cult of personality; how he wanted to be portrayed and also illustrate the realities of events at the time, such as his paranoia during the 1930’s.

Caption that. Pupils adding their own captions to famous and iconic images from history.

Quotes – pupils recorded quotes and key points after listening to MLK speech.

Characters – I have seen speech and thought bubbles used for exploring characters, relationships and themes in English Literature and Drama.

Pupils – My pupils grasped this app before I had explained how to use it! The pupil below was using the Virtual Reality headset to visit the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. I captured this on photo and she used the Balloon Stickies Plus app to describe her experience.

Modern Foreign Languages – This app can be used to develop reading and writing in MFL.

Another app that I have used in the classroom is Comic Life, as shown below and projected onto an interactive whiteboard. This app has more features that Balloon Stickies Plus, such as creating and designing professional and stylish comic strips. However, the latest version of Comic Life does cost £4.99 which is expensive in my opinion, in comparison to other apps and sites.

Balloon Stickies Plus is one of many apps recommended by Mark Anderson on his wonderful Periodic Table of iPad Apps for the classroom – certainly worth checking out! If you’re interested in apps to aid teaching and learning I have blogged about my top ten apps here. Thanks for taking the time to read my post. If you have any feedback or app recommendations you can get in touch via the contact page on my blog or send me a message on Twitter.


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