Using ChatterPix to Animate Number Stories

Guest blogger: Brian J. Puerling, M.S., N.B.C.T.

posted by Brian Puerling

Note: Strategies provided in all four of February’s blog posts can be facilitated in both the home and the classroom, as well as other contexts. 

Young children are often intrigued by the sense of magic that today’s technology seems to possess.  Though there is not magic in the devices, we can harness that intrigue to introduce new and innovative ways to explore mathematics using technology.  ChatterPix, created by Duck Duck Moose (also ChatterKid), is a tablet device application that allows for users to add a mouth animation providing a voice for a character. These animations are saved in the form of a video which can be shared via email, social media, text, etc.  This video shows a quick tutorial for how this application works:

Caption: At this time, ChatterPix is available for iPad and iPhone only.  If you are interested in ChatterPix on other devices, I encourage you to reach out to Duck Duck Moose, they are very responsive to feedback:

Price: FREE

As you can see there are endless possibilities for how this application could be used.  As Director of Education Technology at Catherine Cook School in Chicago, I am always amazed by the ideas teachers come up with to support collaboration, creativity, communication, critical thinking, character, and other skill development.  We have used this application in a multitude of ways, such as providing a voice to familiar story book characters. In the consideration of early mathematics, children could use Chatterpix to create their own animated number stories.  Consider this process to help the child(ren) create a plan for their number story video:

  1. Identify a character
    1. Will it be the child themselves?
    2. Will it be a favorite book or movie character?
    3. Will it be a brand new character they create?
  2. What are the items being added or taken away?
    1. If it’s the child themselves, do they have a favorite toy? Food?
    2. If it’s a favorite book or movie character, what do they know about the character that could give them some ideas?
  3. What is the story around the addition or the subtraction?
    1. Is this a true story?
    2. Is this a story made up in the moment?
  4. How will the illustration be created?
    1. Pencil? Paint? Sculpture (clay)?
    2. Photograph of actual items and individuals?
    3. An application-based illustration?
  5. Who and how would we like to share this video?
    1. Remain on family/school device?
    2. Share with family members or friends?
    3. Post to an eportfolio resource such as Seesaw?

In the example I created below, I decided I wanted to include myself in the video and then tell a simple short story of how I once shared a chocolate chip cookie with my sister which left me with two cookies to enjoy for myself.  Parents and teachers may consider creating their own number story videos to not only provide an example but to also get familiar with the application and discover the fun while enjoying art, technology, and mathematics. The most powerful experiences with technology is when multiple subjects or disciplines come together.


screenshot provided by Brian


Outside of number stories, what other ideas are coming to your mind?

Brian J. Puerling, M.S., N.B.C.T.

Brian J. Puerling, M.S., is currently the director of education technology at the Catherine Cook School in Chicago, where he works with teachers to connect students to new technologies that offer innovative ways to explore, play and learn. An early fellow career fellow and former guest blogger for the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media, he is the recipient of the National PBS Innovative Educator Award and the National PBS Teachers’ Choice Award. A former preschool teacher for the Chicago Public Schools, Puerling has also worked as an early childhood teacher coach, a curriculum reviewer and a professional development facilitator for the Chicago Public Schools and the Rush University Medical Center Science and Math Excellence Network. He currently serves as a member of the Nickelodeon Curriculum and Content Advisory Board and is a former member of the Sesame Workshop Teacher Council, where he shared his knowledge of trends in early childhood education and technology to help guide the planning for future Sesame Street television shows. Puerling is also the author of the Teaching in the Digital Age series, which includes Teaching in the Digital Age: Smart Tools for Age 3 to Grade 3 (Redleaf Press, 2012), Teaching in the Digital Age for Preschool and Kindergarten: Enhancing Curriculum with Technology (Redleaf Press, November 2017) and the upcoming book, Teaching in the Digital Age to Support Social-Emotional Development in Young Children (Redleaf Press, November 2018). He is currently working on the fourth book in the series, which outlines practical strategies for integrating technology into early learning and has an anticipated release date of November 2019. He holds a master of science degree in early childhood education from the Erikson Institute and a bachelor of science degree in early childhood and elementary education from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse. Puerling is currently pursuing a Certificate of Advanced Education Leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Read more posts by Brian J. Puerling, M.S., N.B.C.T.

2 Replies to “Using ChatterPix to Animate Number Stories”

  1. This is exactly what I have been looking for! I wanted an app that could be interactive and that the children could, essentially, program. THis will be helpful for all of my preschoolers and especially my English language learners. Thanks for the suggestion!

  2. I really love this idea! I learned about this app and I plan to download the app and use it in this way. I think it is really important to use technology with children and to also give them a voice in their learning.

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