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Screenshot From Tellagami Website

Hollywood me! Hollywood you?: Communicating with a Gami

By Lisa Wallace

Do you have a message to send out to staff or to students? Want to catch everyone’s attention instead of writing a long email (that most people probably won’t read)? Tired of repeating yourself to each new group at a school event? Well, Tellagami is for you!

I first discovered the app when a friend used it to send me a message about an upcoming event. I was amazed! Tellagami® is a mobile app that lets you create and share a quick animated Gami video. A Gami can be used in so many ways. It can be an exciting tweet or a status update. It can be a fun way to tell a story. It can be a thank-you message or a vacation postcard, a birthday greeting, a party invite or a cool way to share photos. And these are just the options for your personal life. Professionally, these videos can be good for staff meetings or a website or for sharing instructions or an assignment with students. The possibilities are endless. 

Professionally, these videos can be good for staff meetings or a website or for sharing instructions or an assignment with students.

Using the Tellagami app, you create an avatar (I call it the “Hollywood me”) that can record your voice to send a message, or you can choose from a list of voices and type your script in. You can also choose from a variety of backgrounds or upload a photo. Tellagami is free; however, there is an upgrade that I purchased called Tellagami Edu. I created my Gami videos by exploring the app, but there are many online tutorials at that teach you how to create your own Gami. Just remember that the video can be only 90 seconds long, so it may take a lot of editing to get to the essence of your message.

I’ve used the app at school and am really glad I did. One September, I used Tellagami to send teachers a “commercial” on how I could help them in the library learning commons (LLC) throughout the year.

A screen shot of a gami presentation

September LLC commercial
Transcript: Lisa Wallace Learning Commons Gami

I found more teachers took the time to watch the Gami than to read an email. So before the fall Book Fair this year, I thought, Why not create a Gami to show to students?

Twice each year, I host a Scholastic Book Fair to raise supplementary funds for my school library. Scholastic sends all the materials including books, posters, activities and school supplies in boxes and in six locking bookcases. My volunteers (two of my nieces) and I arrange the cases in a horseshoe shape, with additional tables in the middle and the cashier and the smaller items at the front. I do send home a flyer with all of the Book Fair info (e.g., times, dates, minimum prices), but I like to remind students of some of the more important expectations (e.g., handling materials with care, checking for prices, the draw for $25, beginning and end times).

A collage of four images for a book fair
As many of you know, setting up for the spring Book Fair can take two to three hours. My volunteers and I begin with boxes and empty tables (top left and centre), and by the time we’re almost ready to go, the space is transformed (top right). My Gami fascinated the kids (bottom photo).

Because I usually talk to about 10–12 classes per day, the Gami really saved my voice, and the kids loved my video! It kept their attention, and they couldn’t believe I was “on TV”! In fact, they loved my Gami so much that when they heard about the spring Book Fair, one kindergarten student asked, “Are you going to show us a movie again?”! And I did.

Screen shot of Lisa Wallace's book fair gami

Book Fair intro: April 2019
Transcript: Lisa Wallace Spring Book Fair Gami

Now it’s your turn! You’ve seen “Hollywood me”; create your own “Hollywood you”! Make a Gami to share your message. Becoming a movie star is just an app away. (Note: Tellagami developers are currently updating the app to be compatible with the latest version of iOS.)

Lisa Wallace is a teacher-librarian at Worthington Public School in the Peel District School Board. With the additional proceeds from Scholastic Book Fairs, she creates a bright, welcoming space for students to discover new worlds, both real and make-believe. Lisa would love to hear from you at lisa.wallace [at]

Feature photo by Tellagami® 

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