Stop Motion Animation

The animation spark really ignited with Elmwood School’s art teacher, Bonnie Gaus.  Diving into Stop Motion head first, Mrs. Gaus and I collaborated in order to bring this fabulous app to several third grade classes.  Selfishly, we had a blast practicing together and knew that if we were having fun while learning, students would take it to a whole new level.  They certainly did and this is what we found.

Students were immediately engaged.  They understood the patience in completing one frame after another was absolutely worth it once they saw what they could create.  Many worked together to plan a story before capturing each scene and several students were quite original in creating artistic backgrounds to make their stories come to life even more.  Thanks to Mrs. Gaus, they were able to use a variety of toys including plastic vehicles and animals, and they took full advantage of the phrase “action packed.”

We also noticed that students were motivated.  From the very first Stop Motion experience, we felt it was important for students to have an opportunity to share their work.  We found that students were empowered to start, knowing they would soon have an audience.  Spotlighting students has also given us an opportunity as a class to discuss and honor the creative process verse only the finished product.

Check out some third graders in action.

 Even Mrs. Carver was able to stop by and learn from these amazing film makers.    

As I continued to support several classes with the Stop Motion app, I discovered this video by Matt Miller, author of Ditch That Textbook, and was amazed by what I saw.  Stop motion animation through Google Sides?  What a great opportunity to connect what students had been learning with Mrs. Gaus.  Sharing this with classrooms would also give teachers and students a chance to animate right on the chromebooks!  I have shared the first five minutes of his video with two classrooms so far as well as modeled the basic steps using my own Google Slide animation.  It is nowhere as good as what students have been creating and just as they did with the Stop Motion app, they took their learning to a whole new level.



Once students began their own animation on a slide shared through Google Classroom, they were unstoppable.  Creating characters using shapes forced them to think about geometry.  They also received intense practice with copy and paste in order to use symmetry efficiently.  More than anything else, just as they did with the Stop Motion app, they honored the creative process as well as the patience necessary to adjust frames ever so slightly, this time with grouping items and using the arrow keys.

Check out some third graders in action.

Students have only just entered the world of animation at Elmwood School and I can’t wait to see where their journey will take them.  One thing I do know is they seem to be running home to keep creating.

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