Stop Animation Studio

We are just getting going with our Stop Animation exploration. I have had a few questions and messages regarding how I have it set up, what program am I using, how well can the children independently take the photos… Below is an overview of what we have done and explored so far. This is only day four, but I hope some of this is useful if you are beginning to set something up.

-Table (sturdy)
-iPad stand (we are using a book stand)
-iPad (mini is what we are using)
-’Stop Motion’ application downloaded *this is the program we have been using so far.
-iMovie application, or a similar app, downloaded


Set up:
We have our Stop Animation studio set up on sturdy coffee table at kneeling height for kinders and with one director’s chair for the photographer. I chose to put it on a shorter table for a few reasons: kinders seem to be more in control when they are on their knees at this age, it was the longest table I had available to allow for a big scene, if the iPad drops it doesn’t have as far to fall (yes, I know that doesn’t sound great but we are only five years old).

Exploration time:
I had the table sort of staged, as an invitation to create and begin filming. Right away, Monday morning, the children were eager to go an try it out. We briefly talked about what the studio was, the expectations (gentle hands, two friends at a time, using words to problem-solve and make decisions, taking turns and tidying up). I also modeled how to move the figurines ever-so-slightly to make our movies look the most realistic and showed them how to capture an image using the red button.
So far, the Stop Animation studio has been open during our daily two exploration play times (40-45 minutes each).

I ask them to spend about five minutes preparing their initial scene and deciding which other figurines will be part of their movies. Once they are prepared, I put the iPad in the stand and assist them to place it in the best spot to make sure their figurines are in the frame.
I review:

-How to take an image, using the red button
-That the stand must remain in the same position for all the pictures
-The photographer must wait until ‘the mover’s’ hands are out of the way
-They must take at least 30 photographs (there are numbers to mark each photo)
Then they are off! They quickly get going and at times will ask for support in moving the stand back into place, or deleting an image that had a hand in it…

At our five minute clean up warning for exploration play time, they are to finish up. Together, we then save the video, import to iMovie, loop it four times (even though they have spent about 30-40 minutes creating they usually have only created about 6-7 seconds of footage), type their names and add a soundtrack of their choice. They love choosing their music and putting it all together.

Final Steps:
We then share it with the class (CRUCIAL point of this activity), they love this part too! This becomes an oral language activity, because every group that has shared so far has explained a little story behind their video, talked us through some of the steps they did or talked about the music and why they chose it. I also share it with families via Fresh Grade or email.
Why is it crucial? I believe that if we are guiding children in creating they must be encouraged and invited to share out. This makes them reflect on the process, make their thinking and learning visible to their audience and is inspiring for others.

What’s Next?:
My hopes are that every child, over the next couple of weeks, creates a short clip and shares it with the class and their family. We are really trying to model the idea of exploring an app that has children creating and problem-solving with hands-on designing. I hope after each child has created a short clip, we can change up the background, learners might create their own backdrops or figurines, and we will start adding audio recordings over top for voices, story descriptions, and more! We then will begin to incorporate using Stop Motion with our inquiry projects. My ultimate goal is finding meaningful ways to implement tech meaningfully with our current learning. HOWEVER, to get to this point I feel we need to begin by playing, trying out different techniques and becoming comfortable with creating using iPads.

How have you incorporated Stop Animation into your learning activities?
What are the roadblocks that you have been stopped at? How did you overcome them?
What are your top tips for me?


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