I have been living, breathing and dreaming about Stop Motion Animation for the past several weeks. This summer I have the awesome opportunity to teach for the North Suburban Summer Academy for gifted students. The class I designed is all about Stop Motion Animation (Think Wallace and Gromit style animation). I have done Stop Motion with kids in the past, and they loved it….but usually only for an hour or two at a time. What was I going to do for 4 hours/day for 13 days? Wow, I should not have worried. We have been working for 3 days and my 21 amazing animators have already mastered the basics and are using words like “pre-production” and “armature”. I love it. Today we had an extended day when most classes go on a field trip, but we made our first full animation and the kids worked diligently, cooperatively and creatively for about 3 hours straight. When we stopped for lunch, they could hardly wait to get back to the classroom.
OK, enough blathering on about my super students. Why Stop Motion? Stop Motion is great for kids because it requires an incredible amount of patients, teamwork and creativity. Also, I have found it is pretty self -differentiating. Kids of all ages, levels and abilities are able to make the animations successfully. Oh, and did I mention it’s FUN!? I’m having a blast teaching them the history or animation and basics of video production and they are eating it up.
Their task today was pretty hilarious. They worked in groups of 3 and chose 3 slips of paper out of a basket: A thing, place and action. For example, when I did my demonstration, I got “Pencil exploring jungle”. They had to write a script and storyboard and create their sets, characters and props. Here are some of their creations from today:
They haven’t learned how to add narration or sound effects yet, but this is what they came up with after 2 days! I can’t wait to see what they are making at the end of our 3 weeks!
This experience has already refreshed and revived me as a teacher! Can I please teach animation all day, everyday?