Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Stop Motion Animation - Go on, do it!

I've been meaning to write about stop motion animation for a while now, because it turns out it is very quick and easy to learn and a lot of fun to do.  I had been thinking about trying it so was very pleased when I was contacted by Hamilton City Libraries late last year.  They asked me if I wanted them to come over for a couple of lunchtimes and teach some students how to make stop motion animation to promote their summer reading programme.  The theme was the Waikato river.

I immediately thought of my Moustache Potatoes Comic Club (10-11 year olds); they were all very keen to participate.  I downloaded the free Stop Motion Studio app onto some of our school iPads and then the team from Hamilton City Libraries came round and showed us how it works.  Here is a short video I found today that explains it well (I admit we didn't even use the timer - it looks like a good idea!).  

The students picked it up straight away and were so enthusiastic and engaged with what they were doing.  The Hamilton City Library team had brought with them felt tips, coloured paper, pipe cleaners, Lego, and Playdoh.  For the first session the students had a chance to experiment with how animating worked and then in the next two sessions they made their animations.

This is what they came up with (we added the music once we'd uploaded the animations to YouTube):

For the last couple of weeks of Term 2 this year I went solo and taught members of my Ninja Readers & Storytellers Club how to do stop motion animation.  These were Year 4 students (8 year olds) but they too only required a couple of minutes' instruction before they were off and animating.  I brought in my own children's old toys and they used them to animate with.  We also used paper and whiteboards and one enterprising fellow simply animated himself!  

I loved watching both groups of kids get heavily involved with their creations.  Some found that viewers didn't understand the story they were trying to tell.  I thought this was a valuable lesson for them to think about how to get their ideas across clearly.   Next up I aim to use students' stop motion animations to promote reading and the library.  

Now that you've finished this post why don't you go off and give stop motion animation a go yourself?  It will only take half an hour (unless you get totally addicted, it is a possibility!).  Better yet, find some kids and get them to have go with you.  I guarantee you'll all enjoy it!

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