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4 tips to get started with stop motion animation

Nicole Hunter

Nicole is a class teacher at St Mary's Catholic School in Rotorua. St Mary's Rotorua is one of our wonderful clients for locally-focussed PLD.

Engage Learners With Stop Motion Animation
Nicole Hunter

Having one to one devices in schools is becoming far more common, but how do we make sure these tools are enhancing learning to a multimedia level rather than simply replacing pen and paper with a digital tool? How do we extend 21st century skills, such as collaboration and communication, without having children glued to their own device?

Stop motion animation has the potential to take learning to a whole new level; it is easy to use, requires many 21st century skills, and takes every activity to a multimedia platform. Here are 4 teaching teaching ideas for stop motion so you can make your teaching even more exciting and engaging for students.

Stop motion example

Have a look at what two of my students created recently; their first attempt using the tool, created entirely independently!

New tools can seem scary and we often think that we, as teachers, have to be the expert.

This is not true!

The best way to learn something new is to dive in the deep end…

…why not do this WITH your learners?

4 tips to get started with stop motion animation

1. Simply... have a go

These tips come straight from my own trial run with stop-motion animation for the first time:

Find some lego, choose an app (we used LEGO Movie Maker), select a group of children (6, 8 or 10 – in buddies) and just let them have a go! Set up a short purposeful task, such as creating a short scene from a movie (i.e. a car doing a jump), and see what they come up with. This allows them to discover how to use the app for themselves and you get to learn alongside them!

This app is available on the App Store for Apple devices, or the Play Store for Android devices.

2. Two is better than one...

Having one iPad between two is an optimum grouping. It encourages students to collaborate and communicate – they will need to share and negotiate ideas, take turns with each role, and problem-solve, improve and learn together! This provides great key competency learning opportunities!

3. Stand back, observe and then prompt with questions...

Teachers sometimes fall into the trap of talking too much, setting limiting criteria, and providing too much scaffolding. I found that the best way to facilitate this learning opportunity was to stand back and observe what my children were doing, how they were interacting with each other, and to listen to the conversations they were having.

I then gauged where their thinking was going and prompted them further by asking higher-order thinking questions. This way I was not instructing them on how to use it, while guiding them to figure it out for themselves.

4. Sharing is caring (and Ako – reciprocal learning)...

Share their animations! This is a time to celebrate successes, give them ownership, and also teach the rest of the class what they have discovered.

I found that it was beneficial to include oral feedback with this, where other children can say one thing they liked and one thing they think they could improve next time. This supports the reflective process and helps to identify next learning steps in relation to digital skills.

Once you have dived in and had a go, I guarantee you will have engaged learners who are eager to have another go and deepen their learning. There are so many ways you can then incorporate this into your daily program without feeling like it is adding another layer. Here are a few examples of activities I have tried (or am planning on trying soon):

  • Summarise what you have read into a short film (silent or narrated).
  • Adapt the story into a silent film.
  • Write a script for a different ending (follow up to reading) and turn into a narrated Stop Motion Animation.

So jump in and HAVE A GO! There is no failure with Stop Motion Animation, only multimedia, engaged, collaborative and student-driven learning!

Get a printable PDF to help you get started with Stop Motion Animation…

Nicole Hunter

Nicole Hunter teaches year 5 and 6 at St Mary’s Catholic School in Rotorua.

This school is taking part in some professional learning and getting amazing outcomes with Learning Architects.

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