Learning about Stop frame Animation in university was really inspiring and I can say I will definitely use this with children. Creating animations can provide a fantastic opportunity for children to work together and produce some very impressive work.
Children can create settings, characters and other props using plasticine, clay or toys. Depending on age and ability they may be able to write the script. The skills children will develop include problem solving, communication and subject specific skills.
My first attempt at creating an animation, using MonkeyJam, didnt go to plan as we recorded over the layers we needed, but at least we learnt from our mistake. And as we didn’t have time to record another in the class I borrowed a camera to take home, installed MonkeyJam on my laptop, and attempted another animation. The pirates are having a sword fight until the croc comes and scares them away. I added Pirates of the Caribbean theme tune for effect:
This animated movie was really easy to create. All you need in addition to a PC/Laptop is a web cam and scene setters and characters. You will also need stop-frame software, I used MonkeyJam which is free to download, and I also used Windows Movie Maker to enhance the movie but this is not essential.
Stop frame animation is soooooo much fun and suitable for all ages and abilities and children can work together to assign different members of their group to do different things based on their strengths. Children could also keep a video/image diary of how the animation is formed from start to finish; this gives them opportunity to reflect on what they have done and what they are going to do next. This could also be very useful for assessment purposes.
A Child’s View on Stop Frame Animation
I asked my 8 year old son if he has produced stop frame animation in school, he said he has and told me how much he loved it; he was also very excited when I said I could download the software onto my laptop so we could try it out at home! Off he went to route through his toys, shouting ideas to me about what he could do!
I like Ed Rudge’s idea; he mixed children from different year groups to work together in producing a stop frame animation, see his blog for further details:
To create Stop Frame Animation all you need is a digital camera and animation software, such as MonkeyJam which is free to download:
Here’s a lovely example of stop frame animation created by primary school children who must have been learning about a sustainable environment. It was produced by a colloboration of KS2 pupils:
Tateshots ‘This Exquisite Forest’ was exceptionally inspiring. It’s a global piece of work where people have connected via the internet and have created short animations that grew from each other’s contributions: “a collaborative animation plarform”.
I gained many ideas from these ‘Browsing and Reading’ suggestions. Animations can be created by children in small groups, as a whole class, in groups by mixing different ages from around the school or even as a whole school collaboration. Taking the idea from ‘This Exquisite Forest’ this could even be extended on a wider scale – involving schools from across the county, country or even the world! I’m really excited by this idea and I think children would love it too!
I searched for school collaborative animation projects and found Rotoball which is intended for highschool students but could be adapted for primary children, it’s the idea I liked! There are some simple rules each contribution must follow, it looks fab!
Personal Reflection on Animation:
Until today I had never used animation equipment before and was amazed at how user friendly it was. Animations are so versatile they could compliment almost any topic or project within the classroom offering a great opportunity for children to work collaboratively to create something amazing. I also love the idea of working with schools that are geographically distant, this is something I will definately consider when I’m a teacher!