Creating resources collaboratively with a time constraint

In groups we were given the task of creating some ICT resources to explore a story book with children.
There were 4 people in my group and we decided to use ‘Walking Through the Jungle’ as a base for our resources. We only had one hour to decide what we were going to do and create the resources ready to present to the rest of the class. Firstly, we had a brief discussion to share and combine our ideas; we all have different strengths, weaknesses and qualities, therefore you get the best outcome when you work collaboratively and we all enhanced our own skills from eachother.

We agreed that our resources should meet the following criteria:

  • be interactive to engage and involve the children as much as possible
  • be appropriate for their age; we decided to aim ours at FS2
  • have a purpose; be an effective resource to have an impact on learning to ‘move the children on’
  • demonstrate ICT skills
  • be fun! – to find out if we have been successful here, we would ask the children for their feedback about the resources.

Using a Popplet, the ideas were mind-mapped:

It was decided that to get the children to ‘tune in’ we would ask them to close their eyes and listen to a music clip of a jungle whilst the teacher asks thought-provoking questions. Once they have listened to a bit of the music, the next slide could be opened to support the discussion of different habitats and to help the children determine where the music is from.

Jungle Presentation

Monkeyjam was used to create a stop frame animation, this is a great activity to carry out with the children. We used it to sequence the story:

It would be great to share children’s animations on a class blog, in assembly or to have playing during parents’ evening.

A resource about jungles was created for use with an IWB. There is a jungle image with shapes hiding animals, the teacher can move the shapes to reveal as much or as little of the animal for the children to guess what it is. Alternatively, the children could be asked to find out what is behind a specific shape which will also be linking the jungle theme to mathematics.

I would have been happy carrying on all day creating resources to extend this topic, but I was impressed with the amount we created in just 1 hour. I have added an additional activity to the IWB resource as I was exploring what could be done with this software package. The activity is for children to use by themselves; they have to sort the animals into ‘jungle animals’ and ‘not jungle animals’ and they can ‘check’ how they performed too. Take a look….

Interactive smart board jungle activities

One of my favourite nursery songs is suitable for use with this theme too: TEASING MR CROCODILE

Teasing Mr Crocodile

This song is one I used in a Story Sack I created for Roald Dahl’s “The Enormous Crocodile” which also has a Jungle theme, here are a few of the resources I created for this story sack including masks and a glove puppet with felt monkeys attached and a scene setting and main characters for the book:

Animation… Impressive!

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!