Monday, 16 June 2014

Stop Motion Art & Animation in Grade 3


What happens if you take 180 Grade 3 students, 2 magnificent Art Teachers, 24 iPad (Justand) stands, clamps and 24 iPads?

Well, you achieve a level of creativity that is truly inspiring—and that is the only word to describe the fever pitch that has been Grade 3 Art classes this past month, the synergy between 'real life' art work (paper, scissors, paint) and the literal bringing to LIFE of these creations using the stop motion animation via the iPad app - Stop Motion Studio was exactly that, INSPIRING. You don't need to look any further than this is to see the true embodiment of the '4 Cs' of '21st Century Learning' described by UWCSEA profile in action.

Creativity | Collaboration | Communication | Critical Thinking
  • Creative and innovative
  • Collaborative; and Communicators
  • Critical thinker and problem solvers

A brief look at Caroline and Siân's learning intentions for this unit reveals how powerful this kind of activity is in providing experiences that facilitate this kind of learning:
  • How to use animation software to retell a story. 
  • How the creative preparation for an animation differs from other forms of art 
  • How to use mixed media to create scenes and characters. 
  • Look critically at their animation and consider how it can be changed. 

Video compiled by Caroline Sebunya

Watching the students in action it also became quickly evident that there was a great deal of 'Critical Thinking and Problem Solving' happening—not something the teachers had expected or consciously planned for but, I can assure you, if you ask them now they will tell you that this became a very powerful aspect of the students' learning - from assembling and adjusting the stands, to the realisation that they need to storyboard their animation to troubleshooting issues with the App, to making judicious choices about the kinds of materials that would help them to tell their stories—even logical mathematical reasoning as they wrestled with frame rates per second!

So the question is, how do we really teach creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration? These are right brain skills, those that are most difficult to teach in a codified, regimented way. With most school systems now fixated on measurable outcomes (usually test scores), how do we make these 'soft skills' a genuine priority when they are so hard to measure? Well ... one way is through Digital Art.