Our fourth day of stopmotion filmmaking fun at our church’s fine arts camp ended today, and our final completed video count stands at 22. None of these films tell complete stories, and many are pretty random, but they do represent a great deal of learning, work, and fun! I published all our videos this evening to a new YouTube channel I created for the class, and am burning a DVD now that will be shown tomorrow at our “film festival.” (My wife will actually sub for me, as I’ll be enroute to NECC 2008 and EduBloggerCon!)
“The Unexpected Champion” (which I posted about Monday night in “Lessons learned about Stopmotion after Arts Academy Day 1”) remains a personal favorite movie creation from the past week, but the following are also high on my list this week:
“The Rescue” (34 sec)
“The Lonely Blob and His Special Someone” (1 min, 8 sec)
“The Trophy” (1 min, 54 sec)
I helped create “Not A Tasty Treat” (33 sec) after discussing stopmotion possibilities with projector shadow characters all week with my high school assistant:
As you can see, we got pretty silly with our creations but we also learned a great deal.
Like coaching a sport, I found that the more I personally experienced, created and “played” with stopmotion filmmaking and claymation, the better I was able to teach and facilitate our students as they created stopmotion projects. Many kids tried to put too many objects in their films, and often those did not succeed in telling a cogent story. It was difficult for some (particularly younger students) to be patient enough to take the LARGE number of pictures necessary to make reasonably smooth stopmotion movement. By the last classes of the day today, my high school assistant and I were counseling teams to just use a few characters (keep it very simple) and try to really animate their clay objects instead of just moving them around like action figures or finger puppets.
All in all, I think our workshop and class was a success and a big hit. No one created an epic film (or even something that could be considered a “complete” movie) but everyone got multiple experiences creating stopmotion and was introduced to the storyboarding process. With the exception of my own children and my assistant, NONE of the kids in my classes had ever done any stopmotion filmmaking with objects or with clay. Everyone liked it, and in several cases I had to shoo kids out of the classroom because they wanted to keep on working even after our classtime was over! It’s great to work in an environment where the students are having fun and are very motivated to work. (Of course that condition wasn’t universal, and this WAS a voluntary summer arts camp, but still it was nice.) We could have had each student work on a single project that was completed at the end of the week, but I think it was better to have them work on and complete multiple small projects. These “small victories” (as Marco Torres sometimes says in similar contexts) are key for learning, I think. The biggest success was that in the workshop, we (as teachers and class leaders) followed the guideline, “More them. Less us.” The hands-on, collaborative work in groups was great. Not everything went smoothly, and things were difficult for some at times due to natural group dynamics, but all those things are important parts of the learning process. Teaching this class this week was a real treat! 🙂
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