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Claymation Video Lessons

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Keywords: Drawing, English/Language Arts, Photography, Technology, Art, Painting, Claymation
Subject(s): Photography, Technology, Video, Art, English/Language Arts
Grades 5 through 12
Original Author: Joanna Vaughn, Austin
Hello, my name is "Mrs. Vaughn" and I have been the Art Teacher at this wonderful, family-friendly, Title One School for seven years now. The school population is predominantly Hispanic, with about 50% coming from homes where Spanish is spoken. Many parents did not have the opportunity for education. Over 90% of the students are on free or reduced lunch. We have several Special Education programs, and all the Special Education students participate in Art. It is always interesting for me to learn that a student who is extraordinarily artistically gifted cannot read--intelligence takes so many forms!

My daughter sent me the notice of your program, and I am very hopeful on behalf of my students and their families that you might select Ridgetop, from the many deserving entries, to be a winner of this year's grant opportunity. If we do win, I pledge to share anything you send us with at LEAST one other Art teacher in another school in Austin! No point in just keeping the materials on the shelf when they're not in use!

If we are the lucky recipients of the grant award, I would devote one of the four nine-week grading periods to photography-related class projects for grades 3, 4 and 5.
I teach two class groups of each grade level.

Claymation is something I have been longing to do with our 5th grade students, who are of course big T.V. watchers and video game enthusiasts. I really want them to "get it" about how much WORK--creative thinking and TEAMWORK!--goes into each computer game, video, T.V. cartoon, and animated movie. There is a wonderful instructional technology person in our district who can help me with the "how to" of claymation, but a real impediment has been that all the teachers in our school (about 30) SHARE the one digital camera which our librarian checks out...it's not always easy to obtain, as it is in great demand.

That has also posed a problem for me in participating in Artsonia, an online gallery of children's artworks. Having a digital camera that "lives" in the Art Room would help SO MUCH to photograph student artwork and document the creative process. Of course, it would also be a huge help to have photos as well as mirrors to look at for our self-portrait projects.

Eight years ago, I was able to participate in a children's photography project through the Austin Children's Museum and Houston's FotoFest. I taught all the 4th and 5th graders at a different Title I school to work with point-and-shoot 35 mm. cameras, using the curriculum developed by FotoFest. We worked with the themes of "Myself", "My Family", "My Community" and "My Dreams". I have also used Polaroid cameras with 4th grade students, doing follow-up lessons to our visits to the University of Texas' Art museum.

I would love to be able to do similar projects with the Ridgetop students. In addition to teaching them practical photography skills, it would be a great way of visually reinforcing the fact that everyone has a different perspective, notices different things, and that EACH PERSON'S point of view is valid, and is an important part of the whole "BIG" picture. Coming from poverty and immigrant families, many of our students (and parents) do not have a lot of self-confidence. Having their work on display at school and in various other locations around Austin always promotes that "happy, proud feeling" which is one of the byproducts of learning Art.

Our district now has technology expectations of graduating fifth graders, and working with the digital cameras and the computer would help the students achieve the level of familiarity they are expected to have. There is an annual district-wide, K-12 digital film festival/contest, and that would be an opportunity for us to showcase student work done with the cameras....which, perhaps, we will be fortunate enough to receive through your generosity.

Thank you for all you are doing for our young people, through your grant program. Thank goodness there are companies like yours, and wealthy individuals too, who share your resources with schools like ours!

Sincerely, Joanna Vaughn

Students would develop a much better idea of how much work goes into any animated video! Students would take home their little oil-clay character, and a few still shots from their movie. Possibly, each student could also have a CD or DVD of the group's creations, but that could be costly.
Materials: Worksheets, Slideshow, Flash/USB Drives, Camera Bags, Digital Voice Recorders, Digital SLR, Point and Shoot
Other Items: 4 black and white Lexmark printing cartridges, $30 each, total of $120.00
4 color Lexmark printing cartridges, $30 each, total of $120.00
10 120 minute high 8 video tapes, $3.50 each, total of $35.00
6 oil based clay, various colors, $5 each, total of $30.00
2 white cardstock, $7 each, total of $14.00
estimated total, $319 each