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Flat Stanley Visits....Your Imagination in Claymation!

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Keywords: Flat Stanley, animation, video, Claymation
Subject(s): Science, Grammar, English/Language Arts, Social Studies, Photography, Reading, Writing, Technology, Video, Art, Drama, Math
Grades 3 through 8
School: Community Christian School, Lincoln, CA
Planned By: Pamela Jimison
Original Author: Pamela Jimison, Sacramento
Students will read Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown. Students pair share ideas how Flat Stanley can travel. They will work in teams to brainstorm imaginative places Flat Stanley could travel (ex. center of the earth, space, etc.).

Students then work in groups to come up with 4 characters for a story...one Flat _______(insert a name), the other characters can be anything they can imagine! Students collaborate to create a storyboard for a claymation movie. After creating the storyboard, students work in the same groups to paint a posterboard size backdrop for their movie.

Students create their clay characters using wire and clay. It is helpful to watch claymation videos on utube to brainstorm the effectiveness of characterization using clay.

Students collaboratively work to film a claymation movie using their characters and storyboard. Note special claymation features...it takes 6 digital pictures for 1 second of film. Using math/multiplication, students will decide how many pictures they need for a 10-15 second claymation movie. Discuss using word cards during the movie (word cards need 18 pictures for 3 seconds of play time to read the cards!).

Tips on filming the animation:

1.Using a digital camera take a photo or 3 second shot of your characters in the beginning pose. (This is 18 pictures)
2.Slightly move the characters and possible the moveable background parts.
3.Take a picture
4.repeat step two to capture the story’s theme.
5.Approximately 60-90 pictures should be shot for a very short claymation

If available, use Podcasting system to add sound to the video. Have students write a scrip and narrate to fit the claymation movie.

Play the movies at the end and critique the effectiveness of characterization and bringing a film to life!
It is possible to complete this activity with pre-work in the classroom and digital work at Zeum in San Francisco if teacher digital technology is not available.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Science - Have Flat Stanley travel to the Solar System, land on a planet, travel inside an atom, inside the human body, it is limited only to your imagination!

History - Have Flat Stanley travel by in time to an event your class is studying! Very fun!
Post claymation videos on utube or school web site. Invite families for a movie / popcorn time in the classroom to celebrate the presentations!
Links: Link to Claymation Made Easy
Link to Aardman
Link to animateclay.com
Link to Clay Animation Station
Materials: Computer Accessories, CDs and DVDs, Memory Cards, Batteries, Camera/Video Accessories, Animation, Video Tools, Digital SLR, Point and Shoot, Digital Cameras, Clip Art, Worksheets, Internet Services, Assessment
Other Items: 1 Various Clay Colors, $60 each, total of $60.00
1 Claymation Studio Software, $40 each, total of $40.00
1 Podcasting Mobile Lab, $3650 each, total of $3650.00
1 Digital Camera, $150 each, total of $150.00