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Keywords: animals, Earth Science, Legos, Language Arts, stop action motion, Reading, digital camera, Animation, storyboard, and narrate
Subject(s): Photography, Reading, Writing, Life Science, Technology, Early Learning
Grades 2 through 6
School: Elysian Heights Elem School, Los Angeles, CA
Planned By: Isabel M. Lee
Original Author: Isabel M. Lee, Los Angeles
Students use digital cameras, tripods, storyboard and Lego Duplo animals to develop their own animal animation short story based on one nonfiction story they have read.

First the students are grouped into 4 groups, next the students will read various nonfiction (in this case animals) stories. Students will then determine which short nonfiction story they would like to retell by using their Lego animals.

Next they will use a Storyboard to map out the contents and direction of the project. Using the storyboard to show what will happen on each page of the story. After the students are done with the storyboard, it's followed with discussions within the group and the other group's for any suggestions they may have to improve their story. Then they will work with the teacher for her suggestions.

Next each group decides what background(s) they would draw for their Lego zoo animals. They use the digital cameras on tripods to take pictures of their Lego animals using stop motions in retelling their short story.

Using a software called “Tool Factory Movie Making” they will develop their Legos animal animation short story. Here the children will add title and text if needed. Also add voice over and music to their animation movie.

The teacher and the students use the Animation and Technology Rubrics to score their project and the other groups projects. They save their project on Quick Time as a movie, and make a hard copy of their project as a keepsake.

At the End of the Year's "Open House" they will present their "Lego Animal Animation" to their peers and to their parents.
I hope to close the achievement gap, raise self-esteem and teach media technology to all of my students.

I truly believe even the most reluctant reader and writer would get excited about creating something they can call their own. This project would build their confidence as writers, improve their reading fluency and read in a manner approximating natural speech.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
They can create informational animations in History, Science, and Language Arts
They can create clay animations short stories.
Materials: Early Learning, Animation, Tripods, Point and Shoot
Other Items: 1 Tool Factory Movie Maker, $69.99 each, total of $69.99
2 Olympus FE-3010, $149.00 each, total of $298.00
2 Flip Video Tripod, $149.00 each, total of $298.00