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From Book to Script to Claymation

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Keywords: Technology, Language Arts, script writing, animation, Art
Subject(s): English/Language Arts, Photography, Reading, Animation, Writing, Special Needs, Dyslexia, Technology, Social Skills, Video, Art, Spelling, Grammar, Drama, Math
Grades 3 through 6
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Starpoint School, Fort Worth, TX
Planned By: Sherry Oliver
Original Author: Sherry Oliver, Texas Christi
My class of 4th graders with learning differences, as we say, loves doing this. Along the way, they learn the importance of time management, proper planning, and patience with each other.

The most difficult part of the process was deciding on the proper book. The girls wanted puppies and horses, while the boys wanted things that blew up. Finally they settled on the Berenstain Bears "Report Card Trouble".

After settling on a book, a script had to be written. Since I was the producer and editor, I required correct spelling and organization that everyone could understand.

Next came storybook sketches and character development. They soon realized building claymation models of everyone in the book was a huge job, so they settled on the main characters of Papa, Mama, Brother Bear, Sister, and Sister's friend Sally. Set designs would fill in the other characters.

Of course everyone wanted to start with the claymation models. However, after they learned the clay could dry out before the sets were completely built, they resisted the temptation and quickly began on the set building.

They built a bus, a school room. a gym and used "pop" clouds with drawing to show Brother Bear's excellence in PE, The Bear's living room, and the Bear's Kitchen.

Filming using small movements, sound recorded in an isolation booth and overlaid on the finished the finished movie created a creative piece. In addition, they created all title slides for the movie and helped with the final editing.

The clay models lasted though the entire process. Afterwards, they were baked and allowed to completely harden. Each participant went home with a model, a signed script, and copy of the movie. The movie was shown on Grandparents' Day and afterwards we had cast party with milk and cookies.

IT Was A HUGE Success and one the entire school still talks about.
This was a great project. Will do this again, next year with a 5th level group.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Language Arts, Art, Technology, Math, and even a little Science was required to properly pull this project together.
A great lesson in patience and working together. Students drew on these skills later when they made a live animation Public Service Announcement for our school to encourage more reading by the students.
Materials: Flash Memory Camcorders, Animation