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Claymation Film Festival

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Keywords: animation
Subject(s): Art, Video, Writing, Animation, Reading, Information Skills, Photography, English/Language Arts
Grades 3 through 8
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: Santa Rosa Ed Co-Op Chtr Sch, Santa Rosa, CA
Planned By: Bill Singer
Original Author: Bill Singer, Santa Rosa
Students will work in groups of 2-4. They will plan a simple story and create a storyboard of their story. Next they will create characters out of clay, and then create a video of their story using a web-cam on the computer. Finally they will use iTunes to organize background music and use iMovie to edit their stories and add sound.

Project Steps
In a step-by-step format, outline the steps required to complete the project.
1. Students research claymation on the internet.
2. Students create a storyboard along with a description of each frame (including dialogue, if any). See attached examples of storyboard planning pages.
3. Students create characters, props, and backgrounds out of clay or other materials. Students rehearse their stories.
4. Students use a web cam and its software to take a frame-by-frame animation of each story. This takes some patience. It's about 10 frames, or pictures for each second of video.
5. Using QuickTime Pro, the teacher helps students convert the movies to DV format and imports them into iMovie.
6. Using iMovie, students edit their videos, add titles, sounds, music (organized in iTunes), and effects

List the intended learning outcomes of the project.
Students learn essential elements of a story so it can be told in a short, simple form. Students learn to describe characters visually, and learn to create a storyboard. Students learn the basic principles of animation. Students learn to use iMovie, and how adding music and sound can affect a story.

Technology Skills
List the technology skills students will learn from completing the project.
Using a web cam (and software) for frame-by-frame animation.
Using iTunes to gather and organize music.
Using iMovie to add titles, sound, effects, and to edit short videos.

Assessment Suggestions
List methods for assessing the outcomes of the project.
Assess storyboard for conflict-resolution and clear story line.
Assess claymation video for implementation of storyboard.
Assess final video for use of titles, sound, effects, editing.
Kids assess their own movies as well as how they worked together in a group.

Preparation and Duration
Provide suggestions for the teacher and/or the students to help prepare them for the project. List how many class periods the project might take to complete.
1-2 class periods for story boards and creating characters out of clay.
Filming the movies takes about 30 minutes per group for a 20-30 second movie (it gets quicker as kids become used to it).
Editing each movies takes about 10-20 minutes, depending on complexity.
The whole process takes 1-2 weeks, depending on how much time per day you devote to each group.

Tools and Resources
List the tools and resources necessary to complete the project. Also list any optional materials.
Web cam and its accompanying software (I used a Logitech QuickCam Pro). Approx $40 - $90. You can also use a DV video camera, but you need special software to get it to do frame-by-frame animation.
A Mac. Older macs are fine for the web cam, but a newer one is good for iMovie.
QuickTime Pro (for converting movies to DV format so you can import to iMovie).
iTunes for organizing music.
iMovie for editing, adding titles and sound.

Prerequisite Skills
List the skills that must be mastered before attempting this project.
Basic iMovie skills - adding titles, sounds and music. You should practice doing a few claymation movies.

Facilitation Tips (optional)
List any tips to help teachers implement the project in their classroom.
Ask kids what they already know about claymation. Watch some clips from claymation movies they may know (Chicken Run, Wallace and Grommet, etc).
If you have two computers, use the faster one for editing and the other for filming so two groups can work simultaneously.
Have an independent activity for the rest of the class while you work with the small groups who are filming or editing.

Technology Tips (optional)
Each movies can be several megabytes. Make sure you have plenty of hard disk space before you start filming and editing.
Materials: Animation