Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Stop Frame Animation

Last academic year I had a lot of success when using stop frame animation with children. It's not an easy task  - it can be boring and repetitive and very fiddly. However it's so worth getting through all of these niggles because at the end of the process, you have a wonderful film! In fact the process here is incredibly important. The two films I've linked to below took weeks to make. Not all of the time was spent filming and editing though - we had several sessions looking at communication skills, how to work collaboratively with others and on conflict resolution. The children I worked with were referred to our team because they were at risk of exclusion from their schools, and were really struggling. For them to work on a task and see it through to completion was a massive achievement.

Targets for them involved raising self esteem, and after making these films,  that target was certainly achieved! I entered both films in a competition, and both were winners. It is often difficult to measure success in Health and Wellbeing targets, but in these cases feedback from children, parents and class teachers showed that the benefits stayed with the children long after the films were finished, and that the children continued to display much more positive behaviours.
 Not all of the filming I did last year was as labour intensive as these though. I also made a lot of short animated films using 'Go-gos':
I have the advantage of living with my wonderful daughter who has pestered me into buying these at my local newsagent for a couple of years, and therefore have a plentiful supply. These films could easily be completed in one teaching session (usually an hour and a half), and were particularly effective when I was working with children with an additional language to English. My outreach service supports Gypsy Traveller children, and I worked closley with a Roma family last year, who spoke very little English. Making films with the Go Gos enabled the children to learn colours, prepositions and to follow and give directions.
I also made several films using a similar format to a social story, in which children filmed themselves and their peers. Feedback from parents and schools was again very positive. These social story films were designed to be watched again and again, thus reinforcing their message.

I feel in such a privileged position as an outreach teacher. I work with very vulnerable children, and am with them and their families during an important stage of their childhood. Our team work with children who have experienced an interrupted education - either children who are too ill to attend school, Gypsy Traveller Children, Looked After and Accommodated children, excluded children, children at risk of exlusion, any child who is unable to fully access the curriculum in school. I have the advantage of teaching in a very child centred way - that as a class teacher, I could see was necessary but was unable to do as often as I wished to. In other words, the attention seeking children were given the kind of attention they needed in one to one and group sessions. I am able to spend time with children focussing on what we (the child and I) feel is of primary importance. I hope these videos speak for themselves.
I'm planning on posting more videos online, and possibly planning too, if anyone would like to see some, as well as going into more depth about the film making process - today's post has been written in a bit of a rush to be honest! Anyway, enjoy the films.

Toy Story 4 Film

The Dark Neighbourhood Film

NB - Will get these embedded soon, once I've figured out why I can't at the moment


  1. Hi Julie
    These films are fantastic. I bet these kids remember this experience long after they've left school. Congratulations to all.

  2. Thank you Jarmum, I really appreciate your comment. The children had control over every aspect of the film making process, and had real ownership of the project.

  3. I love these films and am now inspired to try this out with my P6/7 class this year. Could you please tell me what hardware and software you used? I will be keeping a close eye on this blog for more super ideas! Keep them coming please! :)

  4. Hi rooferrocks, sorry I haven't replied sooner - I've been neglecting this blog! I use a Mac, and 'I Can Animate' software to take the frames for the movie, then export to imovie to edit, add visual and audio effects and narration, then export the imovie file to Garageband to add music and any extra sound effects.
    Lovely to know you're following - I don't really publicise my blog much!