Saturday, March 16, 2019

The Van Meter 5th Graders Stop Motion Film Festival!

I have always wanted to do a big stop motion project with our students.  We have dabbled in iMovie and WeVideo, along with several stop motion and green screen apps over the years, but have never created full fledged films.  So, as I watched my friend, Todd Burelson, and his students create films for their film festival earlier this year, I was inspired to do the same at Van Meter.  
I wanted to start out with a grade level, before bringing it to several grade levels at one time, so I went to my friend, Megan Algreen, who teaches 5th grade and works with all three sections throughout the day. Megan is always up for trying new things and with her interest also being in educational technology like me, we have a great time dreaming up projects that involve new, challenging and fun technology for our students and teachers. 

As I shared with her about the project, she was all in! 
The first step was hooking up with Todd and his students at Hubbard Woods School in Illinois.  They would Skype into Van Meter, share the organization and execution of the Student Film Festival, demonstrate and answer lots of questions.  

It was awesome having his students there, empowering ours!  
Todd pointed us to this amazing site he created after the Hubbard Woods School Student Film Festival.  

Under the Resources tab, we found the PDF of the Stop-Motion Planning Packet that he used with his students.  It is packed full of places for brainstorming, 
character development,  set development,  
storyboarding their ideas, rubrics and more.  
As Todd's students focused on kindness as a theme for their film festival, our 5th graders were going to focus on the Van Meter Vision Points.  
They would work with their partners to pick one of our vision points and use the packet to....
...brainstorm, write and develop the story, characters and setting of their stop motion film. 

They did a great job with this stage and couldn't wait to get to work. 
Over the next two weeks, they created their characters out of....
clay, wire, paper, LEGO's, photographs and.... 

....lots of other materials we had available to them in Megan's classroom.  
At this point, each group also got a Casey's pizza box that were donated to our project.  This was perfect for keeping everything together in one place and easy for stacking up too.  
Next, was the development and creation of their backgrounds.  
It was really fun seeing how creative and different each groups background were and how they would play a big part in their films.  
It was now time for the filming!  
We used the Stop Motion Studio app that Todd recommended and that we had used a little bit before ourselves.  It is a free app with tons of amazing features and perfect for them to use on the iTouches that we had available for filming. 
It was really fascinating watching the kids figure out how they wanted to shoot the different scenes in their films.   
Some of them shot downward, using inventive and....
...common techniques, while others....
...shot their films straight on using a tiny tripod, bookends, cardboard boxes, the back of computers and other genius ideas!  
Every group had their own individual film making techniques and this was one of the best parts to take in every day as they pulled together their work into wonderful stop motion films for everyone to see.  
When each group finished, Megan had them airdrop them from the iTouches to her MacBook.  

The next morning, one of our 5th graders and local iMovie expert, Jace, came in early to meet us as we put together the final collaborative 2019 Van Meter 5th Grade Film Festival.  

You can watch it here too! 
It was also fun for our 5th graders to open up their classroom that day to our entire elementary....
... as they went around to different stations, 
 to learn about and.... their films.  
The fifth graders all worked so hard on their films,  
so they were so happy to be given the chance to share their work and voice. 
As Megan shared on her Twitter, the very first Film Fest was a success and they loved being part of it. 

Thank you to Megan and to the 5th graders for working together to learn, create and share such amazing work and creations.  We all loved them and can't wait to see what you create next! 

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