Two year 6 classes from Bradway School spent a full day each at the CLC to animate the traditional Japanese stories they had been learning about in class. The students had also being studying Manga comics, and each group created some fantastic 2D characters, props and sets for the animations. They were the most ambitious characters I’ve seen at the CLC, with a huge number of moving parts, with different eyes, mouths and profiles. I was very impressed with how the students managed to keep track of all the bits and use them to full effect in their films.
Once again the difficulties of animating enough action to match the scripts came to the fore. The problem partially lies in recording the voice-over separately, rather than straight onto the animation, but this isn’t really practical. However I think that any problems like this teach the pupils a lot, and they hopefully will be very aware of the issue for future animations.
Here are some of my favourites from the sessions (I just love the Windy Bride story!):
The year 1 class from St Thomas of Canterbury attended the CLC in two halves this past couple of weeks in order to animate the stories they had been learning in lessons. The first half animated The Gruffalo, each group taking one or scenes to work on. These were all put together at the end with the voiceover recorded in class. We used the software Zu3D, as it is very easy to use and primary friendly, with the ability to add titles and audio to the animation without having to export it into another application. The pupils worked really hard to get the animations completed in a morning, although we had the common problem of struggling to have enough action to fit the voice-over. This is where one of the Zu3D features is particularly useful – the frame rate slider means you can quickly reduce the number of frames per second, in order to slow the film down.
The second half of the class animated a Funny Bones story which you can see below.
Three classes from Mundella School have visited the CLC this term to create some animations. Two classes animated part of the story of The Iron Man by Ted Hughes, using some fantastic hand painted sets and props.
Mundella – Iron Man
The third class had been learning about explorers, and created animations set in the Antarctic based on Scott’s expedition to the South Pole, again with some beautifully painted backdrops and penguins.
Two key stage 2 classes from Heritage Park have been studying the story of the The Iron Man by Ted Hughes as part of their Machines topic and came to the CLC to help bring it to life. In the first session the pupils created an animation of part of the story, using 2D painted backgrounds and characters. This worked particularly well as they had used split pins in the joints of the Iron Man, so that his arms and legs could move. The animations were also quite short and based on action rather than dialogue, which I find is always most effective.
The following week we looked at mechanical sounds and created a soundtrack for the animation. We used the iPads, in particular the Shaker app, and Garageband on the Apple Macs. This contains a large number of loops and sound effects. A couple of groups recorded their own sound effects too.
In the third session, I took our Lego Mindstorm Robots to the school, to do some programming. We look at simple programs to make the robots move forward, backwards, turn and stop. Then we investigated the sound and colour sensors, seeing how loud different sounds were, and what colours the robot could detect.
This term a year 7/8 class from Talbot Specialist School have been working at the CLC to create their own animated version of the story of Robin Hood. The class worked really well together, taking it in turns to take the pictures on the computer, move the characters, and boss everyone about as director. They had built the set and characters before they came to the CLC – the set was good and robust, but the characters struggled to stand unaided, so we filmed from above, with everything laid flat.
Whilst some students were busy animating, others recorded the voiceover using our mp3 recorders, and once the animating was completed we sat together as a group to decide on titles, music and editing. We hope you enjoy the final film!
A year 6 class from Meersbrook Bank spent the day at the CLC last week to finish off a project they had been doing on Hana’s Suitcase. This is a book by Karen Levine that documents the story of Hana Brady, a Jewish girl from Czechoslovakia who was killed at Auschwitz in 1944. Her suitcase was later displayed as an exhibit in a Japanese holocaust museum and the curator uncovered Hana’s story.
Groups of pupils filmed short plays and news reports based on Hana’s life in front of the green screen. In between filming they created Wordles of keywords about the story, and contributed to a Wallwisher wall on how they felt after they read the book, for example “It made me feel like… Like i havent bothered to learn about it before and now i am really amazed!” They also used Comic Life to recreate the story in pictures.
The four weeks with the Valley Park year 6 class passed far too quickly, but it is all over and the music video has been completed.
The Publicity group continued with posters, and presentations and diary entries about the World tour, all of which can be seen on the project blog at www.valleyparkmusic.posterous.com. During the final session they held a Wii Music competition, to see who would record the best version of the Locomotion, playing instruments of their choice.
Over the last two weeks the animation group discovered that their story was a little complicated, and had to simplify it all. As this group also made up the editing group, there wasn’t much time for the pupils to edit the video in the final session. However they communicated their vision for the film and I hope to have done it justice:
A year 1 class from Lowedges came in two groups to the CLC over the last couple of weeks to consolidate their work on the Pie Corbett story, The Fox and His Bag. They began by being filmed retelling the tale with actions in front of the green screen. We searched for some images using the Advanced Search on Flickr.com that were Creative Commons licensed to use as the backgrounds. In pairs they were also filmed as reporters interviewing the characters from the story. The pupils came up with their own questions and answers, which varied a lot in quality, but kept us all entertained.
Group 2 came with props and costumes in order to act out key scenes in front of the green screen. They then created a short animation (see below) using a toy frog, puppy and rat. In addition we looked at different expressions, and took photographs of pupils’ faces being sad, happy, curious, angry etc. Finally the students did some Freeze Frames of moments in the story.
All of the activities helped the class to remember the story and think deeper about the actions and feelings of all the characters.
We had pupils from Heritage Park and Sevenhills Schools in for a number of sessions last half term creating some animations.
Heritage Park students animated the story of Perseus and Medusa – first reducing the tale to a manageable number of scenes and creating some fantastic figures out of plasticine. Once they had animated the story in I Can Animate, they edited in Windows Movie Maker, adding a voiceover and titles to help understanding. You can see their finished film below:
The Story of Perseus
The group of year 11 students from Sevenhills had an equally difficult task as they had to come up with their own stories to animate. All of them were influenced by films, TV programmes and computer games for their topics, and found that creating the characters and developing a story was the hardest part of the process. You can see a couple of examples of their films below:
This term saw the launch of the Double Club at the CLC. Selected students from Newfield School spend time on a Thursday at the CLC doing English lessons, with all the resources based on football related themes, and each week there is a new team captain to lead the training. The club is an extension of the Playing for Success scheme based at the Sheffield United ground, and the students receive 2 hours of football training after school each week from United coaches.
The Club has been very successful so far, with students returning early from lunch to continue with the activities.
To see what the students have been learning, and how they feel about it, see the Double Club blog here.