As part of a project looking at progression in animation I have been talking to teachers and children about animation and reflecting on what I have learnt so far. It will be interesting to see how this changes as we move towards the end of the year and the project but here it is at present.
- Watch animations with children. Lots and lots of them. Discuss them and their meaning. What is their personal response to the animation? Use the likes, dislikes, patterns and puzzles to start off discussions. Ask how did the animator make you feel like that? This is not wasted time. This work will be reflected in the animations the children make. The animation on this page created by Yr2 pupils was partially inspired by the Ooglies. We have linked to several animations on our YouTube channel, you can buy the British Film Institue’s DVDs of animations for children Starting Stories 1 and 2 for KS1 and Story Shorts 1 and 2 for KS2 and there are many on television.
- Allow children sufficient time to play with the equipment if it is the first time that children have animated. Set up the equipment in the classroom and allow the children to use it, explore what it can do and learn from this. It means that the animations take a lot less time to make when you fnally start.
- Keep it simple. Discuss what the children want their veiwers to focus on when they watch the animtion. How can this best be shown? This is what storyboards are for and they don’t have to be drawn. They could be digital images. They could be timings and descriptions.
- Pauses. Sometimes animations can be over before you have blinked. It is important to get the right length of time and to put pauses in. This enhances the viewing experience considerably.
- Evaluate the animations produced. What would you do differently next time? And then have a next time animating so that the children can put what they have learnt into operation. And a next time and a next time.
- Children work in teams to animate and it is important that the dynamics are successful. Careful grouping is important as so far in the project the teams that work well together frequently produce the ‘best’ animations. This would be an ideal time to collect evidence for Assessing Pupil Progress in speaking and listening.
- Animations allow children to demonstrate what they have learnt and understood. Animating a poem allows them to show what meaning they made from the words, animating how a volcano works allows children to demonstrate what they understand about the process. Use animation across the curriculum.
What have you learnt when animating with children?