•Let students know they will be making a claymation movie showing all that they
learned about the Anacostia Watershed on their field trip to Bladensburg
•Highlight the steps: (1) script-writing; (2) play-doh modeling; and (3) movie
animation and editing.
•Tell students that their names will appear in the rolling credits, just like in the real
This should have started the week before or during the
same week as script development, so that students can
get familiar with facts about each organism in the
This can take place as an independent center or during
an all-class writing workshop.
Model for students a poem written about an animal using
describing words (to describe the appearance) and
describing actions of the animal. Then write its
relationship to other living things – whether it eats
something else (thereby hurting it), is eaten by
something else (and therefore hurt by it), or helps
something else to survive. Finally, write a serious or
whimsical question about the animal at the end of the
After about 2 days of working on this formulaic poem,
introduce children to acrostic poems. Use the Animal
Stackers book for examples of whimsical poems about
In a large-group discussion, brainstorm with children
parts of the movie - the “characters” (which are
organisms of the Anacostia watershed), relationships
among them, and problems to be solved (issues of
In small group instruction as other groups rotate into other
center activities, develop the actual lines that will be read by
narrators. These lines will serve as a guide for your
animation. Read a few animal cards and ask students to
name in their own words the most interesting and important
facts about the organism. Do this with each group that
rotates into your small group until all the “characters” have
been described in the script.
The next day, do the same with the problems and solutions
of the Anacostia watershed.
Assign each child to create the play-doh organisms for
the movie. Guide them in scale. This should not be
done during centers, as children need a fair amount of
guidance. Provide pictures as they make the
Assign children to make the necessary scenery and
props (e.g., pond, soda can rings, etc.)
This should be done by the teacher (at least for the first
movie). A portion of it could be done by students, but it
is very time-consuming work whose scope extends
beyond the attention of second graders. For
instance, a 7.5 claymation video used about 400
photographs and took well over 20 hours to develop
from photography to editing in iMovie (not including the
time used for script-writing and organism creation).
When the animation is complete (but before the sound
effects and narration is complete), show the students
what this stage in the process looks like. Show the film
a few times, as they will need a few viewings to show
their excitement and to then attend to each step of the
Pass out movie editing slips for each student to write
what was good about it and what should be changed or
added. Provide at least one more viewing of the movie
for each question for this age group.
Discuss the movie, take questions, and collect slips of
The teacher should complete the movie and add sound
effects, transitions, rolling credits, poems, and narration.
Movie Premiere Party
Pass out popcorn to students.
Enjoy the movie together!
Discuss how to use it in the school (or greater)
community – to educate, entertain, compete in a