Movie Making Lessons


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Movie Making Lessons

  1. 1. Introduction •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 Waterfront Park. •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 movies.
  2. 2. Poem Development  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 watershed.  This can take place as an independent center or during an all-class writing workshop.
  3. 3.  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 poem.  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 animals.
  4. 4. Brainstorm  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 conservation).
  5. 5. Script Development  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.
  6. 6. Play-doh Modeling  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 creatures.  Assign children to make the necessary scenery and props (e.g., pond, soda can rings, etc.)
  7. 7. Animation  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).
  8. 8. Post-production Editing  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 editing process.
  9. 9.  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 paper.  The teacher should complete the movie and add sound effects, transitions, rolling credits, poems, and narration.
  10. 10. 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 festival, etc.