Stop motion movies have become a part of pop culture thanks to incredible movies like The Lego Movie, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Gumby, Missing Link, The Boxtrolls, and The Isle of Dogs just to name a few. And, thanks to kid-friendly technology it’s not only easy but super fun for your students to make their very own stop motion animation movies in your classroom. I’m so excited to share with you how I use stop motion animation in my classroom.
What are Stop Motion Animation Movies
Stop motion animation movies are an animated style of movie-making consisting of lots and lots of still photos. Objects in the photos are moved ever so slightly between each photo. Then, when all of the photos are put together it looks like the objects are essentially moving on their own. Believe it or not, people have been experimenting and improving upon the technique of stop motion movie-making since the late 1800s. Wow!
Here is a great video featuring the creators of the movie Missing Link to show your students. It’s a great demonstration of how stop motion movies are made.
What Supplies do I Need for Stop Motion Animation in my Classroom?
Now that your students have a basic understanding of, and hopefully, a lot of excitement about, stop motion animation movies, it’s time to jump in.
The Stop Motion Animation App on my classroom iPads is my go-to when having my students create their own stop motion movies. It’s FREE, simple, and fun for them to use and doesn’t require a lot of prep and planning from me.
It’s important to remind your students to take lots and lots of photos in the app. The more photos they take, and the smaller the movements of the objects, the better their movie will look in the end.
A few helpful materials you could also use include:
- Hue Camera – Connects with PC and will soon work with Chromebooks
- Hue Animation Studio – Creates stop motion movies
- Stikbots – Moveable figures
- Lego People – Ask for donations, grab from garage or yard sales, or even check your local discount store for similar generic brands.
- Backgrounds – I have found felt boards at my local dollar store!
- iPad Stand – Great for filming green-screen movies.
- iPad Holder – Goes on top of the stand
- Green Screen Kit – I used felt from HobbyLobby and pinned it to a bulletin board. It was a cheap and easy solution. You could also use construction paper, bulletin board paper, or a tablecloth if you don’t want to purchase a Green Screen Kit.
- Green Gloves – These help your student’s hands disappear if they are holding an object.
- DoInk App – Edit and make greenscreen movies – the app costs $4.99
- Stop Motion Studio – Free app for stop motion movie making
All of these items are great, but you don’t need to go out and spend big bucks to get your students into stop motion animation. A trip to your local discount store can get you started!
What if I Want to Use Items I Already Have?
I love, love, love reusing and repurposing items in my classroom for all kinds of projects. And, stop motion animation is no exception!
Before my students even start taking pictures, I have them create their very own storyboard. It’s the perfect way to visually plan out the action they want to show in their stop motion movie.
A simple worksheet like the one included in the Miss Tech Queen Stop Motion Starter Kit is the perfect way to go for kids as young as 2nd grade. Whether your kiddos are working independently or in a small group, planning out the action will help them decide what materials they will want.
Next, I send them “shopping”. Well, not really. They have time to look around the classroom to gather materials they could use in their movie. Whether it’s toys, figures, blocks, cardboard, paper, Legos, or any other small moveable item, it can be used in stop motion movie making.
How do I Keep my Students on Track?
When it comes to projects like these my kiddos get super excited. But, sometimes that means emotions can run high and arguments can and do happen. To help keep everyone engaged and having fun, I like to assign specific jobs to each student in the group. Think about all the different jobs that are required to make an actual movie. It’s kind of like that!
Jobs for stop motion animation movie groups can include:
- Animator – Moves the props in small motions, changes backgrounds, and prepares the scenes.
- Model Maker – Creates and builds props for the film
- Photographer – Takes photos and videos of each scene
- Director – Checks that everything is running correctly and reviews the scenes, photos, and videos. Also communicates well with the team.
- Editor – Works with the unfinished film to combine, add, or remove shots. They also check to be sure that the film plays smoothly and that everything in the film makes sense.
- Screenwriter – Creates the storyline and movie script.
Assigning a job to each person on the team means everyone will feel like they had a part in the process. This also means less chance for conflict throughout the process.
How do I Grade a Stop Motion Animation Movies?
I am all about encouraging creativity in my classroom. But, sometimes that can seem like an impossible thing to grade.
When I do my stop motion animation unit, I make sure to let my students know that they are going to be graded more on the planning and execution of the project instead of the outcome.
Of course, the movies will look “cool”, but some groups may have a better-looking end product. That doesn’t mean they didn’t put in just as much effort though. So, that’s why I created the Film Rubric included in the Animation Kit.
By grading things like required elements, clarity and neatness, use of time, cooperation, content, and film, I can be sure my students are being assessed on the whole process.
Ready to Start Making Stop Motion Animation Movies in Your Classroom?
With a tablet, computer, iPad, some moveable objects, and a little imagination you are already on your way to some serious stop motion animation movie-making fun in your classroom.
To make things even easier, I have a resource full of tips, suggested resources, printables, and MORE! The Stop Motion Animation Kit has everything you need to get the film rolling in your classroom. I can tell you from experience this is always a huge hit in my classroom.
If you are an electives teacher like me, consider partnering up with a classroom teacher for your stop motion movie project. Are they studying US History? Ask that class to create a movie based on famous American Inventors. Have a class that is focusing on biomes? Ask your students to create a stop motion movie using that biome and the animals that live there. The possibilities are endless.
Be sure to grab the Stop Motion Animation FREEBIE to get started with some amazingly fun stop motion animation movie-making in your classroom today!
Be sure to save these stop motion animation ideas to your favorite classroom Pinterest board today!