When Mount Ousey Public School teacher, Felicity Fitzpatrick, discovered that her 7- and 8-year-old students were gifted writers, she felt dissatisfied that no one would get the chance to see their work. To address this, she implemented iStopMotion into the classroom to give her students’ writing real purpose and a more refined audience.
The intent of the project was to create an engaging and purposeful writing experience, allowing students to have almost complete creative control. Students were partnered with one another to plan and write a narrative, which was then peer edited. After the narrative was refined, a storyboard was created to use as a guide when they were animating. Finally, students used clay to shape their characters on paper backgrounds with their stories recorded aloud over the animation.
It comes as no surprise that students absolutely loved using iStopMotion! Felicity says, “A lot of them have been saying it's their favorite thing they have done this year. It was a lot of work and took quite a bit of time, but the level of engagement in the task made it totally worth it.”
Students were so eager to return to their movies that when an administrative faculty member dropped by to observe a reading lesson, they asked if she could come back later!
“My kids were so excited and so happy to be at school and learning,” Felicity says. “They wanted to be working on their movies all the time. They were so proud when they were finished, and now they are on YouTube. It's been pretty amazing.”
Part of what makes iStopMotion so enjoyable for younger students in particular is its accessibility. In most cases, students were able to master the program after just a few demonstrations, making it possible for them to take charge of their own learning.
As an added bonus, the project has helped Felicity’s students develop their writing skills in ways that even she didn’t foresee. She explains, “During our reflection, a lot of them talked about how through doing the animations they saw the gaps in their writing that they hadn't realized before. They have a better understanding now of explaining things for the audience’s benefit.”
In addition to keeping iStopMotion as a part of the English and writing curriculum, Felicity has plans for the coming year to incorporate it into her science lessons. Given the success she and her students have had, we’re expecting great things! Check out Felicity’s students’ work here.