What’s In a Brickbuilder’s Toolkit?

Libraries are becoming much more than a place to check out books. More and more, we’re seeing libraries as a hub of activity, and for kids, they’re filled with all sorts of fun. Cary Memorial Library in Lexington, Massachusetts, is a shining example. If you’re looking to join a club, they’ve got it. If you love LEGOs and you’re looking to join a brickbuilding club, they’re rocking it!

Cary Library uses iStopMotion as a part of its monthly Brickbuilder’s Club to document all sorts of LEGO and clay stop motion animation films. This year, the library hosted four different Brickbuilder’s Clubs, but the main event was the club for grades 3-5. Each month, students meet and work together to create iStopMotion videos of their choice to build teamwork and problem-solving skills.

“These types of activities are great for 21st century kids’ literacy skills,” says Alissa Lauzon, Cary Library’s head of children’s services. “Creating a stop motion video requires kids to approach the process thoughtfully and think about what they want the end result to be and the steps they need to take in order to accomplish that goal. A lot of problem solving skills go into the process as well - if you moved something too quickly and the results are not what you wanted to see, how do you adjust?”

The brickbuilders work together throughout the entire iStopMotion process. This allows them to solve problems collaboratively and cross-culturally, and most of all, enjoyably. Alissa helps the students come up with a plan or storyboard before they begin filming, but when it comes down to it, the kids lead it all. They must agree on a story arc, determine who is responsible for what aspect of filming and who is participating where.

“Collaborative work is becoming more and more prevalent in schools, and these types of activities help kids gain those skills in an environment where they are having fun and being willing, active participants,” Alissa says.

Here’s how it works. Anyone interested in working on an iStopMotion video signs up for a turn, and then time is divided based on the number of groups who want to use the equipment. For club meetings, Alissa typically brings in two stations for the kids to work on. After storyboarding, it’s a go – filming can begin. At the end of the club meeting, the videos are saved and uploaded to YouTube and then shared for the whole group to watch.

For students that want even more time to create iStopMotion videos, Cary Library offers stop motion classes with ten operating stations and more education on storyboarding. The library’s iStopMotion future is looking strong between these supplemental classes and the addition of a new Brickbuilder’s Club for teens, which will begin this fall. And based on the videos on Cary Library’s YouTube channel, we’re looking forward to what’s to come!

Check out everything Cary Memorial Library has to offer here. Who knows – maybe brickbuilding with iStopMotion is your calling!