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Story telling through Animation - Trialling something new

Reflective Summary – Storytelling through Animation at David Street School

National Goal 3: Teachers to integrate e- learning effectively into their practice creating an innovative and exciting learning environment for all students

Year Level: Year 5 -6


  • Develop an understanding of the connection between written and visual language by telling a story using animation
  • Engage in a process of inquiry and reflect on our own learning
  • Communicate our learning in an online community

Method / Interventions / Actions:

As a teacher I have always been fascinated with learning in different ways and using tools that children had never used before. Blogging at our school has taken off as children relish the opportunity to share their work online and reflect on others learning.

Animation is a simple tool that had not been pursued at our school. I knew that the children loved watching these animations online so I decided to give it a focus and create our own.

We began by viewing other animations and deciding what the key features of animations were. The children were so engaged in this that aside from asking a few key questions to guide their learning they created their own criteria themselves.

As a class we knew that it would follow similar lines to writing our own story so knew that we would have to have a plan (storyboard), a setting, characters, etc. As we had been learning about photography prior to this we also knew that there were different types of shots, so these also needed to be incorporated.

Using "I Can Animate" as our software we began to have a play around with what it looked like on screen. This enhanced children’s engagement as they wanted to continue making the stories through their lunch and play!!

As our storyboards began to develop the children were more than able to discuss their story but the storyboard lacked detail. This is where a lot of our learning came in, particularly the difference between communicating in a written form then transferring this to visual images.

Once the storyboards were complete we learnt about modeling and characters e.g good and evil characters and the differences in appearance e.g. shape of face, types of sets, as well as lighting and set design.

As our learning process continued we began filming, editing (which was also new) and then uploaded our finished products.

Impact on students' learning:

Students were actively engaged throughout the whole 10 weeks. This was a true process of enquiry in action. Students were motivated, reflective, collaborating with each other, sharing their own expertise technical or otherwise, and asking good questions.

Students learnt a lot about the technical side of animation, video editing, lighting etc. This learning was even taken home as the children also created their own (as I Can Animate is an app on itunes and can be used on iPhone, iPad or iPod touch).

Improvement was demonstrated in children’s ability to reflect on their learning and create next steps in order to improve their message. A lot of this in the end did come down to technical expertise in terms of not moving the characters and set too far. However it was all part of the learning.

Teacher Reflection:

10 weeks was not long enough to work on animations as a whole. If I was to do this again with the children I would break it down into smaller pieces so that we could see the product improve each time. I would probably use a story that was already created, like a retell of a story or even a comic book so that the children could focus on the technical skills and set design etc before adding in the story as this adds a totally different element and a lot more learning. However, I as a teacher I loved the engagement of the students, the authenticity of the project and the way the children were proud of their finished products.

Student voice / reflection:

“I liked being able to make up my own story and make our characters move without seeing our hands.”

“I really liked doing animation. I would like to try and make a cartoon drawing one like on the whiteboards.”


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