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Organize yourself for 2011 with the Action Method

What it is: You know what I love about a new year? The blank slate. The empty calendar begging to be written on. The chance to take a step back and evaluate how you are working.  I am an organizer at heart. I love having everything in its place. I love label makers, file folders, planners, calendars, and software that makes my life easier.  For Christmas my little brother (always have to have the little in there to remind him of his place in life ) gifted me with the book “Making Ideas Happen” by Scott Belsky.  I am about a third of the way through it and already loving it.  What my brother knows about me (I think it runs in our gene pool) is that I am a creative person. I am never at a loss for ideas. They flow constantly.  The problem: I think every single idea is genius. I want every single idea to come to fruition because surely no one has every come up with something so brilliant before.  Even for an organizational nut like me, this is an impossible task.  And if I’m totally honest, my organizational skills leave much to be desired when it comes to putting my ideas in their place.  Ideas are wonderful things, they make the world go round…but they are only useful as far as they are enacted. When the flow of ideas is constant, many truly brilliant ideas get pushed aside while another round of ideas rolls in.  This post isn’t really about the book.  While it is a good book, it isn’t really inspirational. It is life changing in what you do with the principles it reveals.  Blesky details his Action Method in the book.  I immediately loved this method because it works the way I think. It puts everything in its place and gives you a place to organize actionable items (things you can actually work towards completion right now), reference items (all those bits of notes and websites, and pdfs, and pictures I have EVERYWHERE…seriously my husband says I have a problem), and backburners- those ideas that aren’t really actionable yet but could be some day.  This keeps those brilliant ideas at the forefront and getting taken care of while the flow of ideas has a place (backburner) so that nothing is lost.  Sweet!  My next question was: where can I “do” the action method so that I can and will keep up with it?  Problem solved, introducing the Action Method online. You can put all of those principles to use in one beautiful interface.  Even better…you can access it on your mobile device too.  We all know that is a must in this day and age! The online Action Method has a free version which lets you do just about everything…for some extra shiny bits you can sign up for the pro plan.  The mobile version is a free download. (There is even a paper version for those of you who like to go old school…normally I am in this organizational camp but like I said, the website is right up my alley.) What is better than starting off the new year organized and with money in the bank? Here is the Action Method as described on the website: ACTION STEPS are tasks that need to be completed. Each Action Step should start with a verb: “Call Y,” “Follow up with X,” “Buy a gift for Z.” REFERENCES are notes, links, files, sketches – any information related to a project that gives context to your Action Steps. BACKBURNERS are the brilliant ideas that you want to come back to later, but are not yet actionable. DISCUSSIONS enable you to manage ongoing conversations across all of your projects with anyone that works with you. All relevant communications (shared documents, solutions to problems, feedback, decisions) are in one place. EVENTS are the key occasions/meetings/milestones/etc toward which you (and your team) are working. Events can be used to coordinate deadlines for Action Steps, aiding project management. Pretty cool right?!  I really like how the Action Method lets you track discussions and delegate tasks easily. Very handy! Need more convincing? Companies like Apple use the Action Method…you know something is working for them!  I don’t know about you, but the thought of having everything organized in one place is giving me some major warm fuzzies right now! How to integrate the Action Method into your curriculum: The Action Method website and app can be used to organize your school life.  I constantly have ideas for new lesson plans, projects, websites, etc. that I want to use with students.  These can be easily organized with the Action Method.  Create a new Project for each unit or educational focus.  Action items can be the individual lessons and resources that you are going to complete for that unit.  Add any resources you need in the references section.  Saw a cool idea on Twitter that you want to use in your classroom but aren’t sure how it will work just yet? Add it to your backburner so you can go back and review it later.  The Action Method could very well be the only planner you need!  Create discussions with teammates and colleagues (or Twitter colleagues) directly in the program. Delegate tasks  to others on your team or even parent volunteers. The Action Method could be used to help middle school or high school students better organize their lives and learning.  It would be especially useful for students who help chart their own learning plans.  The site does require an email address (with confirmation) to sign up. Tips: You can learn more about the Action Method in the book Making Ideas Happen. Happy organizing! Please leave a comment and share how you are using the Action Method in Your classroom.

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Presenting Learning with Stop Motion Animation

Posted by admin | Posted in collaboration, Create, inspiration, iPod, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Understand (describe, explain), video, Video Tutorials, web tools, Websites | Posted on 14-09-2011

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What it is:  At Anastasis Academy, we have some Stop Motion Animation PROS in the form of an eight year and ten-year old boy.  These brothers taught themselves how to use stop motion animation, proceeded to create several learning videos (without assistance from a teacher) and, if that wasn’t enough, went on to teach the rest of our students how to do it!  Incredible.  Nothing like starting the day with a little viral learning!  Today these two young boys stood before our junior high students (twelve to fourteen year olds) and taught them how to make a stop motion animation video.  The young boys are SO proud of their accomplishment and were incredibly articulate as they taught the older kids about stop motion, the programs that can be used for stop motion and talked about technique.  The older students followed along as the boys led them step-by-step through creating their own short stop motion video with a pencil or shoe.  The ten-year old then issued the jr. high a challenge: Create a stop motion video before the end of the school day to show me, I’ll give you tips on what you can improve on.  Above is one of the jr. high created videos that was presented.  It was incredible to stand back and watch kids teaching and leading kids this way.  The age difference was no barrier today!

Today, our students used the iMotion HD app on the iPad to create their stop motion animations.  This FREE app is powerful in the hands of creative kids!  The brothers have been using stop motion regularly to reflect on, or display learning.

The older of the two brother’s started learning stop motion using SMA (Stop Motion Animator) this is a free program that works using a PC, webcam and a whole-lotta (technical term) imagination.

For the Linux crowd, there is the free Stop Motion.

For the Mac crowd (cheers), there is the free Jelly Cam.

How to integrate Stop Motion into the classroom:  Stop Motion is a great way for students to create their own animated videos.  Students can use stop motion to display learning, as a way to reflect on learning, to tell a story, to demonstrate a time-lapse of a scientific process or just as a creative outlet.  Stop motion requires students to do some pre-planning.  First students have to decide what story they are trying to tell, next they have to decide how they are going to demonstrate that story visually, finally they need to move an “actor” frame by frame through the scene.  The results are pretty incredible (as you can see above).

Tips:Some tips from our Stop Motion PROS: Make sure not to move your actor too far each time or the end result will be choppy, make sure to move your hand out of the shot before snapping the picture, plan through your story BEFORE you start.

Check out our YouTube channel for more stop motion animation from our students.  The Bones, Gnome.Eaten.By.Jaws, and Anastasis Academy videos were all created by the 8-year-old! (P.S. The kids LOVE comments on their videos!)

This, my friends, is what happens when you give kids room to learn!  Onward.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Stop Motion Animation in  your classroom!

Comments (15)

I loved the video!! What an awesome edgy idea for the students!! Who knows someday they will be designing commercials for Mac!

This is awesome because it shows kids to start with a simple idea and simple tools. I love the use of the whiteboard. I will use this as an example for a project with my kiddos in Greeley!

Had these thoughts in my blog!! The challenge is getting the technology into the classroom!!

This is way too cool! It makes me want to do stop animation.

[...] iLearn Technology » Blog Archive » Presenting Learning with Stop Motion Animation [...]

[...] Presenting Learning with Stop Motion – I went to a fabulous Stop Motion session when I was at ISTE in June. ┬áSince then Stop [...]

Great stop motion work guys. I’ve been teaching stop motion to children for several years and have published an extensive guide to making stop motion movies (Stop Motion Handbook using GarageBand and iStopMotion). This may be useful to give you real confidence for your next movies. Check it out here – http://www.acumen.net.nz/pages/NMSSMHandbook.html

It’s very useful tutorial for stop motion. I like your video tutorial.

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