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Presenting Learning with Stop Motion Animation

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!

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Algebra Lab

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Knowledge (remember), Math, Middle/High School, Science, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 01-10-2012

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What it is:  Algebra Lab may not be much to look at graphically speaking, but the resources here are pretty stupendous!  Algebra Lab was created by Mainland High School teachers in partnership with Georgia Southern University and a host of student assistance.  The site includes really well done lessons, activities, practice pages (online), study aids, glossary, and word problems.  Algebra Lab is like a free, living textbook.  It has enough substance to help students work their way through algebra, while understanding the connections to how that algebra is used in a practical sense.  I didn’t appreciate Algebra until I took physics and chemistry.  When I saw what those equations I learned were actually used for, I could appreciate the learning requirements in algebra.  Algebra Lab does a beautiful job of helping students learn algebra within a context so that they really get a grasp of what these numbers are doing.

How to integrate Algebra Lab into your curriculum: I have enjoyed watching the debate over Algebra unfold in the last year or so.  One side of the argument asks if it is really necessary that EVERY child be required to take algebra.  The other side argues that algebra has great thinking skills that it develops, it gives students additional tools to understand the world through math.  I’m not sure where I land on this debate.  I don’t know that I believe that algebra should be a requirement for every child, and yet I think that my exposure to algebra was valuable.  Maybe the debate just needs to be reframed…HOW should algebra be taught?  I’m all for things being taught within context.  If you can teach any subject in a way that sheds light on other learning it is valuable.  I love when students make the connections between something like ratios and a site like Miniature Earth.  They not only get excited about the math (yes, really) they see a purpose for wanting to learn more about how it works.  Sometimes I think our job of teachers is really to help students see the overlaps that occur in learning so that they can make connections and have a cause to want to dig deeper.

I digress…

Algebra Lab is a great resource for math (and non-math) teachers.  Here you will find lessons, activities, word problems and practice opportunities for students.  Students can directly access the site, or you (the teacher) can pull ideas out to use within any other teaching you are doing.  The site is great for students to explore on their own (blended learning algebra style) or with guidance from a teacher.  As a non-math teacher, I appreciate the way the site helps me think like a math teacher.  It reminds me how all of these pieces connect to other learning.

Tips: If you have a one-to-one setting, students can practice directly on the website for immediate feedback.  Very helpful!

***Want to do your part as a CHANGE MAKER in personalized education?  Check out, support and spread the word about the Learning Genome Project!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Algebra Lab in your classroom!

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