Well, fourth grade finally got their iPads last week. After weeks of waiting and a little wondering if they would ever get here, the iPads made it and I got through an abbreviated first lesson with each class. I had to take some things out of the lesson because I just felt that I am too far behind and I would’t be able to catch up in time to get my final project done for my course.
For the most part the first lesson went off without a hitch. All the things that I planned worked with the only a small hiccup coming from the kids getting really excited about the project. The students were able to figure out the Drawing Pad app in groups quickly as planned and then they were able to draw the stick figure poses without any difficulty.
During one of the classes the admissions office brought by some parents to look at the ES program and they dropped by my room. When I explained the project of how we were going to create movement through the use of digital animation they seemed genuinely amazed. I think what was even more impressive to them was how engaged the kids were in their learning. The kids were focused, on task, excited about what they were doing and ultimately, they were having fun. That was kind of nice to see.
Next class we will start the next lesson in this project. The students are to choose an action that they can break down into 3 anchor poses as I call them. Anchor poses are the major poses that hold a movement together. The students will then pose in their 3 anchor poses while a neighbor uses their iPad to photograph them. The students will then use the Drawing Pad app to upload the photographs. They will then draw stick figures over top of their photograph of themselves. The idea is to get the right positioning and proportion of each pose. They may have to take more than 3 photographs to get their overlying drawing absolutely correct. Once the have got the drawings for the 3 anchor poses done, they will then start out drawing all the incremental poses in between the anchor poses.
Once they have got these done, they will have got all the reference material they need ready to create their animation. Stay tuned for the next update to see how things went.
Well I have run into a little problem in regards to my final project. Unfortunately and despite their efforts, the tech department at our school has run into some difficulties and as a result the iPads are not ready for my grade 4 classes. I am hoping to get them soon, but at this point I don’t know if I can get them in time to complete my project. Instead of dwelling on the negative, I am going to push forward and complete my project as best I can. Once I have examples of student work I will post them as soon as I can.
Now moving forward. To start my project on Stick Figures in Motion I have the students come in to the art room and I show the some examples of figure drawings by Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo. This usually unnerves them a bit, but then I explain that anybody can easily draw the figure. I then proceed to draw an example of a stick figure on the whiteboard. I then go through the proportions of one and have them just try to draw a couple of examples. Next, I have them take out their iPads and open an app called Drawing Pad. I give them a quick overview of how it works.
I then break them into groups of three and assign each person to “discover” a section of the app. After about 10 minutes they are to get back into their groups and share what they have learned. Once each person has shared their area I have them play with the app drawing stick figures for about 10 more minutes. The app is very simple to learn and very intuitive.
Once they get the idea of how to use Drawing Pad, I have them sit around a table and draw their friends in different poses. The poses range from pretending to hit a baseball, to posing as a model, going for a walk, to falling asleep or doing the splits. After a few poses the kids are clamoring to pose in front of their friends. They have a great time doing and often will come up with their own great poses.
Each of these poses they draw is designed in a way that it can be put into a series of 3 poses related to the original pose. For example, the first pose could be a person standing up and holding a shoe. The next they are sitting down and putting on their shoes. The last pose will see the figure standing and walking away.
Now I realize that using Drawing Pad just replaces a pencil and paper with tech, but the idea is for the students to start getting comfortable with an iPad and Pen. Later on in the project technology will enhance the students learning as oppose with just replacing the old with the new.
For the next step of this project the students are to choose a pose that they can turn into 3 core poses. They can either use a pose they drew in class or choose one on their own. They just need to be ready to go by the next class.
I will go over the next section of the project in my next posting. Hopefully I will have the iPads by then so I can move forward. If you have any ideas or comments so far on this project just let me know.