Things have been going very smoothly with the Stick Figures in Motion project the last couple of weeks. My students in Grade 4 have been working on creating anchor poses for their animations the last 2 classes.
As I said in my last post, the students spent a class photographing 3 poses that related to a specific action with their iPads. Once the photos were taken, the students opened them up using the app Drawing Pad. They then selected a drawing tool and drew a stick figure directly on top of their photos. They each had to do this with 3 different actions and 9 poses in total. An interesting thing that the students discovered taking their photographs was that that if they took a picture with the iPad in a horizontal position, then when the picture was opened up in in Drawing Pad it made them all look like dwarves.
The reason I had the students draw stick figures on the photos of themselves was that I wanted them to see how a stick figure looked when it was properly proportioned and positioned. Often they make their figures a little distorted because they forget certain body parts or how something should look. This is a great way of showing the students how things should look.
The next class the students had to take the 3 poses they had drawn on the pictures and put them together on a digital page in drawing pad. I had them do this to see the relationship between each of the figures in each of their poses. Often the students would have a figure posed bending over and the next figure beside it standing up but being smaller the the first figure. If the students are to create a successful animation the figures have to relate to each other in size, position, and proportion.
The students had difficulty doing this. I would check their work often and have them go back and work out the problems in their poses. At times they needed a lot of perseverance, but in the end they were able to do it and understood the importance of this lesson.
The next class we start learning the app Flipboom and learning how to create a simple animation. Next time on my blog, I will be posting my finished unit plan and resources. Please feel free to use them and PLEASE modify things to your own needs. Let me know how things go as I am very interested on how it works for you.
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.
Moving forward can be a very good thing. Often we can get stuck with what we are comfortable in doing. It can take a concerted effort to move forward, modify or totally change a unit of instruction. The images above are examples of how my Stick Figures in Motion project used to look like before I moved that unit forward to have more of a tech emphasis to it.
Parts of the unit has remain unchanged and other parts have moved forward in the hopes of improving this project. What has stayed the same is the focus on the human figure, its proportions, the use of line and drawing from different points of view. What has changed is the use of technology to allow a clearer idea of how the body works in motion through digital animation and the ability to share one’s work with a wider audience.
By using the digital animation, the students can fill in all of the little movements between their 3 major poses without having to do a myriad of drawings. That in itself could be very interesting, but that takes time and space; both of which I do not have a lot of right now. Also, the simple fact that the students can share their work beyond the walls of their classroom is huge. Sharing, getting new ideas, and seeing different perspectives allows for a lot of new learning opportunities. With new learning comes growth and new opportunities.
My hope is that by taking an existing unit I can move it forward so that the learning that happens has a better impact on the students and that they have a clearer understanding of how line, figures, proportion and movement can be expressed art. It will be very interesting to get their feedback on this when we are all finished this project.
Lastly, don’t forget if you would like to contribute in anyway to making this project even better, just send me your ideas. Remember two heads are better than one.