Stop Motion Animation in 5 Steps for Beginners

A beginner like me…

There are a lot of amazing programs for start stop animation. I am going to share today some really easy steps and programs that you can use to get started with it in any classroom.  I am not an expert… but I am exploring and I hope you feel inspired to as well!

This year I caught the itch. The itch to dive deeper into allowing my students to create content not only multi-modality but explore deeper into making video content. My students are constantly engaged with videos– whether it is youtube, tik tok, or snap chat. 

So why not integrate the good parts of video content into our writing? 

Here is a quick guide to implement start stop animation into your students writing toolbox tomorrow if you want. 

  1. Explain what filmmakers do (they are writers that tell a story with images) 

We had a great chat about what filmmakers roles are really. We talked about creating content and how filmmakers are oftentimes writers as well. Having a classroom discussion about what a writer could look like is an important conversation. If you haven’t taken the time to make a list with your students of where we see writing in real life and who writers are — it’s a wonderful exercise. (If you want more on that send me a DM I’d love to chat.) 

  1. Look at mentor texts that highlight the process of making content. 


A great mentor for this is PIXAR. I start the class with a bunch of mentor texts on their desks. I have them with their group go through the pictures and jot down everything they notice and wonder about the storyboards. This helps my students get an idea of what the process filmmakers need to go through to create an effective story. 

PIXAR

We wrap our conversation up by writing down all the good moves the mentors made and chat about how we can implement them into our own start/stop animation. 

I finish by showing them side/side storyboards to the animation. ‘

Need more inspiration for exploration or mentors here is a short list:

  1. Plan out what you want to tell your audience 

My students have used start/stop motion animation for math and science, but of course this can be extended to any grade level and any content. My students have created how to videos, informational videos, and animated stories to tell their audiences about content. There are examples of my students’ work at the end of this article. 

(Angela Stockman 2022)

Angela Stockman is the best. Do you follow her? Read her books? Get her weekly newsletter where she shares everything she creates? If you don’t, you should. She is 100% a gem of a human.. And all things multimodal. A kindred spirit. (Angela thanks for always sharing.) I bring her up because recently in one of her newsletters she was talking about this very subject. 

 A  take-away that Angela provided for me is the power in planning. Students that get started with a project like this can likely lose steam. This can be organized by using storyboards. 

(Angela Stockman 2022) 

Talking  through plans with a partner is key. My students really dug deep into the planning bit this year and I think it’s because they had access and space to work with others and plan. The laughter that came from the classroom was gold.  

  1. What images are okay to use? 

Making sure your students know what images are okay to use if they aren’t using their own is important. My students and I talk about the three points below: 

  1. Using our own images
  2. Public domain images 
  3. Giving Credit to the artists 

It is a great conversation to have especially with my 5th graders about giving credit to the artist’s work but also what images are free to use online– without worrying about gaining the author’s permission. If we use other’s work I tell my students that we have to give them credit. 

  1. Use a platform students know
  • Adobe Spark 
  • Google Slide
  • Screencastify 

This is not the time to introduce something students don’t know when you are just beginning. My students used Google slides and Adobe Spark to compose. They made each slide a storyboard. Everytime moving their images ever so slightly to convey movement. Their first project was just for fun. Getting the hang of it– before they created content. We recorded using screencastify. We made our project full screen and if students want to talk using screencastify they can or play music behind it. My students explored a lot with this, trial and error.  The more you let your kids explore the more creative they get. 

Below are some of my students’ projects. They are 5th graders and super proud of their work. Hope these spark you to let your kiddos give it a go.’

O.N. 2022
L.J. 2022
L.J 2021
J.T. 2022

Please reach out with questions, reflections, and connections in the comments below or on Twitter @Mrsablund. Check out my other articles writing out of the ELA classroom.

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