Okay. I’m coming clean. The post title is ever so slightly misleading – this has nothing to do with the World Cup (or – thankfully – dodgy rapping by international footballers). I just thought it was topical and I could make it a bit of a play on words. What I really want to talk about is stop motion animation – something I’ve always loved since I got hooked on The Clangers and The Herbs (especially Parsley and Dill). Now I guess I’m kind of lucky.As far as I’m concerned there could never be too many opportunities to shoe horn in a few lessons that link to Ivor the Engine or Noggin the Nog. Maybe it’s my age.
Luckily I have all sorts of fantastic DVDs to help get people inspired: Bagpuss, Trumpton…if you’re old enough you’ll know the sort of thing. There are different styles: cardboard cut outs, models, the use of everyday objects and claymation techniques (an excuse to watch Morph, The Trapdoor and Wallace and Gromit). Pupils could try out different ideas and plan characters and stories that could work. Some might aim high and be overly ambitious while others might prefer to keep it simple – but that’s their choice. Pupils can plan out their models or ideas using PowerPoint or on paper: using storyboard templates to plan ideas and sketches or PowerPoint Autoshapes to plan their models. It’s up to them!
To create animations the pupils will need to prepare models, backgrounds, props and anything else they need a a half day to organise the filming. If they decide to try out claymation you might need Newplast and strong wire (test out their ideas with playdough and pipe cleaners; just first to see if the characters balance okay and look right). Some could use felt and paper cut outs on a velcro board . Have a look at the movie below to see an example of Year 6 claymation.
You can also try out a fun way of making stop motion animation on PowerPoint. Pupils draw a rectangle on the slide and use a picture background to fill it. They than add little clip art details (these remain static) and choose a character: either from available Microsoft clip art or the network resource bank. I have to say that vehicles, some minibeasts and sea creatures are the most popular (mainly because there are no legs to move!). The character is placed at the entry point and the image is cropped to fit the frame, then pupils press Ctrl+A to select all and right click to save as a picture.
They then move on the character and move it across the slide using the arrow cursors on the keyboard and, again, press Ctrl+A to select all and save as a picture as before. The animation below was made this way and looks quite effective.
Finally, I’d like to tell you about a little fun I’ve had recently. It involved stop motion animation and some dried pulses – similar to something on a recent McDonald’s advert. Not this was tough… the camera needed to go on a tripod and then face downwards without getting the tripod legs in shot. It was tricky but we got there. You will need to try out a few different ideas with the pulses: creating simple shapes or words. I have to say I never thought mung beans could link to ICT but there’s a first time for everything!
By the way – the photos were linked together using Windows Movie Maker ( just alter the picture timer to 0.5 seconds) and the music came from freeplaymusic.com