By this week everyone in the Big Brothers and Big Sisters after school group had committed to a topic for their stop motion animation film and were hard at work making the characters and backgrounds. When I envisioned this project and presented the idea of things that occur cyclically in nature I had certain images in mind. The kids on the other hand, heard nature, interpreted that as animals(!) and went to town.
Int he initial planning of this project I imagined we would have a variety of set-ups with digital cameras on tripods and controlled lighting situations - this is the manner in which I have always made stop motion films. Thankfully before we got started I realized there is a wonderful stop motion app available that radically simplifies the process. I knew that the school district where we meet is going to a 1:1 policy in all grades and that they had ipads for all K-2 students that stay at the school each evening. The school principal generously agreed to let us use a number of these ipads for the duration of the project. Once we tallied who was working independently and who was teamed with another pair we realized we would need 12 ipads. I uploaded the free version of the app onto the ipads and demonstrated the process for the group.
I then made a series of small whiteboard boxes that the kids could use for the background of their film. I got a large 4' x 8' sheet of melamine which acts like a whiteboard. We cut this down to pieces that were about 18" x 24" and made 2" x 4" frames for them to sit in. This allowed each kid to have a free-standing background to work with that they could draw on with dry erase markers or attach various components using tape or sticky tack.
It was delightful how deeply the kids dove into making their backgrounds and characters!