Teaching Artist: Box of Light; Rand Whipple and Julia Camara-Calvo

Art Specialist: Cory Wilkerson

Core Group Teachers: Joe Sienicki and Mary Ann Birchard (6th Grade)

Planning Date: October 17th, 2012:

Date(s) when Teaching Artist observes the school culture and classrooms: October 17, 2012

Date(s) when Arts Specialist Visits: November 14th & 15th

Technology/Documentation Visit: December 5, 2012

Residency Dates: October 22nd - November 30th

Reflection Date: December 5, 2012


Week 1:
We are working on Reading and Math,using Film and Stop Action Animation. In Joe's Social Studies class, students will be learning about Canada, its territories and provinces. In Mary Ann's math class, they will be working with the metric system. Our encompassing project is a Metric Olympics tv style broadcast. We'll follow the format of traditional Olympic coverage with hosts, reporters, contestants, background segments focusing on the Canadian province of the contestant and, of course, thrilling footage of events like the Metric Marshmallow Fling. In the background segments, students who have researched a territory or city will present that information as an on the site report. The commercials created by the students will be for products expressed in metric or products that help the user compare and contrast, solve a problem or other reading tasks.

Rand and Julia began working with the students on stop action animation. After a class in which students learned the film animation process, they then began to make their test animation. The goal of this task was to let the students get a little experience making and editing a film before they began with their major project. Each backdrop was measured and cut to be 40cm x 60cm. The students were asked to think about their film in terms of its problem and solution, comparison and contrast and temporal sequence. These are reading concepts the students are working on in Joe's class.

What follows are two quick movies created in the first two days. The first is a simple 'found object' animation using scissors and crayons. This film was created by the students in the first day's demo session. The task was to learn about how much to move objects to make their movement appear fluid. They also learned how to add sound (foley) and credits to their films. Box Of Light loaded the students' films to their website (www.boxoflight.org) and the kids have been excited to see their films online.

The second film is a magic movie that will give you a glimpse of the class activities for the first two days.

We're off to a great start and extremely excited about the project.

This short film was created as a demo movie with the entire class. The students were using scissors and crayons as characters. They learned to use the program's onionskin feature to know how much to move the objects in each frame. We then added music, sound effects and credits. This took them through the entire process of stop action animation that they would then use for their practice movies.
This movie shows moments of our demo lesson and of the students beginning their first film. You will hear them talking about problem and solution, two of the reading elements we asked them to build into their practice movies.

Week 2:
The students finished their movies, learning storytelling through editing -chronology, order, cause/effect patterns.

Week 3:
Beginning of the Math section of the program. The students started working and learning the metric system by creating and participating the "Mini-Metric Olympics". Each competition is covered by the artists and students as a "fake-live" event. Also, as part of the Olympics coverage, the students are working on commercials about metric-related products. The workflow in this case is similar to the claymation movies one: by groups, the students brainstorm their ideas and put together a product and small commercial; then they'll film and edit it. The challenge this time is to include the metric system in their product-selling ads, and be accurate and realistic about conversions and characteristics.
In the social studies/reading section of the program, the students have been divided in the different regions of Canada to begin the lessons about that country. Each team plays together in the Olympics, creates their commercial, and started researching about their respective regions for next week's activity.

Week 4:

Continue on the research and filming of the documentaries on the Canadian regions. Some groups began editing their clips using green screen effects, that allows them to superimposed their recorded videos onto still images of their respective regions.
New project develops in the Math class, changing the original plan: each group will be in charged of creating and filming a specific math lesson that they find challenging and have already seen in the classroom. Teachers, artists and students agree on the effectiveness of this idea over the commercials, as it gives the students a great challenge explaining math lessons from their curriculum, making the concepts and examples more accessible and easier to understand; this is a perfect activity that marries classic math curriculum with video-making; it reinforces the students' knowledge on challenging topics that will be part of their tests, while exploring creativity, video composition, team work and acting and technological skills.

Week 5:

Continue research and filming of documentaries on Canadian regions. Both teacher and artist survey the filming for any corrections, both in content and form. Each team is required to have their script ready before coming up to the green screen to film.
Review of some of the math videos scripts and filming of the first ones. Every day the students get to see a new video and comment on it, reviewing not only the lesson contained in that video made by themselves, but also learning different video composition and filming styles for the next ones.

What follows is a short tutorial on how to shoot video from the 6th graders at Cambridge Springs. Not bad advice.