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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Tools for Creating Stop Motion Movies

Kevin Hodgson recently updated his excellent Making Stop Motion Movies website on which he features examples of student projects and provides good information about the process of making stop motion movies. I particularly like the page about claymation movies. Looking at Kevin's site got me to revisit some of my own posts about tools for creating stop motion movies. Here are four that I have used at various times over the years.

Stop Motion Animator is a free Chrome app for creating stop motion videos. The app is free and easy to use. It does not even require students to create accounts in order to use it.



JellyCam is a free program for creating stop motion movies. Using JellyCam you can create stop motion movies using images from your computer or images that you capture via your webcam. Once you've selected images you can quickly arrange them into a sequence. After the sequence is set you can specify how many images you want per frame. A soundtrack can be uploaded to your video. JellyCam uses the Adobe Air platform. If you don't have Adobe Air it takes just a couple of minutes to install it on your computer. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to use JellyCam.



Parapara Animation is a free animation creation tool developed and hosted by Mozilla. The tool is easy to use and it does not require registration in order to use it. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to create an animation with ParaPara Animation.



Stop Motion Studio is a great app for creating stop motion videos. The app is available for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac operating systems. The basic (free) version of Stop Motion Studio lets you take as many pictures as you like and string them together in a sequence that plays back at a frame-per-second rate of your choosing. Each frame can be edited individually before you produce the final video. You can also add narration to your video in the basic version of the app. Completed projects can be saved to your device and from there you can share them on YouTube or on your favorite social network.

Three Good Resources for Learning About Careers

One of my favorite things about working and living in a small community is that I get to see what many of my former students are doing after high school and college. Some of my former students have joined the teaching profession themselves. Some of always knew that they wanted to become teachers and others came to the profession after leaving a couple of other career paths. The point being that often we don't understand what a particular profession is really like unless we hear from people who are in it themselves. That's why resources like iCould, Next Vista, and What People Don't Get About My Job are excellent to share and discuss with students.

iCould is a UK-based website that features videos of people sharing their career stories. The stories cover people in all types of careers and at all phases of their working careers. One of the the main purposes of iCould is to expose viewers to what different types of jobs really entail. Visitors to iCould can search for stories by job type, life theme, or keyword tags. The teaching resources section of iCould includes some classroom activities that your students can complete to help them learn more about a particular career path, discover their own interests, and learn about what makes people successful in their careers.

What People Don't Get About My Job is an older piece from The Atlantic, but is still worth sharing and discussing with your students. The article is comprised of 26 contributions from readers explaining what most people don't understand about their jobs. There is one job for every letter of the alphabet. In the article you will find jobs like Kindergarten Teacher, IRS employee, zookeeper, and even unemployed.

Next Vista for Learning offers more than one hundred short videos of people talking about their careers. Some of the careers in the video library include librarian, nurse, engineer, musician, and chemist.

Writing Sparks - Writing Prompts for Students

Writing Sparks is a new writing platform developed by the same folks that created the popular Night Zookeeper platform. Writing Sparks provides you with timed writing prompts to share with your students. As a teacher you simply go to the Writing Sparks website then choose an age range and a type of writing prompt to give to your students.
After choosing a writing prompt category on Writing Sparks you should choose the length of time that you want your students to spend writing in response to the prompt. Once those three steps are complete you can project the prompt onto your whiteboard or just read the prompt aloud to your students. Writing Sparks times the activity. Time segments for discussion and brainstorming are included in the Writing Sparks timing.

Students can complete the Writing Sparks activities by writing on paper, in a Word or Google Doc, or on the Writing Sparks website. I like the option of having them write on the Writing Sparks website because it will provide students with a template that they can use while writing. For example, if students are responding to a "story" prompt they will complete a template that asks them to include the nouns, verbs, and adjectives they will use in their stories.

Writing Sparks does not require you or your students to register in order to use the site. If your students use the Writing Sparks writing tool, they will have to download their work as PDFs in order to save it and share it.

Thanks to Larry Ferlazzo and David Kapuler for the tip about Writing Sparks.