Biweekly report: digital story telling in the classroom

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I found a great article on one of the libraries databases talking about digital story telling in the classroom. the article is called "Digital storytelling: with multimedia infiltrating the classroom, storytelling has officially gone digital. Let your students' voices be heard" by Caralee Adams and it discusses the emergence of using such methods in the classroom and the benefits it has. Digital story telling is a process where a student will combine photos, music, and recordings of their own voices to create a digital "story". Caralee asks the question of "if a student were asked to create a report, would they rather go to the library to research or create their own short film telling a story?" this is very true. today's students are much more in tune with the digital world than any generation before, and they are drawn to the digital world. the article also discusses the issue of inegrating digital media into the classroom and how by assigning projects like this, teachers will be learning techniques themselves, and becoming more in tune with the digital world. In the past lesson plans like this would be difficult if possible at all as media to do so was expensive and confusing. but nowadays, tools such as imovie and garage band make the process simple and affordable. If a student were to create a digital story about his or her family, all they would need to do would be to compile photos and video clips, use garage band to add sound affects and music, and record themselves saying what they would like to be the body of their work. the end of the article offers tips for such lesson plans, like having the students create the outline of what their videos will be before actually sitting down at a computer. Also Adams mentions that because students work at different paces, students could take turns using the computers to construct their works. I think this is a great idea, and it could even be a method for younger ages who wouldn't be able to grasp the concept of stop motion animation or some of the other advanced forms of animation. it also would get the student using tools like garage band, imovie, and photoshop. I think that this will definitely be a consideration when I began teaching in the future.

the link to the full article is here:


Adams, Caralee."Digital storytelling: with multimedia infiltrating the classroom, storytelling has officially gone digital. Let your students' voices be heard". Instructor, 1990. 119.3. November, December 2009. pg. 35. Article

For our final project teaching digital literacy, our group decided to hone in on the topic of gender roles in Disney films. these movies had a very profound impact on our generation as children and continue to affect children today with films such as cars. disney is known to stereotype their characters, making their male leads big, muscular, and dominate and their female leads small and waif like. we felt that this would be an interesting topic to explore in the classroom and see what children's perceptions of male and female perfection really are and if Disney films have had an affect on this.

This is the Lesson plan we created:

Lesson Plan: Exposing Gender Stereotypes

Grade Level/Age: 11th Grade

Time Needed: Six Class Periods

Focus: To make students thoughtful viewers.


a.) The students will identify the functions of software such as photo editing, video- editing and sound-editing tools, in creating original products for expressive intent. (
b.) The students will analyze the meanings and functions of media arts. (
c.) The students will analyze, interpret and evaluate a variety of media artworks by applying self-selected criteria within the traditions of the art form. (
d.) The students will discuss characteristics of male and female stereotypes in our society.

Motivational Resources:

•A PowerPoint to show the class that gives a general idea of what media literacy is so they get a better understanding of the purpose of the assignment.
•An interactive worksheet where the students will answer questions based on deconstructing a media message and their interpretation of specific gender role qualities.
•Short clip(s) of the Disney movies that display gender role qualities.
•Teacher's blog to show an example of a possible idea for the project.

Art Materials:

•Access to a computer lab (preferably a MacLab where iMovie and GarageBand is available)
•Video cameras (number of how many depends on number of groups there are)
•Memory cards (to store the video data)
•Tripods (optional)
•Props you need to create the movie of your choice
•Flash drives (if possible, one per group to save the data after each class period)


"Media literacy refers to the ability to access, analyze, evaluate and create media messages of all kinds ("Introduction to Media Literacy). Studying and learning about media literacy can help people in many ways understand the world around them. It's an important lesson to learn in schools and in public life. Learning about media literacy allows students or the community to engage in practicing critical thinking skills and be aware of our media culture that we are influenced by every day. There are ten basic fundamental concepts that the study and practice of media literacy is based on including: media constructs our culture, media messages affect our thoughts, attitudes, and actions, media uses "the language of persuasion, media constructs fantasy worlds, no one tells the whole story, media messages contain "texts" and "subtexts", media messages reflect values and viewpoints of media makers, individuals construct their own meanings from media, media messages can be decoded, and media literate youth and adults are active consumers of media ("Introduction to Media Literacy"). One important way to learn and evaluate media literacy is to "deconstruct" messages that creators develop in our digital world. Deconstructing means breaking down or "taking apart" messages that the creator is trying to send to its audiences ("Introduction to Media Literacy"). Some important subjects that are key to look for when deconstructing a media message include: who is the source?, who is the audience?, what does the text say or read?, what are the subtexts that the audience is interpreting while looking or hearing the message?, are there any persuasive qualities to the message?, and whose point of view is in the message? ("Introduction to Media Literacy"). Knowing the basic literary concepts and learning how to deconstruct a media message are two important lessons when learning to be media literate.

with the link to the full lesson plan here:
Lesson Plan.docx

Our presentation focuses mainly on the concept of masculinity in Disney films, particularly the movie Beauty and the Beast. in the film, Gaston, is the image of pure masculinity. the girls of the town swoon over him and all of the men wish they could be like him. not to mention his huge frame and giant muscles. for our studio project we tried to deconstruct this image and make it clear that men do not need to act this way to seem masculine. and also that it is unlikely in today's society for women to swoon over men who act so cocky and full of themselves. here is a link to our presentation:

and video:

Final Project [Digital Methods in Art Edu].mov

and finally we created a mini activity for the class to work on near the end of our presentation, worksheets will be handed out asking questions of what our perceptions of gender are.

Name: ________________________________________
Date: __________________________________________

Activity 1: Deconstructing A Message

1. Whose message is this? Who is the message for?

2. Who created or paid for it? Why?

3. Who is the "target audience"? What are the clues (words, images, sounds, etc.)?

4. What "tools of persuasion" are used?

5. What part of the story is not being told?

Activity 2: Gender Questions

1. How can parents pressure us to act like a man? (Preference for the color blue, as opposed to pink, "don't cry," "be strong," go out for sports, etc.)

2. Do you think the message to act like a man or woman has changed in the twenty years?

3. What are some ways men need to look like or act to be manly? (May draw a sketch or write.)

4. What are some ways women need to look like or act to be considered feminine? (May draw a sketch or write.)

5. What are some different ways in which men and women act differently in society?

beauty and the beast clip

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watch from 3:04 to the end

biweekly report: Digital literacy in the classroom.

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because we are discussing this topic in class and I am learning that it is a very relevant and alive topic in today's world, I decided to find an article discussing digital literacy in the classroom and how different generations are handling the change to the web. in the article "Connecting the Digital Dots: Literacy of the 21st Century" from educause quarterly there are different sections discussing first the meaning of "literacy" to today's society as well as to the older generation who grew up with literacy meaning able to read books. this talks about how that older generation sees this new technology as almost a new language to learn, and going along with the next section talking about school, teachers have trouble incorporating this new digital literacy into their classrooms because they must learn this language themselves. one of the quotes I liked from this article is "seeing the digital realm within which to apply the elements of critical thinking". it explains that although today's capabilities go far beyond the traditional chalk board and over head projector, teachers need to know how to use digital media to incorporate traditional ways of learning. it's easy to get lost on the web with facebook, youtube and gaming websites, but the educational benefits are there too and just need to be looked

Biweekly report: Octopus short

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this little animation caught my attention the first time I saw it while surfing the web. first of all I think it's adorable but it is also a short and well put together example of digital animation. I'm sure most kids have seen movies like monsters inc. and toy story, and I'm sure that most of these disney and pixar movies are close to many of our hearts. but do we ever consider how they are made? early disney films such as snow white and the lion king are literally sheet after sheet of hand drawn images rolled through creating an animation. with the ever increasing technology of today's world, it's been getting easier for artists to create films digitally with less work drawing by hand. the way a video like this would begin is with a hand drawn story board. these don't have to be perfect and detailed but they will show what happens in the video from start to finish, the characters moving little by little each drawing. after that the artist will use digital media to create lifelike characters on his or her computer which takes fractions of the time needed to hand draw each frame. then they will go through a process similar to the hand drawn story board, creating frames and playing through them to create the final video. lots of work goes into professional animation including music, sounds, and other special effects, but I think this short french video does a good job of making an entertaining clip that portrays a successful animation.

Claymation Lesson Plan

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Link to full lesson plan:
claymation lesson plan write up

Claymation Project

Grade Level:
8th grade

Time needed:
5 60 min class periods


The focus of this assignment is to get the students excited about using animation by working with clay animation. The student's assignment will be to create a clay animation working in groups of two using at least 3 different characters that interact. They will create a scenario with a beginning, middle, and end and should be at least 30 seconds long. The lesson will end on the fourth class period with a class critique and a chance for the students to share their videos with the class.


a. Select a variety of software such as photo-, video- and sound-editing software, to create original products for expressive intent. (
b. Create original works of media art in a variety of artistic contexts. (
c. Assemble and prepare personal media artworks for public exhibition. (

Motivational Resources:

1. You tube videos demonstrating claymation (chosen by teacher in advance)
2. Examples of clay characters created by teacher
3. Online tutorials on Claymation

Art Materials:
1. Different colored Clay
2. Digital camera
3. Tripod
4. Computer
5. Construction paper
6. Flash drive
7. Plastic sandwich bags
8. Blank pieces of computer paper for story boards. ( 3 per group)
9. Any other materials used to create desired background and scenery.

Introduction to the Lesson:

Claymation began at the beginning of the 19th century with the invention of plasticine, a non-drying, claylike substance ideal for animation. At this time the concept of clay animation wasn't as popular as it is today but there was some experimentation going on. In the 80's the claymation Gumby and Pokey became very popular and opened the door to today's claymation films like Wallace and Gromit, and Chicken run.
Claymation is achieved by creating and array of interesting characters molded out of clay and bringing them to life using consecutive shots. The artist will have the characters interact by repeatedly taking pictures, moving the character a little bit each time. When these pictures are uploaded on a computer and played through quickly, the characters actually appear to be moving and interacting on their own (similar to a flip book). Claymation is an ideal form of animation for middle and high school students because it offers them a lot in freedom in deciding how their characters move and what they look like. Also, it would be easier for the older students to understand using the camera equipment and later Photoshop to create their animation.

Untitled from Katie Caswell on Vimeo.

Untitled from Katie Caswell on Vimeo.


I found a blog called mrssmoke.onsugar that has a page with 45 different websites students can go to to create art. I clicked through some of them and was surprised one at the diversity of types of sites and two at how fun some of them were! I clicked on one called create your wild self and a page came up where you could create a person who looked like you and add animal features such as an elephant trunk or bat ears. I must say it was pretty amusing. also, when you added an animal feature to your person it would make the noise that animal makes. I think this could be a very fun and successful activity for kindergardeners and younger elementary students. another link I clicked on was a site where a little cartoon figure took you step by step explaining how to draw out digital architecture. this is what I mean by diversity, it looks like there are activities for many different ages, all the way up to high-school. granted some of them are kind of cheesy and simple like a site that allows you to create digital snowflakes. but I think that all of these sites have a potential for getting students excited about making digital art and also does a good job of showing different types of digital art that can be made. the title of the page is "making teachers nerdy" which I think is a fun name for such a site. I think I've stumbled on a good resource here and will definitely save the link and incorporate a few of these sites in future lesson plans.

our sand animation

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some easy steps to creating sand animation

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Materials Needed:

-Different colored sand
-Mylar sheet
-Light table
-tools for drawing in the sand


1. Prepare your station.
-Gather all materials needed
-Tape the mylar sheet to light table The sheet helps with the clean up process.
-Put your camera on a tripod.
-Turn on the light table.

2. Brainstorm an idea for what your story is going to be and what your objects/characters will be doing.

3. When you start to make something out of sand, only build a part of the shape/character at a time. Then, take a picture.

4. Add more on to the character and/or make it move little by little, taking a picture after each addition or movement.

Note: Experiment with using different ways to move the sand, such as adding (additive process) sand to an object to make it grow, or taking away (subtractive process) sand to spell letters.

5. Import the images into photoshop, as shown in class, to make an animation video.

6. Sound can be added to the video by using garage band, as shown in class.


Diaz, Cesar. NO CORRAS TANTO Sand Animation. 2009. Web. .

Murphy, Mary. Beginner's Guide to Animation. New York, NY: Watson-Guptil Publication, 2008. 28-33. Print.

Nathan, Yuval, and Merav Nathan. Eatliz - Lose This Child Animation Music Video. 2011. Web. .

here is an example we made demonstrating the step by step process of animating a ripple:





another good site for animation tutorials

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