I have been working at an elementary school for the past few months, and today we just went over the winter test scores and school quality report. Our principle went through a list of things that all the teachers should be involved in. I realized it is very easy for a specialist teacher to sit back and think, "man I glad I don't have to worry about that." But the truth is you do have to worry about it.
It is no secret that art is losing ground in the public schools. This is a disaster because we know how important art is to a students learning. However Districts like classes that can be measured. The sad truth is: Tests make a subject valid. When it can be measured, districts can see progress, where it needs to improve, and (what they really want to know) how they compare to other schools.
Art may never be able to be measured the same way math, science and reading are, but we can help improve these test scores through art. Every other class has to find an activity to fit their content. We already have an activity, all you need to do is add the content. (Which I always thought was easier.)
With animation you have reading an writing built right into the project. If you are going to have the students make a movie, have them do a little research before hand. Have them check out a book. The books that I think aid in an animation project the most are series of short stories, Children's books(not all children's books are short and easy), and comic books. The students can get an example of good story telling and illustration.
Writing in animation is equally important. Have the students write in detail what they are going to put in their animation. Have them keep these notes with them at all times. Using notes is an important skill to know haw to use, and this gives them first hand experience with it. Once they are finished with their animation, have them write a summery about their movie. Have the students treat the summery like they are writing it for the back of their film. Don't just give a writing assignment because you think its a good idea, show them the relevance of writing what the movie is about. Every student has at least seen the summery on the back of a movie, so they will see that it is a vital part of movie making.
I know this post was a little preachy, but after everything that has been happening in education I felt like I needed to release a little bit. We can complain all we want or we can do something. And the great thing about animation is that it makes an impression. It shows people there is more to art than watercolor and clay bowls.