Authentic English | Post-Examination Fun with Stop Motion App

School has officially closed for all primary school pupils! To celebrate the closing of school and have some post-examination fun, Lil' but Mighty conducted a "Make your own motion picture" workshop with some of our children last Saturday. Using Stop Motion, a free application (app) that can be downloaded on Apple and android devices, the children had a whale of a time brainstorming, planning and shooting their own motion pictures. 

What is Stop Motion? Perhaps I should give some information about this movie-making app. "Stop-motion" is actually defined as "a cinematographic technique whereby the camera is repeatedly stopped and started, for example to give animated figures the impression of movement." The app with the same name hence allows children to take still photographs of a set-up and play them in succession to create motion.

Why Stop Motion?

Other than the obvious plus point of it being a free app, Stop Motion requires a child to plan and think through a series of actions of how something happened in order to produce a successful motion picture. Hence, children really need to think through their stories and plan in advance. In addition, children are able to narrate their stories with the voice-over function that is included in the basic free features. The app offers some powerful movie-making upgrades such as editing of the frames in terms of the lighting, movie effects and even a green-screen function. However, the basic features are definitely good enough for the children to experiment with for making a movie. 

Stop Motion movies can be created in both 2D and 3D forms. The best thing is anything can be a prop! There have been movies done up using drawings, cut-ups from prints, 3D figures like Lego figurines, playdoh and of course with people. The possibilities are limitless and there is a gallery in the app where you can take a look at the creative videos of those who have used the app.

Our post-examination workshop

The aim of the workshop was for the children to unwind with an activity that still involves English. In order to achieve that, the theme of idioms is chosen and the development of a storyline for their motion pictures definitely required the children to put their story planning skills to practice too! The task of the day was for the children to make a motion picture that illustrates either what each word of the idiom mean or the meaning of the idiom. A list of idioms and their meanings were given to the children and it was conveyed to the children at the beginning that there is no right or wrong answer in the way they present the video. As long the video helps the viewers to remember the meaning or the phrase, any fun or creative way to put it across is fine!

The children began with an introduction of motion pictures and the Stop Motion app. After breaking into smaller groups with a facilitator to guide them in planning their stories and using the app, the groups are ready to rock and roll! A picture speaks a thousand words, here are the highlights of the day (:

Introducing the day's activities to the kids!

Introducing the day's activities to the kids!

A simple plan of their story.

A simple plan of their story.

The cameraman and the stage director!

The cameraman and the stage director!

The three groups had chosen to use Lego as their main props. With the SG50 Lego set that everyone received in school, your child can easily use his or her set to create a simple stop motion video on his or her too. All of the children, except for one, had never created a Stop Motion video before. Hence, for their first effort, I thought they had done a commendable job especially with the limited amount of time we had. 

Here is a video from one of the groups on the idiom, "on cloud nine". There is no voice-over for this movie but I liked how the group (Ashley, Nataniah and Clara) had really thought through the sequence of events and used a mixture of 2D and 3D forms to create the movie (:

At the end of the event, the children were given a pizza treat for lunch and reflected about their process of making the movie. So what did the children say?

"It is a lot harder than it looked to create a smooth flow of movement!"

"I learnt how important it is to communicate with my teammates in order to work together."

"I like my group's video!"

All in all, the children enjoyed themselves and were glad that they managed to create their very first short movie. It definitely was a joy to work with the children on this mini project as well and I am looking forward to more of such activities next year after the examinations again!

Do let your children have their own movie-making experience this holiday! You may be surprised by how creative your children and meticulous their minds are (: