My Favorite Collaborative Lesson: Stop Motion in Preschool

As school librarians, we know that collaboration is important. I am fortunate that many of my colleagues love to work together. They understand the shared vision and benefits that collaboration can offer. Below is a project that was developed alongside a preschool teacher. This project was created to share what her students had learned about animals in the winter. This is a unit that is taught in preschool each year, but she was looking to add something to it.

After some discussion, we decided that a stop motion video might be a good fit. The only question was which app to use, especially for students in preschool. We wanted an app that was simple enough that students could do some of the work independently. Being realistic, we knew that preschoolers would need some assistance, but it was important for the work to be theirs. We wanted them to have creative control. So I found a blog post by Bitsy Griffin written for Knowledge Quest titled “Story Retell with Stop Motion.” She shared in the post the simplicity of the Stikbot Studio 2.0 app. The app was designed to be used with Stikbots but does not need to be. It is free and easy! Below is how this app was used to show student learning. 

Grade Level: PK4 (preschool students ages 4-5)

Overview:

This was a project where preschool students created stop motion videos using the Stikbot Studio 2.0 app to show what animals in our state do in the winter.   

Being from Michigan, the change of seasons and animal behavior is a part of our curriculum. This project was taught in one main lesson with three additional small group sessions. Each lesson was thirty minutes and was co-taught with the classroom teacher. These lessons were completed at the end of a unit that had been taught by the classroom teacher. The teacher shared that she wanted students to show what they learned in a new way and was hoping to incorporate something creative in the process. 

For this class, the preschool students were all in person. It would be possible to do this with students at home as well. I would imagine you would just need some videos to explain how to use the app and support from someone at home. 

Lesson 1 Objectives: 

  • Students will be able to share what an animal in Michigan does in the winter. 
  • Students will be able to decide what materials they will need to create their video. 
  • Inquire/Think I.A.2 – Recall prior and background knowledge as context for new meaning.
  • Inquire/Create I.B.3 – Generating products that illustrate learning. 

Materials: 

Activities: 

  • 5 min: Introduce the project by showing the students the example video. Ask them to share what animal is represented and what they do in the winter. Ask them how they know.  
  • 10 min: Show them the chart of animals from Michigan. Have them explain what each animal does in the winter. Record their responses.   
  • 15 min: Explain how to fill out their planning page. Then meet with each child individually.  Have them write their own name and circle their animal of choice. Then have them dictate what they want to show about their chosen animal. (For this, as teachers, we wrote the sentence that the child shared.) Have them share what materials they will need to create their video. For example, for snow, the children suggested white paper, fluffy stuff, and white fabric. 

Assessment:

  • Students should have completed the planning page that will be used to create their videos.

Tips and Tricks:

  • Having a list of the animals that students had learned about helped to guide them when making a choice. The teacher used this as a form of assessment to help with consistency.  
  • The list we created does not represent every animal that lives in Michigan and if a child had suggested an animal not on our list it would have been added.
  • When co-teaching with the classroom teacher, I focused on providing the example of the video and how to complete the planning page. The teacher focused on the list of animals and reviewed what each animal did in the winter. We both met with students to fill out their planning page. 
  • In our school preschool is play-based. It was fairly easy for students to suggest materials since they had been playing with these animals and materials in centers around their classroom for the entire unit. When a student suggested “fluffy stuff” they actually went and collected the fake snow they had been using in the animal habitat station in the classroom. 

Lesson 2-4 Objectives: 

  • Students will create a stop motion video using Stikbot Studio 2.0 to represent their animal based on their planning page. 
  • Inquire/Create I.B.3 – Generating products that illustrate learning. 
  • Collaborate/Create III.B.1. – Using a variety of communication tools and resources.

Materials:

  • Students completed the planning page from lesson 1
  • Materials they listed to create their video on their planning page
  • Stikbot Studio 2.0 app on a device

Activities:

Due to the age of the students, we completed the next steps one on one. The teacher and I would pull students to work with them to complete their video. They determined how to use the materials and what pictures to take. We focused on keeping them on track, helped them to use the app properly, and made suggestions when needed. 

  • 10 min: During the second lesson model how to use the app. Even though we were meeting with students individually we wanted them to have an understanding of how the app worked. This allowed them to work more independently. This explanation would only need to be completed once.  
  • 20 min: Pull students one at a time to complete their video.  

Assessment:

  • Students will have a completed project that will show their animal and explain what they do in the winter. 

Tips and Tricks:

  • In addition to the video they created using the app, we also recorded each child sharing what animal they chose and what their animal does in the winter. This video was combined with their stop motion video using iMovie. This helped those who watched the video, such as parents and administrators, to understand what each child was trying to show. 
  • Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this lesson was done completely in the classroom. That meant that  bringing as many materials as possible. In the future, it would be great to allow students to go to the makerspace to choose their own materials.  

Up Next: 

I am going to try using this app with my second graders next. They are going to use the books by Terry Border as inspiration and create their own stories using everyday objects. I know they will be able to use this app completely independently! I am excited to see their creativity shine through. 

What are your favorite collaborative lessons? I would love to hear about them! 

Works Cited:

AASL. 2019. “Role of the School Library.” http://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/advocacy/statements/docs/AASL_Role_of_the_School_Library.pdf

AASL. 2018. AASL Standards Framework for Learners. https://standards.aasl.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/180206-AASL-framework-for-learners-2.pdf 

Griffin, B. 2020. “Story Retell with Stop Motion.” https://knowledgequest.aasl.org/story-retell-with-stop-motion/

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Author: Kelly Hincks

I am the librarian at Detroit Country Day Lower School in Bloomfield Hills, MI. I have worked as a librarian for the past nine years. I was a classroom teacher for four years prior to that. I have worked in charter, public, and private schools. My favorite thing about being a librarian is the opportunities I have to work both with students and teachers. I love the co-teaching opportunities and connections I have been able to make! I have served on AASL committees as a member and chair. I was most recently a member of ALA’s Ready to Code (RtC) Task Force.



Categories: Blog Topics, Community/Teacher Collaboration, STEM/STEAM, Technology

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