Animation-ish Tutorials & Lessons

Animation-ish User Guides

Sample Lessons

Animation-ish helps teachers and students find their voice and create original work. They can animate to share their ideas, projects, and knowledge. When students create an animation about a subject they are exploring for the first time, they will remember it better and be able to present it to others like an expert!

The activity section of the program, written entirely by teachers from a variety of disciplines and grade levels, is included as a PDF. Activities include samples from K-12, math, science, language arts, foreign languages, and fine arts. These activities are really meant to serve as "idea-starters." They are included to help get your creative juices flowing, so you can start integrating animation into any of your lessons.

The program also comes with a folder called "Classroom Samples" (you can browse to it in the software's "Project Vault"). The folder contains all the actual Animation-ish files created by the teachers who contributed to the guide. You can learn from how they set up their animations, or modify the files for your class!

We are grateful to Wade Whitehead, Terry Shay, and Coleen Collette for their assistance with our guide. Below you will find two highlighted lessons from the guide.

Changing Seasons   

Age span: 4-6
Curriculum Alignment: Life Science
Standard: Recognize changes in appearance that animals and plants go through as the seasons change.
Learner Outcomes/Objectives:

  • Student will identify the four seasons.
  • Student will document changes in a tree throughout the seasons.
  • Student will understand that there are changes in animal behavior as the seasons cycle.
  • Student will understand that there are changes in plants as seasons cycle.

Instructions for Activity:

  1. Draw a tree as it would look (or as it has looked) as the seasons change.
  2. Add details to your drawing that show ways that animals and plants change with the seasons.

Political Cartoon

Age Span: 13-18
Time Allotment: 30 Minutes
Curriculum Alignment: 
Social Studies/History/Government

Standards: The National Standards for History

  • Understands recent developments in foreign and domestic politics.
  • Understands economic, social, and cultural developments in contemporary United States.
  • All students, given the Animation-Ish program, will create a political cartoon based on a current event.

Instructions for Activity:

  1. Find political cartoons from newspapers or from a website like
  2. Discuss the way political cartoons are used in society.
  3. Have students look through newspapers to find an issue they can use.
  4. Students will go to a computer and create a animated political cartoon.
    • Students want to start with Wiggledoodle-Ish as a starting point.
    • If the cartoon gets more complex, student will want to take their initial drawing into the next level, Flipbook-Ish.
    • Cartoons may be shared in class or on a website by choosing the “Share” option.

Learning Standards

The possibilities for using animation in your classroom are endless! You will find that animation is a useful tool for engaging students and illustrating difficult concepts. Animate to enliven your lessons and assignments, and have your students create their own animations. As they find ways to visually represent what they are studying, students reach a new understanding of the material and commit what they are learning to memory. Encourage your students to communicate what they have learned by sharing their animations with teachers, parents or peers.

Animation-ish and the Standards

Standards provide a vision of competence and educational effectiveness, but without creating a mold into which all must fit. Animation-ish supports the National Standards for Arts Education and the latest ISTE Standards for Students. Students:

  • apply subjects, symbols, and ideas in their artworks and use the skills gained to solve problems in daily life.
  • select media, techniques, and processes; analyze what makes them effective or not effective in communicating ideas; and reflect upon the effectiveness of their choices.
  • select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of their ideas.
  • integrate visual, spatial, and temporal concepts with content to communicate intended meaning in their artworks.
  • use subjects, themes, and symbols that demonstrate knowledge of contexts, values, and aesthetics that communicate intended meaning in artworks.
  • describe ways in which the principles and subject matter of other disciplines taught in the school are interrelated with the visual arts.
  • know the differences between materials, techniques, and processes.
  • use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.
  • use art materials and tools in a safe and responsible manner.
  • select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning.
  • understand there are various purposes for creating works of visual art.

ISTE Standards for Students:

  • demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.
  • apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes.
  • create original works as a means of personal or group expression.
  • use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.
  • interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media.
  • communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats.
  • contribute to project teams to produce original works or solve problems.
  • apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.
  • plan strategies to guide inquiry.
  • use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources.
  • identify and define authentic problems and significant questions for investigation.
  • plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project.
  • collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions.
  • use multiple processes and diverse perspectives to explore alternative solutions.
  • demonstrate personal responsibility for lifelong learning.
  • exhibit leadership in digital citizenship.

The following is a selection from What Students Should Know and Be Able to Do in the Arts, from the National Standards for the Arts Education:

  • Knowing and practicing the arts disciplines are fundamental to the healthy development of children's minds and spirits. That is why, in any civilization—ours included—the arts are inseparable from the very meaning of the term "education."
  • The arts are worth studying simply because of what they are. Their impact cannot be denied. Throughout history, all the arts have served to connect our imaginations with the deepest questions of human existence: Who am I? What must I do? Where am I going? Studying responses to those questions through time and across cultures--as well as acquiring the tools and knowledge to create one's own responses--is essential not only to understanding life but to living it fully.
  • The arts are used to achieve a multitude of human purposes: to present issues and ideas, to teach or persuade, to entertain, to decorate or please. Becoming literate in the arts helps students understand and do these things better.
  • The arts are integral to every person's daily life. Our personal, social, economic, and cultural environments are shaped by the arts at every turn.
  • There is ample evidence that the arts help students develop the attitudes, characteristics, and intellectual skills required to participate effectively in today's society and economy. The arts teach self-discipline, reinforce self-esteem, and foster the thinking skills and creativity so valued in the workplace. They teach the importance of teamwork and cooperation. They demonstrate the direct connection between study, hard work, and high levels of achievement.
  • Arts education benefits the student because it cultivates the whole child, gradually building many kinds of literacy while developing intuition, reasoning, imagination, and dexterity into unique forms of expression and communication. By studying the arts, students stimulate their natural creativity and learn to develop it to meet the needs of a complex and competitive society. And, as study and competence in the arts reinforce one other, the joy of learning becomes real, tangible, and powerful.