Teacher Spotlight: Christine Eaves, Animation and Technological Innovation at Village School

This blog post was written by Patrick McDonagh & Adrienne Poon, FableVision Learning marketing interns. 

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Christine Eaves is the Innovation & Academic Technology Coordinator at Village School in Pacific Palisades, CA, where she designs curriculum to equip her students with skills to become lifelong learners and makers. She is using FableVision Learning’s Animation-ish to guide student inquiry, quickly connect STEAM educational concepts, and help kids create bravely.

 

“I sometimes have kids who are reluctant to begin because they don’t think they are great artists, and they’re embarrassed to try,” she says. “I remind them [students] that the program is called Animation-ish for a reason. It doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, the less perfect it is, the more it usually ‘animates,’ and is even more fantastic. Kids are always surprised at how great their work turns out when they ignore their fears and just try.”

The FableVision Learning team connected to Christine to learn more about her school, the work her students are doing with Animation-ish, and how she incorporates STEAM concepts into projects.

1) How have you incorporated Animation-ish into your curriculum?

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Over the years, I’ve tied Animation-ish lessons around lots of curricular areas. I sent Peter [H. Reynolds] some cool 2nd grade Advanced-ish projects last year, in which kids took Van Gogh's Starry Night as a background layer, and then animated it in a foreground layer.

I’ve also had students do animations about different science lessons in which cycles take place (life cycle, caterpillar to butterfly cycle, water cycle, seasons, etc.). Right now, my students are just learning how to use Animation-Ish, so they currently are just creating stories of their own design.

Soon, I’ll be starting an after-school class here at Village called Flipbook-it. In this class, students build a motorized device that runs a flipbook that the children create themselves, either with 24 frames of photography (or 5 seconds of video), or 24 frames of animation. Many of the kids use Animation-ish to create their Flipbookit content. We decorate the Flipbook-it housings as well, so it’s really quite a wonderful maker project.

2) Do you have any tips for teachers to introduce Animation-ish? How should they start?

I think I’m successful at Animation-ish because I actually use it myself. The more you use it, the better you can teach it. Start creating some of your lessons in Animation-ish. Export those to movies and put them on your teacher webpage. Add animations to your presentations for Open House or Back To School Night. Animate your own personal logo. There’s so many ways to gain experience before teaching your students. They’ll learn better if they truly see you as an expert.

3) How has Animation-Ish affected your students’ conceptual interpretation of design?

Creating an animation is more than just being able to draw something others will recognize and appreciate. The animation artist has to first think of a story, or come up with a cycle or sequence of events that they want to animate. Then, they have to think about HOW they will achieve that animation ... There’s a lot of preparation and thought involving animation creation prior to getting started. I like seeing my students plan out their work and then get started.

4) Can you describe a memorable moment in the classroom using Animation-ish?

My second graders recently learned how to use the tablets and Animation-Ish for the first time. I had them try the tablets on the desks first. Then, when they seemed comfortable, I asked them to try holding the tablet against their chest or in their laps to see if it felt more natural drawing from that angle. One of my students was so comfortable with the tablet in his lap, that he put his feet up on another chair, leaned back, and just drew. He looked so cute like that and so at-ease. I told him he looked like a professional artist who’s been doing that for years. Later, I heard him tell a classmate that he was a professional. I liked his confidence and I liked that he believed me.

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5) Can you share tips and tricks for getting students excited about animation?

In my experience, it’s not hard to get students excited about something that I’m truly excited about. We all would prefer to learn from teachers who love what they’re teaching … I’m lucky that I teach a field that changes all the time. It never gets stale and my lessons always feel new to my students and to me, even when I’ve taught them for years.

I think that brings a natural enthusiasm that’s easy to create and maintain … I’m lucky to have a job that really makes me feel fulfilled at the end of every school day and I can honestly say that I truly love what I do because it lets me be my best self. My school sees the value in having teachers with varied skills and talents, and we try to help children discover that they are the same way.


Get Involved

Already creating your own Animation-ish masterpieces? Share your work on social media with #AnimationIsh and send us a message at info@fablevisionlearning.com if you want to be featured in a blog post too!

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Peter H. Reynolds to Be Honored with the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award

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The Boy Scouts of America and National Eagle Scout Association have announced that FableVision founder and renowned children’s book author/Illustrator, Peter H. Reynolds, is being honored with the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award (DESA)

The award ushers Reynolds into an elite cadre of fellow Distinguished Eagle Scouts, which includes political, business and creative luminaries such as President Gerald R. Ford, Neil Armstrong, Steve Fosset, Gov. Dukakis, James Lovell, Sam Walton, James Brady, William Hanna, J. W. Marriott Jr., and Steven Spielberg.  

Reynolds earned the award for his “extraordinary national eminence in his field, as well as his strong record of voluntary community service.”

In addition to writing and illustrating nearly 50 influential children’s books (his most famous book The Dot has been published in over 30 languages, and is celebrated each year in a global event called International Dot Day, which has reached over 10 million students and teachers in 170 Countries), Peter H. Reynolds also founded FableVision Studios to help fosters creativity and self-expression and move the world to a better place through “stories that matter, stories that move.”

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“As a quirky, creative kid, scouting gave me a safe, supportive environment where I could develop my skills, talents, strengths and leadership,” Peter shared. “I really can credit the Scouting program for giving me the confidence to pursue my dreams, which is why I’m so happy to see so many supporting these critical programs for boy – and now girls. Every child deserves this kind of solid foundation to help them navigate their future success.”

FableVision will proudly cheer our creative champion as The Boy Scout of America Spirit of Adventure Council present the award to Peter at the 41st annual “Salute to Scouting” gala at The Westin Copley Place.

WCVB TV Anchor Randy Price, himself an Eagle Scout, will serve as master of ceremonies.  This signature Boston event attracts hundreds of scouting supporters, including business and civic leaders who aim to expand Boy Scout youth development programs throughout the Greater Boston area.

41st Annual Salute to Scouting

When: Thursday, November 30th at 6 p.m.

Where: The Westin Copley Place

Register to attend!

FableVision Learning Intern Spotlight: Patrick's Fab@School Maker Studio Journey

Hello FableVision Learning friends and fans,

Allow me to introduce myself - I am Patrick McDonagh, a marketing intern at FableVision Learning studying English Creative Writing at Endicott College. The gamut of work at FVL challenges my formal degree skills in a fun professional learning environment.

Now at the end of my internship, it’s time to put the lessons I’ve learned into action. I have been challenged to create an easy-to-build Fab@School Maker Studio project for kids ages 5-11 for construction in a library setting. The result of this challenge, after many iterations, is a turkey mask designed in Fab@School Maker Studio and ready to debut at the Dedham Public Library.

Make A Mark

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I will be honest, my first iteration of the mask did not resemble a turkey. I set out to work on my laptop early in a Peet’s Coffee tinkering with the software tools for hours trying to find shapes to form my vision. Coffee fueled my design, frustration, and perceived failure - my goal was perfection. I used the oval shape tool for feathers, then dragged and manipulated shapes for the turkey's snood. I asked a neighbor what animal they thought I had made. The response was unflattering.

Create Bravely

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For my next iteration, I focused on what I had done well. In my hours of welding and manipulating shapes in Fab@School Maker Studio I grew more familiar with the tools. I made a first mark in the creative process. I paused to assuage my initial frustration by focusing on what I had learned. These were my notes:

  • I achieved a stylized and symmetrical 2D turkey shape by modifying Shapes with the Reflect, Align, and Weld features.
  • Used the Ruler, Grid, and Magnetize tool to visually interpret dimensions and distance between objects and snap them together.
  • Developed an understanding of each individual piece’s form and assembly across a project with multiple sheets of paper.
  • I saved helpful design elements for later by positioning them on the outer edges of the edit area.
  • Fabricated often and attempted assembly to refine project design across multiple iterations.

The first test mask I fabricated measured five inches in width. Only after I fabricated a mask that barely covered my face did I know it needed resizing. Supplies for Fab@School Maker Studio are inexpensive enough that I was able to incorporate fabrication into my prototyping process. I realized it didn’t need to be perfect right away.

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I felt more at ease creating without the inhibiting goal of perfection, and instead shifted focus to simplifying the design. Each remaining shape needed a critical purpose. Project refinement is a productive exercise for students forming foundational knowledge of iterative design and fabrication with Fab@School Maker Studio. Transitioning from concept to a recognizable design was exciting.

This is the final product. I am proud to share my mask in Fab@School Maker Studio as a 3D Ready-Made project for students, teachers, and makers to fabricate.

Get Involved

Are you in the Dedham area? Join us on Thursday, Nov. 16, at 3:30 p.m. at 43 Church St. for a hands-on Fab@School workshop. Remember to #CreateBravely!