One Teacher's Reaction to Animation-Ish

I had the opportunity to meet you and Peter H. Reynolds at the CUE conference in Palm Springs, Ca this year. After being blown away with Animation-ish, I worked with you to purchase a lab license. It's been about a month since introducing the program to the kids (4th & 5th graders) and while I plan on sending at least two incredible movies from two 5th graders, I just wanted to send this email of accolades first. We just finished our school-wide Open House this week (when families come so students can show off their work to parents). The computer lab is usually a very popular place and this year was no different except for the fact that the Ish movies were a draw for EVERYONE. No longer were kids just showing their own work, but eagerly and easily showing the proud work of their peers. Parents were astonished and incredibly pleased at what they were seeing. One 5th grade student's father walked into his child's classroom and told his teacher that he needed to see his son's "Ish" movie before seeing anything else because his son had announced he wanted to work in the field of animation when he grew up. (He had never done any animating before). This particular child's work is nothing short of amazing and knowing that this experience has lit a fire thrills me to no end. There are many similar stories - and I could go on and on (I may have said too much already!). But if you don't mind, I'd like to relay some worthwhile observations while having an absolute blast "Ish"-ing around...Observation #1 - Kids are just as interested in each other's work as in their own. There is a genuine interest in peer work and a"how-did-you-do-that?" attitude that buzzes throughout the lab as this program lends itself to natural collaboration. A teacher's dream.Observation #2 - Kids are creative outside the computer lab and with Animation-ish, can be just as creative inside the lab too. Often times, a computer-based product can look a little "spoon-fed" but with Animation-Ish, the outcome is extremely diverse and truly allows for the individual's own style to shine through. Another dream for a teacher. Observation #3 - Kids are incredibly proud of their accomplishments. Animating is no easy task - some kids take to it like a duck to water but others get stuck (like other academic areas). With this program, when kids get frustrated, they don't give up - they don't even want to give up - I say, in large part, because of the "Inspire Me" link. I encourage the usage of that link often and I think the pay off is clear - when kids are needing to hear from Peter H. Reynolds, they can and they do. I can't tell you how many times his voice will start talking throughout any work session - as if he's just popped in the lab for a moment. It's genius because these kids think of him as another valuable resource - as accessible as their on-campus teachers. Talk about a teacher's dream...Observation #4 - the connection between literature and animation is invaluable. The students all knew the book "Ish" and were pleased to be introduced to the software...then kids would come back to the lab a week later with other connections about work they realized Peter had done. Again, the program allows the kids to feel like they know him. My favorite discovery was made from a fourth grade boy whose younger sister had been reading Judy Moody books. He was so excited to ask me if I knew the illustrator of those books....I loved when he said he "recognized" the artwork before he looked at the name! This teacher's dream continues...! Again, I could go on...Suffice to say, I feel extremely fortunate to have been able to share this dynamic program with my students as it encompasses all that is good and important to educating students. It's all bittersweet as our district (like so many others) are eliminating the position of certified teachers in the computer lab which means I won't be "ish"-ing like this next year. I sure have enjoyed using it this year - who knows...I'll make my mark and see where it takes me...Thank you to Peter and the FableVision crew.Warm Regards,Patsy Templeton Technology Teacher Glorietta School Orinda, CA