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