Last semester I had an after-school class with 11 girls for two hours every week. They were all pretty advanced in English, so it was sometimes hard to come up with fresh ideas that were fun and kept them learning. I also wanted to keep myself motivated. I thought a long-term project would help. I decided that we were going to make a music video using stop motion animation. I have never done anything like this, but I was interested in learning about it. I made a song choice and decided to pitch it to the girls.
The introduction of the idea was easy. I briefly explained what I wanted and played the song a couple of times for them. I chose the song “Stereo Hearts” by Gym Class Heroes because the students know Adam Lavine from Maroon 5 (he sings in the song), and I thought the rap was catchy. They liked the song, but the rapping was very fast for them. I could see this was going to be a challenge.
The next week I showed some YouTube clips of stop motion animation. Any time you show these kids movies with bright, magical things happening, they are fascinated. I then talked about the project and handed out the lyrics. We played the song a few times, and they had a great time following along with the lyrics. It was cute to watch them try to sing the song at the speed of the artist. They thought making the video would not be possible. I still believed!
Back at home, I realized that I had never even tried to make a video. Up until then, I just assumed it would be easy. I downloaded a video program and took some pictures of Alli’s stuffed dog moving across the table. After a few minutes, I had some ammunition to show the girls, a five-second video of the toy dog moving. Here it is:
The next week, I showed them the clip. They clapped and thought it was great. They were beginning to believe they could do this. We began to translate the song and brainstorm ideas. After a half hour not getting very far, all of us lost hope and started playing cards (which is always fun!) until class ended. My idea seemed too ambitious, but I still did not want to give up.
My final push to complete this project came the day before the next class. I thought if I showed them a piece of the actual video we were going to make, complete with music, they would begin to believe again. I made a 10-second video and edited the music in. I must admit I was very happy with it. It was time to show the girls!
I came in and showed my new video clip, hoping the students would enjoy it. They went crazy and cheered so loudly! I was amazed. We began work immediately, with the students giving me a list of pictures and supplies they wanted. We translated the lyrics together, and they came up with almost all the ideas for the images. A few weeks later we had this video, made entirely from paper and imagination from my students. My editing isn’t perfect but I think I did OK for my first experience. Enjoy!