Remembering My First Stopmotion Movie

I was in my YouTube account the other day and noticed that there is now an option to move all old videos from the former Google Videos into YouTube. Nice! I thought I had lost a lot of those movies (I used to use Google Videos all the time). Here is the very first stopmotion movie I created, many years ago now, that uses an original song and an art figure that is trying to dance. It’s still fun to watch (for me anyway).

I remember all the logistics of trying to get the camera right, and learning how to use the capture software and then MovieMaker. Luckily, a friend from the National Writing Project — Tonya Witherspoon — was a good mentor, and it was her enthusiasm that got me started.

If you are interested in stopmotion moviemaking, I have a website resource that might be handy for you and your students.

Go to Making Stopmotion Movies

Peace (in the motion),


When Siblings Provide the Mentor Text: Stopmotion Movies


My older son is working on a stopmotion movie for his eighth grade science class around the thought experiment of Schrodinger’s Cat (is the cat alive or dead, or both states at the same time?). The stopmotion element is part of a larger video project that he and his friends are working on for their investigation. But all of the equipment is set up: the camcorder, the computer, the background paper.

During a lull in our vacation this week, the seven-year-old brother asked if he could make his own stopmotion movie. He’s done it before, so I said, sure. He proceeded, with a little help, to make the following movie:

What is interesting is that he revisited some characters — The Pea Detectives — that were invented by his older brother years ago (first as a comic and then as stopmotion movies), and used the echoes of some old stories that he remembered for his movie. Here is part of his brother’s Pea Detective movies:

It reminded me of the power of siblings, and how often the experiences of our brothers and sisters shape our own ideas around the world. I’m not trying to get him to branch out a bit. His next movie, which he again did almost entirely by himself, left the Peas behind, but he is still clinging to the idea of “treasure” as the hook of all of his movie stories.

Peace (in the frames),

Google Honors Claymation with Doodle

It was nice to see that the Google page is dedicated to one of the pioneers of Claymation Stopmotion — Art Clokey. The Google Search site features the Gumby Google Doodle today, and if you do a little clicking around, you can discover who is hiding in the balls of clay and other odds and ends. (Hint: Clokey was the brains behind Gumby and Pokey).

We do stopmotion in our classroom, and some years it is claymation (it all depends on the time we have to do the unit). If you want to know more about ideas around stopmotion animation for the classroom, you can check out my resource site: Making Stopmotion Movies.

Peace (in the ball of clay),



Stopmotion Movies from the Classroom

Here are some of the stopmotion movies my students created this week. There was a mad rush yesterday to get as much done as possible. The one movie that did impress me, and would have been better with more time, is the remake of King Kong, using the black and white effect, and flashlights, and the scale of the figures. These boys had a vision, and I wish I could have given them more time. But, now that they know how to do it, I bet they will be doing stopmotion at home this summer.

Peace (in the frames),

The Deadline Looms; Stopmotion Work Quickens

Today is our last day for working on Stopmotion Movies in class. As I told my students, they either get done today or they won’t get finished. This is our final full day of school, with Monday eaten up by awards ceremonies and other last-day-things-to-do that won’t allow time for playing around and creating movies on the computers. We’re in the “now or never” phase of production.
A few students finished up their movies yesterday — they are short films and some are more focused than others. That’s what happens when a movie project that should be about three weeks gets crunched down to a single week. But I can say that the kids are totally engaged in the work, and they love making stopmotion movies and using our music creator software for the soundtrack.

Here are a few of their creations:

Peace (in the motion),

A Quick Peek Inside Our Stopmotion Work

stopmotion (1)


My students are in their last week, engaged in making a short stopmotion movie.

Oh never mind. They can’t hear you anyway. They’re too engrossed in what they are doing.

The question is: do we have time to finish?

Peace (in the frames),

PS — I love the shot of the two boys using the study desks. There’s something about that middle dividing line between the computer and the scene that just seems to perfectly capture the small scale of stopmotion work.

Bored? Make a Stopmotion Movie!

My six year old made this movie, mostly by himself, the other day when his calls of being bored got to me. I helped with the technical aspects but he designed the set, shot most of the video, and came up the story idea. He then watched it about 25 times in a row and is very proud of his movie. I love that the tools are such that even a six year old can imagine themselves a movie producer and then go and produce a movie (without any of those pesky actors to deal with, either.)

Peace (in the frames),
PS — If you want to learn more about stopmotion movies, check out my website resource Making Stopmotion Movies.

The NWP(eeee) Dance Party(eeee) Theme Song

This morning, as I was planning out my NWP Makes! Session a bit more for next Saturday at the National Writing Project Annual Meeting, it dawned on me that a dance party stopmotion movie is what my group should create during our hour long working time (and then, they will document what we have done with technical writing). They’ll be using clay and wikistix to create little people.

And, so, I thought: I need to write a song for the video. A song about an NWP Dance Party. So, I composed it (using some music software) and wrote it and recorded it this morning, and have it now all set to go for the session.

Wanna hear it?

NWP Dance Party Theme Song

And here are the lyrics:

Put down your pens
Put down your papers
Put down your laptop
‘Cause you’ll get to it later

You’ve got to move-move
You’ve got to shake it – shake it
You’ve got to bend it back
An don’t even try to fake it

NWP Dance Party!

Ten thousand words
Can say the same thing
But this is like a language
that can make your heart sing

Come on the dance floor
And give it a little shake
Who knows where it’ll go
or what you can make

NWP Dance Party!

Peace (in the boogie),

Whisper: A Stopmotion Shadow Video

This is interesting: using stopmotion with shadow puppet techniques. I like the video itself, but I really like the “behind the scenes” video even more because it shows us how they did what they did.

Peace (in the shadows),