Getting animated at Feelhaver

Students learn about stop motion during Technology Tuesday

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Hadley McKinney, 6, and Leah Harris, 6, first-graders at Feelhaver Elementary School, snap a photo of a paper bird for the stop motion project during Technology Tuesday at the school.

First-graders created their own animations Tuesday morning at Feelhaver Elementary School.

And to do that, they had to learn about stop motion in Sara Stepan’s Technology Tuesday program.

Stop motion is a technique where separate still photos are put together to show motion.

“A lot of animators use stop motion in some of your favorite movies,” Stepan said to the group. “And what it is, it’s a bunch of pictures that they take, and then they take all those pictures and put them together into a movie.”

She added, “Doesn’t that sound cool?”

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Sara Stepan, a kindergarten teacher at Feelhaver Elementary School, explains stop motion to a group of first-graders during Technology Tuesday. Stepan hosts Technology Tuesday for kindergarten through fourth-grade students.

Stepan is a kindergarten teacher at Feelhaver. She hosts Technology Tuesday every week.

Anywhere between 10 and 20 students typically attend the sessions.

Each week a different grade level is invited to the school’s library to learn a lesson about technology.

For their animations, students were given paper birds and an iPad to take the photos.

They used an app called Stop Motion Studio.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Leah Harris, 6, left, and Abi Munden, 7, hug it out during Technology Tuesday at Feelhaver Elementary School. The two first-graders were thrilled to be partners for the class project involving stop motion. Stop motion is a technique used in animation where separate still photos are combined to exhibit motion.

Stepan chose birds after visiting with a first-grade teacher and discovered students were learning about birds in their class.

“This project is all about birds,” Stepan said.

“I like crows,” Abi Munden, 7, a first-grader, said. “I like the sound they make.”

The birds had wings that could be moved with fabric fasteners.

Hadley McKinney, 6, was enthusiastic about the project.

“We get to do a cardinal,” she said.

Stepan provided some direction to help students improve the quality of the animations.

“Just move it a little bit at a time,” Stepan said.

“The more pictures you take, the better your video will be,” Meg Hora, a second-grade teacher, added.

Stepan praised the students.

“Do you know what you are today?” Stepan asked. “You are animators.”

In January, Stepan was recognized as the Fort Dodge Community School District employee of the month.

She was nominated by Stephanie Anderson, director of elementary education services.

Anderson said Stepan is “very fluent with technology and works tirelessly to engage students in integrative opportunities with technology. She also shares this knowledge with her peers for organizational, planning and instructional purposes.”

Stepan started Technology Tuesday last school year.

At that time, it was an after-school club.

But after a schedule change within the schools, Stepan moved the program to before school.

“Last year we had one hour for all grade levels,” she said.

This school year she has shorter time with students, but she tries to make the most of it.

“I’ve gotten creative with my projects,” Stepan said.

She’s enjoying the program.

“It’s so fun,” Stepan said. “You can see their excitement.”

She plans the activities a week in advance.

Next Tuesday will be a robotics activity for kindergarteners.

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