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Jessika Richter
Jessika Richter
(Lund - Sweden)

The short and sweet: I have been a passionate teacher since 2001.  I first worked with the National Park Service in Washington (state), then moved to Australia where I completed my DipEd at the University of Melbourne and then taught at Hailebury  ...

Using Film and Movies in the Classroom

Using Film, and Teaching The Language of Film, in the Literature Classroom


At the recent 2009 South Carolina Council of Teachers of English conference, I put teachers through an exercise to better help them understand and teach the "languages of film."

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8th Grade Introduction to Poetry Using Music and Film

This lesson plan introduces a poetry unit using music and film to get students thinking about the definition of poetry and how it fits into their lives. The end of the lesson introduces the concept of Found Poetry.

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This lesson was created using the Nortel LearniT 6E + S template for integrating technology within the curriculum.


Students will work in groups to plan and shoot their Claymation shorts. They will be required to produce a storyboard that includes a theme, setting and some characters (only one or two) to animate. For some background on Claymation (reg. tm), please refer to the sites included in the resources section of the Lesson plan.

As a preparatory activity the teacher could spend a portion of a class watching Wallace and Gromit and/or Chicken Run for examples of Claymation.

Technology Integration:

Digital Video

Prerequisite Experience:

The student should have a basic knowledge of video planning and production and specifically, the knowledge of how to shoot frame-by-frame video. It would be a good review for the students to preview the training materials on Digital Video at www.NortelLearniT.org .

Teacher Prep Time:

minimum 2 hours

Teachers should be comfortable with digital video production and should preview the resources dealing with Claymation. Teachers should review the Digital video materials at www.NortelLearniT.org.

Estimated Time for Completion:

8 -10 weeks (estimate based on one class per week)


Internet-ready computers with word processing software and digital-video-editing software; digital video cameras; lighting equipment; clay, armature wire and props.


For this assignment students will submit their storyboards as well as their videos. Teachers should check storyboards before permitting the students to shoot. It will allow you to assist them with the process, particularly if they have taken on a little too much.

Time Management Tips:

The Claymation short should be no longer than one minute. It is an extremely time intensive activity and requires patience by both the student and teacher.


An evaluation rubric has been provided as a Word attachment. Teachers should provide a grade for the storyboard as well.


Claymation is a common term used to describe stop motion animation that uses clay, plasticine or even playdoh covering a wire form or armature to create figures, scenery or characters that move.  This technique requires that the producers and production team move the figures frequently to create the illusion that the figures are actually moving on their own. 

Now that you have seen some footage of Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run, would you believe that;

Over 250 production workers (includes 30 animators) worked on the film.

Over 115,000 frames of footage were required in the making of the Wallace and Gromit feature film.

Did you know that Chicken Little was the first full length Claymation movie?

Well how about it?  Are you ready to enter the world of Claymation film production? 

As you look over the resources provided in the following section, try to find as much information as you can concerning:

  • The techniques used in making a Claymation film.
  • How is it done?
  • Step-by-step procedures
  • Examples of shorts by both students and professionals.
Record your findings using a word processor.

When you have completed your research, you will form groups of two to four students and storyboard, script and produce a Claymation short film.


Here are some resources to help you understand Claymation techniques.  Be sure to summarize your findings using a word processor and keep your summaries in your notes for the course.

Introduction to Claymation
Claymation overview

Excellent student-designed site with lots of information about Claymation.  Includes lots of samples of student work.

Claymation – how-to materials

Student examples of Claymation projects.

Gumby World\\http://www.gumbyworld.com/gumbysgalaxy/video/robot5.html

Be sure to document the source of your Internet research for your notes.

You should review the Video Production training videos from Nortel LearniT (www.NortelLearniT.org).  You need to determine how to shoot frame-by-frame video.


Now that you have a good understanding of Claymation concepts and some idea of how to produce your own Claymation short, it is time to begin. 

You will need to do some brainstorming in your groups to come up with some story ideas.  Remember to keep it simple and short.  You are not making a feature film. 

Review the materials on storyboarding at www.NortelLearnit.org?

Create your storyboard for the video.  Be sure to include every scene change and figure movement you will need.  This is a critical step that is never omitted by professionals.   You will need to assess how many movements it will take to give the appearance of a complete movement.  Something as simple as the blink of an eye, for example, can take many small movements of the character.  Each movement should be documented for the crew.

you must discuss your storyboard with your teacher before proceeding to the next stage of pre-production work.

Getting Ready – Assign the following tasks to your group members.

Task 1 - Create your characters using clay and an armature (pipe cleaner or wire skeleton).  Keep in mind how the character/s will need to be moved when creating them.  

Task 2 – Assemble all of the props and backgrounds.

Task 3
– prepare camera mounting and lighting for shooting

Task 4 – assemble materials for sound effects and audio


Now it is time to demonstrate your understanding of Claymation production.

Organize all of your materials for the taping sessions.  Remember, it will take many frames of video and positioning to come up with a minute of video.  

Set aside sufficient camera and studio or classroom time to complete your work.  

You might want to use video editing software to edit some of your shots or to re-sequence some of the animation.  Review the materials on post production at www.NortelLearnit.org?.

Show your completed video to the class.


An evaluation rubric has been attached as a Word document.


You have seen some excellent student websites dealing with Claymation.  Perhaps you could produce your own for another assignment.

Hold a Claymation short festival at lunch or in the evening.  Invite parents and friends.

Required Attachments:



Political TV Advertisement Project