Using SAM with limited technology in the K12 classroom

Using SAM with limited technology in the K12 classroom

Many educators can quickly identify SAM and myCreate’s value to education, but usually ask for specific ideas and examples for integration into their own content areas – and often times with just the resources they have on hand. Three years ago we first mentioned the idea of “whole class” animations on our blog. This week we’re revisiting this topic with more specific examples that we hope you will find useful.

For classrooms with limited technology – such as one computer and one webcam/document camera – whole-class animations are a great way to engage your students in an enriching activity, while producing a movie that everyone has ownership in, and is proud to share with others. Below are a couple of tangible ideas for whole-class animation projects that can be applied in science, math, and literacy.

Stories involving many characters can be an engaging way to get an entire class of students to collaborate on a single project. When we say “story”, we mean everything from a book to a particular science concept involving multiple variables. Breaking the class into groups and assigning a character or variable to each group works quite well. The Mitten by Jan Brett is a delightful story involving a lost white mitten and a cast of animals who seek shelter in the mitten. Each group in the class can choose an animal and create its character. To set up the animation, first design a large scene on the wall with a big white mitten at center-stage. Point the webcam at the wall, and then ask each group to animate and narrate their animal finding a home in the mitten. Sequence each group’s animation together, and you’ll have a movie version of The Mitten, as told by your own students. The example shown below is that concept applied in a first grade classroom, yet using the story “Where the Wild Things Are.”

An example of a science-based story is the body system of a large animal, such as the digestive system of a cow. In this example, a large wall-sized cow can be drawn, and each group in the class is responsible for drawing and animating a part of the digestive system. The resulting animation shows food being eaten, partially digested, regurgitated, and continuing through the cow’s body until the inevitable “end” of the digestive process. Because each group has ownership of a piece of the final project, the class activity is collaborative and engaging.

Number lines are powerful tools for students at all ages. Whether to develop an understanding of addition and subtraction, to convey the concept of negative numbers, or to investigate how particular values are affected by functions, students using their bodies as points on a large number line can bring these concepts to life. Again, with just a single camera pointed downward at a number line, students of all ages can engage in different operations on the number line. Conversations amongst students born out of their attempts to generate accurate representations make for meaningful learning experiences.

We’d love to hear if others have ideas or examples of ways they have implemented the “whole class animation” concept into their classrooms!


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