One of the best parts of my job is that i get to learn all the time. I often work with a class of children and show them how to do things but unfailingly, I come away having learned something totally unexpected. I was contacted by Mrs Pinchin at Pennyman Academy for some help and advice on how to adapt the progression in skills framework (see the Computing resources on the homepage) to her SEND class for Year 3 and 4. In particular she wasn’t sure how the children could think about timings in coding. Having worked with her before I knew that she is always really enthusiastic but also wants to get it done right. After a productive meeting I spotted that the year groups also encounter Stop Motion in the framework. We tagged the two ideas together and created a hybrid coded version of stop motion animation and narrative. We used various resources to make the notional ideas of frames per second seem more concrete to the children. I also followed up with a session in class with the children themselves.

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They have a range of needs but enthusiasm isn’t one of them.

They had been working on Goldilocks as a narrative and we adapted it to work with backgrounds and cut out characters. Spark always uses swan necks to allow children to use their iPads horizontally when creating stop motion and this adapted well for the children in wheel chairs and limited motion. We managed to hold it about 18 inches off the ground which meant access for all. After an introductory session we left them to it for a few weeks.

Well today they invited me back for the movie premiere.

And I couldn’t have been more impressed. Anyone who has done this sort of activity in the classroom knows that the ‘fingers of doom’ are a constant menace. Did you see any?

Backgrounds regularly seem to dance about and sound pollution is usually awful. Was that the case here?

Yes some of the children’s mobility issues meant that they had to angle the shot slightly off line so that they could see it and yes some of them find it hard to be precise on a screen but my goodness they produced a fantastic piece of work with all the right considerations in place.

Where mobility was an issue, they teamed up and supported each other.

Where they couldn’t fit speech into the time frame, they worked out a new way to add length to the image.

Where they didn’t have exactly the characters they needed, they adapted the shot to fit them in.

Problem solving.

Attention to detail.

Total commitment to getting it right.

Guess what?

They have invited me back to work on some green screen ideas they have…

I can’t wait.