Working in teams, year 8 students at Greenmeadows Intermediate developed animated videos for Six60’s “Pepeha”. Together, they planned, evaluated, problem-solved, and learned from others’ points of view.
[Leah Tofte Dorr]
We were looking for an authentic purpose for why the students would learn animation.
Most people wouldn’t really understand what the Pepeha lyrics mean, so, like, we’re supposed to animate the song to give, like, a visual of what it means.
Their interpretation became the idea behind it, so that we could end up using the animation in our assemblies.
We learned about whakataukī. Ko mana tōku maunga – what the mountain means. The mountain means strong, and the mountain has the mana. The movie actually means making sure that other people’s pepeha, or other people’s stories, are meant the same way.
So they started down the rabbit hole of all of the animation software that’s out there. I thought, “Why am I taking away the best learning experience for the students?”
I had to search on so many animation websites.
We went through different apps, so that I picked up the gist of it.
For me it was fine, reviewing different programs and how they work.
Different programs appeal to different students. Some of them want their product to look really pixelated, and some of them want to draw.
When you go back to your group, what are you going to tell them that you specifically either liked or you didn’t like about this program.
Our group decided that Flip a Clip, it’s very easy to use and it’s not that hard to learn.
A lot of groups all used the same one because they were able to communicate with each other and problem solve it together.
When I have a problem, if I can’t figure it out, I just ask someone like who knows the app that I’m using.
Your thinking’s not challenged if you’re just thinking inside your own head. Your thinking’s challenged by listening to perspectives of others.
Doing it individually just makes it more harder for you. And that’s why your team is there for you, they help you.
They help me learn the software, like, what do you press to use tools. Thu Mai and Sherilee have taught me to draw better, I guess.
Everyone can be doing different things to help make the video more special.
You’ve got this range of experiences and contexts in which their achievements are growing.
I’m project manager. My job is to cooperate with my team, give them positive minds.
Creative director – it means I think outside the box.
I keep track that the plot matches how our animation wants to be.
I keep track of the time. So each animation is in the right lyrics in the song.
Everyone is doing something good for their team, so they can get the job done.
So, project manager, what do you think should happen next?
It’s not just like, “Oh, they’re a better animator than me.” You have a really important role. Some of them are going to be leading group discussions, some of them are giving creative feedback, some are overall manager of the whole project. It gives you a source of importance in the group.
We’re learning how to do animation as a team. We’re learning how to split up the work evenly.
You can make new friends, become social, and have some fun.
If you’re working in a group and you want to work better, I recommend that you should communicate to your group.
Listen to their ideas. Be honest. Like if you think that’s not going to work out, give them something they could improve on.
Even though if you disagree or agree, you should listen to them, because they might have a better idea.
They get feedback like, “Wow, I never thought about the lyrics that way, that’s so exciting. That’s a level of success that’s really personal. They get invested in the project, but your job is to make sure that the learning is happening along the way.
It teaches us to learn from our mistakes and then improve.
We might have more motivation to keep pushing if you can’t picture the end result.
This is what resilience looks like. It’s having those conversations and making it very clear – when you’re stuck like this, this is the way that you can move ahead, even though you don’t feel like you can.
You can be very creative using animation and make whatever you can imagine in your brain. And you can actually feel like you did something great.