Animating the Neighborhood

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Developing Skills for Greater Understanding

AFTER WE HAVE COMPLETED the fi rst steps of a close read, we discover Romare Bearden’s methodology for creating a collage. Kitty reveals that Bearden cut out body parts from various found images to create his characters. This revelation
inspires the teaching team to lead students in an animated puppet-making activity.

ANTHONY, PRINCESS, AND EDUARDO set to cutting out the body parts to create their puppets.

ADRIANA CONSTRUCTS her puppet attaching a photograph of herself with glue like Romare Bearden. The teacher tells the students that collage comes from the French word colle, meaning “to glue.”

Entering the image

THE TEACHING TEAM ASSESSES the skills it takes to make a puppet. We notice that some students have a hard time defining their head in the photograph. Unless there is a line drawn around the perimeter of the head, some students cut off the hair leaving a tiny little head for their puppet. We revisit the idea that Bearden made important things bigger. Fortunately, the students have multiple copies with which to experiment.

IN ORDER FOR THE STUDENTS TO UNDERSTAND why the puppets must move and how their story will come alive, the teacher demonstrates animation of their puppets with the tripod, digital camera, and magnet puppet.

developing a story

AFTER THE STUDENTS FINISH creating their puppets, they are affi xed to a board for a brainstorming activity. Armed with a better understanding of animation, the students start to brainstorm possible story topics. They refer back to the tableau activity as a way to bring a simple moment to life.

THE TEACHING TEAM CONFERS about the process of creating a story. Students generate initial ideas for a storyboard about their community based on original drawings of buildings in their neighborhoods. This will become the foundation for their animated movie.

ANTHONY CHOOSES to draw the library and even begins to write about one scene in the story. He narrates, “We can go to the library” across his drawing.

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