Stop all the clocks! Stop motion animation in the MFL classroom.

I’d heard of stop animation but I had never really understood how I could use it in the MFL classroom.  That was until I attended ADE institute in Amsterdam this summer….

I got lucky and by lucky, I mean really lucky.  My room mate for the week was the rather wonderful Catherine Jessey  @HPSMissJessey

Catherine is a Science teacher at Hove Park High and was tasked by Apple to present her work on her use of stop motion videos in the classroom at institute.  It would be fair to say that her presentation opened my eyes to what was possible with stop motion animation I was hooked.

I knew exactly how I would be able to utilise stop motion animation in the classroom because I felt it was the ideal tool for students to be able to show what they know.  Not only that, the tool is really easy to use. Catherine had already told me how quickly you could establish a student’s understanding of a topic by watching their animations.  I was sold on the idea.

My Y10 class began their GCSE course with the topic of holidays, this obviously necessitates the use of the perfect or past tense.  From my point of view the perfect tense is relatively easy but students always find it tricky.  I teach it as a 3 step or in the case of être verbs a 4 step process.  After a number of lessons learning I asked the students to show me what they had learned and to explain the formation of the perfect tense via the medium of stop motion animation.

Students had free reign over how they were going to use the app.  Most of them opted for whiteboards and pens – a digital meets analogue moment for sure!


In the iMotion app there are 2 settings.  By using the first setting the app automatically takes a photo every 3 seconds. The other option is manual, here the user takes a photo as and when they want to.  My students used the manual mode, as this enabled them to pause the app, wipe boards clean, move things around and then take the next picture.

IMG_4670 IMG_4664 IMG_4665 IMG_4666 IMG_4668

Take a look at one of my students videos

The results were brilliant. The students had to think carefully about how they would show me what they understood about the perfect tense.  The creative nature of the activity generated an awful lot of discussion about how to fulfil the task and as a result the students had to talk about how to form and use the perfect tense. From a teacher perspective simply by watching the animations I could see who had a good grasp of the concepts and where the gaps in their knowledge lay.

Students worked in pairs and uploaded their efforts to our Google Classroom.  I was amazed when it took me no more than 40 mins to mark and comment on a class’s worth of work.

My students made silent movies but if you wanted them to voice their movies they could drop them into iMovie or the Video shop app and add text and voice.

imovie video shop

Where next?  I would like to try using stop motion for students to demonstrate their speaking abilities and make short animations of dialogue using lego figures or similar.  The  Lego Movie stop motion app may be useful for this kind of activity.

Lego movie

I’ll keep you posted….

Huge thanks to Catherine Jessey for the inspiration.

2 thoughts on “Stop all the clocks! Stop motion animation in the MFL classroom.

  1. Pingback: Creative fun with iPhone photography | Musings From The Island

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s