new art teacher/ middle school -I'm trying to prove my case of the benefits of teaching animation to my students

I'm a new middle art teacher trying to prove my case of what a student would learn during the creative processes of animating a film short.  Animation gurus out there, do you have any animating experiences you could please share to add to my case? - Thank you so much!

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Comment by Emily Kulbacki on Friday

Hi! I'm not an animation guru just an enthusiast so I'm not sure if my feedback would be useful, but I love the idea of having students learn animation in middle school.

Like you, I'm an educator (I teach philosophy) and I find that I use my philosophy skills all the time in the studio. Work in the studio also helps me to hone these skills and to become better at them  so maybe some of my experiences could help you build your case? I hope so, it's a great case to make. 

When I'm in the studio a large part of the creative process relies on my critical thinking skills. Just like in philosophy, I need to be able to take a number of very disparate activities/ideas  understand how they connect and then sequence them in a rational way. For example, I need to create a story, record a soundtrack, build puppets, choose appropriate colors for the background, figure out the lighting and decide how to frame a shot. Then I need to take all these "to do" items and sequence them in a way that leads to the successful creation of a film. 

In addition to developing the big picture thinking and process thinking of this process, I need to be able to successfully articulate my ideas to others in the studio not only in picture form, but also verbally and in writing. This means I'm always working on my communication skills.  

When I don't quite know what to do or when I encounter a problem I need to understand how to research best practices and then implement them to the specifics of my film. For example, if I don't know how to get a certain look on a puppet or how to frame a shot for maximum effect I need to know how to seek out the kind of expertise that gets results. If I can't find what I'm looking for I need to practice getting creative, thinking outside the box, and experimenting. 

Some other skills that I think animation helps to develop are the ability to work with others, the ability to problem solve in a group setting and personal tenacity. 

I hope that helped in any way.

Good luck with your project!!

Comment by Simon Tytherleigh yesterday

So many skills, that give practical application to subjects like Maths: scale, proportion, measuring, timing.

Learning to pay attention to details and observing movement are also skills useful for any sort of art, but even things like design and architecture.

Then there are the practical problem-solving things like - how do I get this thing to move in this way, using which materials. Kids often don't have many practical skills (because we seem to value academic ones more), so developing a familiarity with materials has to be worthwhile.

Then there are the film studies - how do you make a shot that looks exciting? - that will give them an insight into how movies get made, and perhaps also an appreciation of how much an audience is influenced by the choice of shot. Lighting helps to give an appreciation of not just the way things can be lit but also the limitations of what the camera can see.

I hope above all that you can impart to your pupils the notion that even with limited resources it is possible to make something beautiful and worthwhile. Good luck!

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