Bill and Ben's Outstanding Adventures

Thinking about back stories for the Airbus DT Project some of my students have been working with me on I began wondering how we might present this. As you might guess from recent posts Comic Strips have featured prominantly in the work of our year 6 students, creating caricatures and telling stories.

The props for our DT challenge, have been centred around two Play People, who for some reason or another must use the vehicle we design to escape safely from something. I visited the Playmobil Website for inspiration this morning, and in the Online Shop found some scenes, from which two characters particularly cried out, "caption us! Liberate us from this cage of two dimensional meaninglessness!" Never one to refuse anyone in such obvious distress I downloaded the Hazmat Team to my PC and Using Microsoft Publisher did my best to help the fearless pair express themselves, and share their current predicament.

Playmobil is a resource which many of us have in school, and perhaps don't readily recognise as an ICT resource. However listening to students as they engage in or describe their activity following role play activities, or while reviewing game play using computer games, their is a striking degree of narrative development which takes place and which we could draw on to promote and support writing activity, both on paper and onscreen. I do feel however that we need to broaden our view of what writing is in order to achieve this.

Using ready made images like the one above to prompt the creation of comic strips is one way, of making the link, but we could extend this to enable the students to develop the scenes for themselves. Using Playmobil, as an example, how about using table top and found materials to create dioramas and scenes in which to place our characters, rehearsing stories orally, and using Digi Blues to capture significant scenes, which the children might later add sound tracks, page turning effects, animation or written text to, by importing the images to applications such as 2 create a story, MS Photostory or Powerpoint. They might also import the images to Word Processing Packages or Desk Top Publishers and add speech bubbles and Captions creating their own comics for class or web publication.

Why stick with static images when you could make movies.

New for 2007! "Bill and Ben's Outstanding Adventure." Coming to an interactive whiteboard near you!

Building on paper based storyboarding activity, or emerging from role play, maybe set in the dioramas the students have made, stop motion animated movies could be made using digi blues. As actors in the film, The Playmobil characters star in the adventures that develop, and springing from their 2 dimensional cage of meaninglessness, or comic strips onto the big screen. Sound effects, voiceovers, music and visual effects could then be added, drawing on the planning framework provided by a comic strip, or a script provided by the speech bubbles and added during editing in perhaps MS Movie Maker.

I have been asked by my year 6 colleagues this term to work with them to help them and the students who are moving on, to create an alternative leaving service for their parents. It would be great to draw on the multimedia and multimodal experiences the students have had this year and brought to school from the world outside to develop something special and more than the previously powerpoint laden event. Pondering this morning perhaps we could use Playmobil characters or other toys and props to help them represent the adventure they are about embark on including some stop motion animation, pixelation and digital video work, to support this, alongside the other means of representation they are familiar with.

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