I was originally inspired with this lesson idea after seeing some of the work @acroft2 had done with some children at her school - so thank you!
For the last ICT lesson of the year with Year 5 just before Christmas you have to do something fun and exciting with the children - yet at the same time still ensure that they learn something and manage to develop their ICT skills by the end of it.
Having previously done activities with them to teach them how to use the drawing tools in PowerPoint to create pictures and having seen their confidence/quality of work improve with practice, the next logical step would therefore be to teach them how to animate their pictures so that they move/change.
This could be done with the custom animation tools within PowerPoint, however shapes need to be carefully grouped together correctly and the children have to have a good purpose for applying different effects for the finished pieces of work to be successful. Fearing that this would be a little too much to cover effectively in just one lesson at this point in the term, I therefore opted to go with a second option - showing them how to create short animated GIF images of Christmas trees with flashing lights and stars on them.
The procedure that I asked them to follow was:
- Firstly, draw a Christmas tree with presents underneath it using the drawing tools (adding extra features like: tinsel, a pot, ribbons or bows if so desired).
- Secondly, draw a star at the top of the tree (filled in with a gradient effect) and duplicate several small circles around the tree to act as fairy lights.
- Thirdly, duplicate the slide two times and change the colours of the lights and the fill effect of the star on each (using SHIFT+Click to select multiple objects at once).
- Next, save each slide as a .PNG image file onto your space on the network.
- After that, go to www.picasion.com to upload the three images, set the speed to 'faster' and click on the 'Create Animation' button.
- Lastly, right-click on your animation to save the picture as a .GIF file onto your space on the network.
Most of the children found this quite straightforward to do - with just a few needing reminders of how to use the undo function when shapes were accidentally moved/resized on slides two or three (which otherwise would have meant their finished animation would have had objects disappearing/jumping about).
Everyone was extremely impressed with how good their finished animations were and seemed eager to try doing a similar one at home for themselves.
Children love creating pictures using the drawing tools once they've grasped the idea that they are manipulating shapes rather than painting. In all though, the activity was definitely a success and if I've got children who enjoyed it that much they want to repeat it outside of school what more can one ask for?