In June 2015, Spark Media Project helped five 12th grade English classes reimagine the works of William Shakespeare during a week-long animation residency at Poughkeepsie High School. Students adapted scenes from Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and Macbeth by writing original scripts using characters and themes from the plays that were then turned into animated projects.
The residency was the culmination of a Shakespeare unit taught by English teacher Ms. Regina Fris. Spark provided the projects, teachers, and equipment to make the residency possible. The students’ creative productions demonstrate the many benefits of using media to enhance literacy skills, and breathe new life into classic texts.
Using characters made from paper cutouts or figurines, students learned about stop-motion animation and the program iStopMotion. They also got experience with green screen techniques by filming against a solid green background that could later be modified with images and effects.
To edit their animations, students used Adobe Premiere, which gave them valuable experience using the same software as media industry professionals. Learning new programs can be difficult, especially when you jump right into one without much training. But having the exposure to new media programs gave students the chance to open their creative minds, and get a taste of potential media careers.
Students worked on recording voice-overs for the scenes, using their own voices to bring the dialogue to life.
This stop-motion animation residency with Poughkeepsie High School is just one example of Spark Media Project’s many residency offerings helping to promote media literacy in schools.