Film IT! …for teachers

How to use a storyboard

1.  Think of a good idea for a story.

2. Develop the plot and the storyline on a storyboard template.

3. Make sure you map the movements of all your characters.

NOTE: The more characters you have the more objects you will need to animate.

4. Include references to sounds, dialogue and music which might be added after.

 Click on the image to download this free storyboard!


In order to have a good movie, you need to have a good story. Using a storyboard to plan out your story will make it easier for you to produce the animation. In this way, you can make sure that you know exactly what you need to animate, when and how. In each box on the storyboard you can sketch or make a note of what action will be taking place in that scene. Storyboards may also include other important information, for example the dialogue which will be included in the animation or props which will be used.

MonkeyJam is a free software used to create stop motion animation videos. Unfortunately, it is available for Microsoft Windows only and will not run under MacOS or Linux. Click on the picture to download Monkey Jam for free:

MonkeyJam captures individual images from a digital device like a webcam or a digital camera. Photo sequences captured in MonkeyJam are saved on an exposure sheet (XPS or X-Sheet) which can be easily converted into an AVI file. MonkeyJam also allows you to import images (bmp, jpeg, png), and audio files (wav, mp3) into an exposure sheet and save them as a stop motion animation video.

MonkeyJam settings

  1. Make sure your webcam or camera is connected. Open MonkeyJam. From the File menu, select New XPS with Folders. Now you can name your animation, select the number of FPS, choose 1 Layer and choose where you would like to save your project.
  2. From the Settings menu choose Preferences
  3. Under the General tab, make sure that the FPS are set as desired.

Layer Colour allows you to change the colour of your Layer. Note: Layer colour is useful if you are working with more than one layer, however for basic stop motion animation we will need only one layer.

4. Under the Capture tab select Sto p Motion in Mode. Set Image Hold to 1. This enables you hold each image for the desired number of frames. For example, Image Hold 2 will automatically capture 2 photos of the same frame.  Capture Colour allows you to choose if you want your photos to be shot in colour or in black and white. From the Numbering options select Sequential so that the value in number of the photos captured increases by one after each one of your shots. Image Format allows you to save your photos as PNG, Jpeg or Bmp. This difference is the file size which in turn affects the quality of the photos taken. Given the fact that we will be taking a lot of photos to complete our animation Png or Jpeg are preferred over Bmp for simple classroom projects as the file sizes are much smaller.

5. When you have finished setting your preferences you can actually start capturing the photos which will make up your animation.

MonkeyJam shortcuts

 Shooting the animation

  1. Select Tools, then Capture and select Video to open the Capture window or click on the shortcut button.
  2. In the Capture window, Mode should be set to Stop Motion.
  3. Select your camera from Cameras.
  4.  Choose the resolution of the photos from Size. Usually 640×480 or 800×600 are good sizes to use for your classroom project.
  5.  The capture window should now show the view from your camera. You are now ready to start!

6. Position your model on the set in front of your webcam and click Capture.

7. Move your object and take another photo.

8. Repeat this process and continue to take photos until you have modelled the desired actions and all the necessary photos have been captured.

Viewing the animation

  1. All your images are saved into the X-sheet and the frames will be shown in the preview box.
  2. Close or minimize the capture window and in the main window select Tools, then Preview or click on the shortcut to preview your animation.

Editing the animation

 1. You can easily delete any unwanted photos from your X-Sheet. Simply select the photo from the list of photos in your Layer and press Delete. Note that this will create a blank space. You need to make sure that there are no blank spaces in your animation.

2. You can fill blank spaces by copying the previous or the next photo in your sequence.  You can right-click to copy and paste a photo in the blank space or else you can click on and drag the previous photo to fill the blank frame. This will automatically create a copy of that photo.

3. You can also delete photos directly from the Capture window while you are shooting the animation. Use the slider or the left and right arrow keys to move backward and forward in your animation.  When you find the photo you need to re-capture, make sure you have the characters in position and press the button that now says Re-Capture.  

4. Move the slider to the right in the Capture window to view the live video feed again. Re-position your objects and continue to shoot. Repeat this process until all images are captured and close the Capture window.

 Saving the animation

  1. If you are happy with your animation, select File and click on Export Avi to save your images as an AVI file and create your movie. You can also use the shortcut button.
  2. Alternatively, select File and Save XPS if you want to save the project so that you can open it again in order to continue shooting or editing your sequence.

Sometimes teachers are bombarded with projects, deadlines and expectations which leave little room for innovative teaching and creative thinking. The production of movies or other digital media in the classroom should not be seen as adding an extra burden on the class teacher but rather as redefining traditional methods of teaching and learning.

In order to educate children in today’s rapidly changing digital era teachers need to evolve their teaching methods in a way which acknowledges these changes. Over the past years we have seen the blackboard being replaced with an electronic whiteboard, chalk and markers with digital pens, over-heads with HD projectors and large volumes of encyclopaedias with the Internet. Knowledge today is available at the touch of a button.

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  • In: Competitions
  • Comments Off on Digital Animation Competition Winners

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This year eTwinning launched a National Digital Animation Competition. The winners were four Year 6 (Larks) students from St. Clare Collage, San Gwann Primary School, Malta. The winners each received an MP3 player and a Certificate was also awarded to the school. The competition’s theme was Carnival Fun. This class took the theme one step further and combined it with part of their social studies syllabus theme – The Weather and Instruments Used. After studying relevant information the students portrayed the distinctive feature of each different season onto a Carnival Float. The King of the Carnival was a recycled mummy, previously used in another school exhibition regarding Africa. The weather instruments at the four corners of the float were created in an arts lesson using recycled material. Well done to all the students, the class teacher and the LSAs involved in the creation of this animated movie.


This year a national digital animation competition was launched by eTwinning.  San Gwann Primary B, Sliema Primary C and Pembroke Primary C are three Maltese Primary Schools which participated in this competition. Stop motion animation entries were directed by children from Year 1 (Pembroke Primary) and Year6 (San Gwann B and Sliema Primary) from story lines they themselves had made up. Characters and props needed for the movies were also created by the children. With the help of the class teachers, Learning Support Assistants and the art teacher everything was combined for the successful production of the digital animation movies.  Webcams and software like Monkey Jam and StopMotion Pro were used to shoot a sequence of photos which made up the storyline. The free software Audacity was sometimes used to record the children as they read out the story. Afterwards the movies were edited with Movie Maker to include title and credits and also music and audio. Above all great attention was taken to use this opportunity to create something related to syllabus topics in order for ICT to used as a tool for teaching rather than for its own sake!

The theme of the digital animation competition was “Carnival Fun”. This competition is part of the activities organized for the Creativity and Innovation European Year 2009.  Check out all the submitted digital animation movies.

The 1st prize was won by Ms. Grima’s class of San Gwann with their entry “The King of all Season” by Year 6 Larks.

The Year 1.1 class of Ms. Kristen of Pembroke Primary came in 3rd with their entry “Carnival Shapes – The Balloons”

The Knights’ Carnival entries were submitted by Ms. Caruana’s Year 6 class from Sliema Primary School.

The National eTwinning co-ordinator Ms. Jeanette Cardona visited these 3 schools and awarded the prizes to the winners. A certificate of participation was issued to every participating school and consolation prizes were awarded to all the other entries. Well done to the teachers and students who took part in this digital animation workshop.