Workflow & Learnflow of an Animation Story

After teaching a 1:1 Toolkit class for incoming Middle Schoolers tothe 1:1 laptop environment this past quarter, I am currently teaching a Media Basics course for sixth graders. I am using a school blog to document the class (among others), showcase student work, share resources and give written step-by-step directions for projects we are currently working on.

My colleague Jennifer Kagohara, who is also teaching a section of the same Media Basics course, and I have narrowed the course down to an introduction to the following three tools (Photoshop, Garageband and iMovie)  in order to prepare students to create different media for future projects. We are paying special attention to media literacy, digital citizenship as well as communication and collaboration. We want students to see themselves as ethical creators and members to a larger community by contributing media under Creative Commons.

In addition, students are practicing the following workflow and learnflow:

  • Search for background and already existing resources (look at tutorials created by others)
  • Experiment (time for sandbox activities)
  • Share process publicly (upload blog post, including step-by-step guide of creation)
  • Look at and read classmates’ guide and product (on each other’s blog)
  • Receive feedback from peers (via comments on blog)
  • Remix and build on other work, create something new (observe copyright and proper citation)
  • Receive feedback (teacher, peers)
  • Share final product
  • Receive feedback (global audience)

As an example, I wanted to share the following Photoshop projects with Langwitches’ readers. Students were experimenting and working with animation in Photoshop. Once they created the animations and exported them as .gif files, they inserted them in their blogs with a step-by-step guide answering potential readers’ question “How did you do that?”

Once the animation posts were uploaded, students received the following instructions below:


Image licensed under Creative Commons by Enokson

  1. Start out by taking a look at your classmate’s animations on their blogs today. Leave them a comment.
  2. You are to write an original story using the animations from your classmates and your own.
  3. Choose at least 3 different animations and save the .gif file to your computer (for a total of 4 including your own).
  4. Upload all the animations to a new blog post.
  5. DON’T forget to give credit to the creators of the animation. “Image used with permission by Silvia T” (do not use last names). Please link the name to the owner’s blog post where he/she uploaded the original animation image.
  6. Write an original short story.
  7. Think of a title for your story that will hook the reader.
  8. Use the animations to support your story.

It is my pleasure to share two stories, as examples, from my students.

By Maya W.: Belen and the Billion Drops of Rain


Image by Jessica S


Image by Maya



Image by Amanda R


Image by Noah R

In a very rainy gray day, a girl stood under the rain. Everyone that passed by running in such a horrible weather wondered why the girl didn’t move. Some said, “I think she is crazy?”While other argued, “No, no, no, she must be waiting.” “Under the rain?!” Each curious traveler that passed by had a different hypothesis, however they all were wrong.  It was her birthday and her best friend hadn’t sent her anything! She, Belen, was depressed. Days and nights passed, and the girl stood completely still under the rain. After many sunrises and sunsets, the rain stopped, so the girl decided to head home. She walked what felt like a century, but step by step she got home. The first thing she did was sit on her desk by her computer and check her email. Her mouth dropped in disbelief, her best-friend, Noah, had actually sent her a happy birthday email. Belen never stood in the rain ever again!

Animation Story by Pedro C.: Rodrigo, the Hunter


Animation by: Rodrigo M.


Animation by Pedro


Animation by: Felipe M.


Animation by: Felipe L.

Once there was this hunter called Rodrigo and he was looking for a bird to hunt. When he found this majestic blue bird he wanted him. So he looked down his aim, and… POW! He got an excellent shot! He went there to pick the loot and he found an egg. He went to his house and made an egg, it was DELICIOUS! After this Rodrigo wanted to go surfing, so he got in his car and was going to the beach. Suddenly, his car crashed right in the middle of a forest! In the forest he found this mysterious monkey. This monkey loved to swing on branches. From that moment on the monkey and Rodrigo