Social Emotional Learning with Stop Motion Animation

Looking for a creative and informative way to address an internal school need? Consider an #EveryoneCanCreate project with stop motion.

When my second grade computer science students expressed to me that they were feeling overwhelmed at school, I asked my eighth grade students about ways they could help our school counselor assist these little ones with approaches to de-stress. The solution was to create Social Emotional Learning (SEL) stop motion animations to teach strategies to younger learners. The bonus was that we would have the younger learners vote on these video shorts and celebrate the Cardinal Academy Awards (our school mascot is a cardinal). The project was a success, and we continue to collaborate with the counselor on different projects to address students' SEL needs. Here was the project plan that I put in place, which you may wish to adjust for your own project:

Project Duration: 4-6 weeks (adjustable)

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand and apply relevant CASEL and BrainPOP SEL concepts appropriate for early elementary students.
  • Collaborate effectively in small teams, including planning, communication, and problem-solving.
  • Design and create a stop-motion animation using iPads and the apps (Camera, Photos, Keynote).
  • Demonstrate critical thinking and creativity in conveying an SEL message through animation.
  • Practice digital citizenship through responsible technology use and respect for intellectual property.

Introduction and Exploration (1 week)

  • Review CASEL and BrainPOP resources on various SEL topics.
  • Discuss age-appropriate SEL topics for early elementary students.
  • Introduce stop motion animation and ISTE Student Standards related to the project.
  • Students brainstorm and collaborate on potential animation themes and storylines.

Planning and Development (2 weeks)

  • Each team selects an SEL topic and refines their animation plot.
  • Develop a storyboard using Keynote or online tools, with each frame depicting a movement or change.
  • Plan the animation environment and create any necessary paper cutouts or LEGO structures.
  • Practice basic stop motion techniques using Camera and Photos apps.


Production and Collaboration (2 weeks)

  • Teams take turns capturing photos based on the storyboard, ensuring smooth movement and consistent lighting.
  • Regularly review progress, assess animation flow, and make adjustments as needed.
  • Encourage collaboration and problem-solving within teams to overcome technical challenges.

Post-Production and Reflection (1 week)

  • Import photos into Keynote and add music, sound effects, and narration (optional) to enhance the animation.
  • Each team presents their stop motion animation to the second grade students and other early elementary groups and explains the chosen SEL message.
  • Facilitate class discussion on the animations, focusing on the effectiveness of their SEL communication.
  • Students reflect on their learning experience, including teamwork, technical skills, and applying SEL concepts.   

If you are looking for more ideas, explore the Everyone Can Create Projects.


All Replies

Posted on January 18, 2024

I love this idea, I would never have thought of Stop motion animation in SEL lesson. And what you provided is such an amazing project. I appreciate all the steps involved.

Posted on April 27, 2024

Thank you, Brian! I apologize for my delayed reply to your forum post too. Right now, I am in the midst of the current batch of stop motion animations with my 8th graders. This current group is focusing their storylines on our school's 4C's (community, compassion, commitment, and courtesy). My hope is to publish their work for by mid-May (May is Mental Health Month).

Posted on January 20, 2024

These are just fantastic, Marianne! 🤩 I like how you have shared steps for others to engage with a project like this. That scaffolding will be so helpful to others new to Stop-Motion video projects.

And, I really love how the Stop-Motion projects support SEL for students — both in the making of the videos, and in the message shared through them. Amazing work! 🙌

Posted on April 27, 2024

Thank you so much, Eoin! Your own stop motion work inspired me to design a better process for my own students to follow. I appreciate your feedback and your support both in this forum space and via Twitter/X.

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