September 16, 2017

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April 7, 2018

An inaugural year of an elementary school offers heaps of unique

challenges, along with a host of delightful opportunities. 

Exhibit A: A small group of 4th and 5th graders were signed up (and jazzed up) to participate in the citywide Global Reading Quiz-Bowl Style Challenge, but our already petite team became extra small (4 members) when one student moved out of state. (Most teams require 5-7 students to ensure that each of the 10 books gets ​proper attention.)

Rather than slogging through the traditional competition or quitting altogether, we decided to take an alternative approach. Inspired by some tinkerings with cardboard and fabric in Makerspace (and my ongoing interest in lo fi animation), the team decided to attempt a brief retelling of one of the GRC books--Inside Out and Back Again--in the style of 90 Second Newbery Film Festival.


Here's our film--a passion project for us all--which we were thrilled to debut at the Global Reading Challenge City Finals at the Central Library on March 20th:


A Peek Behind the Curtain


These four bright and talented students spent weeks of recesses and lunches with me working to draft a storyboard, paint backdrops, outfit characters, and build a tiny cardboard set. I've been inspired by their creative spark, their flexible problem solving, and their unwavering commitment to getting Ha's story just right.


They constructed nearly 100 different items for the cardboard set, including characters, clothing, expression changes, backdrops, and props.


Materials used:

  • cardboardconstruction paper and tissue paper

  • fabricmarkers and paint

  • tape, glue sticks, and glue gun

  • corks and fishing line


This project proves you don't need fancy materials or lots of money to build a Makerspace or make a film!



Here's a glimpse behind-the-scenes:





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© 2017 by Abigail Levin