Saturday, June 8, 2019

Fish In A Tree Stop Motion Mind Movies

My new role as a Curriculum Leader has taken me out of my math world and into all of the other content areas. I have wondered what to do with my math blog, keep it mathy or branch out? While I decide, this is one of my fave activities from this year and I just had to share it with you! 


This job has been perfect for my scatter brain as I search and think about multiple content areas at once! I will be searching for something to use in social studies and find something for science. Squirrel! This culminating activity to a "Fish In A Tree" novel study with sixth graders came about from seeing the Red Ball Challenge on Twitter, #redballchallenge. I wanted to know more about the magic of "connecting" Chromebooks and making a ball bounce across ALL of the screens! Hello stop motion in this mind blowing video that was the inspiration for this activity. Go watch and come back!


Day 1: We showed students the awesome video to inspire them, then had them create the illusion of the red ball transitioning from computer to computer using Google Slides. I followed this video, which gives the best detailed directions on how to create the magic. The hardest part was getting students to understand the timing and adding slides to make transitions from computer to computer work. This visual really helped and everyone rose to the Red Ball Challenge!

In the book, the main character, Ally, struggles to "fit in." To cope, she draws in her Sketchbook of Impossible Things and watches "mind movies," which help her escape from reality. Animating with Google Slides plus the Red Ball Challenge made Ally's mind movies come to life. The mind movies can be found on the pages below, curated from Mrs. Milstead, the teacher who let me try this craziness with her classes.


Day 2: Students discussed with their group what mind movie they wanted to create. Once they had their mind movie chosen, they created a Google Slides to share. We found it was best for them to create one slide together with all the backgrounds and images and then share it with the group to do the stop motion animation. 


Day 3 and forever 4, if we had let them! Students worked super hard on their stop motion mind movies. It was a great collaborative activity because the transitions on the Chromebooks depended on the person before and after you.  

Students became good at making the animation with tiny movements of their images, stop motion pros! They took a lot of time with the details of their mind movies, really capturing the author's descriptions.

Here are just a few of the awesome mind movies students created. Thank you to the fantastic 6th grade English Language Arts teacher, Mrs. Milstead, for always opening your classroom up to me! I loved this activity and this book and that my favorite quote is in it! "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." - Albert Einstein




  1. Talk about “mind blowing” ! Thank you so much for continuing this tradition I actually started in 2014! What an amazing article, and I love your final product! Excellent!

    1. Jacqueline RichardsonNovember 1, 2020 at 11:14 AM

      Oh my word! Thank YOU for putting it out there for us to use! It was so much fun! Your seal of approval means a lot!


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