Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Helping Teachers and Teachers Helping Us

Teachers are such important people. We trust them to play a major role in the education our children. Our mission at Anim8Nature is to make their job easier. We are creating resources for exploring science with art built around animated life cycles. Monarch Butterfly, Acorn, Jellyfish, Shell Fungus

I have been an educator for over 40 years, but never an elementary school classroom teacher. I need help understanding contemporary classroom culture and how we can make the best product to accomplish our mutual goal to help kids become creative, engaged human beings.

As I am reaching out to teachers I am getting some excellent feedback. This is just the beginning and a very important part of the production process.  

What have I learned? 
These aren't a surprise, but great reminders.

1. Simple 
Teachers are very busy so make it simple and easy to interact.

2. Relevant 
Teachers are by necessity driven by standards; make it easy to understand how our offerings meet those standards.

3. Lesson Plans
Our target demographic is students from K-5. Make lesson plans appropriate by grade, following current protocol with an easy pdf download.

This is not the first time it has been suggested that these life cycle animations need narration. There are a few reasons why they don't. I love the challenge of telling an organism's story without words and that it raises so many questions. I also want the animations to be accessible to everyone regardless of language. Realistically I know I would not completely understand the life cycle of a moon jellyfish or a shell fungus if I had not done the research. 

The first suggestion when this came up was a script that could be printed out and read by either the teacher or a student. I really like this ideas. However might this extra step be a deterrent? 

A second thought is two versions, one with key words included in the animation for clarity and to emphasize standards vocabulary. I am also researching captioning on YouTube.

Shell Fungus:Anim8Nature.com

5. Keep Communication Easy
I am building a database of teachers to query as we move forward. I need to keep this simple (ie check boxes when appropriate) and include incentives; such as a chance for a $50 gift certificate, etc. 

Are you a teacher? What would you add to this list to  help us help you? Can you share this with other teachers who might be interested in our work?

Please join us in supporting our efforts to spark curiosity, explore science with art and get kids outside inspired to be environmental stewards. Subscribe to this blog above and our YouTube channel to stay up to date. While you are on YouTube,  check out our latest revision of the shell fungus animation

Anim8Nature is a web-based resource built around animated documentary science stories, art-making and writing curricula to explore science with art and workshops to inspire kids and families to be environmental stewards. 

Learn more about Anim8Nature and my work at KristinHarrisDesign.com 

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