3rd Grade ArtEd Animation Lesson Plan: Making Emojis Move

Oh, y’all. I’m, like, the coolest person in 3rd grade right now.

My 3rd graders animated emojis in Digital Art. I’m gonna tell ya all about it. But first, a confession: I’ve officially passed the point where I’m cool enough to find digital app programs all on my own. One of my middle school digital art rockstars clued me in to this cool app: PiskelApp. Yes, it has an unfortunate name, “Don’t forget to say the “k” part kiddies!”

Here’s how we made these.
Time used: One 45 minute digital art session

#1: Each student received a print-out with emojis on it as they entered the classroom.

#2: We identified what these “artworks” are: emojis.

#3: We discussed where we use emojis and why we use emojis.

#4: We discussed that artists worked to design emojis.

#5: We identified the poo emoji, said “poo” and giggled about it. Then, we discussed that we were NOT animating poo (although that would be fun).

#6: We identified that emojis are made up of little bricks called pixels. We discussed how we can see the pixels when we get too close to screens (and then talked about NOT doing that anymore).

#7: I gave a brief tutorial on PiskelApp and walked students through how to make a 2 frame animation in PiskelApp
-Go to PiskelApp
-Click on “login”
-choose your Google login (we use Google for Education on my campus)
-click on “create piskel”
-draw your emoji
-click on “add new frame”
-use the onion to see a “ghost” of frame 1
-trace frame 1
-make a change to frame 2 to animate your emoji
-toggle the FPS (frames per second) until you like your animation
-click on the diskette and choose “Save to Gallery”
-(optional) click on the photo pic and export to your student drive (if you do this make sure to change your pixel size. The default is 32 pixels x 32 pixels; that’s tiny. We changed ours to 320 x 320.).

#8 Students worked on their animations. Many students figured out that they could make longer animations by using more frames and opted to do this. Some students decided to make more animations. I love that PiskelApp is free, students can save to a personal, private gallery, and can go and make animations on their own. Efficacy. It’s awesome.

My long-term goal regarding animation and the 3rd graders is as follows: I want the students to take a photo of themselves and turn it into a very simplistic pixelated artwork using Photoshop or Pixlr. Students will print their pixelated portrait. Students will make a collage paper version on their pixel portrait in Studio Art. Students will re-draw their pixelated portrait in PiskelApp and animate it. Final output will be a bunch of animated self-portraits. Sounds cool, right? I’ll keep you posted on how we develop!