Funded! This project was successfully funded on April 22, 2012.

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A collaborative animation project made by fifth-grade girls and college students. Kids teaching kids with animation!

How did you learn your times tables?  Hard words to spell? MEMORY TRICKS is a collaborative animation project made by fifth-grade girls & college animation students.  Here's a sample trick we're animating:

"I ate and ate, till I got sick on the floor.  8 x 8 = 64."

Process:  Take eight MICA students (Juliana Chen, Jennifer Hasner, Olivia Huynh, Christina Sanchez, Katherine Mahon, Yanabella Peropat, Jennifer Phan, and Danielle Nemeth).  Add eight eleven-year old girls at the Jemicy School (Grace, Lucy, Clare, Libby, Christina, Dora, Maya, and Annie).  Mix well.  Play, sketch, explore, brainstorm, act, pretend, and storyboard. Animate well for several hours.  Pour on a light layer of music, and voice overs, and ambience. Add a dash of sound effects.  Present with a flourish at a Gala Screening!

For more photos, video clips, and updates visit our blog!

You can also read more about the project on this link on MICA's website.

Project:  We're doing Kickstarter campaign so we can make eight short animations, all combined into one DVD, and a "Making Of" video, too. We're also making a booklet that tells how to make similar projects, and a study guide for how to use these videos in the classroom and to get kids to make their own visual mnemonics.

We're only asking for $2,300, to cover our expenses for DVDs and distribution, and to give the girls an animation set-up so they can keep animating.  Everyone involved has donated their time so far. We'd be grateful for any money we raise over $2,300, so we can reward the artists and continue the project.  Who knows where this could lead?

The MICA team has been visiting Jemicy every week for about six weeks now.  We've shared acting games, showed animation we've made, and helped the girls come up with ideas they want to create.  Each girl is the director of her spot, and her MICA mentor is her assistant and guide to help her bring her animated ideas to life.

We're excited for the Jemicy girls to visit MICA, so we can have eight animation stands working all at the same time, and get lots of work done!  We're making eight different short films picturing ways to remember things, from multiplication problems, to acrostics that help us remember how to spell commonly misspelled words - featuring skating elephants, thirsty cacti, lazy dogs and other imaginary creatures!

Rewards:  We have a lot of creative rewards for you  - things like animation lessons, booklets with animation how-to tips, posters, DVDs, and your name in the "Special Thanks" of our final production.  Take a look!

Project Director: Lynn Tomlinson is an independent animator, known for her colorful, painterly animation on Kids PBS and Sesame Street, including spots that teach literary devices like Simile, Hyperbole, and Onomatopoeia.  She is a specialist in Educational Media, and has a particular interest in literacy and dyslexia.  Her daughter, Lucy, is one of the fifth-grade students from at Jemicy School who is working on this project.  

Lynn has received many grants, fellowships, and awards for her work, which has been screened internationally at festivals like the Ottawa International Animation Festival, Hiroshima International Animation Festival, and Anima Mundi in Brazil. Her cut-paper animation workshops and clay-on-glass animation techniques are featured in The Animation Bible.  

Lynn’s previous collaborative animation projects with kids include Girls of the World, animated stories from girl’s history, and Shopping for Utopia, animated tours of kid-designed utopian societies.  She was an artistic director on Folkvine.org, and directed Wish You Were Here, a PBS documentary on the history of early tourism in Central Florida, featuring animated vintage postcards and photographs. 

Lynn works with community groups to creative socially motivated collaborative artworks, including large-scale hand-made and recycled tile mosaic murals. She teaches animation every summer at Cornell University, and is currently teaching stop-motion animation at MICA (the Maryland Institute College of Art). You can see more of her work on her website and her Vimeo channel.

Here's our press release:

BALTIMORE/OWINGS MILLS, MD –  Eight young women, students at MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art), have teamed up with eight fifth-grade girls from The Jemicy School, a local school that uses multi-sensory methods and experiential learning to educate children with dyslexia and language-based learning differences. Under the direction of local animator, Lynn Tomlinson, the MICA animation majors mentor and collaborate with the Jemicy girls on the creation of short animated films on memory tricks. The MICA group have been visiting Jemicy to teach these enthusiastic young girls some of the basic principles of animation.

 The project is coordinated by animator Lynn Tomlinson, who received a grant from MICA’s Office of Community Engagement to support the project. Tomlinson’s work for children has appeared on Sesame Street, PBS Kids, and in many film festivals. She uses multiple methods including stop-motion puppets, under the camera cut-outs and clay, as well as computer animation. The MICA students were eager to volunteer to work with Tomlinson on this educational outreach project as her work demonstrates that animation is an effective technique for engaging and teaching children. 

Together, the MICA students and Jemicy students have worked on a variety of basic animation techniques, including cut paper, pixilation, and frame-by-frame flipbooks.  Working in pairs, they are animating mnemonic devices: memory tricks that the Jemicy girls use to help them overcome common learning challenges. 

Taking inspiration from shows like the Electric Company and School House Rocks that use animation to teach kids about reading, grammar, and cultural literacy, this project enables the girls themselves to make animated memory tricks that they can share with other kids.

 Stories and visual images help the students remember multiplication facts, how to spell common words, and even how to build a paragraph. For example, eleven year old Lucy’s storyboard tells the story of “two sixes walking in the desert, and they were thirsty sixes: 6x6=36.” Her classmate, Maya, plans to animate a cheeseburger, where each part of the burger represents a part the structure of a paragraph.

 The eight talented MICA students bring their technical and artistic know-how to the project, and are enjoying getting to work with the girls. Each visit introduces new ideas and animation concepts. The first week, the students played a series of games that involved acting. By going through the motions with their own bodies, the Jemicy girls gained insight on the expressiveness of character movement. On the second visit, the Jemicy students began learning actual animation techniques, moving paper cut outs. This hands-on style of capturing motion encouraged the girls got to engage in physically moving the paper with their hands to create a movie.  

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    7 backers

    A special thank you on the project blog: http://learnimation.tumblr.com/

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    19 backers

    A private link to the project on Vimeo as soon as it is complete (with the link you can share it with family and close friends, since we don't plan to release this project to the public online in the near future).

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    "Easy Ways to Make Animation:" A downloadable "how-to" booklet compiled and designed by the MICA animation team and e-mailed for you to print out, including: 1. Five ideas for animation warm-up and acting activities. 2. How to make a jointed cut-out animation character and make it come to life. 3. Our favorite animation "how-to" links. 4. Links to some great animation online. AND the private Vimeo link, and thanks on our blog.

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    A professionally-made DVD of the project, including all of the short films in "Memory Tricks" and the "Making Of" video. (International backers must cover shipping costs), AND Vimeo link, downloadable animation booklet and thanks on our blog.

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    "Creating Visual Memory Tricks: A Study Guide and Lesson Plan." Written by Lynn Tomlinson, this downloadable guide helps teachers and parents to use these animated mnemonic devices made by the Jemicy and MICA team, to help students create visual memory tricks of their own, to remember math facts, spelling, and other things. AND the DVD, Vimeo link, downloadable animation booklet and thanks on our blog.

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    Your CARTOON PORTRAIT, drawn by one of our MICA animation artists (e-mail us your digital image and we'll e-mail your portrait back), AND Vimeo link, downloadable animation booklet, and thanks on our blog.

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    YOUR NAME in the "Special Thanks" credits of the final film compilation. AND DVD, Vimeo link, downloadable animation booklet & study guide, and thanks on our blog. (International backers must cover shipping costs)

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    "How to make cut-out animation characters" personal lesson via Skype with Lynn Tomlinson and some members of our animation team. AND your name in the credits, study guide, DVD, Vimeo link, downloadable animation booklet & study guide, and thanks on our blog.

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    Select seating at the public screenings of the films; a cool MICA tote bag with a selection of art and animation supplies; AND your name in the credits, DVD, Vimeo link, downloadable animation booklet & study guide, and thanks on our blog. (Baltimore-area pick up only).

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    A three-hour private family stop-motion animation workshop at MICA led by two MICA animators (Baltimore area only, must be before May 30 or after September 1 - no summer workshops). AND select seating at screenings, a cool MICA tote bag with a selection of art and animation supplies, your name in the credits, study guide, DVD, Vimeo link, downloadable animation booklet & study guide, and thanks on our blog. (Baltimore-area pick up only).

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    Animation Starter Kit: A cool MICA Tote bag filled with a Mini Zoetrope; a flipbook; animation modeling clay; selected animation and art supplies, The Animation Bible (featuring a description of Lynn Tomlinson's animation workshops for kids) and a selection of animation books; AND Skype lesson, your name in the credits, DVD, Vimeo link, downloadable animation booklet & study guide, and thanks on our blog. (International backers must cover shipping costs)

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    A looping animated cut-out HD video family portrait (or animated video of your house, your pet, etc.), created by the MICA animation team, directed by Lynn Tomlinson, (in the style of the animation on the Kickstarter video), on DVD and as a digital file. You can play it on your TV or computer as a moving family portrait. Contact us for more information if you are interested. AND your name in the credits, DVD, Vimeo link, downloadable animation booklet & study guide, and thanks on our blog.

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