Making Our Word Wall Come Alive

Happy June my teacher friends! It’s time to think outside the box and plan some fun and engaging activities. Did you know that vocabulary and technology can be integrated together? I’ve got the perfect project for you!

At this point in the year we have at least one character trait word under each letter of the alphabet. It is time for a celebratory project! So, I put all of our words in a hat and had small groups of students choose three words. Together they were responsible for creating a story that incorporated these three words. It could be fictional, or not, and could have as many characters as needed.

Photo 1 - ESiracusa Word Wall
Upper Elementary Word Wall

The stories were fantastic, not only did students show off their creativity, but they were filled with humor and strong character relationships. Writing and sharing these stories to the class wasn’t enough, they were ready to take this project to the next level. These stories needed to come alive. Brainstorming all together, we starting thinking outside of “the box!” Our final idea was to make each story into a short film using stop motion animation.

The first step was revising their stories and organizing them into scenes using a storyboard template. This helped students decide which characters would be in each scene, and who would be responsible for that part of the narration. Next, Students built their characters and mini “sets” – using a variety of materials such as clay, legos, cardstock, popsicle sticks at more. (This process brought me back to building dioramas as a kid, that was always my favorite!)

Photo 2 - ESiracusa Clay Figures Picture
Claymation Characters
ESiracusa Scene Making Picture
Students filming using iMotion app

In addition, the students did all of their own filming and editing. We used the iPad app iMotion for filming (free or $3.99 for Pro). It is important to note that stop motion animation requires about 100 pictures to be captured for each scene of the story. In a one minute film, most students had captured about 500 pictures! Lastly, we used the app iMovie to edit the animation video, add a title, narration and credits. iMovie takes a little getting used to, but once the kids are familiar with it, it is very user friendly.

ESiracusa Animation Set Up Picture.JPG
Students filming using iMotion app

From start to finish this project took about four, one hour blocks:

  • Session 1: Write the story using three word wall character trait words
  • Session 2: Organize story onto storyboard template and build characters and set
  • Session 3: Finish building characters and set and film in iMotion app
  • Session 4: Edit in iMovie

Once all of the videos were done, we celebrated our word wall by hosting a red carpet event for parents! It was so amazing to see the kids glowing with pride when it was their turn to introduce their movie. We ended our school year as creative animators, writers and linguists!

Here are three example short films:

Who would have though vocabulary could be so much fun? What other engaging literacy projects have you done this year? Please share below!

“Movie Reel” by JanBaby is licensed under CC-BY. Retrieved from

4 thoughts on “Making Our Word Wall Come Alive

  1. Liz I just discovered your website after reading your guest post on Two Writing Teachers. I am now super excited to try some of your ideas in the coming year. It’s funny how you can just end the year completely wiped out and then a new ideas sparks all kinds of energy. Looking forward to reading more in the future! Thanks for sharing!!

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