Take writing summaries to a whole new level! Consider having your kids produce stop motion summaries, giving them the opportunity to extend their learning to include visual design, visual storytelling, collaboration, and creativity. Depending on your comfort level, you could try white board stop motion, or for the more adventurous, try Lego or just paper.


Students will be able to…

  • Write summaries (students should have experience writing summaries before using this lesson as it is focused on creating the stop motion from the summary, not writing the summary itself).
  • Learn white board stop motion storytelling.
  • Use a storyboard to sequence their ideas.
  • Create a video from their writing.


Introduce students to stop motion storytelling. Show examples (there are a ton online) of different types of stop motion: white board, pencil drawing, object, etc. Teach them white board stop motion, having them use the Stop Motion Studio App. You could also use a camera and editing platform if an app is not available. Have them play and explore and create white board stop motion. Give them challenges such as create a short clip about an apple falling from a tree or a volcano erupting or a bird flying in the sky.

Materials: white boards and white board markers

Here is a student-created tutorial on how to make a white board animation video:  White Board Animation Tutorial


Once the students have an idea of what white board stop motion is, give them a short summary YOU have written about something you all have recently read together in class.

Here is an example of a stop motion story summary: Hattie Prepares to Move

Suggestion: make a stop motion summary by yourself, so that you can best help the students through the process.

Walk them through the process of storyboarding each sentence of the summary paragraph. Modeling is key here because they can see how to capture an action for each sentence. There are a variety of storyboards available online. Here is one to consider: Storyboard Example.  Once they have a solid storyboard, have them work in pairs or small teams to create their stop motion. Move around to the different groups instructing as necessary, helping them to grasp the idea of bringing a summary to life.


Students draft summaries based a book chapter or article – anything that works in your class. Writing a summary of a book chapter works well with stop motion summaries, as it tends to be a more detailed summary than one written for an entire book.


Once students have completed their summaries (suggestion: make sure all summaries have gone through the writing process), have them work together to storyboard. Working in pairs, they each story board their own summary, but offer feedback and ideas to their partner.


Hints for high quality stop motion:

  • Teach them to frame each shot.
  • Camera should stay in one spot the whole time, and they draw within the frame.
  • Very small movements.
  • It works well to record the VO summary in iMovie vs. the Stop Motion app.

Once the storyboards have been approved, the pairs work together to create two stop motion videos, one for each summary of the pair.  Have students practice reading their summary while their video plays, making sure the video is long enough to accommodate the VO. They can go back and add more drawings to make sure it fits, or they can adjust their reading speed.

Within the app, students can export to their camera roll. Have them take the video into iMovie to record VO. This way they can edit and make it fit, if necessary. Once they are finished, have them export and, if you want, put them on YouTube or other video publishing platform.

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