Lego Lenten story

Fourth and fifth grade class at Saints Francis & Clare put together 15-minute stop motion film

Mr. Moore’s fourth and fifth grade students finished promotion of the Lego Lenten Story. *Photo by Meghan McCormick

Ori Wood started doing stop motion films with his Legos, he said, “when I was little.” He wanted to make a movie so his parents introduced him to the idea.

Since then, the fifth grader has made stop motion movies for the school talent show, and even worked with classmate Aiden Hill, fourth grade, for a stop motion film for their book report. The Saints Francis & Clare Catholic School, Greenwood, student was recently able to get his entire class involved.

Response to Enrichment Teacher Sonny Moore suggested that Wood and Hill direct a Lego stop motion film with the fourth and fifth grade class about the story of Lent, from Jesus’ fast for 40 days in the dessert to Easter, the resurrection.

“The class took that under their wing,” Moore said. “We had kids step up, to write the script, content specialists to make sure everything was accurate, design. Every student elevated to what their talents were. We spent from Ash Wednesday to Easter putting this together.”

Aiden Hill and Ori Wood.
*Photo by Meghan McCormick

The class worked together during its religion time and afternoon flex time. They chose, on their own, to take the work home, too.

After 30 to 40 hours of work and 4,000 pictures with Wood’s Canon Rebel, the 15-minute film was complete. The class then promoted it like a real movie. They created a trailer that was sent out to each teacher a week before the showing. A room at SSFC was set up to resemble a movie theater, where approximately 100 people viewed the film. It is also posted online at ss-fc.org/cf_media/index.cfm?g=574.

“It exceeded my expectations,” Moore said. “Everyone who has seen it said ‘wow, fourth and fifth grade students did that?’ They did everything.”

Moore said the class pull together to demonstrate true teamwork.

Students at Saints Francis & Clare Catholic School work on the film through the Lenten season. *Submitted photo

“Then the discussion that took place,” Moore said. “How do you think Jesus would feel when he was carrying the cross, when he was bleeding? The animation shows Jesus carrying the cross. They chose to use red Expo marker to represent his blood, but it has a neat effect on the movie itself. It really looks like he’s bleeding as he’s walking through the streets. I think they got much more out of this than just giving them something to read. They really sat and thought, what do you think it looked like when he was walking through the streets. They chose to visualize that and represent that in a Lego design. I hope they’re better able to understand Lent, Easter and defend their religion down the road.”

The experience has only motivated Wood, as he plans to move away from Legos and into armature stop motion films, figures which move in a more life-like fashion.

“I liked how I felt like a real director, such as Wess Anderson or something,” Wood said. “He made a stop motion movie. The film I will make with actual figures, I will attempt to make it an hour and 30 minutes.”

Hill said that he learned a lot from Wood through the process, too.

“Ori taught us, some student thought you could raise a hand and put it back down, but you have to go little by little,” Hill said. “I feel that was a great project and I should do more of this. It makes me feel better. Even if I was stressed about homework and stuff this cooled me off.”