A birthday committee for Daniel
Hugh, Saul and Frannie worked on our first birthday committee of 2022 for our dear friend DANIEL. As usual, we began our work by interviewing the birthday child about his likes, preferences and wishes for his birthday portrait. Most times the children are first and foremost interested in inquiring about favorite colors, animals or toys. Daniel's idea about his own birthday portrait also included something beyond these first questions....
Frannie: What’s your favorite color, Daniel?
Daniel: My favorite color is orange and purple.
Ines: Any specific kind of orange or purple?
Daniel: I like light orange and dark purple.
Sam: That’s helpful to know what types of orange and purple he likes, because there’s so many different kinds of colors.
Bea: I love neon colors, they’re my favorite
Frannie: Do you like sparkly color?
Remy: I like shiny colors.
Daniel: I like three colors that I didn’t tell you guys. I like orange and purple and blue.
Saul: I like blue! That’s my favorite color.
Bea: And also you have some blue on your hat.
a colorful family portrait
Daniel: Maybe we can have …. Can we draw my mom and my dad and me and my
sister? Maybe we can make it just look like that in my picture right there (pointing to his
family collage image, which is displayed in the classroom, above the book shelf).
Hugh: We can trace it!
Daniel: I like that everyone is like smile and my sister is like (Daniel making a funny face). She’s not
even smiling, she’s just like making funny faces. I would like to show them when
they come (show the birthday portrait to his family during the school
celebration). Because they always hug me.
Ines: It sounds like they love you a lot.
How can we include Daniel’s family in the portrait?
Hugh: We can trace it, but I don’t know if that will work. He (Daniel) should be in it.
Frannie: Because he will be happy (when Daniel is in the photo). Because he loves his
To include Daniel's family portrait, we decided to trace it. Each family member got represented in one of Daniel's favorite colors, medium blue for his dad, dark purple for his mom and light orange for his sister Olivia. But what color should Daniel be? He choose red for himself. We printed the family portrait on a transparency and projected it onto a plexiglass frame, topped with a large sheet of white paper. After we traced everyone's features with sharpie, the outlines got filled with oil pastel in the matching colors.
a dinosaur puzzle
Wilder: His favorite animal is a dinosaur, I already know that.
Daniel: My favorite dinosaur is a T-Rex. I like T-Rex, that’s my favorite.
Ines: Is there an area that Daniel likes a lot in the classroom?
Hugh: Puzzle and construction area. Puzzles more than construction are. But he likes both of them a lot so I don’t know which one to pick.
*** Hugh and Saul ask Daniel which area in the classroom is his favorite ***
Daniel: I like puzzle! I have a favorite about the dinosaurs. With a red T-Rex on it. I think Brown Room took it. Can we borrow it and when we’re done, can we just give it back to them?
Together, with the support of Daniel, the birthday committee created his favorite dinosaur puzzle. Unfortunately we realized that we are missing two pieces. After inspecting the potential placement of the puzzle for the photo shoot we noticed that it is quite difficult to see the puzzle when it is laying flat on the floor. To improve the visibility, we used "ramp blocks" to elevate and tilt the puzzle slightly.
a cheetah in motion
Ines: Daniel, is there anything we need to know for the birthday committee work?
Daniel: Yeah! My favorite animal that’s not a dinosaur is a cheetah.
Ines: What do you like about cheetahs?
Daniel: They like run fast and they run faster than like all the animals. They’re faster than
a tiger or a lion.
Saul: I’m thinking about a blue cheetah.
Daniel: I like yellow cheetahs.
Saul: You know there’s only one blue cheetah?
Daniel: I went to a jungle one time and I saw a cheetah and I saw every animal there
and the cheetah was faster than the whole animal.
Daniel: Like, maybe you can draw a T-Rex and a cheetah like run faster than a dog?
Ines: It sounds like you are interested in the cheetah moving, so maybe we can think
about how we could make a cheetah move.
Finlay: We can make a mechanic cheetah.
Daniel: Or maybe we can build a cheetah?
Cape: We can use the projector to project it on the wall and watch it jump.
Saul: My idea is to make ... Daniel’s birthday committee to draw a blue cheetah.
Frannie: They’re yellow and they have black spots.
Hugh: A running cheetah!
Ines: How could we make it look like it’s running?
Hugh: With a projector.
Frannie: A video!
Saul: That’s crazy!
For this part of our birthday committee work we explored a new "material" or medium, stop-motion video. With the support of our friends, who kindly shared their cheetah toys with us, we were able to create our own video of a "running cheetah".
But how does a stop-motion video work?
You take a photo and then you move it and you take another photo but you have to move your hand so you don't see it in the video. - Hugh
Over and over and over and over and over. It loops! - Frannie
To create our stop-motion video we used the app "Stop Motion" on our iPod and a tripod, to stabilize our images and keep a steady angle. Stop motion is an animation technique in which one frame, or picture is captured at a time. In between each shot, the objects, here our cheetahs, are moved slightly. When the photos are strung together in a video, it gives the impression that the cheetahs are moving on their own. To achieve this effect we are required to communicate with our friends clearly so that the photographer knows when he can take the next shot.
For our final 5 seconds long video we took 29 individual photos!!
A few questions we asked ourselves before and during the process:
Which angle should we use? Will we film from above or the front? How should the cheetah move in the video? How much should we move it after each photo? Can they hop/ roll/ slide/ ice skate/ run?
We are so proud to present our very first stop-motion video project!
These are two other versions we filmed of a cheetah ice skating and two cheetahs rolling.
a photo shoot
It looks like we're watching TV. - Frannie
I like it! - Daniel
We looped the stop-motion video and projected it onto the shadow screen to create the background for our photo shoot. Daniel was fascinated by the moving cheetah and during the photo shoot he began engaging with it by trying to make his lovie "run with the cheetah".
He's catching it! - Daniel
The selection process was influenced by the group's requirement for the final birthday portrait to include a "smiling Daniel".
This is too funny! Because he's putting his finger on his ... (Chin! - Saul) on his chin. We need a smily face! - Frannie
In the end the group decided on the following image.
Because his parents will laugh. He's following the cheetah with his stuffy on the screen. - Hugh
I like it. His stuffed animal in doing the same thing. It looks beautiful and I can see his face. - Saul
Our final choice was digitally altered - we cropped the image and adjusted the "exposure" to emphasize the colorful dinosaurs in the foreground.
We can't wait to celebrate Daniel's 4th birthday tomorrow!