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The Extraordinary Fifth-Grade Field Trip

The Extraordinary Fifth-Grade Field Trip


Ninety-eight fifth graders create an animation with Artist-in-Residence Leila Cabib

February 26, 2014Arts Across Maryland

Through an Artist-in-Residence Grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, Beverly Farms Elementary School was able to hire Leila Cabib, commercially successful cartoonist and illustrator, to host a workshop for fifth grade students.

Cabib, whose work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and other publications, spent 10 weeks teaching 98 students about the history and principles of animation. Students learned about the use of early optical toys—how to create thaumatropes and flip-books, and drew animated cycles for the zoetrope. Ultimately, students employed the tools, techniques and vocabulary of a professional animator to create storyboards and sequential drawings, and then filming their work. One student noted, “What I liked about this project is that it gave each of us a chance to show our personality.” 

Cabib’s time at Beverly Farms Elementary School culminated in a collaborative final project in which students produced “The Extraordinary Fifth-Grade Field Trip,” a 14-minute animated video composed of 6,438 unique drawings.  


Inspired by adventure stories and tall tales, the project called for students to unleash their imaginations to create an animated field trip adventure. Each student worked with Cabib to design a storyboard illustrating the key scenes of an animated segment. The students then brought the story to life by creating numerous sequential drawings. By morphing the last image of their story with the first image of their classmate’s, the final video flows from one scene to the next.  

Cabib says that among the goals of her residency, she wanted to offer students hands-on experience with animation, an art form they experience as viewers, but not as creators. She also wanted to reinforce students’ ability to successfully alternate between independent and collaborative work.

“I wanted to give the students real-world experience as filmmakers whose finished project would be seen by their school and the local community," said Cabib, “We screened the video at the school for students and their parents. It is now posted on YouTube, and will be aired on Montgomery County Public Schools TV channel.”

Maryland Schools can apply for funding to hire Leila Cabib and other Maryland State Arts Council Artists-in-Residence through the Artist-in-Residence grant, which opens to applications from schools on March 4, 2014.