Stories by Pacific schoolchildren to be used as school resources

June 30, 2021

​​​By Khalia Strong - ​

The stories of Pacific students are being adapted into digitally-animated reading resources.  

Fifty students across Flatbush Primary School, Jean Batten School and RiseUP Academy worked with experts to write and illustrate their stories.

Students from RiseUP Academy used technology to illustrate their stories. Photo: Supplied

Project manager Theresa Tupuola-Sorenson said the students, aged 6 to 9, were supported through their creative journey. 

"We had some templated storyboards for them to take home and draft their stories with their parents while they were at home. So, they've brought them back and our team of expert animators have been teaching them stop-motion skills. 

"They've been creating with plasticine, with Lego, with tapa, paints, and different textiles, and creating stop-motion animation using iPads."

Students from Flatbush school were shown how to digitally animate their stories. Photo: Supplied

She said there were stories about the impact of the pandemic, including the separation of families in the islands and how they can't meet for funerals. 

"It has taken an emotional toll on these families," said Tupuola-Sorenson, who said the primary school children were able to articulate their feelings. 

"These kids are so smart, they depict those emotions and their stories. So we've really been able to pull out those key factors and adapted those into the educational resources."

A student from RiseUP Academy used plasticine to illustrate her story. Photo: Supplied

Fifteen stories will be made available online to schools. Tupuola-Sorenson said the stories are unique to each child's experiences. 

"There's one girl who wrote a story about her grandmother and how they were separated through Covid and they couldn't travel because of the ban going back to Samoa, and the story was adapted and called 'Blowing kisses to Lillian'. It's a story about her blowing a kiss to her grandmother and those emotions traveling all the way to Samoa so her  grandmother can feel it."

The pilot programme was delivered across 10 two-hour workshops with experts in animation and STEAM learning.