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The Eye Mouth of the Tiger My students began by importing the tiger paintings into Adobe Photo- shop. The most basic animated dialog requires only eight mouth positions to represent the different vowels and consonants. Students used Photo- shop's painting tools to recreate the tiger's mouth, creating one new mouth for each of the eight positions. Their goal was to make these new mouths look as if they were still part of the original painting. The time it took to create these images gave each student a chance to think about what songs the tigers would sing. Clever selections such as "Eye of the Tiger," "Hakuna Matata," and "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" were chosen. The Tigers Sing! After completing all of the mouth posi- tions, each new image was imported into Adobe Flash and the tedious part of the project began. Each word of the song had to be listened to over and over again to realize which of the eight A uthors of children's books are a group of people that share something very unique; they get to see char- acters that previously existed only in their minds brought to life by an illus- trator. Can you imagine the excite- ment an author experiences when he or she sees a character for the first time? I was recently able to act as a facilitator for just such an experience. Collaborating with Kindergartners Jordan Lane, a kindergarten teacher at Douglas Elementary Arts and Science Magnet in Raleigh, North Carolina, came up with the idea for the lesson. While searching the web, she found an anima - tion project that my students had created with other elementary art students. Jordan e-mailed me and asked if my com - puter art class wanted to collaborate with her kindergarten class. She had some tigers that needed animating. We pounced on the opportunity. Since my students had previously created simple animations, I wanted them to work on a higher-level anima - tion project. I decided we could work a dialog lesson into the project and make the tigers talk. I floated the idea back to Jordan and she agreed. Tiger Paintings As a class, Jordan's kindergartners read the book Close Your Eyes by Kate Banks (Farrar, Straus and Gir - oux, 2002). The story follows a young tiger who has a hard time falling asleep. The tiger's mom reassures him that when he goes to sleep he can dream about anything he wants. After reading the story, students painted the tiger from the cover of the book, then worked in pairs to create their own baby/mother tiger interpretation of the story to share with the class. Not long after that, I received a link to a folder full of tiger paintings. The tiger paintings were so cool that the idea of them simply talk - ing seemed sort of boring. I spoke to some of my animation students about having the tigers sing instead. They were right on board. Soon, my crack team of animators was learning about dialog, selecting songs, and transforming the painted tigers to singing animations. 22 April 2014 SchoolArts Kindergarten/High School Collaboration Ian Sands Can you imagine the excitement an author experiences when seeing a character for the first time? Talking Tigers The A_pages_4_14.indd 22 2/20/14 3:04 PM