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Kidsday: How to make Claymation videos

If you are like me, you may enjoy watching Claymation videos. There is only one thing that's more fun than watching them, and that's making your own. To make one, you need non-hardening clay, a script, a camera, sculpting tools and a lot of patience.

First, you have to write a script. Just write what is going to happen in your story. You should start out with a simple idea like a cat playing with string or a monkey eating a banana. Next, find an area to make the video. You need to have a background. You can use a colored wall or a shoe box. Then, you're going to need a camera. A tripod is useful because you want to keep your camera in the same spot each time you take a picture.

Sculpt your clay characters to reflect your story. Your sculptures are your actors, so they need to have personality. You can add personality with a hat, facial expressions or funny features like a big nose.

Once you have your characters sculpted, you begin taking pictures. You make a small change in the characters' positions, then take another picture. You keep making very small changes and taking pictures until your story is complete. If you want to have words, you write your words on a piece of paper and take a picture of that at the spot when you want your actor to speak. You put all the pictures together in a program such as Windows Movie Maker. This program is easy to find and not too expensive, but there are many others.

You can share your finished Claymation with your friends by posting it on YouTube. Maybe it will even go viral!

Turning the perfect cartwheel

I have been doing gymnastics for six years. My mother signed me up for lessons because she really enjoyed it when she was a kid and thought I would, too. She was right. Gymnastics is fun, and I've become more flexible and coordinated, too. Thanks to the competitions, I've become more confident and proud of what I have accomplished.

One of the first things I learned was how to do a cartwheel. It is easy, but you have to have confidence and a lot of room. Practice on a soft surface. It is OK to mess up -- just keep trying. Here are the steps to the perfect cartwheel:

Point one foot in the direction you will be going. Turn the other foot slightly outward for better balance. Put both arms up in the air. Look down at the spot where you are going to place your hands. Kick powerfully so your legs come off the ground; one hand will land on the ground (the same arm from the side you are leading with), then the other. And now you balance your body on your hands. As your body follows through, you want to land on the opposite foot you started with and then land with the other. Still don't get it? YouTube videos show how others perform it. Just type in "how to do a cartwheel."

--Kidsday Reporter Sofia Ferrezza

CLASS OF THE WEEK: Jennifer Giordano's fourth-grade class, TIMBER POINT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, East Islip

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