Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Dear Lego, we want building bricks not beauty tips

In my home and in my libraries I am a huge champion of Lego. They are, to me, a great STEM/STEAM tool that make for a solid foundation for my Mobile Makerspace. I was, personally, a little dismayed when they introduced Lego Friends “for girls”, because Lego was the perfect gender neutral toy. But honestly, we do have some Lego Friends (they were gifts) in my home and if you mix them up with all the other Lego blocks it really isn’t a big deal, just a wider variety of colors. But I was dismayed to learn that Lego was including “beauty advice” for girls in its Lego magazine, which is targeted towards 6 to 12 year olds. Rather than writing up a post about how disappointed I am with more traditional gender messaging creeping into the Lego brand I thought I would share several tweets shared yesterday on Twitter that highlight how off brand this messaging is.

I did get a response from Lego on Twitter:

First Kiss: More Lego Movie Fun (More on my journey in learning how to make GIFs)

Previously, I shared with you how my Teens and I decided to explore the world of GIFmaking by using the Legos in my library’s MakerSpace. This week, I totally had something totally new and fun prepared for my teens, but a group came in very excited about the prospects of making more “movies”. They had apparently been thinking and talking about it, planning what today’s movie might look like. One of my favorite movies created today they titled FIRST KISS:

They were working hard behind the scenes trying to figure out how they could make a crash scene but show the steps of the crash more in process. They experimented with things like using a hidden Lego to prop up a car to show it in the process of turning over, step by step. It was fascinating to watch them try and figure out a way to make this happen. We’ll have to keep working on it, but it’s a fun challenge to try and solve.

Here’s how making our .GIF Lego movies works. You have to storyboard your scene, at least conceptually. What do you want to see happen in the movie? What elements do you need to create to make it work? Then you fill in the details.

After you build all the pieces, you then have to take step by step single photos. You set up your first shot, then click the photo. Make a slight adjustment – move a car forward, move a person forward – then click the photo. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Movements have to be small to make it look like it’s happening. And you have to keep the frame set in the exact same place for it to work well. I might even invest in a tripod of some sorts (do they have something like that for the iPhone?) to help keep the camera stable and the frame perfectly set.

After taking my series of photos, I used the Giffer app to upload the pictures, frame it, adjust the speed, etc. You can read my previous review here. In a much earlier post I listed a wide variety of ways to make GIFs, and if they continue to want to make GIFs I might try comparing different ways by using some new tools:

Article on 9 Free GIF Maker Apps at About Technology

Make an animated GIF in Photoshop GickrPicasionGifBoom (app!)Cinemagram (also an app!)Gizmodo: How to Make a GIF in 5 Easy Steps Free Online GIFmakerMake a GIFMashable: Make Reaction GIFs with These 7 ToolsMashable: How to Make GIFs8 Free GIF Maker Apps
GIF are so popular there are even artists out there specializing in GIFs, and they are amazing:
YPulse: 3 Rising Artists of the Digital Age.

The FIRST KISS “Lego Movie” was made with the teens at the Betty Warmack Branch Library in Grand Prairie, Texas. I’m learning how to create GIFs right along with my teens, it’s pretty cool actually.