Film Festival sparks creative learning

Annually, our middle school students are celebrated during a film festival which highlights the video projects they’ve created throughout the school year.

This year saw a vast number of films which expressed our students’ understanding of a particular concept learned in class. The festival, which began three years ago under the leadership of Dr. Chuck McCormick, empowers students to create the best videos and serves as a learning method for their peers.

“When I first began at Norfolk Collegiate, many of our middle school teachers were encouraging students to create films to demonstrate their understanding of concepts such as mitosis in life science or to showcase an original work like a spoken word poem in eighth-grade English,” said McCormick, head of the middle and upper school. “Some of these were remarkable in their depth of construction and meaning. I wanted more of our middle school families, as well as the broader community, to be able to see and hear these amazing student productions.”

Along with the enthusiasm of our middle school faculty, the film festival is now a middle school tradition. With the help of 3-D printers, our students are able to receive Golden Oak Awards to make the event more celebratory.

“For the second year in a row, the Golden Oak awards have made the event more Oscar-like and special for our students,” said McCormick. “I am hopeful that this festival will continue as long as film-making remains a skill important to middle school learners. Teachers such as Julie Hastings, Lindsey Belle and Dana Carr were instrumental in the inaugural festival.”

This year’s winners included eighth-grade students:

  • So You’ve Been Kicked out of New Hope by Andrew Hair, Elliot Baccanarri and John Livingood
  • The Tempest by Marah Gordon, Zac Fowler, Arrianna McCavitt and Mackenzie Woodson
  • Radiant Energy by Hailey Hux and Elizabeth Hughes
  • Treaty of Paris by Andrew Hair, Emily Hastings, Brooke Rogers and Chapman Holt
  • Dining in a French Café by Bronte Unrein, Ellie Smith and Veronica Gross
  • Cell Cycle by Joshua Stubbs-Yates, Gabe Foleck and Thomas Walden

“The first project, which was So You’ve Been Kicked out of New Hope, was with a group that I work with a lot so it was easy for us to come up with a concept together. Each of us had great ideas,” said Andrew. “The second film, Treaty of Paris, was put together really well. We did the whole thing in class so that made it easier and more fun.”

“Offering students a choice in how they will be assessed empowers them to take greater responsibility for their own learning, thereby increasing their level of engagement and buy-in.  When this occurs, the quality of student work and effort is generally better because they are logically more invested in what they are doing,” said McCormick. “I am sure that in many cases, students are not told that a given project might be entered into the Golden Oak Film Festival; they simply work on it as they would any other assignment. However, it is clear from the quality of some of their productions that they invest countless hours planning, shooting, adding music and editing films because they enjoy working with the apps and technology.”

Click here to watch one of the films submitted into the festival.