Waynesville 6th graders got to use their creativity to make movie trailers during summer school this year.

Lights. Camera. Action.

During summer school, Waynesville sixth graders worked in six-member movie development teams to produce a movie trailer. Their objective was to secure funding from a production company in order to make the next big sci-fi movie.

Students shot footage “on location" at the Waynesville City Park for one scene of their film and worked to develop their scripts, designs, and audio and visual effects to produce a movie trailer.

“My job was to create the score and I used garage band mostly,” said Alana Masters, a sixth grader who was up for best audio effects.

For some of the special sound effects he wanted to produce, Tyrell Phinn, said, “you can make them yourself with movements, crushing objects, moving objects and dropping objects.”

As part of the college and career ready focus, summer school emphasized students learning collaboration and communication.

“I’ve learned to think outside the box with creating sounds and to collaborate with other people with different ideas than mine,” Masters said.

Phinn enjoyed working as part of a team and said perseverance is the key to moving past differences. “If you keep going and never quit, you will get the job done,” he said.

Throughout the month of June, rather than students spending time in a traditional classroom, students rotated to designated rooms to focus on the parts of production where they needed the most work. This “free flow” concept meant students received expert guidance from a specific teacher on their script, budget, trailer, character analysis and sound effects board as they needed them.

“I have loved it,” said Angela Houff, library and media specialist. “I have been able to work with the students when they needed a particular skill and so they were very engaged in learning and applying the skill.”

Students "pitched" their movies to a production company (made up of summer school staff) and then attended the 1st Annual WSGC “Oscar” Ceremony on Thursday, June 29, in the hope of winning for overall best film. 

On their way to the theater (the transformed gym), sixth graders walked the red carpet. Once inside, teachers dressed in gowns, suits and tuxedos presented students with trophies for their work as producers, directors, designers, and script writers, and their production of audio and special effects.

Winners were called to the stage and gave their acceptance speeches.  

Students learned that movie production is a lot of work, but “this is probably the best summer school yet,” Phinn said.

To facilitate the summer school movie production project, Michael Wheeler and Connie Cromwell spent several days in advance planning the PBL learning experience.