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Ready, Set, Action! Snow Elementary Students Unlock the Power of Learning Through Filmmaking
Posted 10/28/21

Step aside, Hollywood, and make room for the 5th graders at Irene Snow Elementary School! These lucky students are part of a transformative program called the Youth Cinema Project which brings professional filmmakers into the classroom to teach kids how a movie is made.


Founded by the famous actor, director, producer and humanitarian Edward James Olmos, this program brings a fresh, fun and fully unique approach to learning. Instead of teaching concepts from the book, students learn real-world skills like problem solving and collaboration while building their confidence and ability to express themselves.


Working directly with filmmaking mentors, 5th graders are learning the entire process of making a film --  from idea generation to scriptwriting to pre-production, filming and editing. As they go through the process they are treated like colleagues. This week, students were learning concepts such as the “hero’s arc” and “character flaws” to help as they begin scriptwriting. 

Youth Cinema Project Collaboration

Principal Oliva McCormick was visiting the class during one session and noted, “it was exciting to see students so engaged and asking questions,” she said. “This is project-based learning at its best and I think it goes a long way in keeping them interested in learning across all subjects.” 


After conducting a qualitative assessment of the program in 2019, Stanford University praised Youth Cinema Project for what it brings to students, such as “in-depth active instruction of vocabulary practices across multiple modalities,” and “cultivates social-emotional learning competencies”

Stay tuned for an update on this story when we have the final films. Want to learn more? Grab some popcorn and visit the Youth Cinema Project website where you can view the final films from other California school students.