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Nootka THRIVE Program Produces Video About BC's Endangered Species

Written by Kurt Heinrich (VSB Public Relations Manager) on the VSB website on April 9th, 2015 • Republished with permission.

Nootka Elementary's THRIVE Program students have been busy making a movie. Over the past 18 months, the elementary school students have worked together to create a powerful film titled "You Can't Eat Money" about BC's endangered species.

It was a perfect project for THRIVE students, a program designed to enable kids with learning disabilities to build their skills and experience success.

Grade 7 Nootka student Riad Harb was one of the video's directors. He said the division of labour among the class came naturally.

"People just decided to do things. We discovered what we liked and away we went," said Harb. "I think the film is very powerful because it talks about real problems and important issues. I think it's cool that kids got to make this!"

Harb says the project forced the class to constantly adapt and learn in a hands-on and engaging way. They would sometimes plan and rehearse for hours in order to get a 10 second scene just right. When it came to editing the movie, the class had to learn to use iMovie and a number of other apps to get the job done. Students shared the work and their teacher's hands hardly ever touched the equipment.

But it wasn't just video editing that the students were learning about. Through out the process of researching and storyboarding, THRIVE kids also got a reality check around the dangers many animals face every day.

That's what stuck most for Grade 6 student Reilly Frigault.

"I didn't know that there were so many endangered species," he says. "I learned there were more than 1900 species at risk! I had thought there were maybe just 100 species or so that were in trouble."

Tyson Schoeber has taught the THRIVE program for the past 17 years and this is the fifth documentary film his students have created. Almost as soon as You Can't Eat Money was posted to YouTube, they started to get some terrific feedback.

"The project took a long time but the kids are very proud of their work!" he says. "Almost all these kids have experienced hard times in school and making this film was empowering." 

Schoeber says not only was the project fun and inspiring -- it was also instructive. "Film making is a wonderful metaphor for the writing process.  Everything you need to do to write a good essay you also need to do to make a great film: planning, organizing your material, editing, thinking about presentation, and thinking about your audience," he says.