Film Festival in Bloom

By: Kim Sivick, Jodi Deichman
from Katz Hillel Day School

Development of Critical and / or Creative Thinking

Subject(s) of entry:
Computer Science, English/ Writing/ Language Arts, Math, Science, Technology, literature

PBL - project based learning, Wholebrain Teaching, 21st Century Skills

Grade(s) to which this was taught:
5, Elementary school

Grade(s) for which this will be useful:
5, 6, 7, 8, Middle school

The goal of the fifth grade film festival project is to develop critical thinking across the curriculum by integrating the use of Bloom’s taxonomy in a project that encompasses writing, researching, technology, math, environmental science, and service.

Entry Narrative

By giving students opportunities to work on projects that encompass the Bloom’s levels of creating, analyzing, and evaluating, students exercise their minds and become  facilitators of their own learning.

Students explaining the process using Bloom’s taxonomy:



After researching many challenges facing our oceans, student groups formulate a plan, prepare, design, and develop films to enter into the Youth Making Ripples Film Festival.


Students prioritize tasks to complete as a group and devise a plan for writing the script, preparing props and background, interviewing a specialist in the field, filming, and editing all the while ensuring all teammates are involved.

Once the script has been composed, students analyze each other’s writing during the Writers’ Workshop (see below).

Teacher’s Goal in a Writers’ Workshop: The students will be facilitators in their own learning during Writers’ Workshops. example: 

What is a Writers’ Workshop? During Writers’ Workshop, the classroom is transformed into an environment where writing is paramount. Students work in pairs, in small groups (with a teacher or a student as facilitator), and in whole class instruction. Writing is developed across the curriculum.

Whole class instruction (teacher as facilitator): During Whole class instruction, the teacher will give prompts, introduce new concepts in writing, and elicit ideas and responses from students.

Whole class instruction (student as facilitator): The students will share their ideas and writing with the class during Constructive Commenting. Their peers support and critique their writing as well as help each other determine and discuss additions and/or changes the reader may want to consider.

Small group instruction: Teacher and students work together during small group instruction to “fine tune” a concept or idea. For example, a group may work on identifying key points to include in a thesis based on the writing prompt. Another group may be working on altering a writing prompt in order to include information they deem important while another group may be working on comparing ideas in their writing by using literary devices.

Working in pairs: Students work in pairs to edit and critique each other’s writing including content, grammar, and mechanics. Students also use checklists to help guide them on reflecting on their partner’s writing and on their own.

By involving students in the writing process, students becoming independent thinkers and learners. Students take ownership of their own work and the work of their peers. A writing community of growth and opportunity is developed.

Evaluation: Students determine important images and research to include in the film as well as collaborate on the order and importance of information included in the film in order to convince the viewer of the importance of the film topic’s plight in ocean conservation.  Students self-reflect and reflect as a group on the project by using a group-generated rubric.

Viewing party – There will be a culminating viewing party in school where students will reflect on each other’s films and examine the ideas and themes.

Shark Fin Soup


Invasive Species

Follow-up – 1. Environmental book club – students read one of Carl Hiaasen’s novels with the theme of saving the environment to discuss as a group.

  1. Field trip to Solid Waste Authority to learn about the importance of recycling (recycling plant) and to Gumbo Limbo sea turtle hospital to learn about how debris in the ocean and run-off is causing harm to sea turtles, possibly see a surgery and definitely see recovering sea turtles who are being rehabilitated. Interview specialists in the field.

   Students value the authenticity and involvement of each other in the writing and filmmaking process by celebrating each other’s films at an in-school film festival viewing.


Teachers’ reflections: Watching students enjoy learning from each other is a beautiful sight. The students help each other with research, writing, and technology. Students become ambassadors for the causes they are researching and exploring through film. These are our future activists whose flame has been ignited.

The film festival project can be used across the curriculum. We specifically focused on ocean conservation in order to educate the students and bring awareness to this environmental cause while at the same time being able to enter the Youth Making Ripples Film Festival. That being said, some other ideas for in-school film festivals that are multi-disciplinary can include the themes of History, Science, Math, Tanach, Literature, and/or an integration of subjects. The use of Bloom’s verbs in instructions and prompts helps to ensure that the students are thinking on the higher levels when creating their films.


Film Festival Movie Creation Rubric attached

Storyline Rubric attached


Entrant Bio(s)

Jodi Deichman has been teaching since 1997 and has been teaching at Katz Hillel Day School for twelve years. She is currently teaching fifth grade and has taught elementary through middle school grades in secular studies. Jodi has a Bachelor's degree in History and a Master's degree in Elementary Education. She loves teaching students how all learning is connected just like life. She has a husband and four children. In her very little free time she enjoys going to the beach, reading, and practicing yoga.

Kim Sivick is the Director of Technology Innovation at Katz Hillel Day School. Kim’s journey includes time in independent schools as a nurse, a classroom teacher and a technology coordinator. She has also served as the Director of Professional Development at the Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools and the Program Director for the Edcamp Foundation. She has presented at numerous educational conferences. Her work has taken her all over the US as well as Uganda, Australia and Ukraine to collaborate with educators. Kim holds a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing and a Master’s degree in Education. She is passionate about using technology to engage, inspire and empower students.