Inspiration is everywhere as Vail Mountain School fifth-graders create documentaries |

Inspiration is everywhere as Vail Mountain School fifth-graders create documentaries

Daily staff report
A VMS 5th wrader watches the “Stories of Inspiration” film festival in the Vail Mountain School Learning Common. The project transformed a language arts writing unit into an opportunity for students to explore documentary filmmaking and video editing to tell stories about inspiring people in their lives.
Vail Mountain School

VAIL — Inspiration can come from anywhere, and this year, Vail Mountain School’s fifth-graders spotlighted a dog, athletes, humanitarians and others closer to home in their fourth annual Stories of Inspiration Film Festival.

The project evolved from an informational writing unit where students were asked to write biographies about U.S. presidents. Over the past four years, VMS fifth-grade language arts teacher Laurie Stavisky, with technology integration specialist Kim Zimmer, rewrote the program asking students to find inspiration in individuals relevant to their lives, with the technological tools to express their ideas.

That transformed the program into storytelling, as fifth-grade students became documentary filmmakers. Students reflected on questions such as, “How will my story influence or inspire others?” and “Why is it important to me to share?”

Stavisky recruited Brian Hall, who runs Beaver Creek Children’s Theater and Blue Creek Productions.

“The focus of the workshop is for the students to create an inspirational film about someone or some cause that has impacted the world in a positive way,” Hall said. “We want them to reach past creating just a biography about their subject and tell a story through the film that will move the audience — inspire the audience to hopefully take some kind of action, to get involved.”

A few weeks ago, it all came together in front of an audience of parents, peers and admirers who watched and learned.

“Our filmmakers dug deep and recognized how impactful their voice and work can be,” Stavisky said. “They shared stories that were personal, and whose selflessness and generosity helps others and impacts the world.”

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