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Wichita fourth-graders see their hard work on the big screen

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013, at 9:02 p.m.
  • Updated Monday, April 28, 2014, at 12:51 p.m.


On Saturday morning, students in Brianna Falvey’s fourth-grade class at Colvin Elementary School in Wichita got a glimpse of stardom.

Better than that, they learned what they could accomplish when they worked together.

They pulled up at the Palace Theater in limousines to watch the movie they wrote, edited, produced and filmed.

“It was a huge motivational tool for them,” Falvey said. “It’s been awesome.”

Colvin Elementary, nestled in the Planeview neighborhood, has a 98.7 percent “extremely impoverished” student body, Falvey said.

The students were split into five groups, where they selected a genre and wrote their scripts. The groups chose to work on a newscast, horror, science fiction and action segments and a music video.

Through it, they applied reading, writing, speaking and listening skills to real-world applications, Falvey said.

“The district has been encouraging us to come up with some creative ways to incorporate literacy into activities,” she said, and to include regular education students and special-education students in a project.

The students didn’t realize what they were capable of until they pushed themselves, said Natalie May, a fourth-grade special-education teacher who worked on the project.

“I have seen a tremendous leap in their confidence,” May said. They worked closely together and have bonded as a class.

Most of the students speak Spanish at home.

“One of the biggest challenges was helping them come up with the right words in their writing,” May said. “Being able to write a story in a way that is understandable for someone who’s viewing it or reading it was a challenge. It sounds really simple to write a story, but they have to work twice as hard to write those things in our language.”

Falvey and May didn’t know what to expect as to the level of the stories.

“Their stories were really, really good and were fun to read,” May said. “They’re a really creative, imaginative bunch.”

Saturday’s viewing was because of the community’s support.

The Palace, Artistic Limousine, BlueCotton.com, Sunglass Warehouse, Longhorn Steakhouse, The Print Source, Cartridge Express and Krispy Kreme, David Lehr, the Duening family and Ann Falvey donated money, products or services.

Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or mmcmillin@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @mmcmillin.

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