Nancy Nickerson’s fourth grade students at South Elementary School in Rockland were recently recognized as finalists for their short film at the 35th annual Maine Student Film and Video Festival in Waterville.
Her students created an anti-bullying video titled The Domino Effect, for which they acted, directed, edited, and wrote the script. When the film aired as part of the Maine International Film Festival on July 21, Nickerson’s students traveled to the Waterville Opera House for the premiere.
“In order to get test scores up, students’ basic needs must be met, which is exactly what our film focuses on: safety in schools,” said Nickerson. “Once kids feel safe in their schools, communities and homes, then they will be able to concentrate on their studies instead of worrying about what may happen on the playground or the bus. I know that we cannot just stop at teaching the curriculum. We also must be responsible for the fundamental needs of our students in order to make sure they are ready to learn. Then…learning at its best will take place.”
Nickerson also wrote an ABC bully book, which includes black-and-white pictures of her students posing for each bullying-related word. While Nickerson is still waiting to hear from a publishing company about next steps, parents have given their permission for a copy of The Domino Effect DVD to be included as a teaching tool at the back of the book for teachers all over the country. Upon publication, proceeds from the book will go to 14 scholarship funds – one for each of the students who produced the video.