Film and Food Festival

Our Film and Food Fest was a reminder of the importance of  presenting culminating student work to an authentic audience.   Knowing that there would be a Film and Food Fest created urgency and increased the quality of our students’ work.  Watching students’ faces as they saw their films on the screen was such a rewarding experience.  The experience was also shared by a number of stakeholders including Mayor Martin, Superintendent Stinson, Associate Superintendent Strange, Associate Superintendent Beadall, community members, school staff, and students.

A huge thank you to all that were able to attend and celebrate the learning of Ms. Ruff’s Senior Food Studies students.

Final Report

We thought it appropriate that we submit our final report in the form of film.  This, in 1 min 30 sec, represents our journey.





A huge thank you to SET-BC for providing Royal Bay Secondary with the opportunity to participate in the 2018-2019 Place-Based Synergy Project.

i. Description of the project – Food from Our Place was a collaborative partnership between Tanya Phillips (Teacher Librarian), Robin Ruff (Food Economics Teacher), with support from our Aboriginal Support Teacher (Lindsay Lockhart) and our Media Design Teacher (Jay Larson).  We had four Senior Food Studies classes work through this inquiry (2 each semester).  This was a blended model where the students cooked one week and worked on their inquiry project the alternating week for the entire semester.  Students explored food topics, reached out to community farms, interviewed, collected footage, researched, and created a film to tell their story.

Our goals:

1: Engage students with food produced from this place.

2: Connect with community

Our anticipated outcomes, were to create community partnerships, and have students engage in an inquiry around a topic that they were interested in, and create a film that told their story.

ii. The following is a synopsis of things we considered as the project proceeded:

  1. Clear guidelines, including timelines, prior to starting the project.
  2. Team building and scaffold skills for designating roles for each team member.  This would be to encourage equitable work loads and an opportunity for each team member to participate in all aspects of each project.
  3. Use the project as a vehicle for fostering the Curricular Competencies (design thinking) and Core Competencies.
  4. Provide opportunities for developing technical skills required for editing and capturing footage.  We did this in the form of short lessons called “Tech Talks”.

iii. A description of the main challenges:

KEEPING STUDENTS ON TASK! Once we got to the editing part, we found it difficult to keep all students in the group engaged as editing is often a one person job.  This left the other (2-4) students in the group unengaged and on their phones. To overcome this, we had some of these students work on the planning of the Food and Film Fest, but still struggled with engagement once we got to this point in the project (and school year).

SOUND for the films was another big challenge.  If we were to do this project again, I would look at a way to get some more advanced microphones to capture better sound quality.

iv. A description of the main successes of the project and what was achieved overall:

The culminating event, The Film and Food Fest has a huge success and allowed all stakeholders to share and celebrate the learning that had occurred during the project.  It was a perfect way to blend the films and prepare and serve the foods that they had learned about during the project.  I can’t stress enough the value of the preparation and act of presenting to an authentic audience.

v. Any recommendations or advice:

Being on a semestered system, we were fortunate to be able to go through this whole process twice.  The second semester projects were of higher quality as a result of knowing the importance of keeping a fairly rigid timeline, spending more time teaching some film editing skills and strategies when collecting footage, including capturing the best sound.  Our recommendation is to be sure to do the project a second time.  Additionally, Robin and I were able to enjoy the process more the second time as we were more comfortable with the whole process and were able to adjust the project, based on what we learned from the first semester.  And, as our film demonstrated – just jump into inquiry; you will be happy that you did!

Out to the community to learn from local farmers and Elders….

For the second semester Synergy Projects, this week was the start of getting our students out into the community.

Robin and I have had the amazing experience of taking students out to local farms and the greater school community to have our students engage in acquiring knowledge, via an interview process. Prior to this, our students had to reach out to the community members to arrange a time to meet, as well, walk them through an interview contract (written or oral).  This allowed students to model interview etiquette and understand the importance of consent for taking pictures and video of people and private property as well as respectfully sharing knowledge acquired from First Nations Elders.

The photos below show our visit to a local farm, Bees Please.  We are so fortunate to have community members that welcome our students and take the time to share their knowledge. Robin and I both feel that the aspect of community involvement was a powerful learning tool for all involved.  It allowed our Foods students to become more connected to their local community and create awareness of the numerous farms and business in our backyard.

From RBSS to Nepal….

Dal Little, our community liaison between RBSS and Another Brick in Nepal, met with Nick Harriot, a RBSS student who compiled the films from our first semester project, and uploaded it to take it to Nepal.   Dal will be adding Nepali subtitles to the film and sharing it with the students at the Sharada Secondary School in Nepal. In the coming months Dal will be working with Nepalese students to create a film around food sustainability in their local region.  When Dal returns in June, he will be bringing their film back to share with students at RBSS.

Safe travels, Dal!

Here is what we sent:

Rethinking Assessment

Student Feedback:

At the end of last semester, we asked students to give us some feedback on how they felt the project went.  We learned  that students would have appreciated more support/lessons on film editing, and clearer parameters for the project.  We have taken this into consideration and will be sure to build this into our lesson planning for Synergy 2.0, including providing students with a check-list of things that they need to consider while working on the project.


  • Get your Media Consent forms handed in.
  • Establish clear guidelines and expectations for each group member.
  • Descriptive Title.
  • Video Length 2-6 minutes.
  • Purpose – the film has a clear purpose e.g. Marketing, Safety, Education, etc.
  • Have a plan prior to filming, create a storyboard that outlines how you want to send your message.
  • Place-based.  Ensure that you have someone in the community that you can interview to learn more about your topic.
  • Understand the Context – Learn about your topic to build empathy for all involved.
  • Incorporate a conclusion into your film.
  • Include credits at the end of the film.
  • Footage
    • If you are going to talk about something, get a close up video of it.
    • Ensure you are filming close enough, so you have adequate sound quality.
  • Interview Etiquette – (see the handout).
  • Once you have completed your film, send it to the stakeholders asking for permission to post it on Youtube.

When we introduced the project, it was powerful to have artifacts to show  students in order to give them a sense of what their final project might look like.  We were also able to critique some of the films and discuss the things that we learned.

Moving Forward with Assessment:

Robin and I have been participating in the Assessment Webinar Series.  As we plan for assessment, for the end of next semester, we hope to create assessment architecture and instructional agility so that students are invested in a way in which they have hope (believe that they can be successful with this project), efficacy and experience achievement.

Last semester, we asked students to complete the following Self-Reflection Rubric/Questionnaire.

Synergy Final Assessment

We are in the process of creating a single point rubric with the curricular competencies (Design Thinking) as the criteria.  On each side of the criteria, a spot to provide formative and summative feedback regarding “specific aspects in need of strengthening” and “specific aspects of strength”.

RBSS Partners with Another Brick in Nepal

We have partnered with a community member, Dal Little, who is an active member of the organization, Another Brick in Nepal.  A student will be taking segments from this semester’s films to make a compilation of issues surrounding local food.  Dal will be taking this film to share with students in Nepal.  Nepali students in turn will be working on a film that Dal will bring back to RBSS and share with our students and community members at our year end Film Fest.

Nepal School Project

Round One Draws to a Close

We concluded the first semester Synergy Projects.  To celebrate each group completing a short film, we had a mini film fest where the students watched their film and their peers films.  Students were expected to to complete the following self-reflection as well as feedback for their peers using the following:

Synergy Final Assessment

Film Fest Feedback

Things that we learned:

  1. Clear guidelines prior to starting the project.
  2. Team building and scaffold skills for designating roles for each team member.  This would be to encourage equitable work loads and an opportunity for each team member to participate in all aspects of each project.
  3. Use the project as a vehicle for fostering the Curricular Competencies (design thinking) and Core Competencies.
  4. Provide opportunities for developing technical skills required for editing and capturing footage.