“This has definitely been one of my favorite projects that I’ve taught all year so far,” said Teresea Marlow, Irwin Intermediate School technology teacher, to Julie Allen’s class of second graders. “This is the first one we’ve done this year and now the third graders want to be a part of it at well!”

The second graders groaned.

“I thought we were the only class doing it,” one student said raising his hand.

“They are feeling a little betrayed,” Allen joked. “They really enjoyed making these.”

Together, Allen and Marlow instructed the students, ages 7 to 9, on how to make an animated movie.

The guidelines were simple — the movie had to be about penguins (to make a nice ending to their science unit learning about penguins). The movie could be either fact or fiction, and it had to be at least six to 12 frames. The students could use clay,

The students created their storyboards first by drawing out their characters and giving those characters names, backgrounds, and stories to tell.

After the storyboard was created, each student made their character using whatever form they chose or a combination of them. Once they had their characters made and the scenes created, students took pictures of each scene they wanted to show for their movie.

Lastly, they combined them into the computer, adding music, and making their movie.

“My mom and I looked up penguins in Australia and found the Little Blue Penguins,” explained Lindy Langdon, 8. “They only weigh three pounds.”

After deciding to name her main character Blue, Lindy wanted to make a movie about a penguin on a roller coaster and ‘Blue’s Adventure’ was born. Langdon’s character was based at an Australian coastal amusement park and got to ride the roller coaster wearing a backpack.

“It was a lot of fun to make the penguins,” said Langdon.

She worked so diligently, that she also made a continuation of Blue’s adventures when he meets a whale and befriends him.

“They were very creative and very reflective of their personalities,” Allen explained. “One child loves NASCAR, so he made a movie about a penguin in NASCAR. This project combined language arts, science, technology, social sciences, and peer work.”

The students did so well, that the teachers are hosting a special awards night for them in which they will be awarded one of 17 Owl Movie Awards.

“We’re calling it the OMAs,” smiled Allen. “We are treating it like the Oscars. Some of the categories are best original screenplay, best adapted screenplay, best use of technology, best musical score, and of course best actress or actor.”

Friends, Family, teachers, and VIPs were invited to share in the creativity of each student’s movie Tuesday. The students even hand made the OMA invitations.

“I couldn’t be prouder of these students,” said Marlow. “This was the spark plug that has the third graders and other teachers wanting to do the same sort of project. It’s very exciting.”