This Communication Arts middle school program continues the basics through the communication skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking.
It is designed to help students become better writers and speakers through electronic and published projects. Computer labs are available to assist students with their multi-media projects. Technology is embedded in all subject areas during the instructional day. Students are regular users of technology and become technically fluent. They discover how to make technology work for optimum learning. Students also create, produce and edit daily broadcasts in a closed-circuit television studio. Creative writing and public speaking is emphasized.
SVN: Tell us about your background and how you decided to start teaching TV/Video production?
LB: I was in TV production classes in high school and fell in love with it. My degree is actually in broadcast journalism and I worked in the TV industry for a few years before I started teaching. I am certified to teach English but when the broadcast position came open in my parish, I jumped at the opportunity to teach it. I became a teacher with hopes of someday teaching broadcast!
SVN: How did you obtain initial funding for your program? How do you fund the class now?
LB: We are still in the early stages of our program which is funded by a federal grant.
SVN: Did you have equipment available?
LB: We started with an empty classroom and no equipment. In the beginning I used a green sheet, flip camera and pinnacle software. Thanks to the grant, we now have a studio equipped with lights, cameras, teleprompters and a Tricaster system.
SVN: How many kids are in the TV/Video Production classes? How is it broken down? Is it a multi-year program?
LB: Since we are still in the first year of the program these are things we are working out. Currently I pull kids everyday during their P.E. or Computer Lab hours to come in and shoot the morning announcements. Everyone in the school will have a chance to anchor the daily broadcast. I am assembling a broadcast team that will come in once or twice a week during their P.E. or computer lab hours to work on stories for the broadcast and run the equipment.
SVN: Can you tell us a little more about the sessions: How long are the classes? How many students? What types of projects?
LB: Our classes are 50 minutes long. I pull 3-5 students per hour depending on their class schedule. Our projects focus on the four core subjects. We chronicle what is going on in their core classes and tie in GLE’s with the segments. The idea is to have students teaching the rest of the school about what they’ve learned in their classes.
SVN: How many kids to do the morning news broadcast? Do you also do a weekly broadcast? Special events coverage?
LB: Three students are on each morning broadcast: two anchors and a reporter. The anchors cover the basics- pledge, mission statement, intro special segment and close. The reporter gives the announcements, lunch and “Today in History”. We often use photo montages to chronicle special events at our school and the special segments cover what’s students are learning in their core classes.
SVN: Do your students capture other school events? Sports? Assemblies? Board meetings? Musical Performances?
LB: Eventually, student reporters will cover assemblies, sporting events and school performances.
SVN: What jobs do the kids do? Do the kids rotate through on-air talent and crew positions or are they “hired” for a specific task?
LB: The entire school rotates though on-air jobs for the daily show. My broadcast team applied for a position and indicated on-air or production preferences. All broadcast team members will write and edit stories as part of our communications magnet curriculum.
SVN: Do students audition for on-air positions?
LB: No. The entire school has a chance to be on-air. I rotate through homeroom classes to give everyone a chance. As a communications magnet school, we want everyone to enhance their oral communication skills.
SVN: Do they write the content?
LB: They write the content of the special segments. I write the announcements and basic features. During read-throughs, they will change the wording to have it sound more natural to them.
SVN: How long does the show run?
LB: Usually between 3-5 minutes.
SVN: Do you submit programming to independent contest such as those sponsored by StudicaSkills and SchoolTube TV?
LB: Not yet, but we are working on it!
SVN: Can your broadcast be viewed outside the school? District-wide? Local cable access? On your school/district web-site?
LB: The broadcasts are uploaded to school tube then posted on our school website. Teachers show the broadcast from the school website every day. This way, the students can show off their TV debuts to family and friends outside of school.
SVN: Where do you post programming? YouTube? Vimeo? SchoolTube? SVN-TV? Other?
LB: We post to school tube everyday and use the embed code to post it on our school website.
SVN: Do you have an equipment list you can share with our readers?
1-Tricaster Studio System
2- Sony HDR-FX7 video cameras
2- Soft Box lights
2-Telepromters with software from 1Prompt
1- Sound mixing board
3- Lapel Microphones
SVN: Have any quick start tips!
LB: Having our equipment is a blessing, but anyone can do a daily broadcast with a flip camera, a green sheet or table cloth and editing software. We use Pinnacle Studio HD to edit but simple programs like Microsoft Movie Maker work just as well! You can use a portable dry-erase board for cue cards. With these few things, you’ll be up and broadcasting in no time!