Michelle Simmons | October 2018
Broadcasting Your Classroom
Rise and Shine Eagles!
This is the wake up my students every morning from our news studio. My school is lucky enough to have a studio that broadcasts live every morning. The kids hear the weather, wellness tips, daily lunch and breakfast options, and even have special guests from time to time.
The “news crew” consists of ten fifth graders chosen based on responsibility and interest. Our media specialist trains the students on how to use the cameras, soundboard, and “teleprompter” iPad. Anchors learn how to report on the news that matters (When is Hat Day?) and things that are just for fun (October 25 is World Pasta Day!). These kids are immersed in broadcast journalism and their love for it radiates off the tv screen each morning.
But, this is only ten students out of the entire fifth grade… And our school is fortunate to have a studio and equipment to accomplish this…
So how do you bring broadcast journalism into your classroom?
Ways to Incorporate Broadcast Journalism into Your Classroom
Bring the Studio to You
No need for a fancy studio. Do you have a table? A recording device? You’re set! In the classroom, all you really need is a set to work with. You can then divide students up into the different jobs of the “studio”. Have your anchors with a script and cameraman ready to shoot.
- Divide your class into teams so that more students have the opportunity to participate.
- Give each group time to write out and practice their script. (This may take several days.)
- Have each team set-up and record their segment.
- You could even have all different topics so that it would flow together as one cohesive news program.
- Host a “watch party” for the hard work.
- All of your speaking and listening standards are addressed through broadcast journalism.
- Fluency! -News anchors have to be fluent in their reading.
- This is the perfect time to teach the importance or rate and inflection.
- Writing and Research-
- Writing out a script takes time and thought. Students have to make sure that their ideas are clear and will not be misunderstood by listeners.
- Research is also important to make sure the anchors are reporting the facts. (With older students this could be where you teach about journalists’ credibility.)
- Major Plot Points – Think: There is a wolf running around blowing down houses! What does the news look like that day?
- Characters – Have the anchors interview a character from the story. Think: Fern, your uncle’s barn has mysterious sayings in spider webs… Tell us more about what your family thinks of the pig the web is referring to.
- Social Studies
- Any historical event could become a topic for your broadcast – Think: The Titanic has just sunk! What does the news look like that day?
Using Green Screens
Green screens are a staple of Hollywood magic. So why not bring the magic of Hollywood to your classroom? Once again, no need to be fancy. Green butcher paper or a green sheet becomes a cheap screen for your classroom. There are several Apps that work with most IOS or Android devices. One I have used is DoInk. This particular app is user-friendly, so it allows the students to have more control over their projects. The app does cost to download but is fairly cheap ($2.99).
- Add on to your broadcast from above by placing your anchors IN the action.
- Students who are more technologically inclined can play around with animation and effects in the green screen apps. This would give them a greater role than simply filming a segment.
- Science: Think of all the wonderful places you can visit in a green screen. Mars? Pluto? Another galaxy? Green screen allows you to broadcast from locations one could never go.
- Weather – This technology is used by meteorologists daily. Put students in the middle of a storm to broadcast about the weather system and impacts it may have.
- Body Systems – Take a tour of the heart! Green Screen can put you in the aorta to discuss its function and where the blood is moving to.
- Social Studies: Field Trips are expensive, green screens are not. Want to broadcast from the Great Pyramids of Giza? Go there through technology.
Time to Tune In
Podcasts are everywhere at the moment. It seems that wherever I turn someone is mentioning a podcast that they are listening to. So why not bring this fad into your classroom? Podcasts are audio segments that are usually specific to a particular topic. Most podcasts have “episodes” to complete a series.
- Like video, podcasts can be created from any device that has audio recording capabilities.
- Podcasts may be a good stepping stone to transition to a full-blown video.
- If your class is more introverted, podcasts are probably the better broadcasting option.
- Once again, divide and conquer – divide students into teams so that more kids have the opportunity to participate.
- Most of the content mentioned above can also be used for a podcast.
- Since podcasts are episodes in a series, it lends itself to longer projects with multiple recordings.
- Social Studies- Think: Timeline of a war, building a nation, prepping of the Olympics, etc.
- Reading: Think: Character development throughout a novel, Different acts/scenes of a play
- Science: Think: Reporting life cycles, Mitosis, Water cycle
- Anything that has clear stopping points to make your episodes can be turned into a podcast!
Broadcast journalism is a real-life career that we can share in our classroom. These different aspects offer a way to tie multiple content standards together in a way that is interactive and exciting for kids. I encourage you all to try this in your classroom so you can see the joy I see every morning when my students sit in front of the camera.
Ok, We’re on in 3… 2… 1…