Amite’s Elementary Magnet Program is designed to teach students to be productive members in an ever-changing society.
Today's world is a dynamic, high-speed, high-tech society where information available to students is multiplying at an exponential rate. To prepare our children for the future, they must experience active learning which focuses on information skills: gathering, analyzing and communicating information.
The communication magnet program prepares our children by providing active learning opportunities every day. Through active learning modules the students work on in-depth projects requiring the use of technology, research, analytical and communication skills. We build on the projects by bringing in guest speakers and taking excursions to community organizations.
The Communication Arts Program offers students the basics through the communication skills of reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Classrooms will be equipped with televisions to receive closed circuit broadcasts produced by the students. Computer labs with software to improve writing skills and publish projects will be available for students. Creative writing will be emphasized.
SVN: Tell us about your background and how you decided to start teaching TV/Video production?
I.B. – I’ve been in elementary education for the past 12 years. I’ve taught first, fourth, and fifth grades. I’ve always been interested in finding the latest and greatest technologies to enhance learning and make it fun for students. When the opportunity to create a daily broadcast show came along, I thought it would be the perfect way to mix learning and fun. So far, it has NOT been a disappointment!
SVN: How did you obtain initial funding for your program? How do you fund the class now?
I.B.- The funding came through a magnet grant written for our parish.
SVN: Did you have equipment available?
I.B.- We are very fortunate to work with a portable Tricaster unit. We also have Flip cameras and Pinnacle editing software.
SVN: How many kids are in the TV/Video Production classes? How is it broken down? Is it a multi-year program?
I.B. – AEMS serves students in PreKindergarten through 4th grade. As a communication magnet school, one of our goals is to have all students participate in the Daily Broadcast to improve their speaking skills and build confidence in presentation.
SVN: Can you tell us a little more about the sessions: How long are the classes? How many students? What types of projects?
I.B. –Each day, I work with approximately 4 students who recite our school’s Mission Statement, Pride Pledge, and the Pledge of Allegiance. The students also announce the day’s lunch menu and present a “Problem of the Day” that targets mental math.
During these sessions, we focus on using correct grammar and word pronunciation. We also work on appropriate voice projection and speaking clearly. This practice helps students improve their public speaking skills.
SVN: How many kids to do the morning news broadcast? Do you also do a weekly broadcast? Special events coverage?
I.B. – In addition to the basics covered each day, we also include a special segment. For example, “Masterpiece Monday” features the stand-out artwork of a student on every Monday of each week. I work with the student to develop a script that describes the artwork. Then, the student reads the script from the prompter. This show gives students a chance to increase reading, writing, and speaking skills, and not to mention, show off their creativity.
SVN: Do your students capture other school events? Sports? Assemblies? Board meetings? Musical Performances?
I.B. – Recently, students have been sent on location around campus to conduct student interviews. In fact, just before the Thanksgiving holidays, a student asked others what they were thankful for. The student then selected the clips he thought were best to include for a special segment about gratitude. This kind of activity helps students improve their filming, interviewing, and critical thinking skills.
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?
I.B.- In the future, we will create a small broadcast team to help create the daily show. We will select these students to perform various jobs such as directing the talent and helping to write/edit content. After a few weeks, this team of students will train subsequent teams.
SVN: How long does the show run?
I.B. – A typical show lasts 5 – 7 minutes.
SVN: Can your broadcast be viewed outside the school? District-wide? Local cable access? On your school/district web-site?
I.B. – Teachers access the Daily Broadcast show through the school’s website each morning. Because the show is posted on the school website, anyone with Internet access can watch the show. Parents and grandparents love this!
Where do you post programming? YouTube? Vimeo? SchoolTube? SVN-TV? Other?
I.B. – Our daily broadcasts are posted to the school website through SchoolTube.
SVN: Do you have an equipment list you can share with our readers?
I.B. – Flip cameras are very student-friendly. I also like Pinnacle software for editing.
SVN: Have any quick start tips!
I.B.- You don’t need fancy production equipment to make a broadcast. Sure, it’s nice but certainly not necessary. Just grab a video camera and some students. Film them saying simple things about the day or about what they’re learning and let it grow from there. I’m always amazed by what students come up with on their own once I get them started!