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Morning News Show

Subject: Media Literacy/Technology
Grade Levels: 4-6
Instructional Time: 25-30 minutes each morning, 20 minutes each afternoon

Necessary: Appleworks or PowerPoint, 2 Mac or PC computers with at least one having video out, at least 1 Camcorder, Cable Modulator or Separate “Cable B” line, an A, B, C video switch, and a VCR.
Optional: Mac or PC with video out or a “focus drive”, and one television. These materials will make a teleprompter.

Prerequisites: Students will need training on how to work with the camcorder correctly as well as how to operate Appleworks or PowerPoint and create a slide show.
Goal: To give students both the opportunity to read, evaluate, write and report information, as well as, to communicate that information using a variety of forms and technology.

Students will use several resources to research information. They will then write a script and put together a slide shows for a daily live newscast. They will present what they have found to the school in a five to eight minute daily newscast. They will then meet and critique the job they did in their research and presentation of their information.

Suggestions: start with just enough people to make two teams. That way you get more students exposed to the experience while leaving yourself with a manageable number of people to train.

Camera Person – this person needs to be sure that the camera is placed on its marks so that the camera can be adjusted to view the anchors and set.

Audio Technician – this person comes in each morning and turns on both the computer and the television that make up our teleprompter. They are also responsible for the microphones being turned on and the other sounds in the room are held to a minimum. Finally this person makes sure that everyone reading the news is speaking clearly and loudly enough while they are running the teleprompter during the newscast.

Video Technician – This person makes sure that the “daily slides are changed in the morning when they arrive”. They transfer the files, via zip disk, from the laptop where the slides are edited to the computer that broadcasts the slides each day. The video tech. should also check by using another television if the video signal is still being broadcast to the building. This person is also responsible for switching our news station between the live newscast, and the automated daily slides.
Anchor Persons – These people need to be in their seats and practicing at least 10 minutes before the newscast. They should have one run through to look for mistakes that were made in the initial script writing process. The second time they should work on their expression and their transitions. They should read clearly, with the correct pauses, and make good eye contact with the camera.

Director – The person directing for the day needs to be sure that all of the positions have been filled. They need to be sure that everyone is ready to go by the start time. They will give the final countdown and everyone goes on their signal. At the completion of the newscast they are in charge of making sure that everyone shuts-down and cleans up their area for the next day. This person makes the final check to be sure that everything is shut down and then makes sure everyone gets out to the table to talk about the day’s newscast.

Script Writers – Near the end of the day have two anchors for the next day come in and type the script for the next day. After they have done this a couple of times it goes much faster. Have the lunch schedule, next day’s activities, and any necessary web pages bookmarked for them as they come in to work.

Producer – That is generally the job of the teacher. This person makes sure that all of the people have the correct training to do the job they have signed up for. They also try to match people that work strongly together. After the newscast their job is to go over several questions that pertain to the newscast that day. At the end of the day, their job is to look over the script that the students have prepared and make any changes that need to be made. They also have to make sure that the information that is being distributed is newsworthy.

Assessment: Students will evaluate themselves and the job they during both the lead-up and production of the newscast. After each quarter of the show’s production, students will conduct surveys with viewers. Surveys will ask the following: what’s working and what’s not, what should be added, what should be redesigned or cut.

Things to be aware of: This is a lesson that we use daily. When thinking about doing a morning newscast you will need to get several people “on-board” with you. The first group that you may need to get on-board with you is the classroom teachers of the students. They may need to give up small amounts of classroom time with several of their students to make the newscast possible. You will also need to get your administration to see the importance of your students producing a daily newscast.

You may also want to start a partnership with your Art Specialist. Our art teacher worked with the students to design our set and get the materials we would need for backdrop and table dressing. The art on our set is very important to the look and feel of our newscast.

This project starts out slow and gains a lot of momentum as you go. The goals that I set out to achieve at the beginning of this project were quickly met. I wanted the following:
1. A student run, student directed newscast
2. Students were to feel some of ownership of the program
3. Students were to determine what information was “newsworthy” and what was not
4. Students could setup, direct and produce a newscast without much adult supervision

As I stated, many of these goals were not met immediately. However, it didn’t take too long before the students were meeting all of the goals above as well as suggesting programming changes and helping train new people for the newscast.
This is a major undertaking at first. Developing the first scripts and directing the first few newscasts was a lot of work.

Curriculum Connection: Social Studies, Writing and Reading

MN State Standard: Resource Management, Inquiry, Read, View and Listen, Speak and Write, Decision Making

MPS Grade Level Expectations: Grades 4, 5, 6

Author: Kevin Oldenburg, Andersen Elementary