Kennesaw Elementary School is a PK-2 school located in Cobb County, Georgia.
We have approximately 670 students. We are excited to be a part of an Arts Integration initiative, where we integrate theatre, music, dance and movement and visual arts into literacy learning. Our advanced learning program teacher, Dr. Valerie King created a platform for “Littles”—seven year olds, to create a live, daily news broadcast. Her hope is to start each day with a joyful routine that the whole school culture can benefit from. What started out as an empty room is now the KNN production lab. Learners of Dr. King and other learners that show an interest and advocate for a role on the news broadcast meet each morning to design and share a positive, inclusive message that all classrooms tune into before our instructional day begins.
Tell us about your background and how you decided to start teaching TV/Video production?
My principal, Monica Howard, had a vision to have a daily, live news program. I tend to be on the forefront of technology and love creating relevant projects for children—as well as the fact that my schedule has some flexibliity, so I was tasked with this project. I teach in the advanced learning program at Kennesaw Elementary School and just knew that once I asked my Littles to be a part of this—they would love it.
How did you obtain initial funding for your program? How do you fund the class now?
Initial funding came from COBB EMC and their education department. Our principal reached out to Mr. Mark Justice and explained what was needed. We had limited equipment prior and our county upgraded schools to an IPTV system so even that limited equipment would not work. He graciously got all of the equipment that we use each day.
How many kids are in the TV/Video Production classes? How is it broken down? Is it a multi-year program?
This started as part of my advanced learning program resource class. They come to me once a week for the day. I introduced the idea during one of these classes and my Littles “applied” for jobs they thought they might like. After we secured the equipment and everyone “interviewed” for a job, we began the process. They meet every morning between 7:20 and 7:30 to create a live show at 7:50 a.m. They sometimes have to come at other points during the week depending on what projects are needed. I teach a full schedule, and not always with them. Everyone has to be flexible in this process.
Can you tell us a little more about the sessions: How long are the classes? How many students? What types of projects?
I have 23 students. They don’t all come each morning into production, but they all have a role whether it is writing reports, reflecting and providing feedback, being a roving reporter—writing a script, building a power point, creating breaking news. Only students that wanted to participate do. Some just aren’t interested and that’s okay. Some are happy “behind the scenes” while some want to be on camera.
How many kids to do the morning news broadcast? Do you also do a weekly broadcast? Special events coverage?
In the mornings I have anywhere from 8-15 children depending on what is going on. It is not exclusive to my students anymore. So many kids were excited about the program that they would stop me in the hallway and say they wanted to be on the news. One of my members is a second grader who just took the initiative to seek me out and learn the roles. Similarly, every day we have a special guest pledger to recite our KES pledge—also written/adapted by my second graders. We used to recite a pledge that was known as a pledge for schools that subscribed to a specific program. One of my students said it’s not our pledge, I said it at my old school. So, we rewrote it and decided to get “guest pledgers” on each day from Kindergarten on up to second grade.
Do your students capture other school events? Sports? Assemblies? Board meetings? Musical Performances?
We are a K-2 school so we don’t have some of these events. They capture “Friday Spotlight” moments and create videos to share of great things going on in our classrooms. Sometimes they might interview students who have something to share and guide that process so the guest can appear on Fridays.
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?
We rotate, but certain children want to be on camera and others want to be behind the scenes. We have the following roles:
2 camera people
1 power point advancer
1 tech helper
Those roles are pretty standard each morning, but others come to shadow and learn new roles.
Do students audition for on-air positions?
No. If they want to be “on air” they shadow for a few segments and then they try it on. It’s a learning experience about fluency and phonemic awareness and context clues and all sorts of literacy learning, so anyone that wants to try, gets too. I like that the kids learn their strengths and work toward them based on their own choice.
Do they write the content?
They do. We use the same format each day for scripts with subtle changes. They created the format after brainstorming what they thought their school wanted to see and hear. Some segments have changed. Some leave and come back. We have things like Wednesday Wisdom with our counselor, Hakuna Matata with Ms. Howard, Little Moments with Mrs. Little and Friday Spotlight. We have had Thoughtful Thursday moments, Math Problem Solving and always highlight special months like Exceptional Children’s Week, African American History Month and Hispanic Heritage Month. Many of our specialists such as media center, PE and music get involved and share information when it pertains to something exciting going on there like Jump Rope for Heart, Book Fair—or even connecting music and songs to a specific month.
How long does the show run?
Our show is about 10 minutes---sometimes a few minutes longer and sometimes on a slow news day it’s a little bit shorter. But usually it’s about ten minutes.
Do you submit programming to independent contest such as those sponsored by STN, SkillsUSA, NATAS or others?
No. I am not sure of these organizations, but we would love to compete. Most things seem geared to upper elementary or middle or high school. My Littles are only second graders. I’ll be looking now, though!
Can your broadcast be viewed outside the school? District-wide? Local cable access? On your school/district web-site?
We record most episodes on screencastomatic. They are saved on a drive that can be accessed at school, but we haven’t started posting them yet on our web site. It’s on our to-do list and likely something we start next year.
Where do you post programming? YouTube? Vimeo? SchoolTube? SVN-TV? Other?
See above. As it’s livestreamed through IPTV, it is just recorded and saved “in house.” We have put several episodes on You Tube so they can be used on social media.
Do you have an equipment list you can share with our readers?
This is what we use:
4 Channel Roland video mixer
XENYX Mixer (Soundboard w/18/16 Input & 3/2 + 2/2 BUS Mixer)
Sony HDR CX440 Cameras (x2)
Vista Tripod (x2)
White Umbrella Lights w/stand x2
Microphones that are omnidirectional (but we want unidirectional)
1 output computer screen
Have any quick start tips!
Just go for it! Use the moments as teachable opportunities, no matter what. Reading, research, writing, fluency, giving and receiving feedback, reflecting on work, flexibility, etc. Let the children create the show that they want.
Behind the scenes: