Julius Marks Elementary Rocks Video Each and Every Day!

Friday, October 14th, 2011 by Jeff Gray, KET

I recently visited Julius Marks Elementary in Lexington, Kentucky, and enjoyed observing Library Media Specialist Debbie Kiser balance coordination of library duties and production of the school’s daily student video news program, an STLP activity (KY Student Technology Leadership Program). She’s been honing the process for years. Here’s her setup and routine…

Debbie’s students plan and record short feature stories and public service announcements (PSAs) during the day and then edit them together in the afternoon for the next morning’s live broadcast over the school’s a/v system. All 5th graders rotate through the news project throughout the year by classroom. Eleven students a month work on the news crew.

An interesting feature is that all classes are recorded reciting the pledge during the first library visit each year. Students then edit the pledges and each class pledge is rotated through the month so that each class is seen on the news program every 26 days.

Julius Marks’ newscast is played over the school a/v distribution system at 7:45 am each day. After playing the previous day’s recorded and edited video content, the kids switch to a “live”  camera for weather and any additional announcements. Students record videos in the morning, edit after school, and play the edited video combined with live broadcast content the following day — after recording the next day’s news. I observed both an afternoon editing session and the next day’s broadcast and recordings. Many kids worked happily together to produce the projects, including a feature story of a “Grandparents Breakfast” event made from digital still camera pictures. See the edited JME-TV newscast content that Debbie shared with the KET School Video Project, a showcase for Kentucky student-produced videos. Please share yours!

Each 7:45 am news cast features:

  • Date
  • Lunch menu
  • Birthdays
  • Word of the Week
  • Mannerly Moment
  • Special Reports (can be anything from after-school clubs to class projects, individual projects, vacation pictures, school events, new siblings, etc.)

Although fast-paced, the morning news program is choreographed and moves well because the students know their jobs, with only a little helpful prompting from Debbie as needed. Debbie said that as younger students ask to be on the news crew she works them in for a month. See pictures of how well the older kids help a younger one learn video editing in the Animoto video slideshow, below. Kentucky educators, get a free Animoto Plus level account, make your own video slideshows, and then upload them to the KET School Video Project!

For those who cannot view Flash elements in this web page, here’s a link to a video slideshow about JME-TV  at Animoto.com.

Students take turns in jobs of cast and crew:

  • videographer
  • news anchors
  • a/v switcher
  • cue boards and music playback
  • computer editor (see several students share the task in the slideshow pictures, below…such collaboration and peer tutoring!)
  • office managers
  • meteorologist

As for equipment, the Julius Marks Elementary video producers use digital camcorders, digital still cameras (to collect pictures to be made into slideshows edited together with voice narration for feature stories), handheld microphones, and editing software (in their case, Pinnacle Studio) for assembling recorded feature stories and PSAs with the newscast opening for the next day’s program. For on-camera live performances that follow the playback of the recorded/edited program segments, the kids can choose to wear funny costumes and props.

Each edited newscast is about 3.5 minutes long. Added to it each day is the weather, the pledge of allegiance, and special announcements for a total program length of about 5 minutes. A lot is done by many kids: planning, writing, rehearsing and presenting, recording and editing, and more. They collaborate well and have a good time producing a project that they obviously feel responsible for.

See an example of a Julius Marks Elementary morning newscast that Ms. Debbie Kiser shared with our KET School Video Project, along with the “Mutt-a-grees” public service announcement (PSA) video she uploaded as part of a contest to promote adoption of shelter animals. Bravi, JME-TV!

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