Cub Run Elementary (K-8), in Hart County, Kentucky, is a school with lots of history and lots of heart. Fifteen miles west of Munfordville, Cub Run is an updated and attractive school in a beautiful country setting that’s served it’s community for many years. Retired music teacher, Ms. Linda Childress, Library Media Specialist Alicia Estes, and music/choral teacher Stephanie Hensley, lead students in the production of a weekly newscast that has been a feature of the school for over seventeen years! Ms. Hensley is Ms. Childress’s niece. I met them at our last KET Multimedia PD Days event.
Cub Run’s school website has a page for the WCUB news. Students did a feature story on my visit to their school for the September 30 newscast that’s archived for viewing at the website. That’s a first for me, and I’m honored that they included me in their program. Ms. Estes also uploaded their September 22 Cub Run newscast to the KET School Video Project website. Kentucky schools, please upload examples of your student-produced videos so we can see what you’re doing with video!
For those who cannot view Flash elements in this web page, here’s a link to a video slideshow of my visit to Cub Run’s WCUB newscast at Animoto.com.
Cub Run Elementary’s weekly live news show is usually 10–15 minutes long. Eighth grade students comprise the crew for the most part but younger students are included in feature stories, the pledge, and other segments. The show is planned throughout the week, feature stories are recorded, and the program is aired live each Friday morning. Students record the show as it is played through the school’s closed-circuit system and it’s edited afterwards for cablecasting and uploading to the web. The recorded newscast is shown repeatedly throughout the week along with announcements on the school’s entrance hall tv, and the area cable service plays the weekly program on a local access channel for community viewing.
Many schools produce a news program by having students read or recite news stories live through a camera over a school network or a/v system, which is fine, especially for early learners. Other schools first write and record feature stories, PSAs (public service announcements), and other segments, which are then edited together with recorded video introductions by news anchor readers for playback as a whole recorded program. That can be done using a camcorder, microphone, tripod, and pc with editing software. Other schools, like Cub Run Elementary, pre-record some story segments but introduce them from within a live program that’s shown over the school network or a/v system. That means adding an a/v switcher, a second or third camera, an audio mixer, a graphics titler, and preview and program monitors to the equipment list. Cub Run uses a SIMA SFX-11 video effects mixer to switch and mix video and effects, and a separate audio mixer to mix camera and other source audio.
Pictured above with seated 8th grade newscast anchors are l-r, Alicia Estes, Stephanie Hensley, and Linda Childress.
One-box video production studio solutions, like the Newtek Tricaster Studio and the Roland VR-5, are becoming popular alternatives to individual components for studio setups and there’s some interest from schools in that equipment approach. Either way, it’s good to see a crew of students and teachers working together to write, produce, and present a program of useful information projects.
The live, “studio” approach is popular with schools and students because it’s a time-coordinated event that offers an added level of excitement, and the Cub Run newsroom buzzed with activity. A bonus is that more crew jobs are required, producing more student involvement. One of the stories I saw presented for the September 22 newscast was about upcoming events at the next local ”Cub Run Days” festival, a good example of a video project that serves the community. Classroom news also featured student Accelerated Reader program scores, encouraging others to read more for the project. Other news features included a slideshow story about an after school “Pizza and PJs” reading program in the library, and a video montage of the annual “Grandparents Day” event. The “Writing Corner” segment featured two second-graders reading impressive poetry they’d written in class.
It was a real pleasure to visit Cub Run Elementary and to observe their excellent work. Here’s to the next seventeen years!