Mason County Video Makers Small and Tall

Friday, April 27th, 2012 by Jeff Gray, KET


For over twelve years Library Media Specialist Karen Wood has been running the Straub Morning Show each morning from a small room off of the school library. Each week features a different class. Straub’s Morning Show is a live broadcast that begins around 8:15 each day and is played to the school through a vcr/dvd player. The show is also recorded each day as it’s performed, and at the end of the week a DVD is made for the current class’s teacher so that the students can watch themselves performing the show.

Ms. Wood makes a class participation schedule at the beginning of the school year. She begins with the 2nd grade classrooms and ends the year with kindergarten class. Ms. Wood provides the cue sheets that the teachers use for each show: one each for the introduction of the class and the date, Pledge of Allegiance, lunch menu, weather forecast, and the Straub song. A different student is in charge of each element. The week’s teacher fills out the scripts for the students before they report to the library in the morning for the show.

During my visit, Ms. Wood reminisced, “Sometimes funny things happen on the live show. One day we had a teacher promoting the spring frog derby. She brought in a live frog and was showing him off in front of the camera. The frog leaped out of her hand and hopped around the room. Of course the tape was still rolling and here we were acting crazy because there was a frog hopping around the studio.” She added, “During Read Across America week in March, we have mystery readers come on the show and read passages of Dr. Seuss books behind the camera. The students try to guess who the mystery reader is based only on their voices.  That is a lot of fun.”

Here’s a sample Straub Morning News Show program made by students from the 2nd grade classroom of Marybeth Tumey.

Close by, at Mason County High School, students in Ms. Stephanie Grayson’s video production classes also do excellent work. Basic video production knowledge and skills explored in projects like Straub Elementary school’s Morning Show are further developed into sophisticated productions that integrate curriculum with technology and demonstrate student mastery of communication tools and methods.

Students in the Video Production/Broadcast Journalism program at MCHS learn television production techniques involved in both studio and field production. They gain hands-on experience enabling them to learn various skills such as editing, camera composition, lighting, and scripting. Students in the MCHS video program consist of 10th-12th graders. Here are some of the projects the students are involved in throughout the school year:

  • A weekly, 20-30 minute MCTV news show for students and staff. All students are involved in writing the news stories for each new show and are assigned a specific category such as sports, local news, school news, etc. Each student is then assigned a specific job when the actual production begins, such as camera operator, news anchor, editor teleprompter operator, etc. Students also create commercials, PSAs, special reports, etc. that are included in the final news show production. Advanced students use Final Cut Pro editing software and beginning students utilize Apple iMovie editing software.
  • Recording of various sporting events and creation of highlight videos at the end of the season
  • Recording of various activities for teachers in their classrooms
  • Recording of guest speakers at school assemblies
  • Creation of commercials for local businesses that are aired on local cable television
Here’s a dramatic public service announcement (PSA) video on texting and driving made by Ms. Grayson’s video production students.

Down the hall from Ms. Grayson’s video/multimedia classes, Ms. Roberts’ Family and Consumer Science classes use Apple iPads to produce classroom multimedia projects that they present to the class via Ms. Roberts’ pc and video projector.
On the way to Ms. Roberts’ room, I saw some music students using various multimedia tools while waiting to perform: iPads, a digital camera, a smart phone —  each student was rapt in attention to a device.

I enjoyed visiting Mason County Schools, where I saw multimedia technology effectively integrated with curriculum in a fun and effective way for early learners to high schoolers.

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