Students Form News Crew

ST. MARYS — A group of fifth-grade students is foraying into television as part of a new program.

A group of some fifth-grade students have created the St. Marys Intermediate School News Crew, where they are either creating the school’s morning announcements or putting together features for special assignments around the building.

“We have 65 kids who signed up,” St. Marys Intermediate School Principal Lisa Elson said. “Some are able to come in during the morning — their parents bring them so they’re here by 7:45 a.m. — and we have a noon group that comes in during their recess.”

The morning group’s primary responsibility is to put on the school’s morning announcements — they start with an outline Elson has created and then they add their own things.

“They have to look up different parts of it — we have weather, this day in history, a joke of the day and the real announcements,” Elson said. “They might add different things, and they know it has to be serious things.”

One student is named the director for the day, and then that student assigns parts to the other students in the morning News Crew, such as who will be the anchors and who will do each segment.

Their show is then streamed live throughout the building at 8:30 a.m.

“Mr. (Dan) Cook is our tech guy,” Elson added. “He makes sure everything is in working order. He helps with organizing and the technology aspects — he helps transfer everything from the main center to our iMacs. We couldn’t do it without Mr. Cook.”

The afternoon group receives special assignments, which Elson will assign each month.

“I meet with them at the end of the month, and I will give them their new calendar and put them in different groups,” Elson said. “They will do the videos. They learned how to use the green screen and they learned how to put backgrounds onto the green screen using the computers.”

She noted the students will come in during their recess time and work on their videos, on which they will also do the writing and they will assign the parts.

“If they use a video camera, we’ll transfer it to the iMacs — we use iMovie, and they learned how to edit using iMovie,” Elson said. “Instead of doing the live announcement, we can do taped morning announcements, where we’ll add in the afternoon group’s videos.”

One special assignment, she noted, was a group who made a music video.

“They’re pretty much created it on their own,” Elson said.

She noted the students seem to enjoy being part of the News Crew.

“They work hard on it — they’re giving up their free time, and they learn a lot,” Elson said. “The kids really enjoy watching themselves.”

The News Crew, she added, was created after an inquiry from a group of fourth-grade students.

“Last year we had a group of fourth-grade students, who were working with Mr. Cook,” Elson said. “They were having problems on recess, and they had the idea to do a tape about it. Mr. Cook taped it, and we showed everybody. We thought it would be a good thing to do where we can use our equipment, and the kids were interested.”

From there, Elson said she met with the fifth-grade class and explained the program — including specifics such as if they wanted to be a part of the morning group, their parents would have to commit to bringing them in early.

“We wanted to offer it to everyone, so if they weren’t able to come in early, the students could give up their recess,” she said.

“We don’t take them out of class for this.”

Elson noted the interest was “huge.”

“We didn’t expect 65 kids,” she said.

She noted a significant part of the News Crew is working together.

“They have to learn to work together and take turns at different parts,” Elson said. “Sometimes they don’t like the parts they get, but they’ve done a fabulous job of working it out.”

The program, she added, has also been beneficial to a specific group of students.

“It really has been good for some of the kids who are typically quieter or shyer,” she said. “A lot of them have surprised us because they have really done well with it.”