Breaking News: Student-run Broadcast

Today’s contributor: Megan Kelly is the amazing librarian at Palm Elementary.

This year, my campus administrators asked me to help create a student-run broadcast program. In this blog post, I will discuss some of the decisions that I made this year and what ways I’d like to improve the program going into next year. 

  • Who was involved in the program?

I collaborated with our counselor to pull students from our Student Leadership team to work on the Friday broadcast. Our Student Leadership team is a group of 5th grade students who regularly meet with the counselor to help lead SEL initiatives around campus. Because of the size of the team and the small number of students needed to conduct the broadcast each week, I rotated through pairs of students. For example, 

  • Week 1: students A and B are anchors
  • Week 2: students C and D are anchors; students A and B are behind the scenes
  • Week 3: students E and F are anchors; students C and D are behind the scenes
  • etc.

Next year, I’ve decided to separate the broadcast program from the Student Leadership team. The rotation made it difficult for students to keep track of when it was their turn to participate. Having a designated broadcast crew is the goal.

  • Recorded vs. Live?

For the 21-22 school year, I chose to record our broadcast sessions earlier in the week and share the video with classroom teachers to play on Friday mornings. As this was a new program, many of the students looking to participate were nervous about performing live. Since students could not enter the building before 7:30 am in the fall and I was on morning duty, there was not enough time to film or broadcast before classes began. The solution we landed on was having the 4 participating students come by after their lunch to update the scripts and practice on Wednesdays and record on Thursdays. On most days, the counselor was on lunch duty with 5th grade and could remind students to go to filming afterwards.

Next year, I would like to switch to broadcasting live. Students would lose less class time. With doors opening earlier and an expectation of good attendance, students could prepare, practice, and perform with enough time. By making this a daily routine rather than weekly, it would also establish clear expectations and routines for being a part of the crew.

  • Software?

My primary goal when I was choosing a software program to record with was to find something that allowed editing with green screens and was fairly easy and straightforward to use. Ideally, I wanted this program to become something that could be entirely student run with minimal teacher involvement in the editing/filming process. iMovie is what I chose for this purpose. It allowed for our anchors to be filmed in chunks to re-record any parts. It had a way to insert images and videos over a green screen. It was already available on the student and teacher issued iPads at the elementary level. The library also had Mac desktops that were compatible with iMovie. Unfortunately, the steps involved to string together all of the filmed sections took considerable time. The editing steps weren’t intuitive and involved recording and deleting sections in order to use the green screen feature. Without using an apple ID, video could not be transferred between iPads and the Mac desktops. 

For next school year, I am strongly considering using Zoom or looking into other options. 

What information should be included?

Our current broadcast script includes the following sections:

  • Introduction
  • Pledges and Moment of Silence
  • Weather Report
  • Weekly Birthdays
  • (Optional announcement about holidays or school programs)
  • Signing Off

Moving to a daily broadcast, I’d like to add a segment in the script for the lunch menu, switch birthdays from weekly to daily, and have room for other segments that interest our broadcast team like a fun fact or joke of the day.

In summary, the broadcast program has had a rocky start this year. I hope as the program continues, we can continue to improve our equipment, our process, and truly have a student-led program soon.

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