On Three, Two, One Using Public Speaking, Research and Science Skills, Spring Valley Students Produce Weekly Newscasts

By Miles, Arlene | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), May 10, 2006 | Go to article overview

On Three, Two, One Using Public Speaking, Research and Science Skills, Spring Valley Students Produce Weekly Newscasts


Miles, Arlene, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Arlene Miles Daily Herald Correspondent

*****

CORRECTION/date 05-12-2006: To correct a story that ran in some Neighbor editions Wednesday, Spring Trail Elementary School is where some students are working on a news broadcasting project. The name of the school was incorrect.

*****

How many kids can say they have worked on a television program by the time they're 11 years old?

All 25 students in Liz Sharf's class at Spring Valley Elementary School in Carol Stream can boast such an accomplishment.

Every other week since January, the split fourth- and fifth- grade class has produced a 5- to 7-minute "news" program broadcast on the school's closed circuit television system on Friday morning.

Each student has a role to play in the bi-weekly broadcast, whether as writer, executive producer, cameraperson, on-air talent or researcher. Duties change with each production, so students are able to learn various aspects of producing a news broadcast.

"I make suggestions and listen to what they are doing but they pretty much all do it by themselves," Sharf said.

The bi-weekly project ties together a whole range of learning experiences from English to reading, to science, as well as practical life experience involving speaking clearly before an audience.

Sharf says the personalities of her students lend themselves to making the production possible because many are independent learners.

That was in evidence on a recent morning as some students prepared to record the show, others worked at other activities. Some multi-tasked, suggesting ways for Ben Havel and Jill Shah, that week's co-anchors, to improve their delivery.

"Ben needs to slow down and Jill needs to be a little bit louder," said Lianna Imbrogno, acting as the managing producer.

"They really do take a lot of criticism," Sharf said.

Most of that criticism occurs before the actual recording to make the broadcast as smooth as possible. Not all class members are willing to perform as anchors, but those who do have found out what a difficult job it is.

"You have to talk clearly and loudly and have to try not to make a mistake," Tej Patel said.

When the class first began working on the broadcast, Sharf estimates they took about 40 minutes out of each school day in the two-week period to work on various aspects of the production. With more than two months of experience behind them, however, preparation has streamlined to about three 40-minute sessions over that same period.

Each broadcast includes has roughly the same elements including a news segment on items of interest in the school and the community, a book review, separate quiz questions geared toward primary and intermediate students, and a feature. …

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