Medicine Hat, AB - The École St. John Paul II school has only been open since September and believe me, they've got some cool things going on already.
Grade five and six students from the local elementary school are currently taking part in a program known as J-P-2 News. This initiative allows students to not only report on things going on at the school, but also events and issues around Medicine Hat.
Vice-Principal Terry Kennedy leads the initiative and talks about their news team.
"We report on everything that has to do with school news. The students have a hand in preparing the scripts and they choose the topics we report on. Throughout the week, we do our interviews and film things such as the weather."
Kennedy then continued by breaking down their news-cast.
"So, we have a script that the news anchors will read off of. That script gives an outline of what's going to be happening for that broadcast, as well as our top stories. We also have one or two reporters that will go out and interview staff members, community members or they'll report on topical issues within the school. We also have a weather report for the week."
Grade five student Grace Laverdiere is a part of the news team and she said it's so much fun.
"I think it's pretty cool because we get to know what's going on in our school and what the weather is like. It's also nice meeting the teachers and staff, seeing what they know and stuff," said Laverdiere.
Laverdiere's classmate Layla Usher said her favorite part is definitely the bloopers.
"Well I'm one of the news anchors and I like doing it because when you're sitting up there, it's funny when you mess up," Usher giggled. "Except, then you have to do it again. When we're watching it during assembly, there's the bloopers and that's probably the best part."
Aside from the bloopers, Vice-Principal Kennedy said one of the better parts is probably the cost associated with this broadcast.
"For the most part the software and equipment isn't too expensive," he explained. "The software was about $200. The most expensive piece of equipment was an adapter that allowed us to go from the video camera feed and show it on the computer."
This news broadcast builds off the Makerspace class at the school, where once a week, students get to make something.
"One idea in regards to Makerspace was creating a news channel using some of the technology out there to create something. In this case, it would be creating a news channel. It just fit really well with the idea of Makerspace and what aligned with the objectives of our school."
Kennedy said this program piggyback's off of what's already taking place in the classroom.
"In language arts, communication is a big one. Oral communication, being able to speak in front of a group, is a very important skill and is one that we can practice in the news broadcast. Also, even though writing a script may not be in the curriculum, writing a news article is."
The grade five student in Laverdiere knew exactly why this was an important piece to her education.
"Because when we're older, we have to know how to type. We need to know how to read and write and know how to do all of that stuff on technology."
Vice-Principal Kennedy then added that not only are the students learning, but he is as well.
"It's been really good learning for myself and the neat thing is in Makerspace, I've been able to show students some of that background stuff. Show them the software we're using, what steps I'm taking to edit, things like that. It's been a really positive learning experience for them as well."
Kennedy said this is news program is certainly a creative way to learn.
"Instead of always being maybe just paper and pencil, it's kind of an extension. This news broadcast brings a little bit of excitement and it's just a lot of fun to incorporate projects into the classroom."
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