On the air and giving up recess

Fifth-graders give up recess time to produce school news channel

Joelyn Abraham gives Jay Torres instruction before the camera starts rolling

When the Caledonia News Network team got a grant from the Caledonia Schools Education Foundation for $1,200 in new equipment for the year, instructor Melissa Dehorn said they had to change the way they went about recording.

“We used to record while class was going on in the background, but when we got the new microphones, everything changed; you could hear everything,” she said.

Sydney Clarke gives her book recommendations for lower and upper elementary students

To solve their noise problem, the team started filming during recess for their Monday, Wednesday and Friday show — which meant giving up recess time.

“These kids love what they are doing and are excited to work every week,” Dehorn said. “They are making sacrifices to be a part of this team and they love it.”

Behind the Scenes

Every week, directors Payton Dehorn and Joelyn Abraham assign positions for their broadcast segments including book recommendations, birthday announcements, jokes, weather, school news and classroom spotlights.

“We assign positions every week based on who would do well doing each job,” Payton said. “We switch it up.”

Some students film in the classroom in front of a green screen while another team shoots segments around school, including the weather report and classroom highlights, he said.

Eli Hughes takes notes on his script before trying his birthday segment

Added Joelyn: “We get to try out a lot of different skills and see what fun things we can do. It’s a lot of fun.”

When the Caledonia News Network team started working with their new equipment, Dehorn reached out for tips to Mike Wilson at the high school news production team.

“It’s really nice to have a sense of community like that,” Dehorn said.

In the future, the fifth-grade team hopes to cover bigger school events and get into more classrooms.

“Kids love seeing themselves on the screen,” Dehorn said. “And our kids love putting them on the screen.”

CONNECT

Reporting school news in high-def, thanks to grant

Caledonia Schools Education Foundation

Hannah Lentz
A 2017 graduate of Grand Valley State University and a lifelong teacher’s kid, Hannah Lentz has worked as a journalist in and outside the Grand Rapids area for more than five years. After serving as editor-in-chief at the GVSU student newspaper, Hannah interned at the Leelanau Enterprise where she learned a lot about community journalism. In addition to her work for School News Network, Hannah has worked as a freelance blogger in the furniture industry, focusing on design trends, and as a social media manager for World Medical Relief in Detroit. Read Hannah's full bio or email Hannah.

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