If you try this activity with your student(s), we’d love to see what you do. Share your journey via the #Inspired2Learn hashtag on your preferred social platform.
Created by: Jenna Fournel
Discipline: Literacy / Journalism / Art
Age level: K-12
Time: Generally takes at least an hour per show
Materials: A digital recording device, video-making software such as iMovie (though there are many free apps that do this and clips can even be pasted together using PowerPoint)
Chances are there’s a lot more news playing in your house these days, and as citizens we can often feel powerless in the flood of troubling stories, new recommendations, and daunting statistics. Many families are trying to limit exposure to this firehose of information, but older students with access to technology are still quite aware of the headlines, youtube videos, social media posts, and conversations with friends that make the news of the day ever present.
But what of our own news of the day? This activity puts learners in the role of journalist, capturing what’s happening in their day and offering a more local approach to news for friends and family. It’s a great way to connect with others remotely and develop storytelling, public speaking, presentation, and creative thinking skills.
What to do:
Discuss the elements of what makes up a news show with your learner and brainstorm a list. You may want to watch a clip ahead of the discussion to provide examples. (I highly recommend John Krasinki’s brand new Some Good News show.) Your brainstorm may include:
- It occurs at a regular time.
- It has an audience that looks forward to watching it.
- There is usually a person or team of people who narrate or lead the show.
- There are often different stories during each show.
- Video footage shows what the anchor is talking about.
- Show has a name and logo.
- Recorded in a studio.
Ask your learner what their own news show would look like. Discuss how each of the elements in the brainstormed list would play out in the context of a home vs. a studio. Map out what an episode might include and think through where footage could be collected. Here are some examples of potential segments:
- Exercise of the day
- Snack break (demonstrating how to make a snack)
- Mindfulness tip
- Interview with a family member
- Wildlife special (learning about a pet, an insect, or some animal you can study online)
- Daily dance routine
- Song of the day
- Book/movie recommendations
- Neighborhood news (highlights from nice things neighbors are doing in this time)
Have your learner design a title and logo for their news show. Depending on the video editing software you are using they can even work on creating an intro using the title and logo, or this may be something they write on a sign and post behind them when they record the opening clip.
Begin collecting footage, this can be done with a phone, iPad, or other recording device. Try to keep all clips under 2 minutes as this will make editing the piece together much easier. Your learner may choose to narrate during the clips or between them.
Paste together the video clips using your video editing software or app of choice. Give your learner time to experiment with adding music, transition effects, different audio levels, filters, etc.. Have them consider including something at the end that invites viewers to share their own videos. These can be incorporated in future shows!
After the edited video is final, determine your mode of distribution. Considerations:
- Since in most cases the creators of this news show will be minors, you’ll want to make sure anyone pictured in the video has the permission of a parent/guardian for it to be shared. Even if you use the most “private” approaches recommended below, the videos can always reach a wider audience so permission in advance is the best way to avoid trouble.
- If the entire video is under 3.5 minutes you can generally distribute it as a file via email and this helps with privacy concerns if you do not want your learner’s likeness on the web.
- You can also load videos into Vimeo or YouTube and make them “private” so only people with the link to the video can watch it. (Added privacy features sometimes include a fee.)
- Google Drive is free and can house larger videos. After loading a video into the Drive right click on the file to “share” and you will get several options for privacy settings. The share feature gives you a link that can then be sent to your audience.
If you are a teacher and are considering doing something like this with your class, individual students can record segments, email them to you, and then these can be assembled together into something to share with the class.
If you are a parent or guardian with multiple children in the home, have them work together as a “news team” to create the show. Note that with tools like ZOOM (a free platform that can now require passwords, a security feature we recommend) you can record video calls so interviews with friends and family outside the home can be included in the show.
For an added element of literacy, have students write down “scripts” to use for introductions to clips or even during them. These clips often work fine without a script, but writing one will help learners to plan in advance rather than having to do several re-takes. In addition, if you’re using a platform like Vimeo or YouTube, you have the option to include a closed-caption transcript. This is a good idea for accessibility and transcribing the language from the video can be a good learning experience for students.
Inspired Teaching Connection:
An immersive activity like this includes ALL the Inspired Teaching core elements. Learners are creating something with Purpose (informing and entertaining others) that also involves Persistence and Action. This is intense but Joyful work. The product as well as the process provide Wide-ranging Evidence of Student Learning. Children are quick learners, even when it comes to new tools like video editing apps, so giving them the freedom to learn and execute each news show on their own positions them as Experts of both the medium and the message. And most importantly, watching their production with appreciation for that expertise demonstrates Mutual Respect. Such a rich learning experience is also full of the 4 I’s, as Intellect, Inquiry, Imagination, and Integrity will all be hard at work. If your learner chooses to make this show into a series you’ll see the Wonder-Experiment-Learn Cycle play out again and again. Each show will get better than the last!
See our instructional model here.
Standards Addressed by this Activity
Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning Competencies
Self-Awareness: The abilities to understand one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior across contexts. This includes capacities to recognize one’s strengths and limitations with a well-grounded sense of confidence and purpose.
Self-management: The abilities to manage one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations and to achieve goals and aspirations. This includes the capacities to delay gratification, manage stress, and feel motivation and agency to accomplish personal and collective goals.
Social awareness: The abilities to understand the perspectives of and empathize with others, including those from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and contexts. This includes the capacities to feel compassion for others, understand broader historical and social norms for behavior in different settings, and recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.
Responsible decision-making: The abilities to make caring and constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions across diverse situations. This includes the capacities to consider ethical standards and safety concerns, and to evaluate the benefits and consequences of various actions for personal, social, and collective well-being.
Relationship skills: The abilities to establish and maintain healthy and supportive relationships and to effectively navigate settings with diverse individuals and groups. This includes the capacities to communicate clearly, listen actively, cooperate, work collaboratively to problem solve and negotiate conflict constructively, navigate settings with differing social and cultural demands and opportunities, provide leadership, and seek or offer help when needed.
Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Language
Conventions of Standard English:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
Knowledge of Language:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.3 Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.
Vocabulary Acquisition and Use:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.6 Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.
Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening
Comprehension and Collaboration:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.2 Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.3 Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.
Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.5 Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.
Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Writing
Text Types and Purposes:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences.
Production and Distribution of Writing:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.
Research to Build and Present Knowledge:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
Range of Writing:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.
Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice
Model with mathematics.
CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP4 Mathematically proficient students can apply the mathematics they know to solve problems arising in everyday life, society, and the workplace. In early grades, this might be as simple as writing an addition equation to describe a situation. In middle grades, a student might apply proportional reasoning to plan a school event or analyze a problem in the community. By high school, a student might use geometry to solve a design problem or use a function to describe how one quantity of interest depends on another. Mathematically proficient students who can apply what they know are comfortable making assumptions and approximations to simplify a complicated situation, realizing that these may need revision later. They are able to identify important quantities in a practical situation and map their relationships using such tools as diagrams, two-way tables, graphs, flowcharts and formulas. They can analyze those relationships mathematically to draw conclusions. They routinely interpret their mathematical results in the context of the situation and reflect on whether the results make sense, possibly improving the model if it has not served its purpose.
Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.7 Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards
Dimension 1: Developing Questions and Planning Inquiries
Dimension 1 features the development of questions and the planning of inquiries. With the entire scope of human experience as its backdrop, the content of social studies consists of a rich array of facts, concepts, and generalizations. The way to tie all of this content together is through the use of compelling and supporting questions. Questioning is key to student learning. The C3 Framework encourages the use of compelling and supporting questions, both teacher- and student-generated, as a central element of the teaching and learning process.
Dimension 2: Applying Disciplinary Tools and Concepts (Civics / Economics / Geography / History)
Dimension 2, Applying Disciplinary Concepts and Tools, provides the backbone for the Inquiry Arc. Working with a robust compelling question and a set of discrete supporting questions, teachers and students determine the kind of content they need in order to develop their inquiries. This process is an artful balancing act because the interplay between Dimensions 1 and 2 is dynamic: students access disciplinary knowledge both to develop questions and to pursue those questions using disciplinary concepts and tools.
Dimension 3: Evaluating Sources and Using Evidence
- Gathering and Evaluating Sources
- Developing Claims and Using Evidence
Sources come in many forms, including historical and contemporary documents, data from direct observation, graphics, economic statistics, maps, legislative actions, objects, and court rulings. Access to these and other digital sources is now more readily available than ever. The availability of source materials, however, does not translate automatically into their wise use. Students must be mindful that not all sources are equal in value and use and that sources do not, by themselves, constitute evidence. Rather, evidence consists of the material students select to support claims and counter-claims in order to construct accounts, explanations, and arguments.
Dimension 4: Communicating Conclusions and Taking Informed Action
- Communicating and Critiquing Conclusions
- Taking Informed Action
Developing explanations and making and supporting arguments can take form in individual essays, group projects, and other classroom-based written assessments, both formal and informal. But students need not be limited to those avenues. Although there is no substitute for thoughtful and persuasive writing, the Framework advocates expanding the means by which students communicate their preliminary and final conclusions. As the Indicators for Dimension 4 (Communicating Conclusions and Taking Informed Action) demonstrate, those means include a range of venues and a variety of forms (e.g., discussions, debates, policy analyses, video productions, and portfolios). Moreover, the manner in which students work to create their solutions can differ. Students need opportunities to work individually, with partners, in small groups, and within whole class settings.
Active and responsible citizens identify and analyze public problems; deliberate with other people about how to define and address issues; take constructive, collaborative action; reflect on their actions; create and sustain groups; and influence institutions both large and small. They vote, serve on juries, follow the news and current events, and participate in voluntary groups and efforts. Teaching students to act in these ways—as citizens—significantly enhances preparation for college and career. Many of the same skills that are needed for active and responsible citizenship—working effectively with other people, deliberating and reasoning quantitatively about issues, following the news, and forming and sustaining groups—are also crucial to success in the 21st century workplace and in college. Individual mastery of content often no longer suffices; students should also develop the capacity to work together to apply knowledge to real problems. Thus, a rich social studies education is an education for college, career, and civic life.