F.J. Scott Elementary School | Print |
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Credited with being one of the first elementary news broadcasts in Texas, F. J. Scott Elementary School has come a long way since their first production. 

In preparation for her presentation at TCEA: "WOW! Create the Best Student Newscast Step by Step", we had a few minutes with Noe Salinas.


SVN: Tell us about your background and how you decided to start teaching TV/Video production?

I’m a 5th grade Science teacher at F.J. Scott Elementary in Roma ISD.  I’ve been teaching 10 yrs. from 3rd-5th grade.  In 2003, our school was selected to participate in a technology grant called MAXTech.  The grant consisted of receiving different technologies such as digital video cameras, digital cameras, scanners, laptops, and software to be used with these technologies.  Part of the grant was getting the training needed from Region One Service Center (ESC1) on how to use the software and hardware.  After I was selected to participate in the grant, I received training on different software including video editing.  As a final project, we were required to make a flyer to be passed in our community informing everyone of the grant and everything it consisted of.  Instead of making a flyer, I decided to create a video newscast showing everything we received in the grant including how it benefited our school.  Since 2003, we have created 37 Knights’ TV shows that were broadcasted to our community through our high school channel GTN.  We create about six shows a year and have twenty-two 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students participating in our shows each year.


SVN: How did you obtain initial funding for your program? How do you fund the class now?

Our initial funding was done through the MAXTech grant mentioned above.  Since then, we’ve had difficult times keeping the show going.  Unfortunately, getting any funding for this type of project is complicated.  There are other more important issues that need funding to maintain student excellence in our district.  After the grant ended, we’ve managed to keep our show going through tips, tricks, and “home-invention” ideas that let us spent little with excellent results.  Besides this, our school principal is very supportive and manages to locate some funds for our show to keep it from disappearing.  We have discovered many different ways of keeping things working without a big budget.  In our TCEA and ESC1 presentations, we show the audience how to make their own newscasts without a bug budget using tricks and tips we discovered.


SVN: Did you have equipment available?

When we started we had the minimal basic equipment needed such as a digital video camera, a tripod, and the editing software.  Today, we are fortunate to have more tools that enhance our show thanks to our principal.


SVN: How many kids are in the TV/Video Production classes?  How is it broken down?  Is it a multi-year program?

Each year we select about 20-24 students from grades 3-5.  We don’t have daily classes but we do meet every Monday after school for one hour.  Before shooting any segment, I meet with the camera crew and reporter to review the storyboard.   


SVN: How many kids to do the morning news broadcast?  Do you also do a weekly broadcast? Special events coverage?

Our newscast is not a morning news show.  It is shown one time each six weeks to our community through our high school channel GTN.  Our newscasts include school events, news, sports, Science experiments, trips, amazing trivia questions, opinions, commercials, “fake” movie previews, and other special happenings such as book authors’ visits, interviews, meetings, school competitions, and more. 


SVN: What jobs do the kids do?  Do the kids rotate through on-air talent and crew positions or are they “hired” for a specific task?

Our show has two anchors, about fourteen reporters, and eight members in the camera crew. 
Almost all of the segments filmed are done by the students on their own in teams consisting of 1 reporter and a 2-student camera crew.  There are changes in the anchor positions frequent times a year giving everyone an opportunity to experience it.  Everyone, including the camera crew and reporters, review the storyboard created by them and/or us and depart to the filming location or event and start the filming on their own.  All reports will include an introduction of the event by the reporter, 2-3 minutes of film of the actual event, and a reporter closing.  The reporters are responsible for mentioning the 5 W’s (What is happening, Where are they, Who is there, Why, and When) of the event.  The camera crew consists of two students.  1. Camera Man 2. Microphone & Headset.  The camera man is responsible for shots, angles, and focus. The sound engineer is responsible for good sound and static free audio. Only 2-3 students are able to edit the show in the late months of the year.    


SVN: Do students audition for on-air positions?

Since there are too many students wanting to join the cast, students have to audition for every part in the newscast.  Anchors, reporters, and camera crew audition through different tasks and practice reports. 


SVN: Do they write the content? 

At the beginning of the year, we create the storyboards for each segment and students are able to input their ideas in each report throughout the year. As the year goes by and they practice frequently, students are able to write their segment’s storyboard on their own in the second part of the school year.  It is very important to always listen to what the students have to say because they always have awesome ideas for segments, commercials, and everything in the show.


SVN: How long does the show run? 

 Our shows run from 14 – 17 minutes. 


SVN: Do you submit programming to independent contest such as those sponsored by StudicaSkills and SchoolTube TV?

Since we are an elementary school, there aren’t too many video contests that allow us to participate.  We have only participated in one at the ESC1 and we are happy and honored to have taken 1st place out of 100+ projects.  Most contests are limited to 6th grade and above.  Unfortunately, we can’t submit our newscasts to TeacherTube because they are “too” big to upload according to their restrictions. 


SVN: Can your broadcast be viewed outside the school? District-wide?  Local cable access?  On your school/district web-site?

Our shows are viewed by our entire community through our high school channel GTN-17 through Time Warner Cable.  We also post all of our recent shows in our school website and our own Knights’ TV website.


SVN: Do you have an equipment list you can share with our readers?

NS: Of Course!! We have:

·         1 Sony HVR- A1U 1080i HD Video Camera

·         1 Canon DV Video Camera

·         Sony Remote Control Tripod VCT-D680RM 

·         9X12 background Green, Black, & White Screens 

·         Cowboy Studio Backdrop Stand 

·         Cowboy Studio 2000W Softbox Video Lighting Set 

·         Pinnacle HD 12th Edition Video Editing Software 

·         Boris FX Pack 

·         Sony DV 63min tapes 

·         3 Samson/Memorex Microphones 

·         Sony DVD+R DVDs

·         Sony CD-RW CDs

SVN: Have any quick start tips!

NS: Let your imagination fly.  Don’t let something such as “lack of funds” or “no equipment” demolish your ideas or dreams.  Always keep them alive in any project of any kind. Know what you want to do.  Research the areas for your project.  Make storyboards and practice as often as possible.  Allow the students to give you their ideas, they will be great.  Don’t be afraid of any video project or segment.  Invent ways of making things work without a big budget.  Be organized, stay positive, and be patient at all times because like everyone, students will make mistakes. Remember that some will support you at all times.  Try new things.  Have lots of fun.

Noe Salinas will be presenting at TCEA on Friday, February 12th at 9:45 AM.  See the TCEA program for more information.

 “Explore, Discover, Learn, & Create”

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