From the Teacher
I am, as always, incredibly awed by your generosity. This project has made a world of difference for my class. Motivation and personal engagement has increased ten fold since we began receiving our Time for Kids magazines. I am constantly asked "When does the next issue arrive?" by my students. I never thought I would see the day that they asked for MORE to read about a topic- it truly is every teacher's dream! The camera, memory card and tripod work wonderfully. We are amazed at the crystal clear images we shoot when we record our newscasts.
We started off our project by exploring the first TFK issue we received. We did some reading, and some writing... and quickly realized that we had a lot of work to do. When we received our second issue, students started to choose topics that they were really interested in so that they could do further Internet research. I taught a few lessons on netiquette and Internet safety, and most importantly, good research techniques. Students compiled notes and works cited lists to help them write their newscast. Once the pieces were written, edited, and revised, students set up the digital camera on the tripod and recorded each other reading their writing. We learned how to edit our clips, splicing together some pieces, cutting others out, and created a newsreel of our current events writing. We have a few more clips to add! Once we do we will burn our clips onto a DVD to share with the other 4th and 5th grade classes.
This project boosted my teaching and my students' learning by giving us some new incentive and motivation. In a time of great educational change, we needed a project that would let us develop our skills in a way that wasn't paper and pencil based. We missed having the arts in our classroom, and this project helped us bring it back! My students have become better readers and writers by doing this project. They appreciate the real-world implications the TFK articles have, and this has motivated them to read more newspaper and magazine articles. When it comes to writing, the sheer fact that they were able to choose to write about something that interested them made a world of difference. They are incorporating more exciting vocabulary and better transitional words and phrases into their newscasts compared to some of the non-fiction writing they did at the beginning of the school year. I can't forget to mention how this project has boosted their 21st Century skills too! They have become better consumers of the Internet, they have increased their critical thinking skills by evaluating websites, they have learned to type, record videos, take stills, upload those images onto the computer, and edit those clips. It truly is amazing to watch.
I can't wait to do this project again next year with my future students. I have siblings of my current students ask me in the hallway if they will get to do the video project next year. It is heartwarming to see these students excited about learning again. You played the biggest role in that with your generous donation. You have made a tremendous difference in the lives of my 31 students. This is an experience that neither they nor I will forget. THANK YOU!
From the Students