Could you do a morning show live in front of your peers?
That’s exactly what seven students at East Aiken School of the Arts do every morning with the Prime Time News program that is broadcast to every classroom. The briefing program has been going on for years, with EASA principal Lisa Fallaw saying it has been happening since she arrived at the school in 2012. The teams are made up of fourth and fifth graders who must complete an application to participate.
“Every 4 1/2 weeks we switch teams like this, we have a variety of students that can do it…” Flaw said. “It gives younger people something to look forward to.”
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Fifth grader Danielle Wise is in her second year doing prime time news and said her favorite job is news anchor.
“I think it’s a lot of fun and a lot of entertainment and it’s like I’ve always wanted to do the news,” she said.
Wise added that when she is older, she would like to be a television news anchor.
Kruti Patel, another fifth grader, is also in her second year with the Prime Time News and loves working as a news anchor.
“I’ve heard a lot of people do it and they said it was really fun to come to school in the morning and be on the news show and see Mrs Flaw every day,” said said Patel to explain why she wanted to participate.
Patel added that her favorite part is when she works with Wise in the morning. She would also like to work in television news when she is older.
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The information program is led by East Aiken drama teacher Mary O’Conner. She is in her first year at school and enjoys seeing the confidence the children gain from participating.
“I think it’s fun to see the kids gaining confidence and being really likeable in front of the camera, and there’s also a lot of things they do like running a script or the computer that gives students who don’t maybe not feel confident in front of a camera an opportunity to feel like oh, there’s more than a newscaster involved in the news,” O’Conner said.
Each week, the students alternate the roles they play, Flaw said.
“Right now each crew has seven (kids), it’s fun and they can all do every part,” Flaw said. “So if they’re doing the camera one week, the next week they might be a news anchor. So they really have to know all the pieces to keep it working. We tell them if somebody’s off, you may need to step in and fulfill its roles.
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Flaw said the students also work on the different aspects of a news broadcast, which includes the camera, paper teleprompter, computer for transitions, news anchors, weatherman and puppet. But it’s not just the students involved, Flaw herself is also on the news show.
“The coolest thing is I can do it with them and I’m in the puppet house with the puppet,” Flaw said. “They know I’m going to say anything and they just have to deal with it and it’s a lot of fun.”
During the show, the student gives the date, reviews the character trait for the day, makes announcements and reviews the school’s expectations, Flaw said.
“One of the other fun things we’ve added this year is investigative ‘reporting’ and they go in the afternoons with Ms. O’Conner…and they interview different students,” Flaw said. “Right now they’re interviewing STAR students and we’re going to be doing little movie trailers and it’s going to be part of our current affairs show. It’s going to be fun. There’s going to be different things we do within the school. school they will investigate.
By appearing on Prime Time News, Mr Flaw said students can practice their public speaking skills and learn about digital arts and journalism.
“But the best part is they’re really practicing those soft skills because they have to, that communication, public speaking, the focus, they have to focus on that teleprompter and what they’re doing,” Flawlaw said. “And they have to cooperate because they have to work together to make the news show go the way it should.”
The students seem to really enjoy participating in the program each morning, O’Conner said.
“They seem eager to get there,” O’Conner said. “It’s only a 10-minute program, but it seems like something that really motivates them to come to school early.”
“They love it, they’re so excited,” Flaww said. “I’ve had little ninth graders like, ‘when can I do it? Next year, you can do it next year. It really builds excitement.’
On Wednesday, Sept. 21, the news crew will transition to the fourth-grade cast, O’Conner said, and students will get to see a whole new set of faces on the morning news.