Fifth Graders Produce Newscasts with High School Mentors

Londonderry High School TV students mentored groups of fifth graders as they produced their own newscasts to air on the School District’s cable channel.

The students independently researched arts and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)-related topics of their choosing, wrote their own scripts and selected the graphics for their news packages.

South School fifth graders Andrew Zavorotny and Karleigh Chretien, for example, researched Elvis Presley and solar power.

“They were not elementary-level topics. They did incredible research and amazing writing,” Advanced Television teacher Karen Robinson said.

In addition to introducing the fifth graders to television production and the opportunities waiting for them at the high school, the production day at the Cable Access Studio was for some of Robinson’s introductory students a first exposure to production in the studio.

“For the older kids, it was a very different kind of production because it was fast-paced, and they’re used to moving through things slowly. They had to go through a lot of complex things pretty quickly because there’s no way we’ll get it all done otherwise,” Robinson said.

The fifth graders took a tour of the studio before settling into their assigned roles operating the camera, in the control room and in front of the camera as newscasters.

Jen Colantuoni, a fifth grade teacher at South Elementary School, said the project was a unique opportunity to teach her students how to write for an audience.

Additionally, Robinson said producing the newscast helps students nervous about speaking in front of the camera overcome their fears and learn how to pick back up and carry on when they make a mistake.

The packages students from North, South and Matthew Thornton elementary schools produced will be edited and broadcast on LEO21, the District’s cable channel, as well as South School’s YouTube channel.

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Caption: South School fifth graders Robbie Sirois and Manny Sousa work in the control room while their class produces a newscast at the Londonderry Cable Studio.

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