It was lights, camera, action for Sagamore Middle School sixth-grade social studies students as they were joined by two television news professionals as part of an ongoing newscast project.
Students in Jessica Frank’s World History class stepped into the spotlight as part of an ancient civilizations unit with a special spin. Each student transformed into a news anchor where they presented elements of the civilizations they studied. Students delivered news reports on numerous aspects of ancient cultures, such as cooking, fashion, dance, technology, weather and sports.
As a key component to the newscast project, students received helpful insight from two prominent local news professionals. Students were visited by Jamie Stuart, Emmy-winning News 12 Long Island sports anchor and reporter, and Joe Cioffi, meteorologist on FiOS1 News and WPIX-TV Channel 11, for two separate assembly presentations.
Beginning with an assembly for all the sixth-grade students, Stuart described his job as a sports anchor and reporter and how he reached the position he holds today. He encouraged students to always work hard and take the time to approach problems in a constructive way. Following the assembly, Stuart worked with small groups from Jessica Frank’s class, offering advice on how to effectively deliver their newscast and how to write and edit their scripts.
During a separate assembly presentation, Cioffi spoke with students about the basics of meteorology and elements of forecast maps. Demonstrating his expertise in meteorology, Cioffi identified an area of incoming rain, announcing that it should begin any minute. Students were astonished when the rain began outside shortly after. Continuing the visit, Cioffi coached students in front of the green screen as they worked on delivering their ancient weather reports.
In its first year at Sagamore, the addition of the news show project into the class curriculum engages students in a unique way. With help from librarian Sandy Bucher, students utilize library resources to research the topics they will be reporting on. While gaining knowledge on ancient civilizations, the students also explore many aspects of being part of a news production. Students write and edit scripts, conduct interviews and then deliver the prepared newscast in front of a green screen with the help of Technology Integration Specialist Carrie McGuire. The green screen was used to add realistic settings behind the student news anchors as their segments were recorded.
“This project gives students a much greater experience than what they learn from the textbook alone,” Frank said. “Students take the information they obtain through research and bring it to life.”