Technology brings new life to student announcements

Morning announcements at Woodland Elementary have become anything but the usual. In the last few weeks what had started as an afterschool program has evolved into something bigger—a learning opportunity where the student’s work is hands on, educational and rewarding.

Woodland’s unique morning announcements have become a staple within the school community. They are filmed and edited by teams of students using iPads and iMovie, along with the guidance of a few teachers who offer assistance as needed.

Robert Teitsma, fourth grade teacher, along with Ernest Ferland, keyboarding paraprofessional, have teamed up to help create student led morning announcements. What started out as an after school program consisting of 6-7 students has turned into a full crew of 30-40 students.

Every day as part of their iChoose elective class, students can choose between attending gym, art, library, drumming, or computer lab. Students who participate in the announcements meet in Ferland’s computer lab to receive their daily assignments.

When students show up to Ferland’s class, they are prepared to receive their assignments, which will be the next morning’s announcements. Students separate into small groups, with each group consisting of a leader, an iPad, and their assignments, which could be any combination of introductions, sports, segments, weather, or the lunch menu. The teams also do special assignments which could include “featured artist,” “did you know,” “this day in history,” “critter corner,” or “book nook.”

Along with having the opportunity to make a connection while working with the students, Teitsma explained, “You get to see and hear the kids talking about seeing each other on the announcements.” He also adds that the students gain empowerment, confidence and “are in awe and amazement when they realized what they have accomplished.”

After the filming is completed during Ferland’s class, the most experienced leaders and students stay after school to complete final edits of their pieces and upload their videos to airdrop, where Teitsma puts them together for the final edit.

Teitsma explained that the goal is to have the student announcements student-led from start to finish. Over the last few weeks, he has gone from 3-4 hours of editing to 30-40 minutes.

“In the beginning, it looked impossible. Now I don’t have to do retakes and the students are able to be in control.”

Currently, the student involvement includes fourth, fifth, and sixth graders. This, however, could change, as the latest goal is to develop cue cards for younger kids to read.

“We want them [fourth, fifth, and sixth graders] to film the younger students doing announcements too. This will teach the younger kids so that they can pick computer lab for their iChoose class too.”

While some students value the opportunity to learn new things, including editing and filming, other students are learning about leadership and their role in teaching their peers the process. For other students, this experience may be an opportunity to explore a future career.

Heidy, a fifth grader at Woodland says “this may be something I want to do when I grow up.”

To see what these hard working students have created, visit their Facebook page: