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This TV newscast lesson will bring the American Revolution, and your students, to life or at least to tape


Computers & Internet, Social Studies  


5, 6, 7  


Title – An American Revolution Newscast
By – Erin Lynch
Primary Subject – Social Studies
Secondary Subject – Computers & Internet
Grade Level – 5-7


      1. The students will work in groups to ultimately produce a news program together.
      2. Each student will choose their role in the project and use the Internet to research their chosen topic and write their news story.
      3. As a group the students will produce a PowerPoint slide show to use as each student is giving their news report.
    4. Each student will learn how to use the video camera and they will take turns recording their groups’ newscast.

Duration: This project can take at least two weeks, maybe more.

Materials: Video Camera, Laptops, PowerPoint programs, projector, tripod, tapes, and floppy disks.


      1-2 class sessions.


      After the completion of the chapter covering the Revolutionary War, the students will create a newscast reporting on some of the important events. The students should be put into groups of 5 or more. Each group should be given 5 writing assignments, for example, 2 feature stories, 1 international story, 1 interview, 1 local story. They should each choose what they wish to do and start choosing topics for their story. The group should work together on this so that they do not duplicate each other. At this point, it may be helpful to show some recorded clips of current news reports to give the students some direction. I also like to give the kids the option to do some extra reporting on things they like. In the past my kids have done things like weather reports, traffic, and commercials, which have made the newscasts entertaining. I like to give them one or two class periods to write and edit within their groups. I also like to get the laptops at this point so the students can begin looking for information that may help them. They need floppy disks so that they can download and save their information to use again in their PowerPoint presentation.
      1-2 class sessions


      The students need to begin working on their PowerPoint presentations. Each person doing a story needs to have at least one slide to be projected behind him or her as it is on real television. Again the laptops and floppy disks are needed. One per group usually suffices, it is easier if they help each other create their slides. If the students are unfamiliar with PowerPoint a mini lesson on how to use the program may be needed at this time. The students should save the entire slide show on one floppy disk for the presentation.
      1-2 class sessions


      The students now need to learn how to use the video cameras. I like to put them into their groups and instruct them to work on the organization of the newscast. I give them a checklist to follow to make sure all minor details are covered. (see attached) The checklist has to be explained and examples given so the students understand. A mini lesson on transitions may be needed. As they are working out the kinks I go around from group to group with the video camera showing the children how to use it. It is wise to let them handle it and play with the buttons as you do not want the presentation to be the first time they touch it. At this point, the students should be ready to give their presentations.
      1-2 class sessions


    The day of the presentations you should have the camera charged and an extra battery and a tripod set up at a good angle. A table should be set up to be used as the news desk. The slide show can be projected in two ways. A laptop on a stool behind the news desk or with a projector attached to a computer. The latter is the best because it is easier to switch slides. I usually make the groups draw numbers to see who goes first. The students then give their presentations. I use the attached rubric to grade them as they present. The students love to watch themselves after they all present. I usually have them critique their performance and make suggestions for improvement.


Make sure you covered the following details:

      ____ Do you have your transitions written into your stories thanking and introducing other members of your group?
      ____ Do you know who is changing the slide show and who is covering them when it is their turn?
      ____ Do you know who is filming the group and who is covering them when it is their turn?
      ____ Does the first person on have an introductory piece to introduce the group?
      ____ Does the last person have a closing piece to conclude the presentation?
      ____ Did you edit and re-edit your stories adding detail to make your stand out from the rest?
      ____ Do you have a name or channel to call your group that is creative and time appropriate?
      ____ Do you have props or other extras to make your project stand out from the rest?
    ____ Does everyone in the group know what order they are in and when to be ready to go?


E-Mail Erin Lynch !

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