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MMSOA brings back the News Show

Published on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021

MMSOA waving at laptop camera

BCSD provided photo

The News Show may look a little different this year, but Marrington Middle School of the Arts successfully found a way to bring the show back this semester -- and this time around, it features sixth-graders.

Traditionally, the application process for the News Show begins near the conclusion of the school year. Rising seventh and eighth-graders are invited to apply for a position on the show for the following year. 

The process includes completing an application form, writing a segment script and participating in an interview. Students who are selected to be part of the news crew fulfill designated rolls on the show each week. They write their own scripts via Google Slides and film the show weekly in the news room. Teachers stream the show (typically 10-15 minutes long) via BCSD TV on Fridays. 

When the school building closed last year because of the pandemic, MMSOA did not open the application process and therefore the school began this year without a show.

Much thought and investigation went into figuring out how to have a show that would include both traditional and blended distance learning (BDL) students on the crew, as well as allow them to air the show to all students, in and outside of the building. Instead of filming the show in person and editing it with the school's TriCaster, the school turned to Flipgrid.  

To bring the idea to fruition, Media Specialist Carrie Courtney consulted with Innovative Learning Coordinator Nicole LaPoint for help. They worked together to test various aspects of Flipgrid to insure that Courtney's new socially-distanced plan would work. Courtney then contacted Lizzy Sosa, a former student producer of the news show, who is now a freshman in the Berkeley Center for the Arts at Goose Creek High. Sosa worked with Principal Dara Harrop and Courtney on all aspects of creating and launching an updated news show application (including amended rolls on the show) via Google Forms, and she filmed a welcome message and sample news segment on Flipgrid as an example for all applicants. Sosa provided feedback on all of the applications and audition videos (in lieu of live interviews). Her feedback was invaluable in choosing the news crew for the 2020-2021 school year, Courtney said. 

One unique aspect of this year's show is that sixth-grade students are part of the crew; there are five sixth-graders and two seventh-graders. The cast has successfully filmed two shows, released Jan. 8 and Jan. 15.

"With an entirely new crew this year, I am impressed with what our students have produced thus far. I am in constant communication with the crew via Google Slides, Classroom and Meets," Courtney said. "However, the students have had to dive in and forge ahead with something completely new to them. I am excited to see the growth in our students and show as we continue to learn throughout the process of creating a socially-distanced news show each week."

View the Jan. 8 show.

View the Jan. 15 show.