Fourth-graders produce weekly news show at Harrison Elementary
Gannon Lewis is everywhere.
He’s filming reporters as they interview people walking down the hallways for a news segment, “Huskies in the Hallways.” He’s manning the camera when he films two anchors, reading the news from a script. He’s watching everyone in the newsroom, trying to get ahead of a story.
And he’s a fourth-grader at Harrison Elementary School.
“I love it in here in the newsroom,” said Gannon. “I love getting to film them asking questions when someone else is asking the questions. I love getting to do all of it. It’s fun making the news.”
Gannon is one of 30 fourth-graders who collaborate regularly to produce DHE-K4 News, a weekly news show written, produced, shot and edited by Harrison fourth-graders. All fourth-graders can participate in the newsroom during the Personal Learning Time once a week, but a few come back to the newsroom again and again, said Nancy Samples, school counselor at Harrison.
“One of our top priorities is to feature as many students on our broadcasts as we can,” she said. “Our students are extremely talented, and the news is a way for them to showcase their talents, behind or in front of the camera.”
The weekly show is about 15 minutes long and features a variety of entertainment and news segments. Talent segments showcase Harrison students singing, dancing, gymnastics, music and more. In career spotlights, students interview their parents to highlight their parents’ jobs and contributions in the community. One popular segment, Ari and the Science Guys, features fourth-graders Ari Williams, Payton Roy and Luke Meyer conducting science experiments for the first time on camera.
“We got this idea from Bill Nye the Science Guy, that old show,” said Peyton.
Ari and Luke chime in, singing the song before describing their roles. Peyton shares the hypothesis, Luke states the science facts being explored in the experiment and Ari conducts the experiment in real time.
The segment is so popular, the trio have been requested to perform live science experiments around the school in classrooms. Around the World in 172 Days is another popular segment, which highlights a English Language Learners student, their home country, where it is on a map and aspects of their culture.
Fourth-grader Katelee Dodd, an anchor of the show and writer, said that it’s one of her favorite segments on the show.
“Because of Around the World, I learn about all these countries,” she said. “You get to meet and learn about all these places where my friends are from.”
Once everything is shot by videographer Gannon, editors Macy Hendrickson and Ryan Harris put the show together. It takes time, but it’s worth it, they say.
“I like editing the news because I feel like I’m working for KY3,” said Macy. “I just wanted to be involved in doing the news because it sounds like it’s fun. Now I watch NBC News and KY3. But seeing the bloopers on our show is the best. They’re very funny.”
And in every blooper, news meeting, segment and broadcast, students are learning technical and communication skills. But they’re also learning confidence, said Samples.
“The News has given them a venue to share their talents and most importantly, our students are having their voices heard,” she says. “And other students’ get to see our students’ work. You can go into any classroom on Monday mornings, and our students really love seeing themselves and their classmates on the News.”