Now is the time to begin planning your summer journalism camp or next year’s convention trips. If you have not received your information sheet, stop by the room and I will get you one.
First, if you are considering summer camp, please put NSPA on the top of your list and get me your name ASAP. We plan to take a SW van to Minneapolis for NSPA July 17-21. You will need to get some paperwork and money to me before we go.
If you can’t make NSPA with us, definitely consider another camp. These are great ways to learn additional skills, gain some new ideas and network with students who have similar interests.
Your next big goal is to plan ahead for our fall or spring convention trips to Boston or San Diego. Talk to your parents know about the cost and which dates work best for you to travel. We will have several meetings before the trips, so don’t sweat the small details now. Talk to those who went to San Antonio last year to hear more about what conventions are like.
Both the newspaper and yearbook staffs engaged in crowd coverage of two major events at BVSW. The yearbook covered the Interpersonal Skills Talent Show and the newspaper staff covered Wolf Games (our school’s version of field days). This was our first attempt at sending the entire staff out to cover one event. It was a learning experience for me and the students.
What we did right:
1. Students picked what they wanted to do. I encouraged students to stretch their skills – try something new. At the end of the day though, I let them pick their coverage type and media and angle. This got them really interested in the exercise. They all had automatic buyin. This also required some of them to learn some new skills. Writers who wanted to try their hand at taking photos had to review their photography skills and camera settings. Photographers had to learn how to edit and download video. This was especially true for the yearbook staffers who rarely get to work with mutlimedia.
2. Planned ahead. About a week in advance, we began talking about how to best cover the event. We talked about how to use social media and other tools for coverage. The special education department chair came in and talked about using people first language and reporting on students with special needs. We discussed possible rain during Wolf Games and the alternative plan with that. All students practiced their media, developed questions, etc.
3. Let it happen. One of my favorite coverage pieces was a Pinterest collection of quotes and mugs by two newspaper staffers. I was doubtful about this at first, but it ended up great.
What we can do differently:
1. Diversify coverage. We ended up with a lot of photo galleries, but lacked in other storytelling formats, especially for the talent show. The yearbook staff needed much more prompting to use tools such as Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest that the newspaper staff uses regularly.
2. Troubleshoot. Make sure writers know how to post to smugmug or post photos to bvswnews.com before the event. Have some in-time training tools ready for students to refer to. Have audio/video reporters practice uploading before event.
Check out our coverage on the Wolf Games and Interpersonal Skills Talent Show. What do you think we could do differently?
Sometimes looking at familiar tools in new ways can yield amazing results. I have taught Photoshop for years; and since CS3 have really emphasis using adjustment layers and ‘protecting pixels’. I have always taught basic layer management. However, this year I developed a new twist on the same old layer panel.
I have embedded copied layers to help teach different correction techniques. This alone is a change – I used to use a good half dozen images to teach different techniques. By using one image, I am showing how different techniques can yield similar results. This alone should improve memory overload.
I also began renaming each layer, in the layers panel with the correction technique to be used. This adds another layer (pun intended) of training for students. So in addition to a demo (or video) and a step by step written tutorial, they have the prompt of the layers panel. For many students, this quick in time prompt is all they need.
Such a simple technique, but yet so effective for training. I can’t wait to use this in both digital imaging and newspaper next year!
What are some ways you have re-invented something new? What training breakthroughs are you having?
Finding inspiration from great artists seems easy in traditional art classes. You use similar media, so utilizing similar brush strokes or color palettes seems approachable. Utilizing these techniques in digital art is less approachable.
I encourage my digital students to find ways to translate traditional media into a digital landscape. This also encourages them to research artists or art periods. The more that student artists are exposed to great art, the more creativity they add to their own tool box, and the closer they come to finding their own voice.
This has motivated me to include more painting in both Illustrator and Photoshop in my classes. This semester, I had students experiment with creating a virtual sketchbook in Photoshop using brush skills.
Next year, I plan to take this project to the next level, encouraging students to either overpaint or develop an entire painting using photoshop. This art by Ross Armstrong was a big influence for this developing project. I think it would show students how you can emulate traditional art media in Photoshop and use tools in an uncommon way.
An ongoing challenge for nearly all publications is covering all student groups and all students. One way to tackle this challenge is to enlist the help of other students/teachers.
This year our special education department chair came to the j-room to discuss best practices in covering students with special needs. The honest and frank discussion was one that not only made the bookies better journalists, but also made them better people.
As part of our practice in covering students with special needs, I encourage each staffer to work with the individual teacher and make contact with parents. This is also the only time that I encourage outside viewing of work prior to publication. However, this viewing allows my students to learn from experts and make sure that students are represented correctly.
We also keep a set of evergreen ideas for each staff. These, as well as some ongoing feature coverage items, allow us to cover random students.
Next year we plan to improve our coverage by sharing our story pitch form with clubs and academic groups. Our hope is that this will be an easy way for us to find out what a variety of groups are doing and cover them.
We also plan to do a better job of tracking who we are using and for what.
What are you do you think can be done to improve coverage of all students?
Normally I like to keep my things I like to programs and apps that have at least two platforms : iphone, ipad, desktop, android, etc. The more places you can use an app, the better it is.
Vine breaks that mold be being an IPhone only app. Vine allows you to create short videos that loop. It is a free app and you have unlimited uploads that link to Twitter.
I think this is a fun mobile reporting tool for students. Easy uploads to Twitter means you are reaching a student audience where they are – on social media.
This is also a great tool for education. I can envision teachers have students Vine part of a lab or other exercise and then Tweet those out for the class to see.
Give it a try and let me know what you think. I would love a recommendation for an Ipad/android app like this!
With all the talk of Common Core and focusing on college/career readiness skills, I think it definitely a great chance for journalism teachers to toot their own horns. We have been preparing students with real life skills in communication, leadership and decision making for years!
Nothing says it better than this though.