Tips and Ideas

Too many students and not enough cameras?

Posted by on Oct 14, 2015 in Adviser Resources, Tips and Ideas | 0 comments

When school started, I found myself in a position that I am sure many of you have been in: not enough cameras or editing computers and too many students in my beginning broadcast classes. After a couple weeks of pulling my hair out with trying to figure out how to manage this situation, I came up with the following rotation. We are on the third rotation, and it has been working well. You could modify to fit your needs in many ways, depending on your situation. I have 8 groups of 4, with 4 positions. It serves several purposes:

  1. They rotate through all four positions, so they are learning all the jobs necessary
  2. Gets B-roll for the Advanced class and future projects
  3. Only need one camera for a group, which solves the camera dilemma


You’ll be divided into groups of 4. No, you don’t get to pick. 🙂 We will rotate through so that in the next few weeks,  everyone will do every position.

In your groups, you’ll have:

  • Editor (edits the footage together with shooter)
  • Shooter (takes the shots and helps shooter edit)
  • Talent (does stand up and helps write with producer)
  • Producer (plans the whole package and oversees it)


    • You’ll be given a basic place in the building to come up with a story idea involving that place.
    • Complete the script worksheet together
    • Get approval from Higgins before shooting
    • Producer, shooter and talent shoots the package.
    • Editor downloads footage properly, finishes job and exports to WREN


    • Tuesday–Explanations, pick story location, do script worksheet, get approval from Higgins
    • Wednesday/Thursday–Shoot footage
    • Thursday/Friday–edit package
    • Must be exported by Friday afternoon

Grading Scale–  -5 for each day late

  • 10 points for shooting (rule of 3rds, proper B-roll, good lighting, no shaky footage, natural sounds)
  • 10 points for writing (good transitions, appropriate standups)
  • 10 points for overall appeal (good flow, natural, holds attention, done well)
  • 10 points for clean editing (fade up from black, clean edits, b-roll used right)

Locations for first assignment:

  1. Attendance/Security office
  2. Front office
  3. Nurses office
  4. Custodians
  5. Guidance office
  6. Fieldhouse
  7. New wing
  8. LMC


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Beyond the AP Stylebook

Posted by on Sep 27, 2015 in Adviser Resources, Tips and Ideas | 0 comments

Beyond the AP Stylebook

I love the AP Stylebook. I drive my students crazy with stressful games, long worksheets and emphatic tirades about using AP Style. But even 503 pages of rules is not enough for me. I needed to create the Style Booklet.

style booklet coverIt’s two pieces of 8×11 paper formatted on InDesign to create a foldable 8-page booklet. It features a 9-pt Palatino or 8-pt Avenir Condensed text to make everything fit. I put a date on the top because it is constantly updated, and then I clip it to the copies of the AP Stylebook that sit between each computer.


The first section contains 38 entries in the same style and tone of the AP Stylebook because sometimes

  • I want to disagree with the AP Stylebook (our school priest is Father Matthew Nagle on first reference, not the Rev. Matthew Nagle)
  • I want to add to the book (spell it St. Teresa’s on first reference, not Saint Theresa’s Academy or other variations)
  • I want to emphasize common mistakes by pointing students to pages in the AP Stylebook.

After the 38 entries, I include a list of all 900+ students at Aquinas. We have a Student Council member named Elizabeth, but everyone calls her Itsy. She’s even listed in our school handbook as Itsy. Her campaign posters call her Itsy. But her Twitter handle is Elizabeth. It would be perfectly understandable and excusable for one reporter to call her Elizabeth and another to call her Itsy. But I don’t want that. So the staff sends an e-mail to all students and asks them how they would like to be known in all instances in the newspaper and yearbook. We don’t get a reply from every student, but at least we can say we asked. If they do not reply, we go with their official enrollment name.

And finally, the Style Booklet lists the 80 or so staff members with their official job title.


My entries

Your list will be much different than mine, but The Shield & Medallion style booklet makes an exception or a clarification in the following instances: 5A, administrative titles, Blue Valley/Olathe/Shawnee Mission high schools, Catholic, championships, coaches, the commons, course names, dances, Dr. / doctor, drives (charity), Eastern Kansas League, high school, Johnson County Community College, junior varsity, Kansas City, Mass, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Spirit Shop, St. James, St. Teresa’s, Source said, Student Council, teacher, teams, Treat America Food Services and WPA.


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The Ultimate Commitment

Posted by on Sep 4, 2015 in Adviser Resources, Tips and Ideas | 0 comments

The Ultimate Commitment

Looking for a way for your staff to really bond after training or a tough week or just because? Have a wedding! It sounds a little crazy, but the kids love it and remember it throughout the rest of your year.

Some of you who were at KJI this year may have already heard my pitch for why a wedding is the perfect way to start off your school year, but for those of you who weren’t there, here it is again… because it is just SO much fun!

I serve as “officiant” (download my script here) and have students write their own “vows” within the ceremony (i.e. “I vow to bring food to every food day, make deadlines, be nice, etc.). We post ours on a bulletin board afterward to remind us of what we have committed to. When it comes to exchanging of the rings, we use Ring Pops. At the conclusion of the “ceremony” we blow tiny bubbles (get them at Dollar Tree) and eat wedding cake. Editors give toasts. This year, we even had a lip sync battle (after the obligatory Cha Cha Slide dance) in maestro groups.

– Dollar Tree has tons of cheap but fun wedding decor, utensils, plates, balloons, Ring Pops and bubbles. We even throw the bouquet!
– Make it even more fun with traditional (or non-traditional) wedding music playing, girls dressing in wedding dresses or everyone wearing white (or a wedding color).
– Before the wedding, do a round of “speed dating” to get to know each other better before making a committment.
– After Winter Break, “renew your vows” and help students recommit to another semester!

I know other schools in the KC area do something like this, so feel free to post comments or pictures of your staff weddings! It really is the “perfect day.”

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