The glory of being in 8th grade comes with new classes, new teachers, and new projects. All 8th graders are required to do a history project with a group of their choice and make a historically accurate video in the form of a newscast. This project was given to all 8th graders at the beginning of February and will be due on May 25th.
Each group has 4-8 members from both Ms. Redmond or Mr. Yohn’s history classes. After choosing the members, each group is obligated to fill out a sheet with everyone’s names and what days they will meet to discuss different aspects of the project. The sheet also had a section for the different subjects that the video may be about.
The groups were able to select 1-8 topics from the list in their google classroom as choices for their final topic. There were 61 choices overall, 22 of them being 5 point extra credit opportunities.
On Wednesday, February 10, the group leaders had to go to the multipurpose room after school for a drawing to see who would be able to get their topic first. Each topic is only allowed to be used three times. This paper was 5 points in total.
When a topic is selected, the groups are able to start working on the Newscast Facts Sheet. The fact sheet had six different questions that each group member had to answer. Along with those questions, the members also had to research three different facts each related to the topic of their video.
After the fact sheet is completed, the groups need to start on their scripts. Each script is required to have six scenes and must include an Expert Panel. The scenes needed a title, a description of what was going to take place during that scene, the actors, and a rough estimate of the time length.
While the rest of the script didn’t need to include all the dialogue, the Expert Panel had to be written out completely. It also had to contain an argument, a counter argument and a rebuttal. The panel also needed to have at least three properly cited footnotes. The point value of just the script itself is 30 points.
The third part of the project is the newscast itself. Many different elements are needed in order to get all 55 points such as an introduction to the news station, breaking news, as well as a custom element which all need to be historically accurate. Each piece of the newscast, has little sub pieces that are all different point amounts. For example, in the introduction to the news station, theme music, which is one point, must be included. The amount of time that each video should be is 3-5 minutes and should be saved on a flash drive in WMV or in Quicktime format.
The fourth and final part of the project is a teamwork evaluation which is 10 points. With each element put into place, the total amount of points a group can receive is 100, but if the group had chosen an extra credit topic, they can exceed the limit by 5 points.
Many of the groups have had an easy time so far with each component of the project. “We’re pretty much done with the script and we just need to sign up with the filming date so we can start everything,” said 8th grader Tran Vuu from Ms. Redmond’s class.
However, there are many challenges to this project. Mr. Yohn stated, “The hardest thing that students have trouble with is getting together to film and the second hardest thing is the editing process of the film.” He also said whoever in the group is going to be editing should have patience and creativity.
It has also come to the attention of Mr. Yohn that some groups might not turn in their project because, “… they waited until the last moment to do everything and realized they can’t do a three month project in one hour…” Go figure.
On Saturday, April 23, the school will also be open for Saturday Academy, and the 8th grade students are eligible to sign up for the opportunity to film with their group at school. Be sure to ask Mr. Yohn or Ms. Redmond for blank Saturday Academy sign up sheets in order to attend this opportunity to meet with your group.
Good luck to all the 8th graders on your History Newscast Project!