Reporting Live From Parkway Elementary School

Reporting Live From Parkway Elementary School

Fourth-graders at Parkway Elementary School got their feet wet in exploring natural disasters and the media. After conducting research and planning out their segments over the course of several weeks, students in Kelly Zawasky and Allison Cellura’s class presented a series of natural disaster news broadcasts on Jan. 13.

The project, part of the students’ literacy curriculum, posed the essential question of “How do people respond to natural disasters?” The fourth-graders responded to this inquiry by researching different types of natural disasters and watching numerous weather broadcasts to understand what information is needed for a typical weather report, which proved useful when the time came to prepare their scripts.

The class also studied the importance of eyewitness interviews and the role of the meteorologist as they learned about firsthand and secondhand accounts of events. In addition, they learned about the elements of dramatic text, which they incorporated into their scripts. Finally, they created their own backdrops and ran through several dress rehearsals to ensure they were camera-ready.

Along with on-set reporting from the news desk, each broadcast involved “on-site” scenes in front of the backdrops. Students were creative in their use of props and costumes as they portrayed the roles of reporters, meteorologists and civilians impacted by the events.  

Broadcasts included coverage of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami of 2011, the multiple-vortex tornado that struck Joplin, Missouri in 2011, the Great Blizzard of 1888 and the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens.