I’m passionate about teaching students to tell story. Not just story in terms of “once upon a time” but more about the stories that are woven deeply in the fabric of our universe. Everywhere there is narrative. In the change of seasons, in the evening meal, in the serendipity of a moment. We tend to teach story as it is defined by writing–narrative, argumentative, persuasive, informative. Those are genres of writing, not necessarily story.

One of our content standards in first grade is weather. Lots of options out there to teach weather–experiments, experts, keep charts, reading books. I wanted to approach this less like school and more like the real world. And, of course, I wanted to embed story in there somewhere. So instead of a worksheet or a chart to record the weather, we decided to produce a recess report. Why a recess report?

Real world. Real audience. Relevant to students. And I’m fairly sure there were some experts out there to help us.

According to the NCTE digital literacies:

  • Students today need to develop proficiency and fluency with the tools of technology: cameras, green screen, editing tools.
  • Build intentional cross-cultural connections and relationships with others so to pose and solve problems collaboratively and strengthen independent thought: a production team, meeting with experts
  • Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes: okay, maybe not global, but to share with the school and the Liberty community
  • Manage, analyze, and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information: maybe not a ton of streams, but read and deliver, listen to a director, research and find the information for the report….

One of the first things we did was research. Lots and lots of research. In other words, we watched the weather channel, learned to read weather.com and accuweather.com, brainstormed weather words, and discussed our audience. What do they want to know?? What do they need to know?? What was the story we wanted to share with our audience?

Then we explored cameras and teleprompters, and we reached out into our community and connected with an expert. Mr. Matt Flener, anchor for KMBC, came to our school and worked with our students on being an anchor. He taught us about good lighting, headroom, and how to best present in front of a camera. We did a live to tape.

recess report

First production, I did most of the work, focusing solely on students building skills with reading and speaking. Now, several months later, I only edit. The kids write the script, they shoot the video, they even coach each other on being good anchors. Students training students. By the end of the year, they will even learn to edit and will collaboratively produce the entire show from start to finish.




  1. Hi, Susan! Love your blog. (Shelley from Crossroads introduced me to it!) You are full of great ideas, and I admire your passion! I am getting ready to do a similar recess report project with first graders. Do you have resources you’d be willing to share?

    1. Hi, Annie! For our recess report, we use a free teleprompter app, along with camera, green screen, and iMovie on the Mac. The students use accuweather.com to predict the week, they write the script, and I typically help with revision once the script has been written. The kids can do most of the process except for editing. We use a template on iMovie, along with their stock music. Oh, and I typically screenshot accuweather extended forecast for the background, along with creative commons as my search engine for additional images. Hope that helps!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s