"Lights, camera, action," "You’re on the air," and "Send it to print" are all phrases uttered in the middle school grades at Boise Valley Adventist School as students engage in the various media opportunities incorporated into their curriculum this year by Stephen Stokes, fifth- and sixth-grade teacher.
In conjunction with the language arts program, Stokes has incorporated three forms of media into the curriculum: Student Press, a school newspaper; BVAS BoomBox, a podcast; and BVAS LIFE, a student life and culture magazine.
Student Press was the first to be incorporated. The student-led, bi-monthly newspaper consists of an editor-in-chief, a team of section leaders and a classroom of reporters. Its purpose is to share school events, student opinions and activities happening at the school.
Stokes shared, “It was established out of the fifth- and sixth-grade language arts class to teach students to write with accurate information in the spirit of responsible journalism, to entertain and to offer a forum for the ideas of students, parents, faculty and administrators. In keeping with Christian principles, all the articles promote the ideals of Jesus Christ and His belief in each student’s potential.”
Brielle, sixth-grade editor-in-chief, said, “I appreciate the chance to lead out in a real-life project and love doing something important.”
Stokes’ next inspiration grew from hours of listening to sports events, late-night dramas and DJs who spun stories and hit songs on the radio. Thus, was born BVAS BoomBox. BoomBox is also a student-led, monthly production, comprised of an executive producer, assistant producer, on-air talent and copy editors.
Podcasts often include a review of the school calendar, unique features or on-air interviews. The purpose of podcasting is to allow additional learning opportunities to build confidence and literacy. The format enables students in seventh and eighth grade to practice their listening and speaking skills, which are both conversational and formal. Andrea, a sixth-grade student, thinks BoomBox is a cool opportunity and looks forward to participating in it when she’s in seventh grade.
BVAS LIFE was the third media form to be incorporated. It is a student-led, quarterly magazine that consists of an editor-in-chief, assistants, editorial team and publishing team.
BVAS LIFE highlights student essays, photos, poetry and encouragement for life application. It was founded to inspire students in seventh and eighth grade to create higher forms of communication.
“The hope in publishing BVAS LIFE, is to show parents and friends of the school that students in middle school are capable of doing major tasks with the leadership of Jesus Christ and limited instruction from adults,” noted Stokes.
BVAS LIFE gives the students a voice to do just that. Ashton, eighth-grade editor-in-chief, shared, “My one wish for this magazine is that it just keeps getting better and better and improving as time goes on.” Ava, an eighth-grader who submitted an award-winning essay for the magazine, noted that students have an opportunity to "spread love" and possibly "impact the world" through this magazine.
Stokes shared that BVAS LIFE is now available on a digital source at flipsnack.com/C69B9BFF8D6/bvas-life.html and a digital file for the newspaper should be coming soon. Future plans include a subscription to build a financial foundation. There is also a plan to create a live-streaming hour-long podcast that would replicate a radio program for families to listen to during the day.