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CCSTV: Kids Become TV Personalities

Wendy Johnson

It’s a fun way to learn and one that teaches kids what really goes on behind producing tv shows.

Students from the Canberra Christian School are stars in CCSTV, a TV show that pops up on YouTube every second week.

CCSTV is a cracker, not just for the kids who make it but for kids and adults who watch it.

Bree Hills, who has been Principal for about a year-and-a-half, believes Canberra Christian School is the only school at primary level in the ACT with such an innovative approach to learning. The students act, report, stage and work hard to produce the TV news episodes.

“They get a better understanding of how the communications medium works,” says Bree. “Kids are bombarded by all kinds of tv. This teaches them how shows and news are produced. It gives them a much-needed, deeper understanding of the technology that enters their living rooms every night and demonstrates how not everything is as it may seem.”

The students who participate in CCSTV have permission from their parents or guardians to do so and the approach is flexible. “The kids love it,” says Bree. “Some like to be behind the camera while others want to be in front of the camera. It’s up to them and it’s great to see older students helping younger ones who need a hand.”

The Canberra Christian School, even though it’s one of the smallest in Canberra at 120 students, says innovation is key to its vision, including by getting students to operate ‘out of the norm’.

The students work with teachers to explore topics and decide on the line-up for each episode. They select an official student host, help write scripts, create props and visuals, need more detail here on the various steps to make it ‘real’. They even get to activate the live vision switcher.

These are no 60-second episodes. The average length is about 5 minutes. Each show includes regular segments and features. They’re all upbeat, chirpy, full of energy and valuable learning. The camera equipment, microphones and other hardware needed to produce the real tv news productions were donated by the school’s Chapel.

Some students assume the role of interviewers and presenters, others are interviewed or filmed studying, playing or doing activities. Annual spelling bees are covered, so too are science experiments, art classes and school excursions. CCSTV even visited the local courts and held a mock court with some students playing jurors, deciding whether to convict an innocent person.

So what else do kids learn (and adults too)? Let’s take the ‘Did you know’ segment. Did you know, for example, that:

  • the word hippopotomonstroesesquippedalaphobia is the fear of long words?
  • elephants are the only mammals that can’t jump?
  • snails can sleep for up to three years?

Other topics covered include the school’s healthy tuckshop lunches, what different staff members do, how to plan a delicious organic garden, and bible stories. Episode 7 even features a race with Shelley the snail.

“We were confident CCSTV was going to create buzz in the school when we first started some months ago,” said Bree. “But it’s exceeded our expectations. We get feedback all the time from other students, parents and even grandparents who get a kick out of watching the show, and learn along the way.”

Wendy Johnson

Wendy Johnson graduated with a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, a few decades ago. She’s been living in Australia since 1995, having fallen in love with eucalypt trees and kangaroos. Wendy is passionate about Canberra and all the nation’s capital has to offer. She loves to write (about everything and anything) and owns her own pr and advertising business. More about the Author

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