“The innovation point is the pivotal moment when talented and motivated people seek the opportunity to act on their ideas and dreams.”W. Arthur Porter
Krisha Patel and Asha Malhotra, two talented 4th grade students, were motivated by their experience with distance learning to act on a creative idea that has grown into a new weekly and favorite tradition for their homeroom classmates and friends. Through collaboration and teamwork, these innovative students have created a news broadcast series titled “Pace’s Pack News.” Complete with upcoming school events, project and assignment deadlines, jokes and quotes of the week, and spotlights on their classmates’ accomplishments, their broadcasts entertain while providing classroom information for remote and in-person learners.
So what motivated these students to serve their community in such an innovative way? Asha explains, “My goal is to help people stay organized. For example, we watched it with our class. When it was the upcoming events part, dressing up like a book character was mentioned. I heard someone say, ‘Oh yeah! I forgot!’ ” Krisha agrees: “My goal is to spread information to people who are maybe out of school or want a review, and also just to entertain them.” Viewers are certainly entertained! Pace’s Pack News covers the homeroom’s events along with motivational quotes, self-care reminders, humor, and what Asha calls “comedic intermission.” Krisha adds, “The quote came from a job we have in our class. We have a job where someone has to bring a weekly one. And there’s a quote, so why not add a joke?”
When asked what inspired them to create a recorded broadcast, Asha explained, “It’s kind of funny actually. The night before, I was in my bed half asleep, and I had this half-awake dream and idea and thought I would email Krisha in the morning.” The next morning, Asha asked her classmate, Krisha, to join her on a Meet to discuss. “At first, I wasn’t sure because our class is already doing a newspaper, so would it make sense to do that? We were super nervous about the first recording, but then we just did it,” explained Krisha.
Their first attempts didn’t come without bumps in the road and tech glitches to work out. Using Google Meets, the girls realized they needed a 3rd person present to record, so they recruited Asha’s sister, Priya, as well as Mrs. Pace at times to help with recordings. They also realized they needed to utilize a variety of tools in order to make the presentation engaging visually for students. “We use Google Slides with effects and one person presents their screen while we record,” Krisha explained. When faced with challenges, the theme of perseverance and learning from mistakes resounds when discussing this project with the students. “The first time took about 5 takes, but the second time only took us 2,” Asha said.
Krisha and Asha haven’t stopped with Pace’s Pack News recorded broadcasts. The girls also created an accompanying website for students that houses important information as well as links to the broadcasts. The website even features ads created by Krisha using the app Inkscape.
Krisha describes how her teacher, Susan Pace, inspired her to create the website: “Mrs. Pace showed us how she made a website, and I got inspired from that, so I made a rough draft, and I showed it to Asha. She went over it and made some changes she thought were necessary, and so we started working together on it.” When asked what experience they had creating websites, it’s clear these girls don’t shy away from exploring through trial and error. Asha explains, “Krisha told me about the Google site app, so I went there by myself and just started tinkering around with it.” After exploring and playing around with the app, the students now have a successful website, providing their classmates with options for accessing information as well as tons of opportunities to collaborate and get involved with the creation of the news.
If you’re wondering how two busy students make time in their schedules to create these successful news outlets for their classmates, the answer lies in teamwork and collaboration via Google tools. Asha explains, “We both work on one slide, and when someone else has an idea, they will put it there and tinker around on it.” Krisha adds, “We both edit it until we agree that it looks good and is finished. We have classmates send us pictures of things to be featured, too. The deadline is Wednesday by 4:30, and our broadcast goes out every Thursday at 1:00, which is during read-aloud time.”
So what’s next for these two innovative students? Krisha hopes to see the news expand beyond their homeroom. “We’re both going in person soon, so we might try to spread it to 4th grade, when we will be allowed to interview and involve others.” They’ve also received lots of feedback and ideas from classmates and hope to involve more 4th grade students. After each viewing, the girls have received multiple emails from classmates, and they’ve created sign-ups to feature photos and share ideas for other topics. If one thing is clear, when Asha and Krisha set out to innovate, they find a way or make one!
“Asha and Krisha have been amazing students throughout the year, frequently recognized as model virtual learners for their ability to tackle difficult content from home. Both girls quickly adapted each piece of technology used in instruction for personal use throughout the year. This is just one example of their innovative and tireless pursuit of learning. The news broadcast and supplemental website were created through a collaborative process the pair developed entirely independent of me. I was delighted to have been included in the second broadcast and look forward to future publications.“Susan Pace, 4th Grade Teacher
To view the entertaining and informative first episode of Pace’s Pack News, click here!