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Good morning, Lotts!
Lotts’ TAG students broadcast morning news daily

Fourth- and fifth-grade Talented And Gifted students air a 5-7-minute morning news program for each A. L. Lotts Elementary School classroom between 7:45 and 8 a.m., Monday through Friday.

Lotts’ TAG teacher Jennifer Miller started the morning news crew four years ago after seeing it in action at another school.

“I thought, A.L. Lotts doesn’t have a studio, and West Hills [Elementary] does? Something is wrong here,” she said.

“Many of these students have hopes to do video outside of school,” Miller added.

After anchoring the morning of Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009, Juliana Pulsinelli, 10, said, “I’ve learned a lot and it’s fun – problem solving, technology … We all have jobs, but we’re all needed to fit it together.”

Pulsinelli is an “actress” who enjoys anchoring. She may want to be a news anchor on TV when she grows up, she said.

Richard “Buddy” Swan, 10, said, “The mixer is my favorite. I control what everyone sees. It’s important to do everything right and not mess up.”

Rachel Spade, 11, said being in charge of the DVD is her favorite responsibility. “You have to be on top of it and notice what’s going on.”

Miller said, “Their desire and willingness to learn attracted me. I ended up learning from them. Some students have that never-ending desire to learn.”

“We’re gonna miss it [after our fifth-grade term ends], trying out all the different jobs and responses each other holds,” Ava Ferguson, 11, said.

Fifth-grade students who enjoy being a part of the news crew can rest assured that once they leave Lotts to attend middle school, they can still be a part of the middle school news crew. The two middle schools zoned for Lotts’ rising sixth-graders, Farragut Middle and West Valley Middle schools, have newscrews already in place.

Every TAG student in fourth and fifth grade have the opportunity to be part of a news crew throughout the year.

Fifth grade takes the fall semester; fourth grade is mentored by fifth grade for two weeks after the holiday break as they take on the spring semester under Miller’s wing.

The studio is made up of a mixer, green screen, cameras, a TV screen, laptop, DVD player and other equipment. Miller wrote a grant for $600 to buy the initial equipment; Lotts PTA and coupon book sales have helped contribute and Guitar Center donated equipment.

“It was a team effort,” Miller said. The news crew continues to acquire equipment as the funds become available.

TAG students are made up of those who score in the 95th percentile on their spring TCAPS while in third-grade. Students also are referred by teachers for their willingness and capacity to learn if they do not excel at test-taking.

Miller works with Lotts’ TAG students in Lotts library during the school week in a side room. She also works with students at South Knox County elementary schools.


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