Special to the Herald
The students in the fourth-grade learning community at Eden Park Elementary School recently had the opportunity to collaborate with the hosts from WPRI’s “The Rhode Show,” including Will Gilbert, Brendan Kirby, Michaela Johnson and executive producer Ashley Erlins.
The four visited Eden Park’s fourth-graders as community experts and helped the students as they worked on their current authentic learning challenge, which focuses on the 11 states in the Northeast region – Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Maryland, Connecticut, Vermont, Maine and Delaware – and how to bring tourism into those areas.
The fourth-grade classes, with educators Danielle Alger and Jen Vescera facilitating, hosted a series of community experts over a couple weeks’ time, including guests from the Department of Environmental Management, the local media, local travel agencies and AAA. The experts shared their knowledge of the region, travel and tourism, and listened to the students as they described their focus – whether it was landmarks, landforms, culture, food or places – and the type of product they were creating, which included television shows, billboards, websites, apps and commercials.
During “The Rhode Show” visit, the students separated into their working groups. Each group had the opportunity to meet with one expert from the show, listening to suggestions and taking notes they would utilize later on when creating their final products.
“Make sure you include anything extremely unique to the state that you can’t find anywhere else,” Erling said.
Working together with one group, Kirby and Johnson gave the students a scenario to work with which helped them better imagine the consumer they are trying to reach.
“Let’s say Brendan and I are visiting from Texas,” Johnson said. “How would you describe the Northeast? What do you have here? What are some of the places to have fun that we have never been to before?”
Gilbert also focused on some of the technical parts of the students’ products, asking about the programs being used for editing and the use of their learning community’s green screen for filming. He gave them some tips for being “on air” and an inside look at what it’s like being a television host.
“When I am on the air, I have someone talking in my ear,” he said. “When they’re talking to me they are telling me that I have two minutes left or 30 seconds left.”
As the students concluded their meetings with the experts, they added new ideas to their prototypes including ideas for specific seasonal information, new places to visit, the need for having both indoor and outdoor options for tourists, and technical revisions such as drop-down menus for websites and conceptual drawings for billboards.
The hosts were invited to come back again in several weeks to see the students’ finished products.