The morning announcement at school doesn’t have to be the ‘same old same old’ routine. It doesn’t have to be something that students and staff endure before throwing themselves into the day’s work. It can be a few minutes of infotainment, something peppy and interesting that actually helps you start the day with more enthusiasm. Let’s look at how schools around America are leveraging morning announcements to inspire a greater sense of community.
The usual format of morning announcements
A common announcement is the pledge of allegiance, which is relayed by intercom – the old fashioned way – to homerooms or individual classrooms. Usually, this task falls on the principal, but more and more, student council representatives have taken over. This is a good strategy given that students are more receptive to messages that come directly from their peers. A typical morning announcement may look like this:
- ‘Good morning Vikings [replace with appropriate name]!’, the obligatory salutation
- Pledge of allegiance
- Thought for the day
- A special message : congratulations on a team victory or an important announcement
Interesting additions to the morning announcement
Motivational start to the day
Some schools deviate from this standard format to include the weather report and lunch menu. The thought for the day is sometimes replaced by a motivational quote/affirmation, many a time from famous books. It could be anything from ‘Accept – then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.’, from Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now to ‘There is no such thing as a hopeless situation. Every single circumstances of your life can change!’ from Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret, and ‘If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world’ from J.R.R.Tolkien’s The Hobbit.
Word of the day
Or it could take the form of ‘The Math Word for the Day’, where students get a quick definition of a Math vocabulary word such as ‘reasonable’, ‘outcome’, ‘population’ or something a little more basic, such as ‘convert’, ‘dividend’ or ‘bilateral’.
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The theme of the day
A few schools have taken a creative approach to morning announcements by providing a new theme for the day. Here, students have the option to direct their energy towards a positive activity. For instance ‘Positive Attitude Monday’, ‘Help a Friend Tuesday’ and ‘Solve a Puzzle Thursday’. Principals, teachers and/or student council representatives may refer to multiple sources to draw up a roster of words, quotes or positive messages for each day of the week, and actively encourage students to follow through.
(And please avoid making these five mistakes in your morning announcement!)
Guest of the day
Another is a special ‘guest of the day’, someone from school or even the community who has a useful, relevant message to deliver to students. That person could be the :
- school nurse who offers health tips
- art teacher with some handy pointers
- librarian who recommends 2-3 classics or non-fiction gems
- sheriff who reminds students about their rights and responsibilities
- staff member from a local college campus speaking against disability harassment and discriminatory behavior.
Riddle of the day
Some school announcements may incorporate an element of participation by presenting a Math question or riddle for students to solve. The student from each classroom to solve it first and race to the office receives a pencil or other stationery.
Morning announcements are also used to draw attention to exceptional work by students, whether it is an essay, artwork or poem. Teachers are entrusted with displaying one student work each day on a central bulletin board. That student’s name is read out during the announcement. It serves as a good motivator to work hard or demonstrate a special talent. This concept can also encourage healthy competition among students.
A twist to the daily bulletin with live broadcasting
Imagine that you’re not only listening to students through the intercom but also watching them deliver the morning announcement live – like the morning news on television – only with news relevant and of interest to everyone in school. Morning announcements have moved to live telecast video at many savvy schools.
It makes sense – students are most comfortable consuming content on digital devices. Children between the ages of 8 and 18 spend an average of 44.5 hours per week in front of screens. There is a real opportunity to gain their attention and sustain their interest in morning announcements at school by delivering messages in a live broadcast format. Announcements can be broadcast to classroom televisions, computers or mobile devices.
Live broadcasting the morning school announcement offers the following benefits :
- the ability to transform the way announcements are consumed
- the ability to do more – show and act out instead of just speak – for a better emotional connect and clearer understanding of the message
- giving students the opportunity to experience video production
- involving interested/willing students in the art and science of video production, helping them become more confident communicators
- subtly motivating students and staff to create quality content for purposes of live broadcast – when you’re a face disseminating a message instead of an obscure voice, you have to up your game!
Live broadcasting the morning announcement or on-demand viewing at a later time
Anything that can be broadcast live can also be recorded and saved for viewing later. It offers students and staff the flexibility to choose when they want to interact with the messages. For instance, during exam season when nervousness is running high, students may prefer not to be distracted by the morning announcement and spend every precious minute before the test on revising, breathing exercises, or psyching up to beat anxiety.
Needless to say, live broadcasting offers several opportunities to take announcements to the next level. Features such as built-in titles and overlays allow the presentation of visual content – whether captions or objects – enhancing the overall viewer experience. Built-in green screens make the proceedings appear professional – not unlike an actual news studio – with cutaways to the ‘sports’ or ‘weather’ announcers just as you would see on TV.
Live broadcasting can make students more enthusiastic about school in general, and give them yet another reason to engage with academics and your institution with a positive attitude.
Photo Credit Featured Image: ©fotolia 2016/WavebreakMediaMicro