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River City Scholars Learning to Use a Camera Firsthand

Students at River City Scholars are getting a hands-on experience with a device that has become ingrained into our society: a video camera. Music teacher Kimberly Jarnegan is teaching scholars the basics of videography, a skill students can use for fun or follow as a career.
Middle schoolers are putting the camera in their own hands, learning how to compose a shot, various angles to film from, zooming in and out, using a tripod, and even how to use a green screen effectively. Jarnegan’s curriculum for this class leads students to learn different skills and how to work with different scenarios.
The first project for these novice filmmakers is to interview a staff member on camera. The second project involves filming a live event at the school, such as basketball games. The class’ final project of the year was to make a newscast. The class has also had special opportunities to flex their video muscles.
Teacher talking on camera.
Music teacher Kimberly Jarnegan speaks to the camera as she teaches students the basics of taking video at River City Scholars.

Scholars from Jarnegan’s videography class had the chance to speak with Christo Brand, a prison guard who worked with Nelson Mandela, when he came to speak to the school this year. This gave scholars a chance to display their video interviewing skills while taking that footage and learning how to edit it, splicing together clips from the two assemblies Brand spoke at.
Jarnegan said she was slightly apprehensive to start the class but it has been so popular that elementary scholars have requested to have a similar course. While the elementary scholars might not get their wish just yet, Jarnegan has enjoyed leading middle schoolers.
“They’re stepping up to the plate,” Jarnegan said. “They really enjoy it and they're eager to get the camera in their hands and learn how to use it.”
Scholars are inspired by the class and have come up with their own ideas for future projects. One activity they pitched for a project was to film and edit an anti-bullying skit. Other skills scholars have expressed interest in learning are adding music to videos and learning how to direct and produce videos.
Moral Focus virtues are also taught in the class. The main Moral Focus virtue Jarnegan can emphasize in this class is respect.
“They have to respect not only the equipment, but also the people that they're interviewing as well as their teammates,” Jarnegan said. “They have to work together, so respect is definitely a big push that I'm doing with the kids.”
Keep up the great work, River City!

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About River City Scholars
River City Scholars is a tuition-free, public charter school in Grand Rapids, Michigan, serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes more than 100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit

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