Middlebrook TV club teaches media skills, breaks barriers

Middlebrook School has a new club this year — the Middlebrook TV Production Club, which teaches students media skills and highlights what’s going on at the school.

“At the end of September, we had an informational meeting where we talked about what the club was and what we hoped to accomplish,” said social studies teacher and club adviser Maria Lateef.

“The goal of the club is to really build skills in the kids and also produce shows to share what’s going on in our school with other teachers, the parents and the community, and highlight the different things that happen.”

The club is currently comprised of about nine students, some of whom meet in the morning on Tuesdays and others after school on Tuesdays.

“The club meets in my classroom,” said Lateef. “On Tuesday mornings, we start at 7:30 or whenever the kids are able to come, and then right after school in my room.”

Lateef said the club has produced a few shows so far, including one on the Hour of Code and another on the No-Idling initiative.

“We highlighted the Hour of Code and showed what it is and its purpose to show parents what’s going on,” she said.

“We did another show for No Idling, where we made little skits and interviewed Heather Priest, who was in charge of it, about what they were doing, what the purpose was and what the message was.”

The club’s most recent production focused on the Socratic Seminar, a teaching strategy used at Middlebrook.

“We showed the purpose of it to help teachers and parents understand a little bit about what’s happening in the classroom,” said Lateef.


Lateef has been teaching club members basic media skills, such as how to power on a camera and what types of questions to ask.

“The first few lessons that we did in our club meetings focused on how to get news, how to reach out and what news is,” she said. “We also talked about what the audience wants to see and about aiming the camera.”

Lateef provides a personalized learning experience for the club members by teaching them on “different levels,” depending on where they each are skill-wise. For example, she said, “some are writers,” while she works with others on how to hold a camera.

In addition to basic skills, Lateef is teaching the students how to edit videos using computer software.

“I’ve been teaching them to use iMovie and ways to edit on that using sound, clipping clips and different things like that,” she said.

Lateef said the students are “really engaged and very motivated,” but meeting one day a week “is not enough to do all that we’re trying to accomplish.”

“Our turnaround rate is usually a week and a half,” said Lateef, who has been making herself available other days during the week so students can come in and edit their projects.

Before coming to Middlebrook this year, Lateef taught and ran a TV studio club for five years in the Bethel Public School District, where they made “over 80 shows and won awards.”

With the kickoff of Middlebrook’s TV production club, Lateef said, she is “very excited” and thinks there is “much potential.”

“I think that by getting everybody to be consistently involved and getting more time devoted, we could be very successful in opening the barriers that sometimes exist between the school and the community,” she said.

Lateef said the club isn’t just about videotaping for parents but is for teachers as well, by helping them learn how to use video production to benefit their classes.

“We actually had an English teacher who did a poetry unit, and she had a poet who’s been recognized and won awards come in for the unit,” she said, “so one of our students videotaped him and then interviewed the teacher about the purpose of the poetry unit.”

Lateef said that English teacher was then able to share the video with the rest of her colleagues in the building.

TV studio

The Middlebrook TV Production Club will soon use the middle school’s new TV studio, which was officially completed over the break.

“We will be using our studio to hopefully do morning shows and see if we can at least get news going and try taping,” Lateef said.

“We did student government elections — we recorded them and then aired them all throughout the TVs, so now we’ll have that space [in the TV studio] to use as well.”

Lateef said the club is “amazing and a great way to communicate with parents and the community.”

“The kids put a lot of work into it and it’s fun,” she said, “and it shows everybody what’s going on and the great things that we do in our district.”

Click here to watch videos produced by the Middlebrook TV Club.