Monday, December 31, 2012

Watershed Ambassadors [Video]

This is a story I produced for Classroom Close-up, NJ that aired earlier this month. It's about students at Kresson Elementary School in Voorhees who are studying Watersheds. I love doing these outdoor stories, but this one was particularly memorable because it was the first time I'd ever really encountered Americorps volunteers. The young women helping with the environmental lessons at Kresson were from New Jersey's Watershed Ambassador program.


Americorps recently received a lot of press when they were called on to help at shelters, remove debris, and provide assistance following Super Storm Sandy. I ran into a few of them in Hopatcong while working on a segment for an upcoming episode about the storm's impact on the state's schools.


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Friday, November 30, 2012

Recent History [Video]

Earlier this week, I was at Valley Middle School in Oakland. Although we were there working on a story about the Joining Old and Young poetry club, I couldn't help but notice the poster board exhibits displayed around the room. They were projects from National History Day, a story that I covered earlier this year that appears in this Sunday's episode of Classroom Close-up, NJ.


This weekend's episode is actually a repeat, it first aired about a month ago, just before Sandy hit us. It's the last repeat before a string of new episodes ending with a show we've been putting together about the effects of Sandy on schools around the state.


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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Every Kid Needs a Hobby Day [Video]

One of the goals of Classroom Close-up, NJ is to inspire teachers (and students, parents, etc.) by showing them the great things happening at schools around the state. It must be working because Nate's become a big fan of the show. Not every story, but he definitely likes the ones where you get to see kids doing fun stuff at school.

In this week's episode, his hands down favorite story was Hobby Day, which he would like to see implemented at his own school as soon as possible.


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Thursday, October 18, 2012

I Think The U.S. Should Adopt Middle School Debating Rules [Video]

Shame!
That definitely wasn't a debate we saw this week. It was an argument. I think it would be a lot more interesting (and fun) if the national debates adopted the Middle School Public Debate Program format and the judge declared an actual winner at the end on live TV. Imagine the outrage from the losing debater's team! The best part would be the judge explaining to each debater why they lost points.

If you want to see some real debating, check out this week's episode of Classroom Close-up, NJ featuring Stone Bridge Middle School and the Garden State Debate League.


And be sure to stick around for the dancing dinosaurs at the end the show.



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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

One-on-One with Classroom Close-up Stars

If you're looking for something to watch after tonight's debate, there's a nice bit of synergy going on over at NJTV. Recently, some of the teachers we've interviewed for Classroom Close-up have been appearing on the show One-on-One with Steve Adubato. During the interview they show clips from the Classroom Close-up stories they appeared in.

Tonight's episode features Carl Botti, the Jersey City music teacher from the KYBD Band story. You can catch it at 11:30 p.m. on NJTV or online.

 

You can read more about this interview and upcoming segments here.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

On Behalf of the Show, I'd Like to Thank All of Our Faithful Viewers Who Get Up Early on Sunday [Video]

A glimpse at my Season Pass List
Since I happened to be up early on Sunday, I figured I'd do something I almost never do. I'd watch television "live", meaning while it's actually airing instead of on my beloved Tivo.

I settled into the couch, peanut-shaped remote in hand. The season premiere of Classroom Close-up, NJ was going to be on at 6:30 a.m.

Or so I thought. 

They changed our Sunday morning air time to 7:30 a.m. and I missed the memo. By the time 7:30 rolled around, the kids were awake, breakfasts were being made, and I wasn't on the couch anymore.

I watched it on Tivo later that day.

Watch 21st Century Learners on PBS. See more from Classroom CloseUp.


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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Math Season [Video]

Since it's the last day of July, my personal goal of two blog posts per month (down from last year's four) is about to take hit. Seeing as it's also my final post as a thirty-something, you might expect I'd have some clever musings on getting older. Nope. I just wanted to share a video overview from the 2012 Moody's Mega Math Challenge. This year the problem revolved around high-speed rail.


So, as you might have guessed from the title of this post, it's once again math season at BMG. I recently returned from covering the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics Annual Meeting in Minneapolis and am furiously working on creating highlights from three day's of footage and interviews. This year's clips will include a talk about 3D modeling of the real-world for movie effects and another about image processing ("Enhance!").

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Double Same-Days in NOLA [Video]

These guys don't look like biotech trainers
Another season of Classroom Close-up, NJ has come to an end. In case you missed it, you can watch the season finale online. It's a recap of the season and includes bits from more than a dozen shows.

So besides editing stories for next season, what do I do during the summer when we're not filming stories for the show? Well, along with shuffling the kids to camps and practices, summer is a busy season for business conferences. This month, I trekked down to New Orleans to do some production for the Society of Pharmaceutical and Biotech Trainers at their 2012 Annual Conference.

Here is one of the two same-day-edits that I put together while I was there (you can see the other one on SPBT's YouTube channel). For those unfamiliar with the concept, it's pretty simple, film and edit a video in the same day. It's like one of those 24-hour movie making contests, but you get paid for doing it.


For these videos, we filmed from about 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day and then delivered the video by 10 p.m. that night so they could show it at 8 a.m. they next morning. I'll also be putting together a more comprehensive five-minute overview video for SPBT (but at a less exhausting pace).

Sunday, June 3, 2012

June, already? [Video]

Yesterday, I was at Stone Bridge Middle School in Allentown covering a Garden State Debate League tournament for an episode of Classroom Close-up, NJ that will air next season. Animal testing, baseball, and standardized testing were just a few of the topics the students debated. It was the league's final tournament of the year and it was also my last assignment until the fall when a new school year starts. I'll be plenty busy though, I've got seven stories in the can that I need to edit in between all the other things I've got going on this summer.

Today is also the season finale of Classroom Close-up, NJ. If you missed it this morning, you can still catch it at 12:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on NJTV. I don't have a link to share yet, but here's a link to show 19 which I didn't get a chance to post before it aired. It includes the second part of our story about JA Finance Park that I wrote about earlier this year.




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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Test Screening Causes Tearful Nine-Year-Old Girl to Demand Recut [Video]

I don't know about Emily, but this is
what reduces me to tears.
Another school year is almost over which means Classroom Close-up, NJ is in a stretch of reruns leading up to the final episode of the season in early June. Fortunately, this gives me a chance to post about some of the episodes I haven't had time to write about in what's been an insanely busy spring for the Bauser family. Airing this weekend is an episode that includes a story I produced called "Music Memories" about how educators at Warren Point School in Fair Lawn are using music to help students hone their writing skills.


I typically do most of my editing in the confines of my attic/office away from watchful eyes, but occasionally my kids wander up to see what I'm doing. Nate usually wants to know when I'm going to make a "good" movie, which means something with lasers or a battle scene. Emily actually wants to see the story, especially when it features kids near her own age. In this particular case, she came along when I was working on the bit at about 3:30.  I was running long on the story, so I was considering not including a resolution to this particular memoir, but her tearful insistence convinced me otherwise.

If you want to see the entire episode, it will be rebroadcast Sunday, May 20 at 6:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m, and 7:30 p.m. on NJTV or you can watch it online.

Warning, in addition to tear-jerking musical memoirs, it also features zombies.



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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Remembering a Rescuer

On the Shelter Run in 2007 with Dee (far right) and the rest of the Rogers crew.
Last night I heard the sad news that Dee Seiffert had passed away. Dee was one of the amazing canine rescuers I had the privilege of travelling on a shelter run with while filming the Rogers Rescues documentary in 2007.  I didn't know her well, but I remember her friendliness, kindness, compassion and commitment to rescuing animals. I feel lucky to have known her even a little, and the trip I shared with her and her colleagues is still one of my best filmmaking memories. Although she was a little camera shy and preferred not to be interviewed, she appears throughout the film doing what she loved. Rest in peace, Dee.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Understanding the Wild Things [Video]

This afternoon, as I was driving home from dropping off my package for the season finale of Classroom Close-up, NJ, I heard the news that Maurice Sendak had passed away.

I'd recently spent some serious time in the edit suite with Mr. Sendak's most famous work. The segment, which aired a few weeks ago, featured a classroom lesson centered around Where the Wild Things Are. The segment shows how educators at Elms Elementary School in Jackson Township are teaching students to apply comprehension strategies through artwork. Where the Wild Things Are has been out of the Bauser bedtime reading rotation since before I started using the keys to comprehension with the kids, so I never really thought about its meaning until I sat in on this lesson.




If you want to see the entire episode, it will be rebroadcast this coming Sunday, May 13 at 6:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m, and 7:30 p.m. on NJTV or you can watch it online.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Yo Era Un Estudiante Terrible De Español [Video]

I've been a little behind in getting out my blog posts this month. It reminds me of high school, when it seemed like I was always a little behind in completing my Spanish assignments. Looking back, not taking my language studies more seriously is probably one of my biggest educational regrets. More so now that I live in a world where hardly a day goes by that I don't hear the language being spoken. My linguistic shortcomings certainly weren't the fault of my dedicated high school Spanish teacher. She never gave up trying to get me more engaged in the classroom, and to her credit, I can muster a few useful phrases and words when the need arises.

The story, Spanish e-Pals, aired a few weeks ago on Classroom Close-up, NJ. It's about students at Emil  A. Cavallini Middle School in Upper Saddle River who are using social media to connect with students in Spain and practice their language skills. While we were making it, I kept wondering if having technology like this in the 1980's would have made a difference for me. Part of me thinks it definitely would have.



If you want to see the entire episode, it will be rebroadcast on May 6 at 6:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m, and 7:30 p.m. on NJTV or you can watch it online.

On a final note/confession, my original plan was to attempt writing this entire post in Spanish, both to experience what the students in this story are doing in the classroom, and as a long overdue apology/thank-you to my high school Spanish teacher, Ms. Sabo, for all those late assignments. But as you can see, all I managed to turn in was a hasty Google translation of the title. Algunas cosas nunca cambian.

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Monday, April 2, 2012

We Didn't Win a Nummy, But We Had a Great Time

Today, like many mornings, Lauren and I awoke to our five-year-old son zipping into our bedroom to start the day. Nate scampered over to my side of the bed, leaned in close to me and whispered, "Dad, did you win the Nummys?"

That's because when he went to bed last night, Lauren and I were in New York attending the 55th Annual New York Emmy Awards hoping to hear Classroom Close-up, NJ called as the winner in the category Education: Program Feature/Segment for one of my all-time favorite stories, KYBD Band. (I might have mentioned them a few times in this blog.)

It was a particularly memorable evening, because music teacher Carl Botti and five members of the band were also able to join us for the festivities. While I do hear from teachers I've met on shoots, or even see them again while working on other stories, I seldom run into students that I've interviewed for the show. It was great to be able to share the excitement of the evening with the students and find out what they're up to now. Two of them are still in the KYBD Band in middle school, while the other three have moved on to high school. I thought it was especially cool to learn that Lucy and Kyosuke, who are attending the same high school, have started another band and are still creating original songs. Even more cool was that the kids rolled into the Emmys on a school bus. Very rock'n'roll.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, even though we didn't get the Nummy (sorry, Nate), it was still a great night. I'm not going to say we don't like those little gold statues, but they're not the reason we make the show. We make it to recognize the work of the educators and students in New Jersey, and even though we receive tons of appreciative feedback on the show, getting to hang out with this group and talk about how much a story meant to them was pretty darn rewarding all by itself.


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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Water, Water Everywhere [Video]


I just learned that today is World Water Day. From the website:
International World Water Day is held annually on 22 March as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.
So, in honor of World Water Day, I thought I'd share this water education story from Classroom Close-up, NJ circa 2006-07. It was just the second segment I'd ever produced for the show and it's one of my favorites. I've had the song, Water, Water Everywhere, stuck in my head ever since the day we shot it. Enjoy.



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Friday, March 2, 2012

Read Across America: I'm Pretty Sure We've Got This One Covered [Video]

Today is Read Across America day. Looking at the shooting schedule, I was surprised to see that there isn't an intrepid Classroom Close-up, NJ producer out there somewhere in the great garden state trying to corner The Cat in the Hat for an interview. That's okay, though, I'm pretty sure we've got a few stories about Read Across America in the show video library. Here are just two, both recorded last year that aired earlier this season.

Enjoy, and after you're done watching, go find someone to read to.





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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Stories of Surviving the Holocaust [Video]

Do you remember The Lawrence Welk Show? I have some fuzzy memory of it from my childhood, which according to Wikipedia, aired from 1955 to 1982 and had a long life in syndication. Anyway, this isn't going to be a post about one of the greatest TV stars of all time. I only bring it up because the new episode of Classroom Close-up, NJ that was supposed to air this past Sunday night was preempted for the special, Lawrence Welk's Big Band Splash. I'm not upset, it's fundraising time at NJTV so they have to play to the crowd to get those donations from viewers like you. Our show still aired during its daytime slots, so hopefully some people got to see it.

This week's episode led off with the piece I produced featuring the Holocaust Resource Center of Kean University. This segment was one of the highlights of the season for me so far. It's where I got to interview Holocaust survivor, Clara Kramer, and meet writer/filmmaker, Alexandra Zapruder. Not to mention the amazing students from Randolph High School and Morris County Teacher of the Year, Andrew Buchanan, who were at the center working on an independent writing project about the Holocaust.


You can catch this episode online right now or watch it again on NJTV at 5:30 a.m. this coming Saturday. It will also re-air on April 1.



You can learn more about the Holocaust Resource Center of Kean University at their website. And don't forget to check out the Classroom Close-up, NJ Facebook page and click the 'Like' button! While you're here, subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter.

Friday, February 24, 2012

How To Not Go Broke [Video]

I just got back from a location shoot in Newark where we were recording a story about Capital One/Junior Achievement Finance Park with a group of students from Jersey City's Julia A. Barnes Elementary School. The segment we shot today, is actually part two of a two-parter about the financial literacy program. The first part of the story, called "Fiscal Responsibility" aired as part of last week's show.


Through role-playing and hands on activities, the program helps teach students about the importance of having a budget and managing their personal finances. In the words of just about everyone I interviewed, there are a lot "a ha" moments as the students begin to understand how much effort it takes to keep a budget and prioritize needs before wants. The students told me that after going through the program, they had a new appreciation for the financial providers in their own lives. They also told me that, "kids are expensive."


You can catch a repeat of last week's episode Saturday morning at 5:30 a.m. on NJTV or watch it online.



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Friday, February 17, 2012

Just Actors and an Audience [Video]

This is a favorite story of mine from a couple of seasons ago. Even though February is Black History Month, I had intended to post it in January (since it's MLK-related). I was reminded of it again when my daughter, Emily, told me she was memorizing a piece of the "I have a dream" speech for school.



I really like the physical theater that the kids are performing, especially the lunch counter scene. Proof that all you need for theater is an actor and an audience.


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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bullying Prevention, Return to High Point, and a Little Frog [Video]

A new episode of Classroom Close-up, NJ aired this past weekend on NJTV featuring stories about bullying, technology, and culture. (Click story titles to view the individual segments.)


You can watch online or check out the repeat in HD this Saturday at 5:30 a.m. on NJTV (where to watch).

What are you waiting for? Go check out the Classroom Close-up, NJ Facebook page and click the 'Like' button! And while you're here, subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Education Tech and Talk [Video]


A new episode of Classroom Close-up, NJ this week featured stories from the most recent NJEA Convention in Atlantic City.

First was a clip on the latest advances in lesson planning software. It was followed by some interviews with acting NJ Commissioner of Education Chris Cerf and education historian and author Diane Ravitch. Wrapping up the show was a piece on students honoring veterans and the Thanksgiving food basket story I wrote about earlier.

You can watch online or check out the repeat in HD this Saturday at 5:30 a.m. on NJTV (where to watch).



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Monday, January 30, 2012

Serving Students with Special Needs [Video]

People should understand the resources and commitment required to provide for our special needs students, which is why I think special education is one of the most important topics we cover on Classroom Close-up, NJ.

The first segment in this week's episode is a story we produced about the OXE (Outdoor Experiential Education) program at Cape May County Special Services School District. OXE provides students with innovative educational opportunities through a variety of outdoor and indoor activities in the community. The curriculum emphasizes the development of self-confidence, self-esteem, self-awareness, problem solving skills, and recreation skills.

The other story (which starts at about 19:20) is a brilliant segment by my colleague, Kate Megargee, about the Piscataway Regional Day School for students with severe disabilities. It features Middlesex County Teacher of the Year, Terri Thompson, and is at the same time informative, touching, and political, bringing attention to the state testing requirements for New Jersey's special student population.



You can catch an encore of this week's episode, Saturday, February 4 at 5:30 a.m. on NJTV as well as on on Sunday, March 4 at 12:30 p.m and 7:30 p.m. Where to watch.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

On YouTube, Titles Matter (Duh)

I often get asked about maximizing YouTube views.

What's the perfect duration? What are the best tags to use? Should my video have a splash or just cut to the chase?

In my limited experience, I've found that none of those things are as important as solid content aimed at the right audience. Except for one thing. The title.

Here's an example from my own channel that I recently noticed.


These are the view stats for the Rogers’ Rescues documentary, Until There Are None, a twenty minute video with a fairly specific but potentially large audience. It had been playing on my Vimeo channel and the Rogers’ Rescues homepage for about six months when YouTube lifted their duration limit and I decided to put it on my channel. I've never really done anything to promote views on the video.

At first, I titled the video with the name of the film, Until There Are None. Seemed logical. About six months later, having noticed that one my client's videos tended to get significantly more views when the title was descriptive of the content (e.g. the topic of a presentation vs the actual title or name of the speaker), I added the words "Dog Rescue Documentary" to the title.

Looking at the graph above, the results are pretty obvious. Titles matter.