A Pleasanton Middle School (PMS) teacher and his students aren’t letting online learning get in the way of their passion project.
Science and Gateway teacher Jeff Branchaud has been working with students for four years to create weather broadcasts. It started off with just a chromebook, greenscreen and printed script. Then the team received a Donors Choose grant that allowed them to purchase a high-quality camera, teleprompter, iPad and greenscreen.
“We actually created a full fledged film studio,” Branchaud said.
The group uses a WeatherBug weather station at the PMS campus, which measures components such as temperature, humidity and precipitation, to collect data to report.
The voluntary club had to disband due to COVID-19. When the 2020-21 school year began virtually, though, a student asked Branchaud if they could “get the band back together.” After a few months of meetings, the team created an all-remote holiday weather forecast right before winter break.
After break, the team committed to being “all in” and has worked together during access period every Wednesday. The students received a green screen to use as a set at their homes, which “makes [their] videos much more professional,” Weather Reporter Dev Arun said. The group collaborates to film and edit a final product to share with their school community.
Branchaud said the students have learned a variety of tools including Adobe Photoshop, WeVideo and Final Cut Pro. However, the experience has taught the PMS Weather Team even greater lessons.
Dev said being on the team has taught him patience and public speaking. Editor Adithya Krithik said he’s learned more about the world around him, as well as to be more social.
“The most important learning experience the students will walk away with is about teamwork and how different learning styles and personalities can come together,” Branchaud said.