PLEASANT HILL, Iowa — There’s nothing more exciting for students than waking up, seeing snow on the ground and then turning on the news to find out you’ve got a snow day.
As of late, school districts are making these days off from learning even more fun, releasing the good news in the form of a funny video. Many have gone viral, some from Iowa school districts have hundreds of thousands of views.
At Southeast Polk Community School District, high school students a part of their brand new video production class are helping make these video announcements possible, turning a fun video also into a teaching moment.
“A lot of the projects our students work on are journalistically focused, where they are conducting interviews and getting footage, but the snow day video has been a really nice way for them to try a different type of filmmaking almost,” Southeast Polk Language Arts and Journalism teacher Shannon Bushart said.
Creative, unique, and just plain funny, the video production students got teachers and other school officials out of their shell.
“It was kind of cool telling teachers what to do and being on the other side of it,” Southeast Polk junior Cayden Johnson said.
“We had a lot of really fun ideas and we had a brainstorming session with [the teachers] and they were so open and so excited,” Southeast Polk senior Taylor Redenius said. “They were like, ‘we want to do all these different things’ and we were like, ‘we didn’t know you were going to be open to doing them.’”
The first video was released on Southeast Polk’s first snow day of the school year in mid-January. It revealed SEP’s super-secret snow day formula.
“Our Superintendent Dr. Dirk Halupnik was eager to be involved in the video. He said he was willing to do anything other than sing,” Southeast Polk Language Arts and Journalism teacher Kristin Bahrens said.
It reached over 7,000 views in less than 24 hours.
“We have a class group me and one of the cooler things about that day was they were talking back and forth all day sending updates, talking about where they had seen it online,” Bushart said.
“They are a generation that is obviously exposed to Youtube, social media, so many different things are a part of their daily world. So it’s been really cool for them to see how the community has reacted and responded to their content that they created,” Bahrens said.
But the students’ clever ideas didn’t stop there.
“They jumped in the pool, they were playing hoops, playing hide and seek in the greenhouse,” Renedius said.
“I had them do everything I’ve seen in the ‘Friends’ intro. I had one person get on the couch then the next, then next, and the next. I also had them dance,” Johnson said.
The class put together a handful of snow day videos, but for those, the community will just have to wait to see them until another snow day.
“I’ve been hoping for so many snow days and so far we’ve only had one, which is super sad, but I’m hoping for a lot more in the future so we can release the rest of the videos because they are really fun,” Renedius said.
You can see other videos the class has put together on the SEP Publications Youtube page. They are currently working on a project about diversity and inclusion.