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NRMS students excited about school's three newest clubs

New Richmond Middle School students work on their coding skills during the school's recent Hour of Code event. Students will have the opportunity to continue their education in coding with the start of the school's Coding Club this school year. Photo courtesy of the New Richmond Middle School1 / 2
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Every year, New Richmond K-8 Gifted and Talented Coordinator Jodi Markowski works on bringing new opportunities to students at every grade level to expand their knowledge base and learn something new.

For the 2017-2018 school year, Markowski has already implemented three new clubs at the middle school level, including Coding Club, the Chapter 2 Review Crew and Tiger TV.

Coding Club

The middle school Coding Club is an expansion of the school's annual Hour of Code event, which takes place worldwide with the goal of getting kids on computers and learning basic computing skills.

With the help of a pair of volunteers — Austin Hatzenbeler, who will be Coding club coach, and Hour of Code volunteer Greg Jorgenson — the middle school's Coding Club will run after school and allow students to complete their Hour of Code projects, then move on to introduce other coding languages.

"Hour of Code is one of our class periods where we can do some coding on computers. I'm interested in Hour of Code and the Coding Club because I want to be a computer coder or engineer in the future," said eighth grader Connor Dean. "I'm hoping the after school club can help me gain some extra knowledge that I can use going into the future."

Chapter 2 Review Crew

For the last several years, the middle school has collaborated with Chapter 2 Books in Hudson to purchase books and set up author visits. This year, the school has expanded its partnership with the bookstore.

"Last year, we started with a sixth grade book club and I was going to bring it to the seventh grade this year. However, we just weren't able to get that started this year because Chapter 2 Books ... approached me and said that they have publishers always asking them to do reviews of the advanced reader copy books that haven't been published yet," Markoswki said. "I thought it would be great and the kids agreed."

Seventh grader Landon Ladwig is the Review Crews resident book expert, according to Markowski, and has already read several books and reviewed most of them.

"I just really like reading. It is just something I've always liked to do. Writing reviews is fun too, but you have to try hard to not give away the plot at all," Ladwig said. "It is also nice to be able to share with other kids and let them know what a book is like. It is fun to get access to such a big variety of books in different categories."

The Review Crew is made up of about 20 students who are avid readers and enjoy sharing their thoughts on those books with their fellow students. The group meets on Tuesday mornings for hot chocolate and reading time, while also meeting every other week during lunch to exchange books, share about the books they just read and to write their reviews.

When a book a student has read is officially published and available for purchase, Chapter 2 books puts up the student reviews in their store and on their website to help other readers know if they should pick up the book.

Tiger TV

The middle school's Tiger TV group isn't quite the same as most other groups and clubs at the middle school. Not only do the group's numbers fluctuate from week to week, but it also operates mostly during the school day to insure that reporters have a large number of students available to interview for their segments.

"It is a newscast kind of thing where we meet three times a week or so, or whenever we don't have any homework, to report on what is happening around the school. We get opinions from people throughout the school by asking them different questions," said eighth grader Kaylin Trosen. "We record all of it and put it into an episode. Each homeroom will watch it once a month or so when we get it all put together."

The group's first episode was ready to be viewed by their fellow students, but when the team played back the video, there was no sound. The team is currently working on their next episode.

The group will initially be made up of only eighth grade students, but might be expanded in the future. There is not a set number of students that are part of the group, with kids coming and going as they have time throughout the year. Students do the actual filming of their segments during their WIN times throughout the school day. Dean and Trosen, Markowski said, will be the newscast anchors for the time being while the other students go out and capture the videos that will be used in the newscast.

"It is mostly a during school project since you can't do it after school with all the kids having gone home," Markowski said. "They can do some of the editing before and after school, but the rest has to be done during school. So we are pulling kids out of WIN and grabbing students as they pass by in the halls. It just has to be a short snapshot of what is happening in the school."

Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
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