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DIS students make history with first schoolwide newspaper

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Dyersburg Intermediate School Newspaper Staff is creating history and headlines with DIS's first schoolwide newspaper. No mimeographed printouts for this team. The student-led initiative will produce a state-of-the-art newspaper on the Web with students already learning new skills in photography, podcasting, interviewing, layout, creative writing, drawing and editing, just to name a few.
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Students at Dyersburg Intermediate School are busy making headlines and history with the school's first newspaper.

The DIS Newspaper Club was created on the initiative of a handful of fifth-graders who started a comic strip. In no time, the concept grew to a newspaper staff of over 60 students, an advisor, new cameras and iFlips courtesy of the DIA Parents Association, and a state-of-the-art newspaper published to the school Web site.

The first schoolwide newspaper in the history of DIS, these students are making the news as well as reporting it with student surveys, creative writing, news stories, videos, editorials, photographs, and original comic strips all created to suit the talents of the staff.

The newspaper staff was open to students throughout the school, but newspaper advisor Becky Coleman finally had to say the club was full with over 60 joining the staff within just a few days of word-of-mouth publicity.

"This newspaper is for the kids, about the kids, and by the kids," said Coleman. "This group got it up while I was in Memphis, and by the time I returned, it had snowballed. They had already received permission from Principal Lou Newbill and Curriculum Coordinator Lenita Click, arranged for help from the library and computer lab, and had many, many interested students. Word got out and we could have easily had 200 people."

"At first we were just talking and Jacob (Stewart) and Peyton (Hickman) and Paul (Anderson) were telling me how these three were going to make their own comics and funny pages," said Jake Schneider. "I was kind of thinking, we have never had a school newspaper."

"And, that's when we started thinking up all these cool ideas," said Coleman Self.

"We asked our Language Arts teacher, Mrs. Craig, and she said she thought it would be great," said Jacob Stewert. "And here comes Mrs. Click down the hallway," said Coleman Self.

Click gave the students some advice about how to get started, including receiving permission from the principal and finding an advisor from the faculty.

"And then we thought, 'Who better than Mrs. Coleman herself?'" said Self.

Leann King and Hannah Jones began writing funny scary stories for the publication. Hannah is also helping with editing.

"One day, me and Hannah just thought of doing some scary and funny stories," said Leann. "We are still making up stories."

"I have done photography," said Madison Funderburk. "I took some pictures of the Awards Program."

"I'm doing Dear Abbey," said IndiAnn Agee. "A few years ago, when I was in third grade, a friend asked me for some advice. I thought up that question and answered it."

"I'm writing a story on the Honor's Program," said Sydney Ferguson.

Whitby Holden wrote a story on the student who won the Principal's Award.

"She's doing a great job," said Coleman.

Kaylee Rogers has also written several articles already.

"I write short stories for the paper," said Mackenzie Lowrance. "I've written all my life and whenever I got the chance to write for the newspaper, I was overwhelmed."

Lowrance said she and the other students are learning to e-mail their stories and ideas from home to the newspaper staff, another skill that will be used in a variety of ways in the future.

"I did a report on the book fair," said Kacey Baker. "And I interviewed our librarian, Mrs. Kay Rector. Paul Anderson took the pictures."

"I wrote the gossip column and an article about 4-H," said Eli Walker.

"I'm working on a Chinese article," said Aaron [Ya Lun] Stapleton.

"Aaron is an editorial writer," said Coleman.

"Earlier, I wrote an editorial about the cafeteria," said Sarah Emery, "And I helped with editing."

Sydney Bevis took the pictures of the cafeteria workers dressed up for Thanksgiving.

The cafeteria was the subject of one of the polls taken by the newspaper staff, including the kind of pizza the students like best and what kind of foods they would like to see on the menu.

"Sarah wishes they had grapes and strawberries," said Coleman.

"I do kind of classifieds," said Peyton Hickman. "Except we are not allowed to sell things, so I made up funny ones like a prehistoric rock found in the DIS parking lot for sale and December 1 Thanksgiving turkey that comes with a hobo."

"He's also done several jokes, riddles, comics and things like that," said Coleman.

The DIS parents' group, the DIA, provided new cameras and iFlips for library checkout that are coming in handy for the new project.

"We want to thank the parents for buying us all these nice things that we can use," said Coleman. "The children are learning how to do all kinds of computer programs and so am I. Together, we are learning all kinds of computer skills. Becky Hasselle (Dyersburg Middle School gifted teacher in charge of the DMS newspaper) came over and helped get us started.

"I'm doing a little bit of photography," said Anne-Kathrine Hamilton, "and planning on interviewing the third-graders on what went through their heads when they started at this school and what was different once they got here."

"It is such a treat to see these students do what they want to with their gifts and talents," said Coleman.

"I think (the newspaper) was a really good idea," said Self. "Jake is usually the one with the really good ideas."

"I've always wanted to be a photographer at a newspaper," said Paul Anderson. "Then the newspaper got started. I took pictures of the book fair."

Emma Burns is learning about photography, too.

"I saw Jacob on the computer in ESP," said Burns. "I asked him what he was doing and I came up to Mrs. Coleman and asked if I could do it."

Peyton Hornberger has been named head editor of the new publication.

"I was introduced to it by Coleman and Jake. They were in my Plus One class," said Hornberger. "I love computers and I stayed late to help."

Not all students on the newspaper staff are in the Plus One program, however; the club is open to all DIS students.

"It's not just a Plus One thing," said Coleman. "And, it's possible for any child in the school to get published."

"Mrs. Coleman was wondering if I wanted to be on the newspaper staff," said Chloe Cates. "I worked on the fourth-grade Indian dwelling project and there was also a 4-H Speaking Contest that I wrote about."

"They are learning how to add music and clip art and how to create slideshows and podcasts," said Coleman. "Peyton Hornberger, Billy Bona, and several others are working on that."

Like a true reporter, Hamilton thought to record the historic moment of the first meeting of the DIS newspaper staff.

"For our first-ever meeting, I didn't know what to expect, so I brought a camera," said Hamilton. "Before we left, we got a picture of the entire original newspaper committee that was present. It was historic."

Coleman and her students are working hard to meet deadlines and publish the newspaper to the school's Web site soon.

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Ya know..its sad...I never see any comments on the positive things that are reported. But I, on the other hand, must say...this is the COOLEST thing for these kids!!!!! This paper is a great opportunity for them. I know when I was there age I would've loved to have an opportunity like this. YOU GO KIDS...YOU GOT IT GOING ON!

-- Posted by disowned&proud on Sat, Jan 9, 2010, at 11:12 PM

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