Federated, Owatonna schools teach fifth graders computer programing - Owatonna MN: News

  • Welcome!
    Logout|My Dashboard

Federated, Owatonna schools teach fifth graders computer programing

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Thursday, May 2, 2013 1:51 pm | Updated: 6:51 pm, Thu May 2, 2013.

OWATONNA — Federated Insurance and McKinley Elementary School have teamed up to teach fifth-graders about computer programing and animation.

The program, titled “Scratch Animation and Programming Pilot,” started on April 17 and ran for three consecutive Wednesdays, ending on May 1. Seventeen McKinley fifth-graders signed up for the program, which runs after school.

“I really like technology stuff, so I felt this was a good program for me,” said fifth-grader Camryn Miller.

“I like computers and my dad works in computers, so I signed up,” added Logan Steckelberg.

Zack Kruger, the Owatonna school district’s technology integrationist, and Federated I.S. Resource Manager Miranda Dibble oversaw the pilot program with help from five additional members of the Federated I.S. Department and Tom Meagher, the district’s STEM coordinator. Erica Coan, Eric Proehl, Kevin Rasmussen, Jason Baumgartner and Stacey Bauer were the other Federated employees to volunteer their time and knowledge.

Fifth-grader Anna Vetsch said her mother works at Federated Insurance and her mother sold her on joining the after-school program.

Alex Vereide said the hardest part of the three-week course was finding the right controls and learning what each button does.

In a press release about the program, coordinators wrote that, “In the 21st Century, we are very dependent on technology. Learning to code empowers youth with technical and analytical skills that can be applied in their schoolwork, in addition to laying a foundation for their future careers.”

Each McKinley fifth-grader was offered a spot in the afternoon class. Seventeen fifth-graders learned the basics of programming within Scratch during the first session.

Scratch is an online program developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab, which allows kids of all ages to create digital characters, backgrounds, sound effects, and story lines in an easy to use drag-and-drop format. This intuitive program encourages students to create, collaborate, and think critically while learning programming skills. The students are engaged in reading, math, and logic as they are creating their software applications and games.

Kruger said the students caught on right away and were very tech savvy, which allowed the course to move a quick pace. During the second week, students created games using what they learned from session one. Each student will be creating a final project to be published online to be shared with others.

Dibble said the pilot program was a very successful partnership between Federated Insurance and the Owatonna Public Schools. The hope is that the partnership will continue and be replicated at other schools in the Owatonna school district.

Reach reporter Derek Sullivan at 444-2372, or follow him on Twitter @OPPSullivan

© 2015 Southernminn.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

More about

More about

More about

  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.


  • WMantooth posted at 5:00 pm on Thu, May 9, 2013.

    WMantooth Posts: 100

    Agree with whereiscommonsense! Thanks to Federated Insurance for being so active in the community and ensuring that the next generation is ready and able to compete in the marketplace.

  • whereiscommonsense posted at 1:29 am on Fri, May 3, 2013.

    whereiscommonsense Posts: 154

    Awesome educational activity where students learn first hand from mentors showing students why, education is important and how a strong education can lead to a rewarding career.

    No better teacher than one who can pass along their experience, skills and knowledge onto youth...books, videos and all the tests in the world are great but, first hand education shared by those is awesome.

    Tell me and I'll forget but show me and I'll remember...that's always the best way to learn, by doing versus being lectured to and all the better when first hand experienced and skilled folks take such initiative to pass along their knowledge to youth.

    Great job done by all those involved through Federated taking such creative and educational initiative.


Online poll


Reader ToolBox

Forms, Contests and Special Content

Owatonna Peoples Press Forms

Contact Us


Ron Ensley, Editor and Publisher, 507-444-2367, rensley@owatonna.com


Debbie Ensley, Advertising Director, 507-444-2386, densley@owatonna.com

Betty Frost, Advertising Assistant, 507-444-2389, bfrost@owatonna.com

Shawnea Hull, Advertising Consultant, 507-444-2385, shull@owatonna.com

Steve Arnold,  Advertising Consultant, 507-444-2383, sarnold@owatonna.com

Alisha Davidson, Advertising Consultant, 507-444-2388, adavidson@owatonna.com

Jennifer Sorenson, Advertising Consultant, 507-444-2395, jasorensen@owatonna.com

Bonnie Nguyen, Classified Ad-Visor, 507-444-2397, bnguyen@owatonna.com

Danielle Schmitz, Classified Ad-Visor, 507-444-2396, dschmitz@owatonna.com

Tawn Eikel, Digital Media Sales Specialist, 507-444-2398, teikel@southernminndigital.com


Carol Harvey, Circulation Manager, 507-444-1561, charvey@owatonna.com

Crystal Grovdahl, District Manager, 507-444-2362, cgrovdahl@owatonna.com

Melissa Johnston, District Manager, 507-444-2361, mjohnston@owatonna.com


Jeffrey Jackson, Managing Editor, 507-444-2371, jjackson@owatonna.com

Tony Borreson, Chief Copy Desk Editor, 507-444-2373, tborreson@owatonna.com

Kelli Lageson, Copy Desk/Paginator, 507-444-2377, klageson@owatonna.com

Ashley Stewart, Reporter, 507-444-2378, astewart@owatonna.com

Matt Hudson, Reporter, 507-44-2372, mhudson@owatonna.com

Editorial Assistant, 507-444-2379, news@owatonna.com

Obituary Notices, 507-444-2370, news@owatonna.com

Kaleb Roedel, Sports Editor, 507-444-2374, kroedel@owatonna.com

Jon Weisbrod, Sports Reporter, 507-444-2374, jweisbrod@owatonna.com

Samantha Schwanke, Editorial Assistant, 507-444-2379, sschwanke@owatonna.com

Kim Hyatt, 507-444-2376, khyatt@owatonna.com


Kelly Kubista, Creative Services Supervisor, 507-444-2391, kkubista@owatonna.com

Jenine Kubista, print/web ad design, 507-444-2390, jkubista@owatonna.com

Naomi Kissling, print/web ad designer, 507-837-5452, nkissling@owatonna.com

Nicole Gilmore, print/web ad designer, 507-444-1565, ngilmore@owatonna.com

Keeley Krebsbach, print/web ad designer, 507-444-1564  kkrebsbach@owatonna.com

Lauren Barber, Print/ Web Designer, 507-444-1563, lbarber@owatonna.com


Dianna Schmidt, Bookkepper, 507-444-2365, dschmidt@owatonna.com

Paula Engebretson, Bookkeeper, 507-444-2364, pengebretson@owatonna.com

The Owatonna People's Press is published daily Tuesday-Saturday.

Business hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Phone: (507) 451-2840

Fax: (507) 444-2382

Mail: 135 W. Pearl St.

Owatonna, MN 55060

Sponsored Links

5,000 Guns at Ahlman's

Browning products on sale for Black Friday

Looking for good holiday ideas?

Your local Hy-Vee has them. Click here to see

Follow us on Facebook