Monday, 26 January 2015


Kelly Ramsey building project
George P. Nicholson School Rm. 12 Gr. 5/6 students quenched their thirst for knowledge on a week-long inquiry learning experience at Edmonton Journal School, coordinated by EJ School teacher, Mrs. Sandy VanRiper, and classroom teacher, Mrs. Maxine Sprague. The students observed, questioned, and journaled, as they interviewed people and explored places, inside the Journal building and around downtown Edmonton.
Examining lead-type layout with Randy Collins

In the Box activities included interviewing, time lining, caricature, section search, and historical newspapers. Although the students weren’t privileged to meet Edmontonian Malcolm Mayes, they did an activity using his cartoons. Most major newspapers in Canada and the U.S.A. have featured his cartoons. In the time lining activity, students put their birthdate and other important dates in Edmonton's history on a giant timeline, dating from 1501-2020. These dates included the first Edmonton Journal called the Evening Journal published in 1903. During Section Search, another cool activity, the students learned about newspaper features, pairing up with a buddy and looking through a newspaper section to explore an eye-catching topic, a picture, and an ad.

The students did Fly on the Wall, listening in on conversations and interviewing Edmonton Journal employees, such as Chris Zdeb, Day in History writer, and Editor-in-Chief Margo Goodhand. The students were excited about meeting new people to interview. The students rushed to get out their pencils and notebooks, listening carefully and asking great questions. Sitting quietly in a circle around the section editors, listening in on a discussion about the weekend edition, was a highlight of the week.
Ryan Jackson sharing his astonishing photos

Sports Editor Craig Ellingson, Columnist Paula Simons, and Photo Journalist Ryan Jackson were also interviewed.Ryan Jackson shared his astonishing photos and some stunning videos. He also provided tips for taking great pictures. Mr. Ellingson told the students about his career path and his responsibilities as editor of the sports department. Paula Simons entertained the students with stories about her experiences as an opinion columnist, and how she gathers her material and ideas for stories. Students were inspired by their time with Crime Bureau Chief, Jana Pruden, as she answered questions about crime reporting. They learned that journalists might stand out in the cold for hours to gather information and that pens freeze, so a pencil works best. 
Recording an audio clip at CKUA

Going Outside the Box provided unique experiences, exploring places rarely seen by elementary students. The students traveled to many places in downtown Edmonton throughout the week of inquiry learning. It changed their thinking about the complex world of media.
Stanley Milner Library newspaper collection
They visited the CKUA original radio station, learning about the building’s past and recording a radio play. The Stanley A. Milner library, the heart of the Edmonton Public Library System, provided experiences looking at microfilm and newspapers from around the world. Before coming to EJ School, each student produced original artwork sewn into a baby quilt, donating it, along with other items, to support the homeless who visit the soup kitchen at the Marian Centre. Marian residents, Neil and Sushi, provided a tour of the Centre. To top off the week, everyone enjoyed a relaxing swim at the Don Wheaton YMCA.

Transportation was a huge part of the student's experience. The LRT and Pedway connecting system, including underground tunnels and overpasses, dazzled the elementary students. Their teacher, Mrs. Sprague and EJ School Teacher Coordinator, Mrs. VanRiper kept the students from getting lost, as they expertly guided them. Some days, Mrs. Van Riper met the class in the underground pedway system to share her vast knowledge of interesting buildings and artifacts in downtown Edmonton.  Travel involved hiking and riding ETS buses and the LRT. Although most students enjoyed climbing the five flights of stairs to the EJ School classroom, the occasional elevator ride was appreciated.
Class-made quilt presentation to the Marian Centre

Only five schools attended EJ School in the 2014-15 school year. The students from George P. Nicholson School were thrilled that their teacher's application was accepted so they could be a part of this awesome inquiry learning experience.  

Monday, 12 January 2015

Belvedere School Students Discover the World of Journalism

First Day in the Atrium
Wow, twenty five grade 6 students from Belvedere School went downtown to explore the news world.  They journeyed on the LRT on an exciting field trip to Edmonton Journal School from December 1st to 5th. The first amazing person they met at EJ School was Sandy VanRiper; she was the leader and guide on their spectacular week at EJ School! Students met reporters, other journal staff and practiced their interviewing skills. They toured the Journal building and other phenomenal places. They visited the City Hall, Art Gallery, the Citadel Theatre and the EPL (Edmonton Public Library). They did many activities, including exploring downtown, where they looked for signs of hope.

Randy Collins linotype expert
A favorite activity was “Fly on the Wall” where students split into groups and each group interviewed people. People like Karen Unland and Sam Brooks were interviewed. They work together on a project called Capital Ideas. Their job is to pay attention to people’s opinions and help support other small businesses. Jana G. Pruden was another of the many people interviewed; she is a reporter who is the Crime Bureau Chief and specializes in breaking news and going to crime scenes. Chris Zdeb shared her job as a reporter with another group of future writers while columnist, Paula Simons talked about her challenges in sharing sad stories. Those were only a few of many interesting interviews.
Meeting Malcolm Mayes

The Christmas Bureau is an organization that gives food to families who don't have
Interview guests for the Christmas Bureau
much money. The family gets a basket with a delicious dinner or a gift card to go to the store and buy what they need. Their goal is to raise 1.8 million dollars to help 65,000 people. The Copper Jackets help the Christmas Bureau raise over $100,000 dollars each year and the Christmas Bureau Charity increased by over 700 people! They help people because they want to spread the hope spirit and make sure everyone has a good Christmas. Students also walked around downtown and found signs of hope everywhere in the city.
Angie Mills at the Stanley Milner Library
The Edmonton Public Library is a really warm spot to go. But… do you realize if you want to use a computer, you could just go to the library and use it for free? You can read old newspapers that have been captured on microfilm. They have microfilm stored in a cabinet because it would be impossible to store all of the newspapers that they have on the microfilm. Reporters could look at old newspapers that help reporters write about history articles. There is also a work space in the library where a 3D machine can make 3D things like a butterfly.

The energetic grade 6 class went to the City Hall and they split into two groups. They did two mock council meetings. One was about banning the game of tag and the other was for banning energy drinks. The group tag did not ban the game and energy drinks got banned. After lunch at the Citadel the students traveled to the Art Gallery! At the Art Gallery they saw a lot of cool pieces of art. One of the activities the students did
On the steps of the Alberta Gallery of Art
was where one person described the art and the other person tried to draw what the person was describing. One of the students said, ‘’this game is challenging.’’ The art gallery was exciting and phenomenal. The story behind the unique design was that the architecture couldn't find an idea for the building. He crumpled up a piece of paper and that’s where he got his inspiration to create the art gallery.   

“They have learned so much since their time at EJ school,” is what Sandy Van Riper said.  Overall, the grade 6 students have learned how to be better reporters and how to interview people after Belvedere’s week at EJ school.