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.  

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