Sunday, 15 January 2017

Talmud Torah Grade 5/6 Class, Dec. 5-9, 2016

The Grade 5/6 class from Talmud Torah School 
begin their first day of their week at Edmonton Journal School.

The students have an opportunity to examine artifacts at JAHSENA.

The Grade 5/6 class is given some background 
information about the history of CKUA.
On a cold December morning, the grade class explored the oldest radio station in Alberta. The CKUA radio station was formed in 1927. The class was given a tour around the wonderful, historic building and witnessed exquisite things all around. One of the interesting sights in the radio station was the library which was filled with thousands of CDs and playlists. The students even got to witness a record player from the 1900s in action. After touring the basement, the students went to the top floor where they explored the recording rooms and got to experiment with soundproof walls. They then met Marketing Mark at the recording studio where they got to record the CKUA station IDs. Finally, the students had an opportunity to engage Ken Regan in a press conference, held by the CKUA radio station. “We are only going to survive and grow if we work together”, Ken Regan explained to the students. At the end of the day the students got SWAG (Stuff We All Get) from the CKUA radio station.

Talmud Torah students have fun cartooning.
What do you think of when you hear the word cartoon? When we think of that word, we think of our amazing week at the Edmonton Journal taking part in the cartoon stations. It was one of our most memorable activities.

As a group, we learned a lot of facts about comics. We learned that Malcolm Mayes does all the editorial comics for the Edmonton Journal. When we learned about comics, we took part in stations such as: choosing comics to put in our journals and writing about them, looking at comics and guessing what their true meaning and examining editorial cartoons about sports and determining their meaning. We then had even more fun discussing with the class about those comics. We learned about sport comics and how some are goofy and some are serious. All the comics are well written and beautifully illustrated. There are usually series of comics and most people have personal favorites. On Saturdays they have four pages of comics.

The Grade 5/6 class enjoyed interviewing 
Ken Regan at the CKUA radio station.
Before we began our interviews EJ School facilitator, Sandy VanRiper gave us many tips to help us prepare for our interviews.  She planned twelve interesting professionals for us to interview. The people we interviewed were: Dani Uretsky, Paula Simons, Gaia Willis, Larry Wong, Elise Campbell, Anna Posteraro, Mark Suits, Mel Wyne, Jeff Samsonow, Collin Taylor and Ken Regan. We interviewed people at JAHSENA, CKUA and at the Edmonton Journal to get an idea of what different professionals do. Most of the people that we interviewed had a lot to say about their jobs and it was hard to write everything down. Interviewing people was a great activity because it was an amazing experience to see the different jobs and people. Many of the people we interviewed had very interesting backgrounds and really cool stories. Some of the people we interviewed had very different jobs and others had very similar jobs.

Before our week at the Edmonton Journal, we thought downtown was just a bunch of concrete buildings. It turns out there is a lot more history there than we thought. We learned about Thistle Rink and how it burned down. That is the reason why the Northlands Coliseum was built. On one of our walks we saw Edmonton’s first skyscraper. Now it is one of the smallest buildings in Edmonton. On our walk, we took a stop to look at the library that is in the process of being relocated to the old Bay building. We went inside and saw some of the paintings and art. Last but not least, we walked to the Oilers Hall Of Fame and saw the Wayne Gretzky statue. Then, we went to Rogers Place and admired the ‘Iron Foot’ mosaic, also known as the ‘Tsa Tsa Ke Ke’, by Alex Janvier. After that we saw the Oil Kings practicing in their practice rink. So in conclusion it was a lot of fun and we learned a lot on our downtown walks.   
The Grade 5/6 class posing with Wayne Gretzky next to Rogers Place.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

EJ recruits junior reporters from MCS

MCS students take to the newsroom 

A week-long trip November 28 to December 2 to the Edmonton Journal proved very educational for the grade 6 students of Millwoods Christian School.

The students spent their first day at The Edmonton Journal with Sandy VanRiper. They enjoyed learning and taking a tour of the building. They examined an old Linotype, a printing press that created one line of newspaper print at a time. Then they looked at a Microfiche reader. Microfiche are little tape roles of photo reel that contain small pictures of newspapers that go into a reader and can be read like a normal newspaper.

The Edmonton Journal was also the headquarters for the students to learn and do various activities. They covered subjects of journalism, writing, editing and cartooning.

The students of Millwoods Christian School benefited greatly from the experience and learned a lot about the history of Edmonton and the newspaper. The Edmonton Journal is a big piece of our city’s recorded history.

Millwoods Christian students visit City Hall
A grade 6 class prepares to sit in on Tuesday’s city council meeting
at Edmonton’s City Hall to learn more about democracy in action.

Tuesday morning, the Millwoods Christian School students went to City Hall to learn about the building’s history and take an educational tour around City Hall.

After watching a Council meeting, the students explored City Hall. They learned about how the fourth City Hall was designed by Gene Dub and how he made it a family friendly place.  The building is made from materials from past City Halls.  The main motto at City Hall is, “Look to the future, take pride in the past.”

Later the class decided to do a mock council.  Students debated the issue of Edmonton implementing a curfew for children under the age of 18.  It was strongly defeated.

If you want more information on City Hall go online to or call 311.

Grade 6 students experience CKUA radio station

On Tuesday afternoon, the grade 6 class looks back at
all the memories made at CKUA building.
Grade 6 students toured around CKUA radio station to learn about the station, on Tuesday afternoon.

A highlight was meeting Marketing Mark who recorded a station ID with the students.

Later, during a press conference with Monica Miller, it was discovered she has been working at CKUA for 39 years. She started as a part-time record librarian, but was soon used to filling in for people at the radio station and learned on the job. She found out that being a broadcaster was exactly what she wanted to do! She has two shows called “Mixtape” and “How I hear it”. Her favorite things are food, friends, books, and walking her dog.

The students left with words of inspiration from Monica. “It doesn't matter what you think you can do; it’s finding out what you want to do and doing it.”
Students from Millwoods Christian watch the ice float by on the
North Saskatchewan River, as they travel downtown on Thursday.

Grade 6 class at the Marian Center
6B carefully sketches the doorway to
honour the homeless across the street
from City Hall Thursday morning.

Millwoods Christian students went to the Marian Centre, on Thursday, to learn about generosity. Twelve people devoted to God live together giving their lives to serve the poor in downtown Edmonton.  Many residents live by the motto, “Love, love, love, never counting the cost.”

 The students had a short tour and saw the chapel where the residents go to pray twice a day with others. Another room they saw was the donation room where Zoyla Grace, a resident, works.  Here people in need can come to get clothing and other items. 

The last room they saw was a music room.  It was here that Steve Héroux, another resident, demonstrated his hammered dulcimer.  His love of music and God was evident as he played his handmade instrument for the students.

Steve Héroux prepares to demonstrate
 his ability to play his hammered dulcimer
as part of a tour at the Marian Centre.
The Marian Centre is a very special place that more people should know about. 

Greenfield School Journalists leave a mark on Downtown Edmonton

Our week at EJ School in late October was fantastic! We really enjoyed learning about the past, present and future. With Sandy VanRiper, we met many magnificent people and saw many landmarks of Edmonton and historical buildings, including CKUA in the Alberta hotel and the Hotel MacDonald. We were all inspired by the interesting people we interviewed! We went all over downtown to learn about history in our marvelous city. Overall, our week at the Edmonton Journal was amazing.   

New Journalists Head Downtown & Do Some Bench Rubbings
Rubbing Holly Newman's Flying Geese bench
 Abby Gottstein
We traveled downtown to some of the poetry benches. We took a pencil crayon and put our paper down on a rubbing of our choice. Lightly, we used the side of our pencil to recreate the artwork. When we were at the benches, we talked about the creator and the creative poetry. Each bench tells a story about a variety of different things that really shared how the artist felt. On some of the benches, it showed Canadian geese and faces that were happy, sad and ones with mixed emotions. Some of the poems made sense while other were confusing in many ways, but they all were very creative. 

Interviewing at EJ School

Interviewing Jeff Samsonow
In class we learned how to interview like a real reporter. We took notes about everything we saw and the notebook came everywhere we went. The notebook was a vital part of our journey and it held every bit of information we collected over the week. Names, dates, nouns, verbs, and actions all went inside. We learnt that the first question a reporter asks is “What is your name and can you please spell it?” We wrote down every word that came out of our subject’s mouth and we tried to look for quotes that they told us. We had to prepare questions before we came and sometimes to come up with them while we were interviewing. Some of us wrote 5-6 pages just about one topic. The subjects also gave us great advice and information about poverty and homelessness for our United Way project.

Livi Palmer
Outside CKUA
During the week at EJ School our class went to CKUA. We learned so much about radio stations and how they work. There we created station IDs and that every few hours they are required to play identity tags so listeners know that the station is CKUA. When we finished listening to our recordings we all realized that our voices sound different than we think we sound. In the library we learned about all the different generations of music. We even heard some of the music and saw music players that were around from the 1880’s. That music was so interesting because they had no words. Next we had a press conference with Tony King. He had such an interesting and inspirational story.

Poverty in Edmonton
Livi Palmer
The Grade 6 students from Greenfield School have been working hard on trying to raise awareness to end poverty. We decided to order shirts with logos on them and go to High Schools and talk about how we can raise awareness. At EJ School we also talked more about it and how to get the audience's attention. We also talked to lots of the people to see what they felt about homelessness and poverty. They also gave us ways to be more confident in our work and presenting to a big group of kids that are older than us. This gave us more things to put into our presentation.

Grade six uses timeline to learn about the history of Edmonton. 
Time connections
During EJ School we met a nice man named Dan Rose who works at Edmonton Economic Development Corporation. He taught us about the downtown Edmonton history. We learned about the Hotel MacDonald, how it has been in terrible condition and about to be taken down. Did you know that McDougall Church was built in 1910 and over 105 years old? Learning with Dan was an amazing experience.  We built a timeline of buildings or moments in Edmonton. We put down facts like the Thistle Rink burning down in 1913 and the Pulitzer Prize awarded in 1938. We are very happy we had this experience to learn about the history of our city.  

Our Fifth and Last Year

No EJ School 2017-18

If you check the Inquiring Minds application for 2017-18, you will notice EJ School is not there.
This is the last school year of this program. 
There will be 2 more classes: one each in January and March and then the program will be done.

Am I sad? Yes.

After 5 years, 31 classes and amazing teachers and almost 800 students, it has been a wonderful experience of week-long, site-based inquiry. The Edmonton Journal staff have been warm, welcoming and eager participants in this process. It has been my absolute pleasure to meet a host of amazing writers, editors and photojournalists during this time.

But we have always known that this program and the Edmonton Journal and PostMedia exist in “interesting times”.
Last EJ School class exit past
Edmonton Journal's Pulitzer Prize
Ever since this idea was a twinkle in Linda Hut’s eye in 2012 and she helped the Edmonton Journal, Karen Unland and Barb Wilkinson find their way to Inquiring Minds, EJ School has been an outstanding example of stripped down, grassroots site building.
However, in-house program champion, Barb Wilkinson, will be leaving the Edmonton Journal at the end of January.
The staff at the Edmonton Journal have been dealing with a steady stream of departures and while huge supporters of this little program are resigned to what will happen.
Linda intends to continue taking interested City Hall School classes over for a visit as long as she can. She does an amazing job in her time there.

When I sent out this information to EJ School teacher alumni, I received back many kind words of their experience of the program. It really has been a great gift to work with open and creative educators.

Change is inevitable and I do not feel print journalism is done. But technology is altering the media used to communicate and all those related business models in many ways. Since Gutenberg it has been so. I understand now that reliable, accurate and timely information is not actually free of charge. What that means to the future of the newspaper business I am not sure.

In the words of John F. Kennedy “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”


Sandy VanRiper