Monday, 23 November 2015

“Unbelievable time at EJ School!” says Grade 5C from MWI

5C from Monsignor William Irwin take a group photo with the Pulitzer Prize on their first day of EJ School
“My pictures tell stories” Greg Southam told grade 5 students from Monsignor William Irwin School on their first day of Edmonton Journal (EJ) School. From November 2nd to November 6th we interviewed many people and went to amazing places like the Marian Center, Rogers Place, and CKUA radio station. Our time at EJ School was unique and an exciting opportunity to travel in downtown Edmonton.

Anthony King is a producer and announcer at CKUA radio station. We interviewed him in a press conference on Tuesday, November 3, 2015. Before he wanted to be a radio announcer he wanted to be a musician or an animal trainer in Hollywood! CKUA is special because the announcers get to choose their own music. We loved recording our station ids with Marketing Mark! He told us that our voices would not sound the same as they did talking to a friend and “it was pretty amazing how different they actually sounded!” commented Chayce and Noah. It was very interesting to see how radio stations work and see the library with over 65,000 CDs! Another place we visited was the Marian Center.

Janet and David tell stories at the Marian Centre.
When we walked through the Marian Center there was a delicious smell of stew. “Love makes it good” said Janet, one of two volunteers we met. Along with her was David, another generous volunteer who lives at the Marian Center. They work towards the mission of the center to help Christopher’s and follow God. A Christopher is someone who does not have a home and faces problems in their life. They come to the Marian Center for a healthy meal, clean clothes, and a safe place to spend time. Janet taught us that the biggest problem Christopher’s face is loneliness. When they visit the Marian Center they experience love and friendship. David hung up an Oilers’ hockey flag to create discussions because “it`s more fun than talking about the weather.” Janet told us that “Jesus hears you talk to them and will guide them to the right path.”

Interviewing Diego from EPL at the Stanley Milner Library.
Brasil, Robyn, Ethan, Paul, and Annika pose with crime reporter Jana Pruden during an interview.
Interviewing people for Fly on the Wall was really exciting. While being a fly on the wall we collected information about someone’s job and got the lay of the land. One of the most interesting people we interviewed was Margo Goodhand. When she was about ten years old she wanted to write about the war in Vietnam, and now she is the Editor in Chief at the Edmonton Journal! The editor in chief is responsible for the whole newspaper. Another exciting person we met was Tristan Hopper. He is a reporter for the National Post. He is a general researcher who rides his bike to work every day, even in winter! We also interviewed Chris Zdeb who works in the “Day in History” section of the Journal. Once she interviewed RCMP officers who were on a stakeout waiting for an expected robbery. Someone else who has experience with crime reporting is Jana Pruden. She is the Crime Bureau Chief. The most exciting she ever covered was when she went to interview someone involved in a big shooting. She got scared by a dog and slipped backwards and got her thumb caught in her SUV door. She continued with her interview, even though her thumb was broken and her notebook was covered in blood! It was an authentic reporting experience being flies on the wall of many amazing people!
5C takes a group photo with entrepreneurs.

At EJ School we learned about different types of media. We got to be reporters and ask many questions of entrepreneurs and journalists. At the Marian Centre we learned about the Christopher`s and heard fantastic stories from Janet and David. When we went to CKUA it was really cool to make our own station ID. It was a very educational and unforgettable week.

5C taking a photo with the giant downtown Edmonton  “E” in Churchill Square

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Riverbend 7-7 & 7-8: Two halves make one week

In September of 2015, our class, 7-8, from Riverbend Junior High School received the privilege to attend Edmonton Journal School. While there, we learned about several topics such as entrepreneurs, the Edmonton Journal, Downtown Edmonton and lots more!

On day one of Edmonton Journal School, we got a tour of downtown. Ms. VanRiper took us across parts of Edmonton to see all of the really cool historical places and monuments. The first place we were taken to was the McDougall Methodist Mission Church, which is  extremely old and needs millions of dollars worth of repairs. Next, we went to the place where the Thistle Rink used to be. Unfortunately, the Thistle Rink burned down in 1913 with a flash of explosions. What a coincidence that the store next to it stored explosives as well. We also learned that the EPCOR building is the tallest building in Edmonton. One of the last places that we visited was the new arena being built, before we headed back. It must have been a peculiar sight to see a group of children attempting to cross the road at the same time.

A piece of the Edmonton Journal’s history was also taken in. The newspaper started on November 11, 1903, when three dedicated men from Winnipeg decided that it was the perfect time for a newspaper to grace the city. They started a small paper titled The Evening Journal and began to sell copies. Each of the men had different jobs to do. There was one reporter, one advertiser, and one typesetter. Eventually, the three men were too successful to continue running their business behind a meager fruit stand. So they constructed a building large enough to operate from. After about 40 years, the original building was torn down, and in its place, a larger, grander building was built.

While we were at the Edmonton Journal building, we participated in a “fly on the wall activity.” We each got into a group of five and got to go interview people and watch them work. We learned about the newspaper, how it is run and the people who make the Edmonton Journal possible. Ms. Sandy VanRiper told us that a “fly on the wall” is a person who quietly observes. Being a fly on the wall is beneficial because you can see a person’s unique workspace. We quickly learned that being a fly on the wall has its benefits (although it is hard not to ask lots of questions).

There were many meaningful things at the Edmonton Journal, but one of the most wonderful experiences that we had, was when some Edmonton Journal staff took the time to speak to us. We met Jeff Samsonow (an entrepreneur) and Jana Pruden (the Crime Bureau Chief). Each person that we met was interesting and full of information.

One of our favorite parts about the field trip included the “Makerspace” in the Stanley A. Milner Library. There were so many interesting gadgets, all open for public use. Some of the things we saw included a recording studio, a green screen, multiple computers and various game consoles. However, the thing that attracted our attention the most was the 3D printer, which could make things such as cones, cubes, castles and numerous shapes. Each one was coloured vibrantly, and it certainly held our attention and kept us wondering about what else we could create in the future.

After our few days of fun at the Journal, Ms. VanRiper gave us each a bag of orange, peach flavoured jelly beans. This was in celebration of the change of logo colour from blue to orange. The experience at the Edmonton Journal was truly incredible and inspiring for the seventh graders of Riverbend Junior High School.

7-8 with Elizabeth Withey, EPL Writer in Residence

Edmonton Journal School is fun, learning and newspaper galore! The Edmonton Journal School paves the path for apprentice journalists and novice writers. Located in the bustling heart of Downtown, Edmonton Journal school is the perfect place for kids to kickstart their school experience in September or celebrate a year of success in June.

On the first day, we got the privilege to tour the CKUA building and learn about it. CKUA is a radio station located on Jasper Avenue. One of the most interesting things we got to try was making our own on air radio introductions. It was pretty cool! We took a tour around the building, and looked at how to get the least amount of echo in a studio. We also went to the basement (the library), and saw a million vinyl records, and how a turntable works. It was so vintage! We got to meet another interesting person who has admired radio, his name was Tony King. It was an amazing experience.

We also interviewed Paula Simons that day. Paula works at the Edmonton Journal, as an editorial columnist. She loves writing in opinion columns, because explaining her thoughts to other people is one of her passions. Paula also loves to debate and, in fact, she still judges high school debate competitions in Edmonton!

Another one of the activities that we got to do was a walk around downtown. During that time, we got to go to the city center mall, the old Thistle Rink location, and much more. We also got to see Roger's Place being built. One thing we learned was how to stay inside while going around downtown. We also learned about how some of the old historic sites in Edmonton were preserved. For example, The City of Edmonton kept a memory of the old Alberta Collage by leaving the archway there.

On the last day of E.J school, each group was assigned to interview the editors of each column in the newspaper and asked them questions about their jobs and what they do. Some of the people that the students had interviews with were: Margo Goodhand, (the editor) Sam Brooks and Jeff Samsonow  Capital Ideas) and Barb Wilkinson (Special Projects). Some others were Chris Zdeb, (from ‘A day in History’), and Otiena Ellwand, (Breaking News).

It was fascinating! After each group interviewed their assigned person or people, they reported back to the rest of us and we all shared information.

Also on Friday, another thing we learned was about editorial comics; pictures that represent the news story in another way.  Malcolm Mayes works for Edmonton Journal as the person who makes editorial comics. We looked at the marvelous comics to see what the message was that the author was trying to explain to the people reading the paper.

One other person we met was a photojournalist named Ryan Jackson who came to see us, with a ton of information about his interesting profession. “A lot of it is preparation.” said, Ryan. He had a few cool stories, like how he had to hang half off a cement dock, holding a cold metal railing, in the rain, to get a picture for the morning paper. One of his favorite personal quotes is “Let your feet be the zoom,” .

We took a lot from this experience. We were so lucky for this opportunity. We hope to get another chance like this again. It was amazing!

Tuesday, 17 March 2015


As we exited our bus, the air buzzed with the excitement of having left the suburbia of Millwoods and journeyed towards our downtown destination. We were now “live on the scene”. After a group photo in the atrium, our week began the same way it would end, with five flights of stairs.

Our initial tour of the facility turned out to be a journey through time.  As we explored our surroundings we travelled back in time and learned about the first types of printing devices.
Tour stop by the Linotype machine
We learned about the Journal’s founding (thank you John Macpherson, Arthur Moore and J.W. Cunningham), we visited the photo and print archives and experienced the past directly. We then jumped ahead to the present day and saw the newsroom and other work spaces. Warping into the future, we learned about the direction of the new Journal format and platforms.  We ended our day exploring works by the award winning political cartoonist, one of our class’ favorites, Malcolm Mayes.

Bzzzzzzzzzz! The morning of our second day, we transformed ourselves into tiny flies. Landing on various walls around the building we spent time learning about many of the jobs done at the Journal. With our trusty reporter’s notepads we carefully recorded details pertaining to the job descriptions and experiences of the Gastropost editor Brittney LeBlanc, columnist Paula Simons, Community Manager of Capital Ideas Sam Brooks and reporter Chris Zdeb. That afternoon we flew over to the CKUA radio building and found out the workings of a radio station.
Outside CKUA
From music to reporting we saw it all through our many lensed eyes. To round off our day we explored the Shaw Convention center and observed the construction of the Crashed Ice course, amazingly, it actually wrapped itself around the building!

Wednesday saw us hit the streets. We toured many interesting areas around the city center and spent time at the award winning Stanley Milner Library. We perused newspapers from across the country and around the globe. We looked at the Art around the building and explored the amazing EPL Makerspace. Can you believe a library can also have a green screen, a recording booth, programming and gaming computers along with 3D printers? Wow!
Construction of Rogers Place
Using the amazing pedway system, we traversed the many downtown streets and made our way to the Hudson Bay’s parkade where we had an incredible view of the new arena being constructed.
After resting our feet over a well-deserved lunch, we concluded our busy day by interviewing the Journal’s Sports Editor, Craig Ellingson. We found out that putting together a section for a newspaper sure takes a lot of teamwork.

The morning of our penultimate day we rode the main line of our LRT for 35 minutes from Century Park all the way to Clareview.
Century Park kiss'n ride to LRT
On our way back to get to the Legislature, we stopped by to visit the great Wayne Gretzky (or at least his statue). Our tour of the Legislature with our informative and hilarious guide Will, provided us with much gained knowledge. From observing the original location of Fort Edmonton to discovering that our province is named after Princess Louise Caroline Alberta we learned a lot, all under the watchful gaze of the King and Queen. We even learned that maces and plumbing have their part in lawmaking.
Will and Princess Louise Caroline Alberta

Our final day saw us take on the role of “fly on the wall,” once again. Delving into the minds of Randy Collins the Linotype and advertising expert, Editor-in-Chief Margo Goodhand, Andrea Sands news reporter and Shaughn Butts photojournalist, we learned even more about what it takes to make a newspaper run. Finally, we looked at how people, places and events around Edmonton fit onto an historical timeline.

Descending our mountain of stairs, we began reflecting on the many experiences that comprised our amazing week. Wherever we go in the future we will keep our eyes and ears open because we know that we are always “Live On The Scene”.
Descending the stairs

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Brightview Connects Lots of Learning to Food at EJ School

The Grade 6s from Brightview School spent February 9 to 13th at the Edmonton Journal to learn about journalism.
Print - just one of the four news "platforms"
This was a part of the Inquiring Minds Site School programs.  Mrs. Van Riper is the leader of EJ School and Mr. Mastel is their teacher.

Students enjoyed meeting Jana Pruden, who is the crime bureau chief. Students learned that she loves her job which she said, “is hard emotionally and physically.” She can get emotional: sad, worried and scared after some of the stories she reports on.  She also loves her job because she and her co-workers “help each other and are a big team.”
Brightview students meet Capital Ideas, Sam and Karen
Some lucky grade 6 students met Karen Unland and Sam Brooks from ‘Capital Ideas’ on Tuesday. 
They help business people or the people who want to start a business here in Edmonton. They ask successful business owners to give some ideas on that topic. They put the person’s picture on the Capital Ideas’ page and the ideas and advice in quotes.  “Our job is really fun because we get to meet people who are very successful with their business and we can help the Edmontonians who want to start a business”, they both told the students. Karen Unland commented, “I love to learn new things.” “Newspapers can tell a story that the internet can’t,” Sam Brooks pointed out.
Pizza at fantasia gelateria
On Wednesday the grade 6s went to Enterprise Square, which is the old Hudson’s Bay building. The students ate tasty pizza from fantasia gelateria, and when they finished they explored Andrea Itzeck’s art exhibit in the lobby called ‘Walk of Hands.”   Then they had some delicious gelato, care of Mrs. VanRiper.  After lunch students interviewed Fiona Cavanagh, Marco Melfi, and Yvonne Pronovost from the Centre for Public Involvement and the Edmonton Food Council.  
Students met and interviewed Brittney Le Blanc on Thursday February 12th. Her job is community manager for newspaper pages called GastroPost in Wednesday’s edition of the Edmonton Journal.  She’s passionate about her job and is not in it for the money: “I do media because I love it, not because I make lots of money.”
Earlier in the week, a handful of Brightview students met Chris Zdeb, who was looking at past newspapers on microfiche. She used three machines to look at the old newspapers to find a story from the past to feature in an upcoming issue of the Edmonton Journal. “I think this is the best job at the Edmonton Journal” she said and has worked there for 35 years as a reporter and feature writer. She is a curious lady that likes to talk to people around the city. Students were also exposed to microfiche at the Stanley Milner Library, thanks to Community Librarian, Angie Miller.  
Students stayed active during their week at the Edmonton Journal. 
Near the Shaw Conference Centre
They had lots of fun walking to the Shaw Conference Center, where they saw the building of Red Bull CrashedIce track. Some students are planning to attend this upcoming event.
Students also toured the CKUA building.  They went into the studio and recorded a skit using a microphone and the computers. Then, they went into the library filled with records and CDs. The students were able to learn a lot about how the radio station works.  
CKUA recording
By Friday it was the final day at the Edmonton Journal and Mr. Mastel decided to take the students to the Don Wheaton Y.M.C.A to swim. It was a great experience. They enjoyed swimming around in the pool with their teacher. “Mr Mastel I’m really tired,” Jessica said, “I’m exhausted!”
Throughout the week students had fun exploring, learning and meeting people through EJ School. As Jaslyn boarded the bus for the final time she was quoted as saying, “I liked how we learned about food throughout the week. You should go to Enterprise Square and have the pizza and gelato!” 
"...we learned about food throughout the week."

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.