SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION, Part II: local schoolkids learn about online journalism from gigcity editor

[EDITOR’S NOTE: When my daughter’s grade three teacher asked me to talk to the class about the media, I said: What’s in it for me? Then I felt ashamed. The medium doesn’t matter. It’s the message that counts. The Internet is about sharing. I share information with you, you share with me and we are both enriched. So of course I agreed – to show the kids how works! They wrote their own story and posted it live to create this very article you’re reading RIGHT NOW! It is the happy result of education meeting shameless self-promotion. – Mike Ross]


We have a writing program called “Stop, Drop and Write.” Our favourite part is getting to read the story, and sharing the story in the author’s chair.

We have “tribal challenges” once a month. Our tribes earn points and win prizes. Yesterday we made castles out of garbage, recycled material. There were prizes for the strongest bridge and the strongest pillars. Once before we built a balloon tower. There was a prize for the tallest tower, and also the tallest snowman. This month, we picked our tribal names from books by Roald Dahl. One was called “The Champions of the World.” Each month we get new tribes.

We just finished a fairy tale unit. We wrote fairy tales, and on Valentine’s Day, we had a fairy tale ball. We got to dress up as our favourite fairy tale character. We had a banquet: Veggies and pizza, cookies, cheese, suckers. We had six stations at the ball. One was making cards for your parents. We made a pizza cookie. It was a science lesson. We did card tricks, played games. It’s fun to make up characters. We made up this character named Mr. Halfus, fairy tale ambassador. Thanks to our teacher Mrs. McOuat for making the ball. We had lots of fun.

We like to take field trips in grade three. We went to the Ukrainian Village. We made these wax crosses out of beeswax. We went to the art museum in St. Albert. We made Peruvian masks, drawings and cartoons at “Cartoonapalooza.” We went downtown and saw the bug man at the Paramount Theatre. We got to hold a tarantula and a scorpion. Don’t worry. The bug keeper held the tail for us.

We went to the ballet and saw “The Night before Christmas” at Grant MacEwan. It was really good. They had little mice and there was a queen mouse that kept going on and off the stage. The parents were trying to catch the mice and make the kids go to bed.

Our teachers are Mrs. McOuat, Mrs. James and our student teacher is Miss Van den Ham. Mrs. James teaches math and science, Mrs. McOuat teaches language arts and social. It makes us feel like teenagers because teenagers have lots of different classes. It’s pretty cool that we have more than one teacher.

In math stations we play different math games. We have to figure out brain teasers and it’s really fun. We have reading buddies. We read Roald Dahl with the grade eights and nines. They help us work on our book reports and help read our novel. We’re starting a unit about news. We’re learning how to investigate. For writing, we have something called a “fizzle box” that has a whole bunch of ideas for what to write about, if you’re stuck.

In social studies, we travelled around the world with Paddington the bear. We enjoyed marmalade sandwiches with Paddington. He is from is deepest, darkest Peru.

Shellby is our tortoise – not a turtle. A turtle is a water animal, a tortoise is a land animal. We have to take her out at lunch and recess. She crawls around and sometimes she poops on the floor. She goes on her mat. She only goes to the bathroom once a day. Shellby eats leaves, bananas, apples, but no citrus. Shellby is a vegetarian, though she will eat bugs. Sometimes she tries to eat people’s shoes.

In art, we made watercolour cards for our parents. We like painting in art. We painted our masks. When we were at the art museum, the lady taught us how to look at art. She taught us this technique where if you see something red, you think of an apple so you associate the taste with the colour. We still remember some of the pictures.

These are just some of the fast times we have in grade three.