Cedar Elementary School students, living in newsworthy times, are learning the value of the printed word.
Justine Keefer, a Cedar Elementary Grade 6/7 teacher, said the COVID-19 pandemic limited global citizenship project options and it was decided the class would publish a newspaper, the Wolf Pack News. In addition to writing and photography, students took part in other business aspects, including ad sales – two students contacted 49th Parallel Grocery, which placed an advertisement for the price of five containers of chocolate milk and five cookies.
Keefer said the exercise was in line with with curriculum.
“Part of social studies is using multiple sources and also verifying sources,” said Keefer. “So some of our information was from books or other articles, some of it was online … and they also interviewed two people, so lots of the basis for those two articles was the communication online between the person being interviewed and the student over Zoom. Then they checked some backup information with some sources that the [interviewees] gave them to look at.”
Keefer said putting the newspaper together was a “multi-faceted project” that incorporated social studies and language arts.
“Just making a different connection with someone out in the community that they had to interview was really daunting for the two students that did it,” said Keefer. “They were quite nervous, but I think they were really proud of themselves after … [It’s] part of the positivity that the project was designed to evoke in the school community. I think the kids that made the newspaper got to feel [that].”
Cedar student Andrew Gregory wrote the issue’s front-page story on Luke Marston, the Stz’uminus First Nation artist who designed a mask for Vancouver Canucks goalie Braden Holtby. Although Keefer arranged everything, he conducted the interview.
“I had to write down five questions,” said Gregory. “I asked him, ‘Why did you make this mask? What was the process?’ and ‘Who helped make it?’”
Gregory, a Canucks fan, said he was glad to take part in the project, which he said was fun.
Andrea Rosato-Taylor and Cole Schisler, publisher and editor, respectively, of the Ladysmith Chronicle, offered advice to the class and printed the newspaper at no charge.
“I’ve had Aspengrove School come a couple of years in a row to us as well to learn about newspaper marketing, advertising, how it all works, so I’ve done it before and it’s quite fun to engage young people in the whole concept of newspapers,” said Rosato-Taylor. “They’re always quite bright and have great questions.”
“I told them about how most days I need a cup of coffee, so they made themselves some fake coffee,” said Schisler. “They were working in the writers’ room going over the physical paper and proofing. I think that they were very hands-on and involved with the actual print product because if they weren’t, they might’ve just made a website.”