Saturday, March 1, 2014

Blizzard Days & Bluebird Days

I haven't blogged in a while, and it's been an eventful few weeks, so I hope you've got some extra time on your hands to look through a BUNCH of pictures on this Saturday evening! 

Things have been going really well. My class has been very cooperative lately, the weather has gotten very "Spring-ish" lately, and we've made some decisions about what our lives are going to look like for the next year. 

A student teacher in Ashland sent me a Flat Stanley, and so we took him on
a tour of town and sent an email back to the second grader who was in charge
of him with some hints about where we're at. I hope he was excited as my class! 

This is Flat "Rod", and we wanted him to fit in and stay warm, so we gave him a knit hat,
seal skin boots, and a "Guspuk" which is the traditional wear around here. 

The solar flares have been so intense lately that it makes our schools internet go out daily between noon and one, and it has also produced some crazy Northern Lights. This area of Alaska doesn't traditionally even get Northern Lights, but this is a great year for them, so we got to see them for the first time, and many of my students are seeing them for the first time as well.

We got all bundled up and stayed outside from 9:30-11:30 one night watching
the lights, shooting stars, and visiting with the friends we've made here. 

Last Friday was Max's last scheduled travel for coaching, and took both his girls and boys middle school basketball teams to play in a tournament against Hooper Bay, Nome, and the home team, Chevak. At the last minute, they needed a chaperone, so our Principal told me I was going and that I needed to write some sub plans for the following day, and get packed. He also warned me that I'd better pack some extra clothes, because the weather report looked like the perfect storm as far as getting stuck in another village goes.

Tiaga Forest 

Chevak from the air, circling around the land on that runway. 

This is the classroom we slept in (for not one, but THREE nights)

This is a map of the different Alaskan Native groups and languages. In Chevak
they are technically Yupik, but the language they speak is a different dialect
called Chupik. I found this interesting, because this is what I'm teaching in
social studies right now! 

Max and his 5 boys that traveled. They played so hard, and lost all of their
games, but the schools we were playing were MUCH larger, and the scores
were still very close! 

The view from Chevak School. In the summer, that's a lake! 

More of Chevak

Chevak School

The senior students in the welding program at Chevak make and sell a 20'
stainless steel boat every school year, and they sell it for $4,000. It's quite the

And here is a sample of the blizzard/wind/freezing rain that kept planes grounded,
 thus, us in Chevak, for 3 extra days. 

We got stuck in Chevak until Monday (as predicted), and when we made it out finally, the
weather was beautiful again. 

We flew on a Caravan as usual, but this time I got to ride Co-Pilot! That is our district PBIS
director, Shane, sleeping in the back of the plane. They picked him up in another village
before they came and got us. 

All of my controls. Just kidding, I did my best not to touch any of the cool
buttons or the steering wheel in front of me. 

In Oregon, students study the Oregon Trail in 4th grade social studies. In Alaska, they study Alaska. I have focused in on the geography, and now, the native people of Alaska. Here is the educational bulletin board we have built with all of the flip books we have made! They talk about the languages the people speak, the climate they live in, what they traditionally eat, what they do for fun, and then where they live geographically. 

We're working on our last group of native people right now, but this is half of
the display. The other half currently says "Coming Soon!"

During art (and any and all of our free time) we are coloring these awesome coloring pages
and posting them around the school. We've got tons of different ones, all with positive
messages and the kids are taking pride in coloring them because they are so excited to see
them around the building. 

Teachers & Parents: Here's the link to all of the quotes!

And for the Bluebird days: It has been absolutely beautiful out lately.

Here's the Russian Orthodox church last night. 

And today, when we saw how beautifully snow crusted everything was, we knew we had to go out adventuring.

The sun was shining on the thermometer, so it thought it was 75 degrees out.
Not quite, but it was about 45! 

This is how most of the tundra looks right now. I think usually it would be under a few feet
of snow... this has been such an usual year. 

Our plan for tomorrow: We're going out hiking & hunting with Sara and Anthony at 8:00 sharp, in hopes of catching a beautiful sunrise, and a rabbit or 10. 

Our plan for next year: I am currently writing a letter of resignation from the LYSD (and also letting them know that I will most likely end up in Alaska again in the near future). We love it up here, and we love Alaskan life, but it doesn't make much sense for us to be up here with only me working when Max wants to be a teacher as well. I do, however, see us returning to Alaska in one realm or another. Max aced his grad school interview with OSU Cascades in Bend yesterday to be in the 2 year MAT program for middle school and secondary English and most likely also Social Studies, so we'll be moving to Bend once we get back so that he can get licensed. I am going to get on the sub list in the next week, as a back up plan for in case I don't get a job of some kind. Obviously the ideal would be to get a full time teaching job, but I would also be willing to work as an aid or part time to build a network for the future. 

Things are looking good, the glass is half full, we're young and free, and that's our main reason for making all the decisions we make on a daily basis (and then changing them... Who know's what we'll ACTUALLY do next year, this is our plan for right now but we all know our plans change on a pretty regular basis). That's why things are so good, I think.

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