Wednesday, April 23, 2014


With this wonderful weather, and the snow finally melting off the outdoor basketball court, we've taken to the outdoors. We've gone up to the airstrip almost every evening, and have seen moose out grazing across the river and Max saw an early flock of geese flying over. We've also hiked down river, and noticed that it's starting to get pretty dangerous out there. Not many people are traveling on it anymore other than just going straight across to hunt birds. 

 Yesterday we spent an hour outside collecting trash for Earth Day. The class was totally into it, and I think a huge factor in that was that they were working for a reward and are very externally motivated. They tallied every piece of trash they collected, and in math we created data charts and graphs to show the information about what types of trash and how much of those types we collected. Now we're in the process of writing a problem and solution essay about littering, and how we can keep people from doing it so much around here. One of my students suggested that the main reason is that there are no outdoor trash cans, and if there were they would need to have lids because the ravens would get into them. Their writing and thinking has developed so much this year, it's incredible. 

This is our Earth Day art project from last week, each student decorated a square with 1/4 of a circle, and were told to make sure that the emphasis was on the difference between in inside and outside of the circle. They did a fantastic job, and were so excited when it all went together. 

Today for art we borrowed some sidewalk chalk, and created different drawings that students could draw and combine with themselves for a good picture. This was a great way for them to use their brains while doing regular sidewalk chalk art. They had so much fun accessorizing, and loved having their pictures taken. 

Of course, for those less artsy students, we brought a basketball, and by the end of our time outside they were playing a 4 on 4 full court basketball game. These kids love ball more than anything in the world. 

*all of my students have signed permission forms to release their photos for use on the web*

I don't plan on putting much else up in my classroom, and things will probably come down soon. I'm not sure how much of this I've already posted, but I want to have these around for future reference. Here are some anchor charts and posters that I've put up in my classroom: 

This one has been very beneficial, students use the words on the right when writing about these things and it's nice to have them handy so that they can keep referring back to it. I wish I would have done this anchor chart earlier in the year. It also works well with with CM sentence frames. 

My students lack the academic language to write without inhibition, so these posters really give them the words to use to express themselves. They refer to it often, and it seems to really help them. 

Perseverance has been an issue this year, this poster gives them other things to say beyond I can't or I don't know. 

Our classroom expectations are not things that students get in trouble for, but rather are things that students need to be successful in class. We refer back to them on a regular basis. 

Our class incentive program has worked very well, and gives students ownership of their behavior and rewards. 

We've begun the classroom countdown, 
only 16 days of school remain
I'm seeing some students that are regressing back to their fall behaviors due to lack of sleep. Some are also acting out because they know they're so close to the end, and they would rather be doing other things. However, I have noticed that I'm much better at dealing with these problems than I was in the fall, which makes me really glad. This has been such a wonderful experience for me as a teacher, and as a person. I'm looking forward to going back to Oregon, but I'm definitely going to miss it here.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Manaaqing, NYO and the Countdown.

Last week we finished up state testing, the community had a "fiddle, we hosted the district meet for high school NYO, had a school-wide cultural day, went ice fishing, it snowed some more, and now it's all melting. I don't feel like writing much, but here are some pictures from the last 2 weeks! 

This is the band that came for the "Fiddle", they were quite good and they got the crowd up and dancing. 

We learned a cool new dance, called the broom dance. Those of you who are coming to our wedding will soon learn how that works! 

We took a hike up to the airstrip last week, and got to see how much everything has melted! 

Everything looks pretty brown right now, but I think it'll be green soon! 

Wildlife is starting to come back out now that it's warming up. Here is a bald eagle, visiting the dump. 

The mud line on the right hand side is where the river is during the summer, which is about 15 feet higher than it is right now. 

On our hike this week we went around the bluff, and then started climbing up the bank to see if we could find a trail to the airstrip. 

It's a beautiful view, but was pretty sketchy because the hillside was all ice, and it was VERY steep. 

The snow got deeper and deeper... 

and soon we were crawling on our bellies. 

The snow was up to my waist here, so it was impossible for me to walk. I resorted to Army crawling instead. 

When we got back from our hike at 9:00 pm the sun was still shining down the road to town. 

The sunrises have been beautiful every morning. 

For my birthday I made myself cupcakes... 

And Max sang to me, and then helped me eat them all :) 

We hosted an NYO meet. This is the AK high kick, and the winner kicked 104". They have to kick the ball, and then land on the foot that they kicked with. 
 On the day of the meet the school had a cultural day, to get the kids out of the building. Students were allowed to take the day off if they were going upriver fishing with their families, but most of my kids didn't have rides up river, so we decided to just take a class field trip to go ice fishing (manaaqing, in Yup'ik) so that everyone who wanted to, could go. About 7 of my students, plus 4 from 3rd grade, 2 6th graders, and a 7th grader joined us. We walked up river to a fish camp called Gainey, where someone had already made a few holes in the ice. We opened them back up with an ice pick, and eventually more adults, teachers, and families joined us. 

Stella's husband Ron brought out some stragglers and an ice pick. 

Max made us a few Manaaqing sticks, since not all the students had their own. 

Taking an Eskimo nap. 

These kids have no problem laying around on the ice all day... Definitely adapted to their environment! 

You have to keep moving the pole up and down, and the line freezes as you do this.

We remained hopeful, but no one caught anything, the kids started causing trouble, so we walked back to town after about 3 hours of fishing. 

On the way back, we found a couple moose heads, and Max tried to do some moose dentistry, without much luck. The teeth were definitely frozen into place. 

We are pretending it's spring for now. 

When the sun is out and the snow is too, it is SO bright out. I made spy goggles so I could see where I was going. 
We get a full regular week this week, without interruptions which will be nice. We have 34 days left in the bush, and while it is in the 30's here, we know that today in Florence it was 75 degrees. That's a bit hard to deal with, but we'll be back soon! We're starting to pack boxes, and plan what we're bringing on our trip home. I've applied for jobs in the Bend area, and Max is getting registered for summer classes at OSU already. I've been wedding planning on the weekends, although it's hard to get much together without being anywhere near home. We can't wait to be back, but we need to stay present here for the next month so that we can continue to enjoy this experience. Plus, time flies when you're having fun, so if we keep enjoying ourselves while we're here, we'll be home even sooner!