Cold Hands, Warm Heart

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Nome, Alaska, United States
After getting burned out teaching high school in a tiny Alaskan town, I have moved on to being a child advocate in a small Alaskan town. The struggles are similar, but now I can buy milk at the store.

Friday, August 28, 2009

College Bound Reading List

In an attempt to work my way through the college bound reading list I was given back in '98, I sat down to read Call of the Wild, which I will be going through with my kids soon. 

For those that don't know, the whole book is told through the point of view of a dog. One who is half St. Bernard, and half Shepherd. For my own edification, I looked up some pictures online, and thought I would share them with you:

St Bernard. AKA Beethoven. Known for their size, strength, and ability to survive in the great and frozen North.

Shepard: Known for their herding and sense of smell. Note the long hair. Also good for the North.

This dog is supposidly  a half-breed between the two. I'm going to guess that Buck from the story had longer hair. 

If you haven't read the book, I would suggest that you give it a shot. The copy we're reading is only 75 pages, and cost us a dollar a copy. 

I am now a fifth of the way through the college bound reading list. Of course, I could go faster if I would stop re-reading old favorites, and snatching up anything by mph and osc.

Happy reading to all.

Monday, August 24, 2009

First Day of School. . . Sort of.

We started out today, our first day of school, with an assembly in the gym. This is pretty normal. It's a chance to meet the new teachers, and make sure everyone goes to the right classroom.

Since I'm advising the 7th graders this year, I brought them back to my room after the assembly, and then passed out the schedules. We all high-lighted our own classes, then I took them on a trip around the school, to make sure they knew which classroom was which, and where to go. I don't know if the other teachers do this with the new 7th graders, but it seemed like a good idea.

Following our field trip, we checked all the kids' levels to see where they are, and decided if anyone was behind pace, and set goals to catch them up. This is also pretty normal first day stuff.

During the field trip, I noticed a pile of boxes on my front porch, so during lunch, I went home and put them inside. On my way back to school, I was informed by our village police officer that he was putting the school in a lock down. "Pretty early in the year for lock down drills, but hey, let's get it over with when we're not having real classes." Or so I thought.

We returned to our rooms, and the announcement came over the intercom that we were locking down. If you don't know the steps of a lock-down, here goes:

1) get any kids wandering in the hall into the classroom.
2) Lock the classroom door (by going out in the hallway to use my key), and cover the window.
3) Close all blinds and shut off the lights
4) Line the kids up on the inside wall of the school. If someone shoots through the glass door, the kids will be to far to the side to hit, and if they shoot up through the windows, they'll hit over the kids' heads. 
5) Make sure everyone is there.
6) Wait for the all clear.

Today, however, it didn't come. And it didn't come. And I explained to my 7th graders about Columbine. And about the kid in Saint Mike a couple years ago. Then I read them "Make Way for Ducklings." And still no all clear. 

Then there's a rattle in the lock, and it's the vice principal. Here are the facts as I know them:

-This is not a drill, there is someone in town causing problems.
-Students are not allowed out of the building, until the State Troopers come and fix the problem.
-Even though school is going to be out soon, we can't release the kids until their parents come to get them.
-No one in my room has a cell phone. 

So for now, we are:
Drawing on the board, and playing hangman. 

Sitting quietly, not doing anything, waiting for further instruction.
And making paper airplanes, which the boys have been throwing at each other for at least half an hour now, but they don't seem to mind. Every time one hits me or my desk, it goes in the garbage. They're down to three planes right now.

It is currently 3:25. We've been in lockdown mode since 1pm. School is scheduled to get out at 3:45. Now we wait.

UPDATE: The kids were all allowed to leave when their parents came and got them. The man was apprehended at 5, and is now in Nome. I'd guess county lockup.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Swimming in the Bearing Sea

This title is slightly misleading. First off, it wasn't the Bearing Sea, it was the Chuckche sea, which is part of it. Really, all the water touches anyway. 
This is me on the right, Amy Cellar, the new roommate, leading the way, and Timothy, the science teachers son. Timothy thought he'd like to come too. He even put on his swim trunks. However, when we arrived at the water, he chickened out. I find that I'm okay with this, since his parents didn't know he was with us. He's just really hard to stop.

Amy has already gone in, fallen into a wave, and called it good. I'm still slowly working my way out into the water. And if you'll notice the color of the water, you'll see that it was not a warm and sunny day. However, we were afraid it would just get colder, so we took the plunge when we had the chance. 
I finally got out far enough. I waited for the wave, and jumped into it. I swam two strokes, hit the gravel bottom, and headed for shore. 

Here we are! Brave and satisfied teachers. You'll notice how our students think we're nuts. We gathered a bit of a crowd of kids wh came to see what we were up to. You may notice that my legs are a little purple. They're not normally that color. 

We've been called brave, and we've been called crazy. I don't know about that either way. What I'd like to do right now is get all this sand out of my hair.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Just in case you cared...

Today, I drew out a calendar and figured out the first semester's worth of journal topics.  There they all are, on the sticky notes. Some are worksheets, some videos, (I love School House Rock), and some are things I've come up with on my own. However, having finished this beautiful mess, I am forced to realize that I forgot journal prompts, where the students write about themselves. Whoops. Luckily, I can put those in later, when I put this all on regular sized paper.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Excuses, excuses

Devoted fans, 
  I had big plans, now that I am home, to show you pictures from the end of the year that I never got around to doing. However, they won't upload. Not from photoshop, iphoto, flickr, or just by taking screen shots. Sorry.

Instead, I will tell you a couple funny things from Welcome wagon.

-My going away party ended at 12:15 in the morning, I had to be on the airport shuttle at 2:30, and on the plane at 6 am. When I got to Anchorage at 8:30, I was handed a set of keys, and turned loose with some brand new teachers. Poor brand new teachers.

-We used the tourist map just fine all day, but guess what? The tourist map has no reason to show our dorms. We ended up in a parking lot, calling the guides from the day before. Turns out we could see the road from where we were sitting. 

-Just because the post office is open 24 hours, that doesn't really mean they want to see you there then.  Actually, the post office employees were very supportive and helpful. 

-The heaviest the post office will let you ship is 70 lbs. Our heaviest box was 69 lbs, 14 oz.  That's right, we rock.

-Some people are very particular on whether they shop at Costco or Sams Club. Very, very particular.

-There is some unwritten rule about dorm life. It doesn't matter how tired I am at 8pm, I can't go to bed until at the earliest 1 am. There are just too many fun things to do.

-Checking over one's plane reservations will save a lot of wasted time and embarrassment at the airport. At least I was a day early, and not a day late. 

However, everything worked out, and I'm home. Sleeping in my own bed is a glorious thing.  I am also in sole control of the remote, and have yet to wait in line for the computer or the bathroom. On the other hand, there are no granola bars here, and I have to wash all the dishes.  
New teacher training started today, in Unalakleet, so I'm assuming that's where the new roommate is. We have high hopes for her. My first official day of work starts the 17th. We haven't made up a student schedule for the year yet, I don't think, so I'm pretty sure I know what we'll be doing with our time.

Also, just a heads up for everyone: I don't know when Angie is coming back, please stop asking.