25 February 2010

I love chores!

I'm not kidding. Chores are the fabric of what makes my life meaningful. They remind me that nothing comes to exist w/o at least a little elbow grease.


I can actually remember telling kids in elementary school, "I don't classify my friends." That's kind of funny when I think about it now. While I am not into B.F.F.s (best friends forever), I guess it's okay for dogs.

We have a neighbor dog Cuddles, who is a typical village dog with stubby legs, a long body, and shaggy hair. She and Baker have taken to playing rather frequently and fervently. Baker usually tries to dominate bigger dogs by wrapping his paws around their neck and snapping at the ears and jowls. He also takes advantage of his shorter stance and nips at the fleshy legs and bony ankles. Cuddles shares a house with a pit bull/boxer mix, so she's used to a romp. Her small body and experience make them a good match for rough play. It's quite cute. To boot, I can also see them play outside my window.

However, no B.F.F. can replace the tasty morsel of Pilot Bread.* Baker's former owner used this as an external motive for potty training, etc. I've bribed Baker with bits of it so that every time I say "inside" he'll come. Sometimes he pretends that he can't hear, looks at me, turns around and runs to play some more. Those days have dwindled thanks to Pilot Bread. We've been practicing while he plays. So, tonight when I said "Baker, inside", he dropped jowl and ran full force to the door.

* Pilot Bread (a.k.a. hard tack) is a big unsalted round cracker, commonly eaten in Alaska. I read that Alaska was among the last to add Pilot Bread to a regular diet. It's definitely ubiquitous today. I had never even seen it until I moved here and now I don't see it anywhere outside of AK.

22 February 2010


Our school district is embracing CHAMPS*, based on the book Champs: A Proactive & Positive Approach to Classroom Management by Randall Sprick, et al. (including Keba Baldwin).

*CHAMPS is an acronym for Communication, Help, Activity, Movement, Participation, Success.

Last week, we, along w/ our site administrator (a.k.a. principal), all of our district's social workers, and sparse SAs and teaching staff from other sites attended a two-day training (conducted by Keba and Joel, someone from LKSD).

Our SA bequeathed the title of "CHAMPS Gurus" to a co-worker & myself, giving us the responsibility of learning about the methodology and conducting all of the site in-services this year and next.
I'm feeling like a beached fish 1/2 in and 1/2 out of the water. Lucky for me, my partner did her SpEd masters' work regarding emotionally/behaviorally disturbed.

Saturday, after a 1/2 day of school, we did a couple of exercises. Then, today we were responsible for 2/3 of our site in-service. It is a world of difference between teaching teachers and teaching children. Obviously, some things are the same, like saying "cheap." This we heard on Sat., understandably b/c it was the 6th day in a work week. But we literally had two practical exercises, and it was our third week requiring 6 working days each. Boo hoo. ^_^

We spent 12 hours planning for the six-hour in-service today. We had to make sure the info. and exercises were relevant and effective. It's quite challenging knowing that many of the people in the room will be resistant to taking an objective look at themselves, let alone the idea of change. We also know that our school is in dire need of school-wide consistency and behavior management, beginning with the adults, or the school just might spontaneously combust.

Anyway, today's in-service "went off without a hitch," to abuse another cliche'. People were engaged, w/o grumbling, there were some honest discussions, and time went quickly (always a good sign). Wish us luck for the continuation of this and that we, as a staff, will continue to evolve into being more consistent, managers of behavior through positive communication, structure, observation, and evaluation of our practices.

17 February 2010

Erudite Squadron of the Tundra Triangle - exploring "The Road"

I think I have failed to mention that our super cool local book club now has a fancy blog. I offhandedly called our club "Erudite Squadron of the Tundra Triangle" (<-- click me) in an entry on here about doublethink in 1984. Vicki thought to create a blog and Deanna, who set-up the collaborative blog, liked the name. Here we are. Up to this point there hasn't been too much activity.

Our current book is The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I know there are folks out there that aren't in our neighborhood (Shaun, Sara, Erin, Jenny, people we don't know...) who have read the book. We don't discriminate. If you'd like to leave some comments, click this link --> The Road. Three, meself included, have left comments hitherto. If you'd like to join us and you know where Deanna lives, the meeting is there today at 6:30 p.m.

Sidenote: I may have coined the term "Tundra Triangle" too. I remember calling it that when I first moved to Nunap. and discovered that this area likened to the Bermuda Triangle. Storms would frequently be a locked in vortex here and surrounding areas were flyable, even Bethel. You could even see blue skies above, the ultimate hint that you are locked in a ground flurry. Now, we're all wishing for snow around here!

12 February 2010

My Little Nimrod

I'm temporarily staying in Bethel, "the big city," with a couple of friends, their 21-mon.-old son, and chocolate lab. Because I'm here so long, I brought my dog, Baker, too. Yesterday we all had to leave at the same time, which meant leaving the pups to their own motives. Upon returning at lunch, Shaun discovered that Baker had locked himself in the bathroom, the above crime scene. Evidently, undetected, a bird got into the house and managed to make it's way into the bathroom with my dog in it's wake. There were no meat, bones, or blood to be seen. Just cleanly licked feathers, everywhere, and toilet paper shreds. I'm kind of proud of my little nimrod.

Below are some random recent pictures...

I bet you can't guess who that president is. You may not be able to see he's holding some books in hand: Superhero Comics and Easy Guide to Being President. On the front there are "bad Guy Cards" in the lapel pocket. The sign on the back says, "If found return to the White House."

Isaac and Baker

Loki and Baker

09 February 2010

Night Fright

It's still unsettling when I see that I am the only one logged onto the FirstClass network. Freaky!

07 February 2010

Full February

It just happened. Things keep coming up and I keep scratching the pencil across my calendar. Here's what's gone down and what I'm in for, at this point, for the month of February.

Week 1:
--- 1-4, M-TR --- Taught. You read about the smothered larynx. ^_^ The whisper continued another day. I went to the clinic to discover that I was in the early stages of Strep. Good thing I was already taking the next day off! I had a Thursday evening flight to Bethel w/ dog (1st flight). Baker enjoyed trying insatiably to sew his wild oats w/ my friends' dog Loki. I let him get it out considering ...
--- 5, Fri. --- Baker's ball lopping (aka neutering) and regular vet. tormenting ensued. All went well really. He was quite doped up on Morphine and ACE (sedative). I also did errands around Bethel and visited w/ some friends that night.
--- 6, Sat. --- Reading Committee impromptu meeting to review textbooks (2 more down).
-----I tried to go out on the evening flight, but it was canceled due to weather. My principal and I called our local river taxi person, Steven, to come get us. It took him two hours to get there, so we ended up leaving at about 7:00 and getting home at 9:00. Besides slipping often, it was a good ride. He's a good driver. If we stayed in Bethel, we wouldn't have been able to leave until 12:30 today.
--- 7, Sun. --- One of the artists contracted w/ our district for workshops is going to stay the night w/ me. Today, I'll be making regular teaching plans, sub plans for a week, and doing domestic things before packing for the sabbatical.

{Side note: I caught Baker napping in his "house" (kennel) today. Only yesterday, he had outstretched paws at my insistence that he go into his house at Yute Air, after pissing on a trash can. Once his head and front legs are in he complies, but this napping sign is encouraging that he is getting used to it.}

Week 2:
--- 8, M --- The same artist, as well as one other person from LKSD will be staying the night at my house. There is a family night workshop w/ them I'll be attending too.
--- 9, T --- Regular teaching day. Fly out on the evening flight w/ dog. We're going to be in Bethel for a week, unless I decide to come home for Sat. night.
--- 10-11, W-TR --- AIMSWEB training. This is going to be the new mode of online summative testing for reading in our school district, starting next fall.
--- 12-13, F-Sat. --- Reading Committee meeting. - Talk about AIMSweb training and reviewing more textbooks and materials. Planning our final meeting and an additional follow-up ones in the summer.
14, Sun. --- free (I take that back. I'll be planning for the upcoming week.) .... Also the first day of Lunar New Year. It's the year of the Tiger.

Week 3:
--- 15-16, M-T --- CHAMPS training. This is a "positive behavior management" methodology that LKSD is adopting. I'll be taking the evening flight back to Nunap. Tuesday. The 16th is also Elizabeth Peratrovich day. I'm sad to miss the actual day w/ kids at school, but I'm putting something in the sub plans and we'll talk about her when I get back during our Civil Rights class.
--- 17-20, W-Sat. --- Teaching. I'm just going to start the Lunar New Year celebrations on Wed. The evening of the 17th we have a book club meeting planned too, for The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I have an audio/Internet class on the 18th and prep. before our meeting too. I forgot about that. Yes, we have Sat. school to make up for one of those no sewage days. It's supposed to be a "cultural day" which usually equates to a craft day. We have had some good things to do w/ the kids that seem relevant though. For the young grades this means switching crafts every 30-45 minutes.
--- 21, Sun. --- Planning for the next week of school.

Week 4:
--- 22, M --- Site In-service day at school... Co-leading CHAMPS at site training. (I just found out this was going to happen after our training in Bethel.)
--- 23-26 T-F --- Regular teaching. We'll be celebrating Lunar New Year still, as it shouldn't end until March 1. The Civil Rights unit will still be in force.
-----Friday, I'll be flying out on the evening flight w/ dog to Bethel. More likely, I might wait until the a.m. to fly out; I'm just going to see how I feel. I also might try to drive to Bethel on the snow-go w/ Baker in my coat. ... New plans: The pooch is staying & I'm driving down.
--- 27, Sat. --- Sara's bachelorette party beginning at 5:00. But, some friends and I will be cooking & prepping much of the day.
--- 28, Sun. --- Noon flight back to Nunap. to plan the next week's lessons.


I'll start March off with a bang. ~ 3/1, M = SRA (reading intervention program) training in Bethel.

03 February 2010

Smothered Larynx

Yesterday I awoke with a muffled voice. This I discovered when I tried to talk to my dog. Today the same thing happened, except I was unable to get my voice above a whisper.

So, I decided to use the wipe board w/ an Expo. It was so successful right away that I was able to use it all day, even with the first-graders, which kind of surprised me. I had to rearrange some lessons, like art b/c there are a lot of steps that need to be followed. Sometimes I had to interject w/ a whisper for clarification. Otherwise, all comments, reprimands (some public, some private), praises, and directions were given on the board.

02 February 2010

Fresh veggies. Delivered today. Divine invention.

Talk about salivating satisfaction! Upon opening my box of organic veggies from Full Circle Farm I was beckoned. The two fluffy bags of spinach among a variety of other vegetables and fruits arrived unscathed from the traveling and cold. I chopped and steamed the following foods that activated most of the major tastes, all slight and balanced. Cooking is such meditation too. Chopping, simmering, steaming, melding, stirring, pouring, washing/rinsing...

The ingredients (all organic, except for the almonds): zucchini, yellow pepper, celery, button mushrooms, spinach, dried cranberries, coconut oil, soy sauce, garlic, onion, ginger paste, some ghee & sugar to candy the almonds. I was a bit concerned about flavor but fought off the urge to add spices, thank goodness. The melding of the foods' flavors made it just perfect.

Yum! I'm so lucky.

It looks a bit messy. But, I guarantee Anthony Bourdain, Julia Child, & Alton Brown would approve w/ a kiss of the finger tips.