Tuesday, September 27, 2011

On the Land

Here are a few more pictures of our trip "on the land." As previously stated, Scott, the staff and I were invited by the community to a strip of land 40 minutes north on the Mackenzie River before school started. It was chilly when we arrived, but we quickly (and pretty efficiently, I might add) leveled out the rocky shore to make a space for our pop tents and a canvas tent. We hacked through weeds and also collected pine branches to form a warmer, more cozy layer between the hard ground and our tents. We built a fire and huddled around it for the majority of the 4 days, keeping warm and cooking meals. We helped schuck some fish, ate some fried fish eggs and collected wood - there's tons of drift wood laying around. It was a pretty nice experience, as we met alot of community members and a few of my students.

Cutest boy ever - wanted to help with everything, including carrying logs 10 times his weight back to camp.

Foggy morning on the Mackenzie.

I'll blog again, soon. Miss you all.

In Loving Memory

Some of you may know that my family's dog Ozzy had to be put down a week ago. Ozzy was 9 years old, we got him a few years before I headed off to university.  He was suffering from cancer. He was fine when I left in August for the north, however shortly afterward numerous large tumors began to grow, his energy levels dropped and my dad was left to make a heart breaking decision. I've been thinking about him every day since... its tough knowing I'll never see him again. Ozzy really was the greatest dog.  He never whined or complained, he smiled often, he was a great friend to Frankie and Beans - Jill and Zach's pugs.  He loved to swim and dive for rocks, he loved to chew sticks and go on late evening walks on the golf course.  He'd dive head first into snow banks, he'd roll in every mud puddle.  He'd join my mom's backyard yoga group and do downward dogs with the rest of the yogis.   He'd sit beside dad each morning in the El Camino and wait patiently for dad to finish his coffee... or get his daily dogbit.  Miss you buddy.

Update: September

Hello All,

Thought I'd do an update as its been a while.  Things in Fort Good Hope have been going pretty good.  I feel as though I have my class "in order": it is the fourth week of school, students are reading daily, listening to me and eachother (for the most part), and various routines and procedures are running smooth. I've been doing an art club after school on Tuesdays and already have several regulars. I'm excited to plan some larger projects with the kids as the year progresses... perhaps even a mural or two. Scott has been getting work each week so far at the school as a supply teacher, mostly in the high school end.  He's also in line for a job at the band office but we don't know when that job will be beginning. With help from the vice principal he's also cut and stocked a far amount of wood for us which we hope should last into November when the winter road opens and we can lug some to our place using a skidoo.  I've never had a woodstove before - it is absolutely wonderful to have a fire crackeling in the background, not to mention the heat!  It fills a room like no furnace ever could.  The sun is becoming more scarce at a quick rate (we loose about 20 minutes of sun every 3 days), the leaves are off the trees, we had some snow over the weekend! 

I thought I'd share some pictures of the beautiful historic church that is here.  It sits on the west end of town overlooking the Mackenzie, in the "old end" of what residents call the field (also pictured below).  Its pretty cute from the outside - built and carved by hand - but it is the inside that is absolutely stunning.  My pictures cannot do it justice.  Apparently the Catholic priest who painted the place went on to the land and collected berries to create the paint he used for the borders and some of the murals that cover the walls and ceilings.  To this day they have not been retouched - they remain extremely vibrant. 

The sister gives Scott and I a tour.

"The feild"

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Meet my Grade Ones!

They are all so cute! I had a hard time not putting up all of their pictures.

I've successfully made bread! Two Molasses and Oatmeal Loaves.

On my walk to school this morning. Beautiful.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

First day of School!

... it went pretty well!
Due to last years lack of structure on the first day, I went overboard planning today, jam packing it full of "fun ways to review, review, review, model model model the rules and procedures that are going to define our classroom management this year.
Kids are learning: how to sit at the carpet, how to listen to me and to one another, how to enter the room, how to ask and answer questions.. most importantly I hope that through persistance and extensive modeling with explicit instruction these kids will be very independant, so I'll have a few less hanging off my sleeve.
They are super cute! Pictures of the class to come in the following days!
Scott and I just went for a walk down the path that starts at the end of our street (we live at the very edge of town). Its turned to fall here very quickly - in the past week the leaves have turned, and we expect to start losing them in the next few days. The days are still warm and are forcasted to remain hovering around 20 degrees for the next week or so, however the nights are already getting noticably longer, and with that comes the cold. We've begun collecting firewood ourselves with the help of a staff member with a truck to cut down on our heating bills. We have a small wood stove in our main living area that should do the trick.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Lots to Blog About, So Little Time

Hello all,

Its been a busy few weeks since Scott and I got to Fort Good Hope safe and sound since the Annual Teacher's Conference in Norman Wells.

In short:

Our move: all our stuff arrived and was waiting for us not far from our place. A beautiful nice woman we just met even offered her truck to us to help us move it all in. Others have not been so lucky... one of the teacher's stuff was lost, but its recently been found - in the warehouse in Hamilton, ON... it hasen't even yet left yet...

The house: Is great! Its so large for just Scott and myself. Its a three bedroom place - we are using one of the spares as a "guest room" (anyone want to visit?) and the other as our pantry. We initially had some problems getting water, but now it is delivered and pumped into the tank in the crawlspace below our house 3 times a week. Thanks to Scott, we also have phone and internet, and are working on getting a large supply of wood for our small wood stove to cut down our gas bill. I don't know what I'd do without that guy...

The School: Chief T'Selehye is absolutely beautiful. It's new as of last November and its still shining. Its fully stocked with every resource I could ever need and more - a big change from last year. I've spend a week shifting through stuff, thrying to remember where it all is. There a large sunny gym with a rock climbing wall, a library with a little "cozy bunk" for students to read (although their library is still on the small side) and a new computer lab. My classroom is one of the last down the hall in the elementary wing. It has a large window that looks onto the playground and towards the Mackenzie River. School starts Tuesday, I think I have everything pretty much laid out how it might work, but I'm sure as the monsters arrive Ill be doing some shuffling. I've got 14, maybe 15 in my class this year - a great number!

The Land: We went on a 4 day camping trip along the Mackenzie River. The staff was invited to attend this annual camp that a large majority of the FGH community sets up. Its was a 45 minutes boat ride north along the beautiful, large Mackenzie to get to the "airport strip", a long, rocky strip of shore. We had to level out and shovel off our tent sites, and we helped chop up wood from the large driftwood logs that are all over the beach. We ate food from the campfire, played alot of card games, watched some drumming and traditional Dene hand games, and also got a go a gutting fish! It was pretty chilly, but pretty fun.

The bear: I saw a black bear yesterday at the dump! He looked pretty small (we estimated about 2 years old) and was about 20 yards away (don't worry mom, we were in a truck at the time). He was looking for food on some rusted old Ford trucks... I wish I'd had my camera!