July 2013 | Teaching in the Tongass

Friday, July 26, 2013

Shut the front door...

I just reached 100 followers on my Teachers Pay Teachers store! This calls for a celebration! Since I don't have any virtual wine to offer up, how about a sale? Thank you so much for all of your encouragement these last few months, I really, really appreciate it!

Everything in my store is 20% off this weekend! I hope you can take advantage and enjoy!


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Class Pet or No?

I'm having some thoughts about getting a "real" classroom pet this next year. I'm thinking chameleon, mainly because they are just so darn cool and cute with their eyeballs roamin around in different directions, but also because every teacher's idol, THE Mrs.Frizz, had one. We have a "no fur, no feathers" policy, so that sort of eliminates something like a guinea pig (which are sooo cute, but man, I do not want to clean that kind of a cage). We had stickbugs last year, but they ended up dying off by the time the end of the year rolled around....but we had a blasty blast at the beginning! Leave me a comment! I'd love to hear about your experience! What are your thoughts on class pets? Yay or nay? Reasons? Specific types that are hgh maintenance (not my style) or super-easy (sooo me)? Do tell.

Here's my Throwback Thursday in case you weren't a follower...(you probably weren't, because it was my first post EVER!):
Original Post from 2/15/2013

Ladies and gents....we have STICKBUGS!!! The kiddos were so excited to get class pets! There was a lady looking to get rid of some (she had over 100 of the lil buggers) and I jumped at the opportunity to take a few for the class.  Talk about the easiest class pet EVER. You "water" them by making sure they have a drop of water to suck on, and feed them a leaf (good thing we have a salad bar at school!).  Other than that, there's not much else. EEAZY PEEZY. I already have a family who will take them over the summer and give them back in the fall. YES! So, of course we had to name them. I decided this would be a great opportunity to learn a little more about majority rules. We brainstormed as many name themes we could (after shooting down regular names like Chloe and Chase, which were oddly popular?). In the end, it came down to Star Wars, Looney Tunes, or Disney characters.  It was a close call and I know you're on the edge of your seat right now wondering which one they chose...so it was Looney Tunes! Without further adieu, welcome Sylvester, Tweety, Bugs Bunny (name pun...my fave!), Wile E. Coyote, Roadrunner, Daffy, Speedy Gonzalez and Elmer Fudd!

And how to turn this into a literacy activity you ask? Of course we had to write friendly letters (something we've been working on this winter) welcoming them! I stuck them in a binder to keep next to them.  The letters are so stinkin' cute! Here are some of the highlights from a few letters-

"We will say hello to you guys every day.  We will welcome you. Maybe I will bring letis (lettuce) for you guys.  You are the second class pets I have had and I want to keep it that way. What noise do you make? Do you make babys all the time? Do you like the stickbug song? Do you like songs at all?"

Another-"I like you because you are the cute one. At this perticular school we have srten rules. Like no chewing gum or be quite in the hallways. In my class it's really nice. Sun somtimes comes through the windows. Daffy your the best bug ie've ever known."

And one more- "I am glad that you are here! I ben expeting a class pet at the beging of the year and finaly got one."

Too funny.  So, with all fun things in a classroom comes setting up some expectations....the rules of course.  We brainstormed some ways to be respectful, responsible, safe and kind.  Here's what we came up with:
Also this week was Valentine's Day (we were in parent teacher conferences for it, so we celebrated a day before).  I did Valentine Portraits last year and thought it was such a cool way to personalize them and make them special.  I made one  for each kid using a template I found (a student that used it to do his classmate's). Here's what they look like after you draw noses, eyes, ears, hair and accessories and color it all in (I use colored pencils):
And too cute not to share is my own funny Valentine! Come on...don't you just want to just peeeench his cheeks (which is how he earned the nickname, Cheeks)!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Check, Check, 1, 2

My ENTIRE TpT Store will be on sale this weekend! Go check out some cute lil items and get your wishlist ready for Saturday and Sunday!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Throw-that ball over those mountains in '88-back Thursday!

I figured this would be a great time to pop in a Throwback Thursday since I'm being all gushy about home this week (don't ask me in October about living here or I'll throw a SAD light at you in a moment of sheer "rain-fever") and I've already written a post about it anyway. Throwin it back in 3, 2, 1...

Originally posted 4/20/2013

Alaska. Home. My great great grandparents arrived in Skagway, Southeast Alaska during the Gold Rush.  My great great grandfather made his living running a pack train (leading mules with people's luggage and supplies) on the Chilkoot Trail.  They eventually made their way to Juneau (not far away) and my family has been here ever since.
I work in an elementary school in the middle of a valley know as the Mendenhall Valley, which was carved by the Mendenhall Glacier.  This is one of the best views of the glacier...check out those beautiful fireweed flowers in the foreground.
And here is a pic my brother took of the northern lights above the same  glacier (different viewpoint) last week...it was at 1:00 in the morning, I was sound asleep :)
If you want a little more live action, check out these webcams

A few misconceptions I should address sooner rather than later:
We do not live in igloos. We do not use dog sleds for transportation.  We accept the dollar.  Alaska is part of the United States, not a territory, but a STATE. It is connected to the rest of the continent and not in a little box next to Hawaii as your map might lead you to believe.  It is HUGE. Bigger than Texas.  If you know someone in Barrow and ask me if I know them, I might ask you if you know someone on the other side of the country. Yes, our population is small (Juneau is about 30k), but we are spread out on a large scale.

The funny thing about our state, is that in addition to being shown as small on a map, it is never shown in the correct location.  Every year, students LIVING IN JUNEAU, think that we are an island off the coast of California (this is usually how a map displays Alaska).  Here's a little Alaska humor showing how crazy it would be if we just showed inaccurate maps everywhere:
Can you tell I have had some interesting conversations with tourists off the cruise ships every summer?  There are many very different regions of AK, and Southeast AK is along the coast...ocean, gigantic mountains everywhere, glaciers, spruce trees, the works.  Northern AK (Anchorage and beyond) is where you might picture tundra, moose, Eskimo, Iditarod....Juneau is very far way from that area and in fact, land-locked (travel in and out only by ferry or airplane).  I cannot count the number of times I have been talking to a customer service agent for a company that tells me "There is a store in Anchorage, you could go there."  Not likely, buddy. 

Weather: We are in a rainforest, which means it rains. All. The. Time. Seriously. An average of 62 inches a year. But...on the bright side, when it's sunny, you are reminded how lucky and fortunate you are to live in a tourist destination.
 It snows on and off from about November to March, rains on and off throughout the other months.  May, June and July are our summer season months.  It is light out until about 10 or 11 pm in the summer, and is only dark for a few hours before the sun rises again....a complete trip when you are camping and the birds are singing in the middle of the night because it is getting light at 3!
So, if you ever decide to take a trip to Alaska, first, make sure it's May-July if you want a good chance of sunshine, then make sure you stop in Juneau and at least say hello to me! Seriously, I'd love to meet any of my followers!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Cinco de July

We went to a bbq on the 3rd of July.  Cheeks made a crown at the kiddie table,
and then rain around in the rain like a mad man. Like a boss.
I ended up getting sick and missing our town 4th of July parade.  Instead, we made the best of it.  Mr.Tongass made pancakes for breakfast, quesadillas for lunch and mac n cheese for dinner. In between, I had a ton of popsicles. We watched the Lorax (don't judge me, but I have never read the book!) and discovered that it is such a cute story and so perfect for Earth Day. I must have missed this memo!  We ended the day with a sink bath.
I splurged and bought a portrait lens for my DSLR.  I love it, but rarely use it for some reason. Here's a pic I took of Cheeks all scrubbed clean after the bath.
I also splurged and bought a ton of clothes for my wardrobe.  I'm working on adding some color to my closet (I usually stick to greys, blacks, whites...the occasional brown).  I went shopping at Freddy's (Fred Meyer is pretty much our only place to shop for clothes locally...the equivalent of a Target) and was quite happy.  Three pairs of skinny crop jeans (white, coral, turquoise, oh my!), a couple of yellows and a green. Baby steps, y'all, baby steps.  Unfortunately, as soon as I got all of my cute, colorful summer clothes, it started raining and hasn't stopped!  Crossing my fingers for a nice weather day so I can rock some new outfits!  Oh, and the thing on the left, that I am so mad at not having for all of these years? A "spa wrap" (towel with velcro) from Bed, Bath and Beyond (on our trip in Seattle). Seriously, never holding a towel that gets untucked from the top again. NEVER! I REFUSE to go back to the olden times!

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