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Motivating Mohawks!

April 9th, 2012

Public schools and teachers nationwide prepare their students every year for the dreaded state standardized testing. There are numerous research based methods, best practices, interventions and tried and true programs to get students ready to pass the exams. While I don't think state testing is anyone's, (students' or teachers') favorite aspect of school, there is no point in adding any more stress to testing week by being negative. Which is why on the eve of the first day of testing, Savoonga held a pep rally!

To show our students that we believe in them, and to get them pumped up for testing week, we offered them some fun incentives for bettering their scores and three daring staff members (Brendan included) even decided to let the students give them mohawks!! I'm not sure they got anything academic out of the experience, but it did show our trust and support for them as they began the long week of testing. It was really fun to be a part of and to see the kids in such a good mood even as the pressure state testing loomed ahead. The mohawks on the heads of the staff members were a positive reminder throughout the week that we believe in our students and in their academic success.

My first week of state testing as a teacher came and went--time will tell how the students did. Scores and proficiency aside, everyone has worked hard this year and I'm proud of them regardless.

We've had some other exciting firsts in the past couple of weeks! Walking on water is probably the coolest. We decided to take advantage of the Bering Sea being frozen and walked home across the ocean. The pictures look just like the rest of the pictures we have taken here, white on white, but it was seriously cool. We only came across one big crack, which freaked me out but didn't phase Brendan. Every time we sunk in snow the least bit I prepared myself for water, but the ice/snow was so thick we never saw any. PHEW! We took the walk just in time too, because this weekend the temperatures rose and the wind blew the ice out, so it's back to freezing cold ocean. The temperature in itself is another first--first above freezing temps since January! Hello, spring!

While we haven't invested in a juicer yet, it's on the list for next year. Luckily, our neighbor and good friend has one and invited us over for a school night juice session! It still blows my mind that we have access to fresh, organic produce here and absolutely made my week to enjoy some fresh, yummy apple, beet, strawberry juice and good company. Parrot Curry is not to be excluded in that company. Those of you that knew me in high school know that having a bird sit on my shoulder is a definite first, and that I've come a very long way.

The sun has been back for a while, but we get more of it at night than in the morning. This past week the sun decided to peek over the horizon before school started! It was a welcomed arrival and makes getting out of bed a little bit easier. A little bit.

Brendan put his love of sports to work and reffed some Little Dribblers' elementary basketball games during the tournament that Savoonga hosted. The kids were pretty cute running up and down the court, lofting up some crazy shots and wrestling for the ball. Brendan didn't look half bad either in his ref uniform! Plenty of fun was had throughout another busy weekend in Savoonga.

We are down to the six week home stretch! Five weeks until graduation, six weeks until the end of school and seven weeks until we will be back on the East coast for the summer. The next month and a half will be just as busy if not busier than the rest of the year and will surely go by just as quickly. With the temps rising and daylight extending, we hope to get outside even more and enjoy every minute of it.

Enjoy the warm weather and sunshine that actually warms your skin for us! Oh yeah, and Sam Summers, enjoy some of those for us too. And save us several.

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