In Fall 2020, faced with the challenge of conducting Pearl Creek Elementary’ s Extended Learning Program remotely, I turned to chess to help students connect with each other. As a longtime school chess club sponsor, I knew how much fun students had playing against each other, so I just needed to figure out a way for them to play online. I invited students to play using a copy of a shared google drawings template during Zoom sessions with ELP students enrolled in Fairbanks North Star Borough School District’s e-learning and BEST homeschool programs. I was happy to find that, even remotely, I was able to hop from game to game and give advice or settle disputes as they arose.
I never could have predicted that my teaching life would include arranging demonstrations involving marine mammals and holding my students inside because of polar bear warnings, but that’s exactly what happened.
As the Principal of Chief Ivan Blunka School in the Southwest Region School District, I want to showcase one unique way that we are engaging students in a virtual environment in New Stuyahok, Alaska. I was born and raised in Alaska, and I have always been very connected to the land and its’ resources. I actively participate in subsistence activities to harvest fish, game, and edible plants, and my chief goal as a principal is to help my students and staff connect to the traditional way of life in a meaningful way.One opportunity we have had while in the red risk level where students are participating in distance learning is facilitating a way for them to connect through Subsistence Bingo.
Growing up, I played team sports. Through this experience, I learned that a team is only successful if all of the athletes are willing to work together toward a common goal. As I transitioned into a classroom teacher, I approached my profession with the same attitude. I loved to bounce ideas off of coworkers, share successes, failures and seek help when needed. I knew that in order to become a better teacher, I had to work with my colleagues toward a common goal: the success of our students. Continue reading ‘A New Google Educators Group for Alaska’ by Chelsea Hurst at YKSD
‘Diving into the shift’ was how the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District (KPBSD) approached taking on the idea of Remote Learning. The Professional Development team decided to take this situation head-on, and tackled it with gusto. The team knew that the weeks ahead presented unprecedented shifts in practice that teachers would need support for, AND the team knew there was a wealth of knowledge and expertise to pull from.
In a matter of a few short weeks public schools around the world have been challenged by COVID-19 virus with an unprecedented task: with little or no time for training, resources or directives, assemble a widespread distance education program that reaches every student, in every grade, in every home.
Timing, both in comedy and education, is everything! After helping to organize Alaska Interior EdCamp for March 24th, 2020, we couldn’t agree more. EdCamp is a grassroot version of unconference. An opportunity for educators to come together & make connections by learning from others. There are no planned sessions. EdCamp is free & open to everyone. When participants arrive, they communicate the topics about which they hope to learn & share. Organizers use that information to quickly build the schedule board of sessions. Click here to learn more about EdCamp.
Alaska’s winter season is something special. Extreme. Beautiful. Unpredictable. Long. To get to and from school, many students and staff stoically suit up with the necessary hats, gloves, jackets, snow pants and boots, often traversing formidable snow berms and ice encrusted roadways. They also sometimes brave temperatures that can reach down to -65 below zero. The moving thing about Alaska’s school communities is that they embrace these realities with a special brand of Alaskan hardiness and inspired appreciation.
The Our Alaskan Schools Blog is pleased to offer ‘A View from the Window’, a showcase of visual snapshots from seven different schools across the state that highlight what students and staff are experiencing during this unique season in The Last Frontier.
The Annette Island School District (AISD) serves students from Metlakatla and surrounding areas on the beautiful southeast Alaskan island of Annette. Metlakatla or Maxłaxaała means “salt water passage” in the Tsimshian language. The community is only accessible by boat, ferry or plane.