Friday, February 5, 2016

Groundhog Day & Balanced Literacy

Kelsey Amaaq in Nunavut News
The month of February began with one of Inuujaq School's high school students winning a colouring book contest organized by Skills Canada.  The task was to draw a trade illustration and Kelsey Amaaq submitted a picture of a busy hair salon.  She won a Dell Surface tablet and had her picture featured on pg. 19 of Nunavut News February 1, edition newspaper.  Kelsey is one of my guitar students.     
February 2nd is Groundhog Day, a day I never particularly celebrated when I was growing up.  In fact, I never paid much attention to it until now.  The only effort I ever put in was watching brief news reels of people holding up a ground hog in Canada and the United States, announcing we had six more weeks of winter or spring would arrive early.  In an age where we have advanced weather satellite technology, I find the whole premise odd an unneeded.  (There are other things I find odd & unneeded but I won't discuss them here).
Ryan, Inuujaq School's media teacher, is really into Groundhog Day.  He celebrates it every year.  When I asked him why it's his favourite holiday, he had this to say:

"I like Groundhog Day because it has stayed true to itself.  On Groundhog Day, we adore and praise these fine rodents and their mystical weather abilities.  Other holidays don't make sense or have strayed far from what they were originally.  As well, with Groundhog Day, capitalism seems to have little hold.  Stores aren't out to try and empty your wallets.  People aren't fighting each other for the latest toys or gadgets.  As well, there are basically no decorations for Groundhog Day either that you have to worry about setting up.  Groundhog Day is about people gathering together in good cheer to wonder at a marmot.  It is the first light as we begin to come out of the cold winter.  You know what you get on Groundhog Day and it seldom disappoints."
Groundhog Day snacks.
Ryan, myself, and several other teachers celebrated this strange day by watching the movie Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray.  This was my first time watching the film.  We all brought snacks to the movie night.  The film (for me) is a strange comedy/fantasy story about an arrogant tv weatherman who finds himself in a time loop while covering Groundhog Day.  The endless repetitiveness forces Bill Murray's character to reexamine his life.  In my opinion, the movie was good but not great.  You just have to get over several plot holes in the story.
There were no regular classes for students on February 2 & 3 because of a professional development workshop for teachers.  The focus of the workshop was the Balanced Literacy program and Running Records.  The instructors brought a lot of digital & physical resources for us to examine.  One of the instructors taught at Inuujaq School in 1990.  The physical resources included new Inuktitut level books, written in syllabics and roman orthography.  A USB stick with all the digital resources was passed around so that the teachers could copy the information to their laptops.             
We also heard about the BHENY Project - Better Hearing in Education for Northern Youth - a program designed to "foster literacy and academic outcomes for youth living with hearing loss."  The program recently won $300,000 from the Arctic Inspiration Prize last month for their efforts.
Overall, the two-day workshop was informative and fun.  As always, everyone enjoyed the snacks that were provided.  JF made a batch of delicious cupcakes that spelled out "Balanced Literacy".
New Health Centre - February 4, 2016.
The new health centre is still boarded up and waiting to be completed.  Construction is set to resume in early March.  The word "on the skidoo trail" is that the project is slightly ahead of schedule. 

The local dog teams have been residing out on the ice for several months.  Some of the teams are enclosed in large pens with small huts to keep themselves warm.  The female dogs are kept separately; you don't want to have an unexpected litter to take care of.  The dogs smell like seal meat because that is there main source of food.  The meat gives them strength and also keeps them warm.  They howl in appreciation when the owners arrive with their food.  The ice is thick enough to support pickup trucks and (possibly) small planes.   


The sun is almost back.  The surrounding mountains are just blocking it from view.  At noon, all you get is a tall pillar of light.  The sun will definitely reveal itself over the weekend.

1 comment:

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    Mark Hustins