The arrival of April meant spring was just around the corner. Calendars may say spring begins on March 20, but in the Arctic, the weather doesn’t begin to feel like spring until mid-April. Midterm report cards & parent-teacher interviews were done and the winter semester had now entered the second half.
My Grade 10 English students began their study of poetry because April is Poetry Month. They started with the basics: brief history, definitions, types of poems, genres, examples, and brainstorming ideas. My Grade 11 Social Studies students finished the European Imperialism unit and moved on to International Conflict & the First World War in the early 20th century. My Grade 10 Social Studies class continued their examination of the Canadian Residential School System. They read a number of stories from former students, sharing the good, the bad, and ugly details about the infamous system. It’s sad to read about a country like Canada engaging in cultural genocide.
This coming July 1st, Canada will be celebrating its 150th anniversary. This is also known as the sesquicentennial. Try saying that word three times. The federal government set aside a lot of money to mark this occasion and the spending started in January. One event that’s been created is National Canadian Film Day 150, (NCFD150), scheduled to take place on April 19th. Presented by Reel Canada, the event is a one-day celebration of Canadian cinema, with many Canadian films being available “on air, online, and on foot at over 1,700 screenings in cinemas, libraries, [and] public squares[.]”
|Breakaway. Source: FreeDVDCover.com.|
Inuujaq School decided to hold its own film day in advance on Thursday, April 6. The Grade 9 – 12 classes would watch the 2011 film Breakaway, and then volunteers would be videotaped asking questions to Vinay Virmani, the star of the film. The questions would be sent to Reel Canada and hopefully, one or more of them would be featured in a live stream event on April 19. Ryan, the media teacher, was the coordinator of the occasion. Breakaway was chosen because it’s a movie about hockey, and the sport is very popular in Arctic Bay.
The high school math & science classroom was transformed into a movie theatre. Chairs lined the perimeter and gym mats occupied the centre. Students had the option to sit on a chair or lie down on a mat. My classroom was turned into a concession stand, where popcorn & juice were made by several students. The feature film started when everyone was comfortable. We watched the movie with English subtitles. The students were given a break at recess. When the final credits appeared, the students gave the movie an applause. Several students & the Grade 9 teacher got the courage to ask questions on camera. They were rewarded with Reel Canada trinkets & souvenirs. Ryan filmed the questions. The popcorn smell in the high school wing would slowly dissipate over the weekend.
My guitarists & I held an afternoon workshop for the Grades 7 & 8 classes on Friday, April 7. I wanted to give my students an opportunity to perform in front of a smaller audience and to get the younger students interested in music. My students prepared several short songs to perform, individually & cooperatively, and I prepared a game to play with the middle school students.
The workshop was held in the Grade 8 classroom. My guitarists & I sat at the front of the classroom while the middle school students sat in a semicircle around us. I introduced myself & my guitarists. I briefly explained the parts of the guitar and played a song with the guitar line. Each of my guitarists then played a melody line and asked the audience to guess what the songs were. It didn’t take long before the middle school students wanted to try the guitars. Two of them came to the front and played a song they wrote. We were all impressed.
I called up several students and gave them each a guitar. I taught them each a single note and then conducted them in a particular sequence. The audience had to guess what the song they were playing. The activity – suggested by the Grade 8 teacher – demonstrated teamwork and how we use sounds to create/express ideas. I let the middle school students jam with my guitarists for the last remaining minutes of the workshop. I thanked the Grade 7s & 8s for letting us visit their classroom.
Easter/Spring Break was from April 8 to 17. The break was welcomed by everyone. Many students would be going out on the land to hunt & fish. My plan is to go driving around and explore the land. I’m more of an explorer than a hunter. But first, there was something that needed my immediate attention.
The cadet Marksmanship Team of 3045 Army Cadets was scheduled to fly down to Gimli, Manitoba, in early April, to participate in the Stage III Marksmanship Competition. Unfortunately, circumstances that I’m not at liberty to discuss, prevented the team from leaving. However, the organizers did suggest a feasible Plan B: a mail-in shoot. The school’s gym would be converted into an air rifle shooting range and each team member would shoot three prone & two standing sets of targets. Obviously, the team was disappointed that they could not travel down south, but were glad that they could still participate in the competition. The winners of the Stage III shoot would move on to the National competition.
The mail-in shoot occurred on Saturday, April 8th. The team set up the air rifle range, complete with backboards, targets, flags, tables, chairs, mattresses, scopes, and air rifles. I briefed the team on how the relays would work, when we would take breaks, and how the targets would be scored. Civilian Instructor (CI) Reid & I would score the targets, scan them, and send them to Winnipeg where they would be scored again for truthfulness. Each timed relay would last 30 minutes. I wished the team good luck and the competition began.
|Me marking the targets.|
The shooters took their time, pausing in between shots to rest their arms and maintain their focus. Thirty minutes per relay was more than enough time to shoot 10 lead pellets at 10 targets. Firing in the prone position proved to be the team’s strength while shooting in the standing position was challenging. You need strong arm muscles to steady the rifle. If you hold your breath for too long, your arms start to shake.
The final relay was completed at 5:30pm.
We cleaned & locked up the gym by 5:45pm. I emailed the scanned targets down to Winnipeg for validation. We all hoped someone, or everyone, on the team would be selected for the National competition. We wouldn’t know until the end of the month.