About Me

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Inukjuak, Quebec, Canada
Always up for a new adventure. I love Musicals, photography, my family, road trips, and beads. So far I have been fortunate enough to teach in Japan, South Korea, Kenya, and the Canadian Arctic. Currently in my 5th year in the frozen North and up for any new adventure.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Moving day up north

Wind picking up, light snow, a borrowed truck, a skidoo and sled, a couple teachers, and a few hired students. Ready to move, planned or otherwise, here we go. A couple of teachers here were moving into their new houses this weekend but it is not as if you can call the local moving guys to pack you up and haul your stuff to the new house. Pack it up best you can, slide it into the back of the pickup truck, and hang on. Roads were icy and snow covered, wind was picking up throughout the afternoon but we managed to get most of the stuff that was ready moved. A few funny moments of the day: seeing a couch moved tucked into the sled towed behind a skidoo, hearing the thump of a butt hitting the window of the truck when we stopped a bit too quickly for the boys in the back, the sheer silliness of moving in ever worsening weather. Ah well, what else can you do with your saturday up north?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Waiting for Winter

It sometimes seems as if we have been waiting for winter to truly arrive. Students want snow so that they can take their snow machines out and do some more hunting. Teachers want snow for almost the same reasons and there is also the added benefit of blizzard days :) But there is also something about wide expanses of snow that make you want to hold your breath, take a running leap, and make a snow angel. Things appear so much cleaner, new after a fresh snowfall. You just step outside and take in a lungful of clean and freezing air. The land and sky are made up of ribbons of blues, greys, and white that seem to go on forever. At night the snow falls softly, swirling through pools of light as you walk home under a dark sky. From the looks of this week winter may have finally arrived and decided to stay.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Halloween Mayhem

I love Halloween! It is my favourite holiday, even better than christmas. The class decided that they wanted to do the school haunted house this year. Every secondary class has to figure out and provided a halloween game for the younger classes the last friday before Halloween. I agreed, mainly because I love it, but I warned the class that it was going to be a huge amount of work. The promised that they would all contribute to the building of the haunted house and participate on the day. So I signed up the class and so it began.

1st week of october: we begin the paper mache for pumpkins and possible skulls. A very messy couple of art and english classes but a fun trip back to grade school. I spend the weekend building tombstones out of cardboard for the students to paint next week and layering on a little more paper mache. Also traced out a skeleton for possible scaring :)

2nd week: students decided who was going to be dead in the graveyard. A few of my favourites were "Justin Bieber: Killed by screaming fans" "Principal: Death by the Pen" "Vice principal: Died running with scissors" "Teacher A: Fell of a cliff" "Teacher B: Wasted Away" and another teacher "Murdered by and angry student mob". They gleefully decided on the fate of those around them and spatted the tombs with gore and dirt accordingly. It seems I have a very vengeful class. My weekend was again spent at the school figuring out how to create a life size paper mache skeleton. Turns out all you need is a ton of rolled up paper tubes, tape, and the patience of a sage for the paper mache part. It turned out a little bigger than I had planned so I decided to call him Frank (short for Frankenstein). I also constructed Dracula's coffin out of a big cardboard box that I managed to lay my hands on. I think a few people on the staff here think I am a little nuts as I have been scouring the school for materials we can use in the haunted house. A big box that held the new photocopier, a tall tube of cardboard, various other boxes and bags, and some abandoned panels I found in the garage.

3rd week: Students finish up with the tombstones and pumpkins. There is also some independent mask making going on, venetian in style. I have some very creative students. The spiders and bats are beginning to receive their teeth and eyes; very creepy, hairy spiders. Also some dead leaf painting for the path in our haunted house going on. Plans are also decided for what design to have as our class wall for the school contest. I again spent my weekend at the school converting a large cardboard tube and smaller pieces of cardboard into a creepy tree, not a bad job if I do say so, the leaves will go on when the paint dries.

4th and final week: Crunch time. Class is split into teams, half working on the classroom door (a homage to friday the 13th murders), the other half putting together a classic halloween scene (graveyard, creepy tree, castle in the distance, death creeping along the hill etc). Finishing touch of skulls bordering the painting. As many students who saw it in the hall said it looked "pro". Thursday before Halloween was spent turning an ordinary library into a creepy haunted house. We spent the better part of the afternoon blacking out the windows and walls with black garbage bags, moving the panels in to create walls and a bit of a maze. Creepy hanging tread-like curtains with spiderwebs and glow in the dark were to greet the students as they come in. Follow through to the stone door to enter Dracula's chamber, suitably dark with cobwebs, follow the path to the Mad Lab. Large skeleton on the examining table, jars and beakers filled with odd, slimy things. Through the tunnel to the graveyard, tombstone and leaning crosses, spiders and cobwebs everywhere.

Friday before Halloween: The students and I did the final lighting and cobweb stringing to make our haunted house as creepy as possible. I made pizza for the kids to bribe them to stay at the school during lunch so I could fix their makeup for the afternoon. I also wanted to make sure the students were all there for the start of the afternoon. By the time lunch was over I had a class of creepy, ghost-like guides and monsters to entertain the younger grades. You know you have a good haunted house when you have children that don't want to go in because they are too scared, or other children who come out crying because they met a monster they didn't like. My students did a fantastic job! They guided the kids through, were less scary towards the really little one, and let out all the stops for the big ones. After all the kids had been through and the afternoon was over, tired as they were my students still worked hard to take the haunted house down. What a great class!