About Me

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My journey with the Alaska Gateway School District began in the fall of 2012. For the first two years, I was teaching the kindergarten through 2nd grade groups in Tetlin. For the next two years, I taught the same ages at another village school in Northway. Last fall, I began teaching 4th grade at the Tok School and will be continuing in that position this year. Before moving to Tok, my background consisted of four years living in Botswana, Africa, with my husband where I taught mostly English as second language learners in grades kindergarten through fourth. Previously, we were long time Alaska residents. Most of our years in Alaska were spent living in the interior bush community of Galena, where I taught an alternative program for teens, 7th and 8th grades, Title 1 reading, and kindergarten. For a number of years before obtaining my teacher certificate, I was part of the classified support staff in addition to serving on the local school board. It has been great to be back in Alaska, and Tok has been a good fit for us.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Week 40

Weekly Greetings!

The last week of school is here! I can't believe how fast the year has gone by, and I want you all to know what a pleasure it has been to teach this wonderful group of students. I would also like to acknowledge each student in a "Celebration of Learning" luncheon on Thursday before the school-wide academic awards at 2:00pm. The students and I will make a simple lunch of soup and bread with hope that parents can attend at 12:30pm that day. In addition, please remember that there will be a school picnic on Friday and early release that day at 1:00pm for the last day of school.

Last week the class continued to press on in reading by completing The Guffineys' Chimney by local author Willy Lou Warbelow, and are now finishing a required book report. In Social Studies they are also completing a final research report on an Alaskan city or town. Math consisted of regular lessons and a review packet. We did take a break on Thursday to travel to Chicken and had a great time exploring the dredge there. After a very informative tour that tied in nicely with our study of Alaska history, the group got to experience panning gold. I think most everyone walked away with a small vile of some gold flecks. As planned, we had a picnic lunch before heading back to Tok for the end of the school day.

For Art on Friday, Stephen Rudolph brought in cloth bags and T-shirts for the class to decorate for spring. Most students chose to do a bag, but there were a couple of T-shirts chosen also. Each project turned out really nice.
As I begin to close out our classroom this week, I will be sending things home with the students. Most items will come home Thursday when desks and lockers are cleaned out for the year. Once again, I would like you to know what a privilege it has been to teach this group of students. I look forward to watching them continue to mature and grow academically through the years to come. They certainly have the potential for a bright and successful future.

Kind Regards,

Julie Brown


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Week 39

Weekly Greetings!

Two weeks to go and the school year will be finished! It has gone by so fast and the class has grown so much academically! Before I share about our field trip last week, let me let me inform you that there will be a Spring Concert on Wednesday at 2:00pm. The class will be doing a song with the 3rd and 5th grades. Also, I would like to remind you that we will be taking one last field trip to Chicken on Thursday. This will also tie into our Alaska Studies unit, as did all the educational activities on our trip to Fairbanks. We will leave for Chicken at 8:30am sharp, so please have your child to school on time. The plan is to get a tour of the gold dredging operation there, and the students should be able to pan for some gold. Hopefully we will leave in enough time to catch the buses at the end of the school day, but if there is a problem making that timeline I will call you when I get cell service. If all goes as planned, you will not need to come pick up your child at school. Now for last week's trip. There is so much to share, but I will just try to narrow it down to a brief explanation day-by-day.

We departed Tok on Monday and stopped for a brief picnic lunch in Delta on the way in. Once in Fairbanks, we met with Mark Ross with the Department of Fish and Games at Creamer's Field.  He was great with the students and took them on an interesting walk. Most of the waterfowl had already passed through the field, but we did see some cranes, mallard ducks, and song birds.
After the hike, we took our things to the house we were staying, and then went to North Pole for pizza and some game time. There is a Lazar Tag and Go Cart business there that opened up just for us to have some fun time together. Most of the Go Cart pictures were blurry, as the kids passed me by too quickly.
 
The next morning we met with a professor from UAF and got to see the frost tunnels that they use for research. We had studied about permafrost in Alaska, and the class got to see the different types of frost layers under the ground. There were also so frozen Mammoth bones in the layers. The only complaint the students had was that there was a smell down there, but the air quality is measured and was safe.
Our next stop was the UAF Reindeer Research Farm and our guide was Erin Carr. She did a very informative presentation before we all went to see the animals there. The class even got to feed and pat Roger the Reindeer inside his pen.
When we finished,  it was lunch time and we had a picnic on the lawn at the UAF Museum. Inside the museum, I had printed out packets for an informational scavenger hunt as the class traveled through different sections representing the regions of Alaska.
The next stop was the UAF Large Animal Research Center to see the Musk Ox and other animals there. Our research guide was Sarah Barclow.
After dinner that day, the students had a couple hours to swim before we returned home for the evening.
Wednesday was our longest day. We departed for the Riverboat Discovery tour at 8:15am and were loaded on the huge boat at 9:00am. It was a 3 hour tour and very informative. There was a stop over at a recreated Athabascan village where there were three presentation stations and then time to explore. One of the guides was the daughter of a student I had taught in Galena, and is pictured with the class while modeling a traditional fur parka.
After the riverboat tour, we spent the remaining part of the day at Pioneer Park. Though the park was not officially open yet, volunteers at the museums there opened up for us because we were a school group. The first tour was of the Pioneer Museum, and followed by a train ride and presentation at the Railroad Museum. The final stop was a the Aviation Museum. By the end of our time there, the class was pretty full of information, and fortunately they could blow off some energy at a playground afterward.
Our last full day was spent at Chena Hot Springs. The class was able to relax and swim for almost three hours before we took a break for lunch. Then we went on a tour of the geothermal power plant and greenhouse at the resort. We also went on a tour of the ice museum.
As a finale to the week, and as a thank you to Jill Kranenburg for her help on the trip, we all went to Shogun Restaurant for dinner. I tried to take pictures of the hibachi chef preparing food in front of us, but he was so fast that they are all blurry.
I could not be more pleased at how the week went and how good all the students were. They represented Tok School well, and adults along the way made positive comments about the group. Also, a huge thanks to Brett Blackstock and Jill Kranenburg for their help. In addition, we are so grateful to Jill's daughter and son-in-law for letting us stay at their house. It was a perfect set up and location to base each day from! We were very comfortable and we appreciated their warm hospitality beyond words.

Kind Regards,

Julie Brown