Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A teacher shares her flooding experience in Eagle

Ann Millard is the principal/teacher at Eagle School. During the course of the flood a couple of weeks ago, Ann was interviewed several times and her quotes appeared in the Fairbanks Daily News Miner.

Of course, Ann has been using her own camera to snap some shots of the event as it was occurring by her own home. She sent a few of those, which I put into a VoiceThread for people to view here. If you want to show these to your students, just pop this up on the overhead, or direct them to this site and they can just hit the arrows to view. If any of you have a VoiceThread account feel free to leave some comments or questions!

For more information and pictures of the flood in Eagle, you can visit this wiki on EagleFloodInfo.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Good resource to help you meet Alaska cultural standards

A great resource I stumbled across earlier this year is called Alaskool. It's a site chockfull of online materials about Alaska Native history, education, languages and cultures. Alaskool is actually a project developed by the Alaska Native Curriculum and Teacher Development Project (ANCTD). Teams of teachers, elders, and community members across Alaska came together with university-based specialists to develop this curriculum.

This is really in-depth curriculum, and as far as authentic - this is the real deal - not an Alaska curriculum developed by someone who doesn't really know Alaska. There are modules, projects, units, and individual lessons that address all grade levels, all Eskimo and Alaska Native tribes, and huge variety of cultural studies. Back in February I also blogged about another site for studying Alaska History. Alaskool ranks right up there in quality with that particular resource!

For those who think they really know Alaska studies, Alaskool is bound to give you something new. I cannot stress enough the depth and quality of these lessons and units - they are well thought out and just fantastic!

One of the aspects of the site I really like is the aide and support it gives to new teachers and teachers new to Alaska in terms of working in new cultures, and also using their vast resources to write their own custom units that are suited to their unique situations.

One downside is that it doesn't look like the site is being updated any longer, but it was built on a grant from the Department of Education and sometimes those lag a little between funding. However, the information is still very current and very relevant. There are many activities and discussion suggestions for classrooms regarding such issues as AFN, Molly Hootch, and a number of other topical issues. It would be easy to use these as a jumping off point to get into newer current events affecting rural Alaska, and Alaska Natives.

Some of the content areas on Alaskool with resources are land claims, education, languages, government, traditional life, subsistence, biographies. and literature. There are also supplemental modules such as regional studies, timelines, outposts, maps, and a great audio/visual library.
Alaskool is one of the top resource sites I have found with in-depth, authentic lessons and units on Alaska and Alaska cultural studies - I have been cherry picking from it quite a bit this year, and intend to do that and a lot more with it next year as well.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

More helpful information about Eagle flooding

For those of you who have been watching the news, talking to friends, and reading this blog, by now you know about the terrible situation in Eagle. Conditions on the Yukon are still treacherous as the river has so much ice piling up that has yet to break loose.

Local resident and a retired colleague from Alaska Gateway, John Rusyniak, has sent out this email to some Tok residents. I'm copying his email here in its entirety so that people know what is happening in terms of local efforts to give aide and relief, as well as some FEMA efforts, which are apparently beginning.

Here is John's email message:

Tok Residents,
I've been in touch with a number of people in Eagle. I've learned some things and will be moving forward to help.

What I've Learned:
  • A large number of people are homeless
  • The Community reeks of diesel oil from dislodged fuel tanks
  • Many private wells are contaminated
  • The City well is still ok
  • People had to leave their homes - many with just the shirts on their backs
  • This has effected not only the Old Village, but it's up to the New Village as well
  • They will need help - but not so much yet
  • Paul Kelly is heading to Eagle this AM with a load of supplies
  • Francine Lee is arranging another load to leave at 4pm today
  • FEMA has been contacted and Jack Turk is taking a load up for them


Eagle Village is located about 3-4 miles from the NPS field headquarters in Eagle. Floodwaters have damaged or destroyed many buildings in the village. Additionally, within Eagle at least two employee homes have had
water damage and one of them had water up to the second story of their home. An estimated 10 homes in Eagle had been damaged or destroyed, and an estimated 30 of the area's 125 residents were homeless Tuesday morning.


Actions I'm taking:
  • As soon as the bank opens I"m going to see if an account has been set up there for donations
  • If not I'll get one set up and send out details later or just check with the bank
  • I've offered to be a point of contact to organize work crews when they are needed and can do something

If you have any additional information or questions please contact me.


John A. Rusyniak
PO Box 122
Tok, Alaska 99780
907-883-3124 Home
206-724-4591 Cell
305-425-7901 Fax

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Make your students aware of nearby flooding in Eagle!

We in AGSD are devasted by the news of the flooding that has hit Eagle, destroying the old village and wreaking havoc on the nearby community of Eagle. The school has become a haven of sorts - a high ground where many are escaping the devastation and dangerous flood waters.

Although we (adults) are all aware of what is happening in Eagle right now, some of our students are not! Eagle is a neighboring community and part of our school district! Do your students a favor - take a few minutes to bring them up to speed with what has been happening to our neighbors in Eagle.

Here are a few recent news sites that provide the main facts of the story, as well as many pictures (News Miner, another News Miner, APRN, Anchorage Daily News). Ann Millard, the principal at Eagle School, has been interviewed by the News Miner in one of the articles.

Read the National Weather Service updates with your students, and look at Weather Underground forecasts for communities along the Yukon - they give frequent flood warning updates as well as all pertinent weather information.

Get your students on GoogleEarth and have them locate and trace the course of the Yukon River. Have them locate the communities of Eagle, Circle, and Fort Yukon. Use the data you find on the National Weather Service and Weather Underground and have students keep an eye on the news so as to be apprised of what may be happening next.

This kind of flooding has not happened in Eagle since early in the 1900's - a combination of heavy snow over the winter and extremely warm weather is mostly to blame for the extreme flooding that Eagle is experiencing.

Teachers - contact Ann Millard, Marlys House, or Marge McElfresh, our colleagues at Eagle School - ask them if there is anything we can do to help or get the word out about what is happening in Eagle.

Involve your students!