Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Short Story - To Build a Fire

Coming back from Spring Break the weather is finally starting to feel like Spring and today was an amazing day with clear skies and lots of sun. With this great weather I knew we had to do something outside because we had to make the most out of the beautiful day. This week we are starting our short story unit and I decided that as long as its not raining we would go out somewhere and find a nice place where we could read/listen to our short stories. We went in town to the baseball diamonds where we first played some ultimate frisbee to warm ourselves up a bit and to wait for the temperature to warm up a bit. After playing we found a nice spot along the fence of the ball diamond we were at and we sat there to read our first short story "To Build a Fire". I found an audiobook online for the story, so we listened to this and also followed along with the paper copies we had. I was very nice having the audio book, as some of my students are not strong readers it helps them follow along with the story.

Here is a summary of the story from      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/To_Build_a_Fire

An unnamed man sets out to hike through the forests bordering the Yukon River on a winter day whose temperature has reached -75°F (-59°C). Having ignored the advice of an old prospector against traveling alone in such weather, he is accompanied only by his large husky dog. The animal's instincts warn it about the dangers of the extreme cold, and it follows the man unwillingly. As they follow the course of a frozen creek, the man is careful to avoid patches of thin ice, hidden by the snow, that cover pockets of unfrozen water. His goal is to reach a group of prospectors ("the boys") at their camp by 6:00 that evening.

At half past noon, the man stops and builds a fire so he can warm up and eat his lunch. Shortly after resuming his hike, he breaks through the ice and soaks his feet and lower legs ("half-way to the knees"), forcing him to stop and build another fire—this one under a tree—in order to dry himself. As he pulls twigs from the brush pile around the tree to feed the flames, the vibrations eventually cause the snow to tumble down from the branches overhead and extinguish the fire. The man quickly begins to lose sensation in his extremities and hurries to light another fire, now starting to understand the life-threatening danger posed by the extreme cold. He lights the fire, igniting all of his matches and burning himself, but accidentally pokes it apart while trying to remove a piece of moss. With no more matches on hand, the man tries to kill the dog and use its insides for warmth, but his hands are so stiff that he can neither strangle it nor draw his knife. Finally he tries to restore his circulation by running toward the camp, but stumbles and falls in the snow. The man dies of hypothermia, imagining himself standing with "the boys" as they find his body, and the dog leaves the body after dark to find food and shelter at the camp.

My students really enjoyed the story. When listening to audio books I am always very surprised how much my students can pick up from only listening. After lunch we continue a discussion about the story and we also watched a short animated video to help students visualize what was happening throughout the story. Other than a few small details the animators who created this video did a great job of doing a visual representation of the story.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Trying out my new Refuge Hybrid Hooded Jacket on our last snowing shoeing trip

This is the last week before students are off on Spring Break, so I wanted to take them out snowshoeing one more time before the weather became too warm and melted all the snow. For this trip I wanted to take them somewhere different, somewhere where we could go out on fresh snow and make our own trails. This was also a chance for me to test out my new Refuge Hybrid Hooded Jacket,  during one of our winter activities with my EPIC class.

We drove to the cross-country ski area up Mt. Baldy, but instead of using the groomed trails we went on the other side of the road to wander around in some fresh snow. I have been to this location before with previous EPIC classes, but the last time we were here we did a winter survival day instead of snowshoeing. Like always we have to take a nice group picture before we set out on our adventure.

We could not have picked a better day to go out snowshoeing. The sun was shining and it was nice and calm with no wind. You could not have asked for a better day to go out.

My students have varying fitness levels, where some could go all day and some might find an activity like this difficult. But with PE being one of the course in the program students need to expect this kind of things and what better way to go out and get some exercise and fresh air on a day like this. Some of my less active students kept asking if we were there yet wondering if we could stop for lunch or turn around. I just told them our day had begun and that we shouldn't try to rush it especially since it was such a nice day out.

When we came to an open clearing we were beside a hill, so while we stopped for a quick break some students decided to go and explore and try to climb the hill.

Taylor took some nice pics of me along the way and while we were still at the hill. She also took a nice video of me trying to run with my snowshoes in the deep snow.

Gotta stop every now and then and take some sibling selfies.

From here we continued on creating our own trail in the pristine untouched snow. For the most part our we walked on flat ground. It wasn't until we were about to stop for lunch where we encountered our first real hill. It wasn't much of a hill, but it was enough to make my students catch their breath and want to stop for a bit.

We came to a nice clear spot, so we decided this would be a good place to stop and have lunch. For those that wanted we brought along a couple small tarps if students didn't want to sit down in the snow. Some were completely fine with sitting in the snow and became quite comfortable while they ate their lunch. Tyler even dug a nice hole to sit in.

Many of us had to shed some layers while we ate lunch, because that last hill heated us up quite a bit. I have told my students many times before that it is important to layer up when doing any type of winter activities. You do not want to sweat because that is cool your body too quickly and that can lead to hypothermia. That is why I tell them to layer up, so that can take off or add layers accordingly depending on if they're getting too hot or too cold.

Taylor taking a video time lapse of the clouds while eating her lunch.

Now that everyone was well rested and full of food it was time to pack up and continue on the trail. We had to climb more more big hill before the trail became relatively flat again.

I hope my students appreciate this beautiful scenery and being outside as much as I do. Not many teachers or students can go out on field trips like this. These field trips and outdoor learning experiences are some of my favourite parts of teaching the EPIC program.

Along the way we cut some longer sticks that brought them with us for an activity I want to do later with the class.

As we circled back we came to another open clearing, which was their from the gas pipeline. While we were here Taylor had everyone stand in a line because she wanted to take a slow motion video of us all throwing snow up in the air at the same time.

From here it was a straight walk along the pipeline until we reach the first hill that a few students tried to climb when we took our first break. I told my students that they should try and take the hill on an angle if they are afraid of falling and to try and not go down it too fast, so they don't fall over or face plant in the snow.

Now that everyone had made down the hill it was time to do a survival activity with my student. It is important to teach my students about some of the basics about wilderness first aid. Today we were going to look at making an improvised stretcher using a tarp and taking turns carrying each other in the snow while wearing our snowshoes. If an emergency did happen and someone was to get hurt I need to be sure that my students know what to do in these types of situations. For example, in this case being able to carrying out one of their classmates back to safety or back to the bus.

I had a few students take turns pretending that they had hurt their leg and everyone else took turns carrying the stretcher. Students had to make sure that they lifted their piece of the stretcher at the same time to keep it balanced, so it didn't fall over.

Taylor was the last one to be carried on the stretcher, but it did not turn out so well. Since she still had her snowshoes on the students in the back kept tripping on them. This eventually lead to the students dropping her in the snow. We had a good laugh from this, but students then learned how serious this could be if they were to accidentally drop a person if they were seriously injured. If they were to drop an injured person this could lead to more unwanted injuries.

Brayden has told me many times that he loves the cold and especially loves being in the snow. I can definitely see it now, as we were getting towards the end of our trip he took off his jacket and shirt and fell back into the snow. It looked as if he was almost swimming in the snow, as he put snow all over his chest. When I went over to see him he claimed he was the most Canadian one there, as the cold weather did not bother him.

The trail we went on today was a bit longer than the one we went on last time, as this one was about 3km long. Walking in the deep snow it felt like we went twice as far. 

This was probably one of our best trips yet, especially since mother nature was on our side. My new Refuge Hybrid Hooded Jacket was perfectly suited for this weather and this type of activity. I can't wait to bring it with me again on my next EPIC adventure.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Inkameep Day School Exhibit at the Kelowna Art Gallery/Okanagan Heritage Museum

To finish the week we off had the opportunity to join the English First Peoples/Art 10 class on a field trip to see an exhibit showcase the Inkameep Day School at the Kelowna Art Gallery and Okanagan Heritage Museum. Here is a summary of what is shown in the exhibits (Taken from their website).

Our Lives Through Our Eyes: Nk’Mip Children’s Art brings together over 75 works of art created by children and youth who attended the Inkameep Day School during the era of World War II. Under the tutelage of Mr. Anthony Walsh the school, which was located on the Osoyoos Indian Band reserve, became nationally and internationally renowned for its students’ production of art and drama based on their Okanagan identity and history. The exhibition features graphite drawings as well as paintings on paper and hide. Today the Inkameep Day School artworks are valued points of departure for contemporary Nk’Mip arts, culture, and education.

This exhibition is presented in two parts, at both the Kelowna Art Gallery and the Okanagan Heritage Museum.

Organized collaboratively by the Kelowna Art Gallery and the Kelowna Museums Society, with assistance from the Osoyoos Museum Society and the Osoyoos Indian Band. Guest Curated by Dr. Andrea Walsh, Professor of Anthropology, at the University of Victoria.

Generously supported by Fortis BC, Central Okanagan Public Schools, and the Province of British Columbia. Works on loan from the Osoyoos Museum Society, Royal British Columbia Museum, artist Taylor Baptiste, and Colleen and Richard Baptiste. 

This exhibit is very personal to me, as my grandpa was one of the students who went to the Inkameep Day School and is a well known artist for the work he created as a student and the art pieces he created later on in his life when he was an adult.

Kelowna Art Gallery

When we first arrived at the Art Gallery there was a bit of a confusion, as they didn't realize we were going to be in at that time. There was no one visiting the exhibit at the time, so they were very accommodating and let see the exhibit until the next group of students were coming in. Before we let the students wander around and see the art work Taylor gave some background information about the Inkameep Day School, why it was created, and why it is important. 

From here the students had a little over a half an hour to wander around and see what was in the exhibit. Taylor was our local celebrity, as she was commissioned to make and paint 4 drums to put in the exhibit along with the art work that the students created from the Inkameep Day School. Andrea Walsh asked Taylor if she would be willing to make/paint some drums for the exhibit, as she was is a descendent of Francis Baptiste, who is one of the more famous artists/students that went to this school. Here is a picture of the 4 drums that Taylor painted.

Here is a picture of Linsdey, the Art Teacher, admiring Taylor's work.

Andrea Walsh, a professor of anthropology from UVIC, is a family friend of ours and a lot of her work focuses on 20th-century and contemporary aboriginal art and visual culture in Canada. A lot of her research has brought her to Oliver and Osoyoos to look at the Art created by the students from the Inkameep Day School. I have known her since I was in elementary school and because of her I know more about my grandpa and other members of the Osoyoos Indian and community. Andrea has become a close family friend and always make a point of coming to visit my family when she visits the Okanagan. Andrea is shown on the left in the picture below.

Afterwards students could then go around and see the artwork. We gave students a trivia sheet to fill out as they went around looking through the exhibit. We also did this to try and help keep the students more engaged with the art that they were looking at.

My grandpa would sign every piece of art that he created with Sis-hu-lk, which was his Nsyilxcən/Okanagan name, that he was given as a child. Sis-hu-lk means always moving, always on the go. I didn't get the opportunity to meet and learn from my grandpa growing up, so it is cool to learning and hear about him through the work that Andrea Walsh has done. Here is a picture of my grandpa, Francis Baptiste, and one of his drawings.

Taylor showed the students this picture of our grandpa (shown above) and right away they could see the resemblance between him and I. The next group of students were about to come in so we took a group photo before moving on to the next exhibit.

Down the hall near the other exhibit they had a TV on a loop, showing interviews of the different artists who had their work on display at the Art Gallery. Taylor's video interview came up and the students were impressed to see her on the TV, so we stopped and took a picture of Taylor standing beside it.

Okanagan Heritage Museum

Our original plan was to go the Art Gallery, have lunch, then go the to Museum, but with the scheduling confusion we had before we had to change our plans a bit. Instead of having lunch after our visit from the Art Gallery we continued on to the museum, which was only about a block or so away from where we were. 

I feel that the students enjoyed the Museum a little more than than the Art Gallery, because it had bigger and more physical artifacts, compared to the pictures and paintings they saw earlier. 

My grandpa was most well known for his paintings on buckskin. Here in the picture below he is standing beside one of his buckskin paintings. His paintings can be found all across North America and even in Europe. One of his paintings is even owned by the Queen of England in Buckingham Palace.

It was a great experience to see both of these exhibits for both myself and my students. My students appreciate what they are learning when it is more applicable or in this case ties in directly with people from their own community. It makes the learning experience more authentic and students will be more likely to remember what they learned/experienced. Taylor and I found it funny listening to the tour guides talk about the exhibits in both locations, because we both knew a lot more than they did about the Inkameep Day School and the students that went there.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Taking Pics and Testing out my Refuge Hybrid Hooded Jacket

After receiving my new Refuge Hybrid Hooded Jacket from Outdoor Research I wanted to go outside and try it out. I was with my sister and we decided to go for a little drive to nice spot beside Manuel Flats that over looks Oliver. My sister, Taylor, is a skilled photographer, so she thought it would be cool to take some nice pictures of me with my new jacket. I have to say they turned out really well.

Looking out towards Oliver

Some close up shots.

This jacket matches my truck nicely, so we took a nice picture of me standing beside my Toyota Tacoma.

It was quite cold and windy while we were out taking pictures, but with only a sweater underneath as an extra layer, this jacket holds up well in this type of weather. I am surprised on how well the VerticalX insulation works to keep my core nice and warm. Next week I will be taking my EPIC class snowshoeing one more time before Spring Break. I can't wait to try out this jacket then, to see how it performs on the mountain while we are out snowshoeing.

My Outdoor Research Refuge Hybrid Hooded Jacket Finally Came In The Mail :)

At the start of the semester I entered a contest put out on Facebook by Outdoor Research for a chance to win one of their new Refuge Hybrid Hooded Jackets, and I was selected as one of the winners. Some of my friends thought it was a scam and didn't think much would come from it, but I did not feel the same way.

Zach, the Pro Marketing Specialist, at Outdoor Research had initially emailed me about being selected and asked about what colour and size of jacket I would like and an address they could ship it to. I initially told him I would like the red one, but they didn't have any in stock, as it has been very popular jacket and was on backorder. He asked if I would be ok with waiting or should I pick another colour. I was in no rush so I decided to wait. He replied and said that it should be ready by the end of the month. Then it was near the end of February and I thought I would send Zach an email to see if he knew roughly when the jacket would be shipped. He responded and said that they still haven't been able to send any jackets of that colour to the Canadian Stores for Outdoor research and asked if I would still like the Red one, or if I would like to pick another colour. I then thought for a bit and decided that I would go with the green one, as it would fit nicely with our school colours. He soon responded again and apologized, as they were out of the green, and asked if I would be ok with another colour. I then decided to pick the blue one. When I first entered the contest I liked the blue one at first, but thought I would pick a different colour like red since I do not have any red jackets and own a couple of blue ones. Zach replied and said that since I had been very patient in this whole process they would send me an extra surprise along with the jacket. Surprises are always good.

Then the following week Zach emailed me again and said the jacket had been shipped and should arrive in 3-7 business days. At this point I was getting very excited, as I couldn't wait to see my new jacket. Sure enough after 4 days the jacket arrived in the mail and I couldn't believe it and couldn't wait to open it.

After I open the bag it finally felt real as the jacket was now in my hands. As an added bonus they gave me a nice truckers hat, which goes nicely with the jacket. The jacket was a perfect fit and feels really comfortable. I Can't wait to try it out on my EPIC adventures.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Students working on their camp chairs

For out first project in EPIC I have the students building a collapsible camp chair made out of pine. If I was to build this project normally I would build it a bit bigger, but to try and minimize the amount of materials used I adjusted the plans a bit to make it work for the types of boards we have. Here is a picture I based my design and plans from.

Here are the plans and parts list that my students will be referring from to build their chairs.

We have pine boards that are 5 1/2 inches wide, I adjusted the width for the boards so that we could minimize waste and cut 3 strips from it. Except for one of the support pieces all of the boards used for this project are the same width, which is 1 5/8 inch wide. First the students had to find a pine board that was flat and had no loose knots and major defects in it. From here they would go to the table saw and cut these boards into 1 5/8 inch strips. Once that had their strips they could then go to the mitre and cut them to the appropriate lengths.

After all the students cut their pieces they went to the router table and rounded the edges of all their pieces. Once this was complete students then sanded all their pieces so they were nice and smooth and have no rough edges.

Now that all the pieces have been cut, routered, and sanded it is time for the assembling process to begin. This collapsible camp chair comprises of 4 different parts and when assembled is made up of 2 pieces, a back rest and seat. To assemble it we used screws and glue to add a bit more reinforcement. Here are some clips of students trying out their chairs.

The camp chairs are starting to come along nicely. Many students have started to customize their projects with wood burning or adding shoulder straps.

After this the only step that is left is to stain or put some kind of finish on them and then they will be ready to bring with us on our EPIC adventures.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Our EPIC T-Shirts have finally arrived

At the beginning of the year I told my EPIC students that I would like to order a class set of t-shirts like I did with my class last year. We decided to go with a colour call Antique Cherry Red and instead of the plain white EPIC logo we added a black outline to it. Personally I think the black outline looks way better than not having it.

Today the shirts finally came in and Kim our book keeper came and delivered them to me in my classroom. As soon as I saw her holding the box I knew right away what she was carrying. I asked "Is that what I think it is" and she replied "yes". I was excited to get the box and all the students were wondering why I was excited and wanted to know what was inside. Some of them had guessed right and thought in was our class t-shirts. I opened up the box and showed the students the shirts they would be getting to show everyone that they are in the EPIC program.

I told the students like my class from the last year they needed to do some fund raising in order to cover the costs of the shirts. Last year we collected a ton of bottles and cans and brought them to the bottle depot here in town to cover the costs of our shirts. I told the class we could do this again or find other ways of fundraising. They liked the bottle drive option and can't wait to get their shirts.