Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Another incredible day in the life of Sam Pudlat School

What a day.
Only in the North could you have a day like today. We started out with all sorts of great lesson plans, but things went a little sideways when one of the teachers brought in a seal for her class to study.

Pretty soon the whole school was involved and we got a very detailed lesson about traditional hunting methods, seal preparation, tanning hides... it was amazing. Hopi explained how the hunters would watch for seal dens and then collapse them, trapping the seals inside. The kids were fascinated (and so were we!).

As an interesting side note, we've been doing fairy tales with my class and I had just finished telling them about the Selkie legend, where a person becomes a seal by putting on a seal skin. I shared that story with Hopi and she really seemed to like it... I'm going to try and bring some information on Selkies to her tomorrow and maybe even sing the Great Selkie for the kids.

After Hopi had skinned the seal each of the classes was able to take some time and examine the skin and the flippers. Then Hopi got a smaller number of students together to show them how to prepare the meat. She showed all the parts of the seal and talked about who they were meant for according to tradition. The women would eat the ribs, the men would another part and the children yet another, etc.

I have to confess it was a little gruesome... but I guess it's sort of like a biology lesson in the South. I remember dissecting frogs and talking all about the parts of the body, so this was similar.

One of the neatest things she did was to remove all the bones from one of the "paws" leaving just the fur and nails. It looked a little like a mitten, all soft fur on the outside and floppy but with five sharp nails on one end (that's the picture at the beginning of this blog).

After all the excitement of the seal in the morning, Emma and I were scrambling to get through all the stuff we had planned to do for the day...

The kids worked really hard. I was especially pleased with the book-making we did in technology. On the first day we had a little trouble with the template, and then the kids kept saying, "I can't think of an idea" so before heading to class this time I had them fill out an "entry ticket" which had a space on it for the subject of their book and then three lines for three ideas they were going to include. If they hadn't filled out their "ticket" they weren't going to get to work at the computer. It worked really well! Everyone had at least three pages done in their books by the end of the class and many kids were working on editing and adding more pictures, formatting the text etc. It was a very productive time.

At the end of the day we had reading and while some of the kids were working with Emma I helped the rest paint our "icebergs". Once again, they wowed me with their team work and their super-cleaning abilities. We're getting closer and closer to being ready for our play!
After school I had told some of the kids who wanted to work on their books that they could stay and work with me in our "author's club". I had seven kids who stayed and worked really hard for about an hour... They were adding photos, changing fonts and editing their texts. We talked about all the different ways you can edit and they've all decided that they'd like to stay another day after school for "peer-editing" (hopefully they'll understand what that means by the time we get to it!).

So, from traditional seal hunting to high-tech book writing, these kids passed from the stone age to the future in one day, bringing me gasping for air along with them.
What an amazing place.


  1. I think this is the best entry yet in the blog. What astonishing stuff. Maybe especially the paw at the beginning and that last line about going from the stone age to the future . . .

  2. Hey Dad.

    The clash of the worlds here _is_ astonishing.

    Grandparents were all born in snow houses and their kids can google.