An update from Jenny, here. Things have been going great here in Barrow. This last week, I started teaching 3 different Geometry classes. One of them is 9th grade and the other two are 10th grade. In all of the classes I am beginning a unit with Trigonometry and was excited to teach a lesson called "Whaling Trigonometry." Since the Spring Whaling season is underway here, it was a perfect medium for the students to connect with and see the application of trigonometry. Lots of times, trig uses examples about finding the heights of trees or mountains, but they don't have that here! It truly is such a unique place where kids do not necessarily have a grasp of what we might call "normal." Who can imagine living in a world where you never see trees?
This week, they had a traditional Inupiat lunch at the high school for the whaling captains and some teachers. I got to go to it and try all of the traditional foods that they eat here. They served kiniqtaq (sun-dried jerky-like seal meat), maktaaq (beluga skin and blubber), maktak (bowhead skin and blubber), aluutagaaq (caribou with gravy and rice), boiled smelt, frozen raw whale meat, eskimo donuts (fried bread) and aqpik pie (salmon berry jello/whip cream pie). Some things were great, some things okay, and some things I am fine that I live without.
On Thursday I spent the morning observing in the middle school in a seventh grade classroom. It was so much fun! The teacher I was working with let me help with the lessons and shared lots of good ideas with me. She is retiring after this year, but was eager to pass on all of her math teaching knowledge! I am hoping to get back there again, but we will have to see, since I am teaching more at the high school.