Day #14

The Queen Can’t Be Dead…

Do you see what I just did? By titling this post ‘The Queen Can’t Be Dead’ I have hooked a fair number of you into reading the rest of what I write (I hope). You might wonder why I chose such a strange title for this entry, and I will tell you, just not until I make a few poorly structured comments about the day!

Today started out about as peacefully as any day could. I woke up, made myself some ‘porridge,’ oh yeah, it’s actually called porridge, not any of that oatmeal stuff, full out porridge! Then we headed over to the school a little bit early and got to do something that would make just about any book loving person jealous. We took a browse through the Fort Hope school library. All of the books are currently randomly strewn across tables because they are in the process of putting their books onto the shelves (they are still building the shelves). There is no rhyme or reason to the way the books are piled on the tables, and looking through is kind of like being a kid on Christmas. You never know what book you are going to uncover. For me, looking through the mountains of kids books brought back some great memories of days spent reading! Specifically I came across books from my past like those by: Matt Christopher (author of many many many sports novels), Gordon Kormon (Canadian wonder kid (now not a kid) author behind the Bruno and Boots series, and ‘Toilet Paper Tigers’) and Mercer Mayer. I also discovered a copy of ‘Catcher in the Rye’ that I have borrowed and plan to read so as to fully understand the connection between its main character ‘Holden Cauffield’ and my band’s name Cofield. It reminded me just how exciting books and reading can be…I have been inspired to read again.

After spending some time in the library we started the day off at camp. Again, like yesterday, our numbers were fairly low with our morning groups. Again, our 4-6 year old campers only numbered four. It is hard to do any sort of group activity when you only have four children, so there was a lot of fast thinking on our feet this morning. It seems that like most 4-6 year olds, our kids have the attention spans of fleas! Well, perhaps that is isn’t quite fair, I would say that they are good for a solid ten minutes of focus, but anything over that is really pushing it! Our best bet was to give them crayons, pencil crayons and try to work with them on writing out the members of their family. It is becoming obvious to us that the majority of our kids do not know their alphabet, days of the week, months of the year, weather and often numbers, so we are in the process of re-vamping our days to fit their skill level. This means that I will be taking a good long look at Miss Eyre’s curriculum book again…Doggie doggie where’s your bone has been played numerous times already, and we’re getting ready to move on to ‘Closet Key’…Hopefully it will take hold, and stay interesting for a while!

I should also tell you about the carpet that we have in our 4-6 room…This carpet is fantastic, so fantastic that I will take a picture of it tomorrow. It is extremely colourful and has squares on it filled with simple vocabulary words for small children. There are also nice large pictures of the words, and everything rhymes. Okay, that description was terrible and I’m sure that you have no idea what I’m talking about, but I will take a picture and then all will be good. An example of a square would be a square with a ‘cat’ wearing a ‘hat’. The square would have a picture of a cat wearing a hat and the two words. At first we though that this carpet would be perfect for getting kids to sit still and in one place. We figured that giving each child their own square would be a fun and exciting thing everyday…Well…to be it simply, we were wrong! The carpet is probably the most distracting thing in the entire room! The kids just keep wanting to move around on it and find different spots. I swear that one of them told me that one of the squares was more comfortable than the other…Anyway, I am slowly losing my love for the carpet, despite the fact that it really is awesome…

After this morning’s camp I took a nice stroll through Fort Hope. This wasn’t necessarily my idea, but one of our campers was not picked up by their grandma after camp so I had to walk her to where her grandma worked. As it turns out, her office was about as far ‘out of town’ as you can get in Fort Hope! It was all the way out at the airport, and it basically took up my whole lunch hour! Oh well, I got to meet her grandma, and all was right in the world.

Lunch ended and we were back at it in the afternoon with the older kids. I am working with the 10&11 year olds in the afternoon, and for the most part have really great kids. They are a little bit wrangy sometimes, and easily distracted, but overall they are willing to listen…most of the time. The only unfortunate thing about the start of camp today was the crowd of ‘cool kids’ that decided to come by camp to make fun of all the other kids that were going. They harassed us for a little while by kicking on the doors and yelling, but eventually they got even more bored than they already were and left us alone. We invited them into camp, but I think that the thought of actually having to read was far too terrifying for a lot of them. Hopefully we get another shot at getting those kids into a later camp. I’m sure that they are used to being labelled and given up on, so it would be nice to at least give it the old college try with them.

We did some quality silent reading with our group this afternoon, made reading passports, wrote journal entries, played capture the flag (with words) and soccer baseball. Overall everything went well, and we even gained a couple of new campers. Then to end off the day we read a chapter out of Twilight. Despite my misgivings about the quality of the book, I have never seen such a captivated audience! Let’s hope that it keeps up!

After camp I sashayed down to the Post Office to mail a couple of letters (watch your mailboxes, I might just have sent you a letter) and my key back to Lakehead.

Alright, and now the moment you have all been waiting for…Why did I title my post, ‘The Queen Can’t Be Dead’…The answer is that today one of our co-workers, Nanajean, informed us that she had seen on the internet last night that the Queen had died and that Prince Charles was now the King! I was actually stunned, I thought wow, Michael Jackson and now the Queen! What is the world coming too?! I carried the burden of her death with me all day until I finally checked BBC for news of the gruesome tale…However, there was nothing there…Apparently Nanajean got her facts backwards, because I’m thinking that the BBC would probably be right on the death of a British monarch…I hope…

Anyway, after I had recovered from my shock we prepared a dinner of tacos…After dinner I finally took the plunge and went over to the school after hours (trusting the alarm schedule that got me into trouble on the first day)…In the end it was all worth the risk! The alarm did not go off and I spent an amazing 45 minutes playing the piano and writing music. The piano is outrageously out of tune, but it didn’t and doesn’t matter to me, I’m was just thrilled to be able to play and sing! I’m expecting my guitar to arrive either tomorrow or Friday, so hopefully I’ll be able to start learning how to play ASAP…

After returning from the school I met up with a local craftsman named Leo. He had stopped by our house once before to offer his services as a crafts teacher to us for a camp activity and mostly to try and self us some of his work. I had a fantastic conversation with Leo about his life and what it really is like living in Fort Hope. He told me of some of the struggles that he faced growing up on the reserve, but still maintained that he was a better man today because of them. I’m looking forward to getting to know Leo over the next couple of months. He seems to be one of the few relatively traditional younger (he’s about 35-40 range) members of the Fort Hope community. He speaks reverently about the past and about the importance of maintaining traditional culture. It really was an insightful discussion…

Alright, it is far too late right now, and I have to be up tomorrow morning once again for another round of camp, so I should sign off and out! I bid you all good night!

Oh and one more thing…thank goodness the Queen is not dead, what would Alex Killby do?!

…And one more thing…(sorry)…I started picking my courses today for next year…the long in the short of it is that I have a lot of work to do before I can call my schedule full. I’m still not quite ready to officially declare what my decisions are, but I’m doing a bit of a re-direct…The last couple of weeks have helped me to rediscover some things that I had forgotten about myself…cryptic…I know 😉

–Be kind to each other and don’t fall down…


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