Thursday, July 16, 2009

My Job

I realized that I do a lot to tell about the park, the great adventures I get to go on, the wildlife I see, the terrific runs in the park that I've had, and all of the other happenings...but I haven't really addressed what I'm doing as a Teacher-Ranger-Teacher. Obviously I'm learning a TON about the National Park Service and how it operates which is very cool. But I've also been busy with education action items as well.

Today was awesome because I gave my first "public program." It is called Read with a Ranger. It's a story time for kids, with a book of the ranger's choice, advertised by a NPS press release to local papers, and then the story is read by the ranger. I chose S is for Sooner by Devin Scillian because it's about the history of Oklahoma. S is for Sooner is an alphabet book where each letter stands for something different, in this case, in Oklahoma. There's a series of them for other states (B is for Big Sky: A Montana Alphabet Book, L is for Lone Star: A Texas Alphabet Book) and icons (A is for America). I love the book and I thought it might be a little fun to incorporate primary sources of the letters too since the book I chose is an illustrated book. So, I made a PowerPoint presentation with primary source for each letter that coincided with what I was reading. I also made an activity book for the kids to do after the reading where they could make their own alphabet book for Chickasaw NRA or Oklahoma.

My program was this morning at 10 am. I spread out the buffalo hide on the floor in the auditorium and got the presentation ready. Lauren graciously changed slides for me and took photos. I had nine attendees: two grandparents, three little kids (under 5), two kids who were nine or ten and two upper teenagers. I felt like everyone walked away learning something. Here are just two facts from the book, about Oklahoma history: (taken directly from the book)

You'll think I'm kidding about letter K, but get your appetite ready,
We're off to Krebs for plates of lasagna, meatballs, and spaghetti,
It's not cowboy grub, but just breathe in that tasty Italian aroma,
a piece of Italy tucked away in southeast Oklahoma.

The side note on the page (yeah, I didn't mention it, but the book has a side bar for each letter that goes into historical explanation about the rhyme) says: "In the 1800s many Italian immigrants made their way to Krebs in southwestern Oklahoma to work in the area's coal mines. As the coal mine era faded, displaced miners started to open restaurants and groceries specializing in the foods of their Italian homeland. Those flavors remain today in area restaurants and especially in Lovera's Grocery, which sells homemade Italian sausages and cheeses."

My favorite letter is U:

U stands for "uh-oh," a most unlikely blunder
when Boise City found the
wrong airplane to be under.
An unaware pilot unsure of what to do hit
the only town in America bombed in World War Two.

The sidebar explains further: "Just after midnight on July 5, 1943, a B-17 bomber from Dalhart Army Air Base was on a practice mission. The plane was supposed to drop its bombs on a practice range in Texas about 30 miles south of Boise City. The plane veered way off course and mistook the lights of Boise City for the lights of the practice range. Six 96-pound sand bag "bombs" were dropped on the city. Luckily, they did little damage and no one was hurt."

Great stuff, isn't it? I personally learned a lot from this book too!

After reading the book, each of the younger kids took a coloring book but they decided not to color here on the buffalo hide, but rather take the books with them. It was very cute and I felt successful.

My other big project for the day was to respond to a ten year old boy's request for information about the park. His name is Satch and he's from Pennsylvania. In his letter, he mentioned that he visited DC with his family and they thought that for the centennial anniversary of the Park Service they would visit 100 parks by 2016 (the Park Service's 100th birthday). He was writing to all 391 parks to ask for them to send him a postcard from the park and share why they should visit that park, as well as to name one other park (not that ranger's park) that they should visit. How cute is that? Great idea. Lauren was kind of enough to ask if I wanted to respond to the boy.

As you can imagine, I am really excited about this task. I decided for this most excellent assignment that a mere postcard/letter would not do. So I've set about making a little booklet for Satch and his family. In the shape of an Arrowhead of course..... (and that is a freehand cut out of a buffalo thank you very much!) :)

And I have included two postcards of Chickasaw NRA.

I'm still very much in the middle of this project and will post the final product before I send it off. I love it though. I wish I could see what else he gets from Park Rangers. Like I said, I think it's a great little project he's embarked on.....

That's been my day at work. It is just a little bit of what I do. I will save the rest for another entry. I have a lot to share about my other tasks too!

Oh yeah! My last little piece for today is that Vicki cleaned out the owls' cages and saved me three owl pellets! Gross, but cool. They will definitely be on display in my classsroom this coming year!


Mark H said...

You look so happy sitting there with your hat on next to the buffalo hide doing your program. What are you going to do with the owl pellets until you get them back to your classroom?

Jonny T said...

Your work rocks! Beautiful location, fun people, and spectacular uniforms!

Danielle said...

Hey you! I am loving your blog. So glad you are having a good experience and got to visit with Mark.

Thanks for the pic of the Armadillo! ...though maybe we could have been spared the pic of the owl pellet. ;-)