Welcome to the AK-CSS Members Forum! Please sign up to join the discussions.

Welcome & Introductions

Hello everyone!

Stephanie and I are eagerly excited to come to Bethel!  We are looking forward to a terrific weekend with you, exploring American history through music and dance.

A bit about me:

I was born and raised in Anchorage where I've taught for 11 of my 14 years in the classroom.  (My other 3 years were in Seattle.)  My current teaching assignment is Birchwood ABC - we have 40% military families and a strong emphasis on core curriculum and citizenship. When I'm not teaching music to elementary-age students, I love to travel, read and be with my family.  My favorite era of history is the 20th Century - the musical/societal connections are terrific!

With our class time so limited, let's get to know each other via our ning, at first. Please introduce yourself to me and your classmates.  What is your favorite era of history? Also, could you include what drew to you teach in a rural area and a challenge or two that you face in your current teaching assignment.  (No guarantees we can solve those challenges, but it might be helpful to have lots of folks brainstorming and sharing ideas.)

Thanks so much!

See you soon!


You need to be a member of Alaska Council for the Social Studies to add comments!

Join Alaska Council for the Social Studies

Email me when people reply –


  • Greeting fellow dance teachers,

    I'm Carrie or Nass'aq, and I teach K-6 PE at Ayaprun Elitnaurvik here in Bethel.  I grew up in villages around Bethel, learning the Yup'ik language and culture.  I enjoy learning about other cultures including their language, music and dances.  I want to learn some dances to teach my students, so that they may learn about other cultures and history.

    I have taught in Bethel going on five years.  Before that I taught one year in Mississippi, and seven years in Houston, TX.  My first two years of teaching took place in Quinhagak, AK.  Moving to Bethel feels like coming home.

  • What a terrific first day!

    Thank you all for taking risks, making connections and journeying through American History with us!!

    Stephanie and I enjoyed our time together today -- we are working our way through your fantastic responses!

    Looking forward to part 2 tomorrow!

  • Hello All,

    I apologize for my late introduction posting.  I spent three days this week at the AKAPHERD and AK State Health & Wellness Conference absorbing, contemplating, and getting new motivations for integrating new ideas.  My favorite part of teaching is when I can engage my students through read-alouds (namely picture books), dance, and music.  I'm currently teaching K-2 Music/P.E. (together) at M.E. School in Bethel.  It is a dream job and I have no idea how I wound up here.  I used to teach middle school Geography and Language Arts at BRHS.  I've also taught most grades/subjects 1-8 in WI and AK including the Alaskan cities/village of Goodnews Bay, Kenai, Sterling, and subbing in ASD.  Unfortunately, I haven't had many great history teachers throughout Jr/High School but really remember learning most about U.S. History through literature.  I love to read and dance and fish and bake and travel......oh the list goes on.

    My biggest challenge is narrowing down content to try and teach the most important/relevant points when time is limited.  What do I want my students to remember long after the lesson is over?

  • I'm Matthew.  I teach high school language arts in Chefornak.  This is my 4th year there.

    I'm an English teacher by trade, but I like history--all of it.  I came to a rural area because I thought I had something to offer to rural students.

    The main challenges in my current teaching assignment are very low reading levels (some students 7+ grades below grade level) and students who are not socially or emotionally ready for the grade that they are in. 

  • I'm Rena Jane Witter, a secondary social studies and English language arts teacher in Nunapitchuk, AK for 8 years now.

    This class looks like a fun trip!

  • Hello all,

    My father and mother drove us up the ALCAN to Fairbanks in the middle of January when I was 6 months old and my sister was 2 and I am still here. After completing a double major in Anthropology and Northern Studies, I ended up in a Cross Cultural Education masters program with UAF's Rural Education Department.  It was a perfect mesh of my interests and focus.  I moved to Nome to study and I have been in rural Alaska ever since.

    Alaska history is fascinating and every time I explore another piece or part of it I find something new.  I particularly enjoy the Russian era and the conflicting visions of St Innocent and Sheldon Jackson.  I am also drawn to the issues around slavery and the Great Depression.

    My greatest challenge is finding children's literature written with content low enough for my students to read.  And finding enough time with our intense teaching assignments to make every lesson/unit as lively as I would like. 

  • Hi everyone,

    I'm working with Chip, as a support system and go-fer, to bring this class to Bethel.  Three cheers for Chip!!  I'm looking forward to meeting Stephanie and Elizabeth to learn about music and dance throughout American history. Can't wait to see all my teacher friends too!

    I've been with LKSD for 20+ years enjoying every step of the adventure.  I taught in Tununak, Goodnews Bay and Eek for the first 10 years, mostly junior high and high school, and then transferred to Bethel to work at the district office as a science education specialist. Three years ago I switched to coordinating the district art program and most recently have been absorbed by the career and technology education department.

    I don't know if I have a favorite era, but I always enjoyed reading about westward expansion and colonial times. I tend to enjoy a good story about any historical period, so I will just say I like it all.  I'm always looking for ways to get students up out of their seats and moving.  The body-brain connection is powerful.  My biggest challenges are finding the resources that are relevant to school.

    See you all tomorrow!


  • Hi, my name is Anna Greger.  This is my 2nd year teaching in Goodnews Bay, and my 6th year working for LKSD.  This year I am teaching 3rd and 4th grade.  I got my job in LKSD through a job fair I attended in college, and I never looked back!  I love it out here!

    One of my favorite parts of history to study as a student is the Holocaust.  It is such a tragic part of our history, but there is also a great sense of hope, renewal, and resilience.  I also really enjoy the pioneer times: the Oregon Trail, the Gold Rush, etc..  I am always drawn to the stories that detail going through hardships and coming out stronger.

    My biggest challenge is pacing; whenever I try to integrate more hands on activities, I always seem to spent more time on the material than I should.  Another challenge is the reading level of the texts being too high for some of my students.

  • Greetings!  My name is Garnet Mayo and I've been teaching in Kongiganak, AK for the past 4 years.  I weirdly ended up in Alaska by way of Belize, Central America.  I taught in a small village in Belize and fell in love with village life....just not the scorpions and cold showers.  I grew up in ND/MN so I need snow in my calendar.  Job fair, interview and BAM I'm teaching in another village, with snow :D 

    I am the Language Arts department for Kong, so 6-12 reading/writing and I've also taken on the art class as well, along with whatever else they need me to teach.  This year we've really focused on cross-curricular cooperation so the history, science, and English teachers are working together a lot.  Usually I teach history within literature because most literature has history to teach with it, but this year it's bumped up even more and I'm loving it!

    My biggest challenges are my students reading levels.  A lot of my students read at a 4th grade or lower level so getting them to understand the material is a big challenge.  I've been doing a lot of guided reading, annotated information, etc.  to help them along.  My other challenge is how much to cover.  I don't want to take forever on something but at the same time I don't want to skim, I want them to come away with a better understanding of what they are learning about.

    My favorite period of history has to be either around the 1600-1700's (I'm a HUGE sucker for Shakespearian anything)  or the 1920's, 'The Great Gatsby' in my favorite book and the roaring twenties was simply superb. :D

  • Greetings Everyone! 

    My name is Pamela Helmich and I teach 4th and 5th grade in Tuntutuliak.  This is my sixth year. If it wasn't for a snow storm preventing me from going to my school's job fair I would have never gone to the job fair that the lksd rep was at.  I never thought I would visit Alaska (I always thought it would be too cold for me) much less live here!  The opportunity presented itself so I took it.

    Long ago in a far away land I participated in Civil War Re-enactment.  Okay, I admit that I went along with my friend and her sons just so I could wear the hoops and go to the balls.  I was not a serious re-enacter and I only learned a few dances but I sure had fun!

    I am interested in most eras of history to some extent. I dabble in whatever catches my interest.   Hmmmm... If I had to choose one though, I would say the late 18 and all of the 19 century.  Although that could change....

This reply was deleted.