SHS AK Studies

for students of Alaska History and Cultural Studies at Sitka High School

Visit to Russian Bishop’s House

All Alaska History and Cultural Studies classes visited the Russian Bishop’s House and Totem Park this week.  At the Bishop’s House, Clarence Watkins gave a dynamic presentation on the voices of the Russian Bishop’s House.  Meanwhile, at the park, Sue Thorson engaged students with a hands-on overview of the School Days exhibit she created from the books at the Russian Bishop’s House.  At the Bishop’s House, students as always were entertained by the model of Russian America built by Bill Kleinert.  The field trip helped students to envision the cultural change that occurred on the shores of Baranof Island as the Tlingit, Aleut, Russian, Finnish, Chinese, and British cultures came together.


For God & Tsar

We are in our examination of Russian America.  Students have explored maps of the Russian exploration of Siberia and Alaska.  This was accomplished through use of the Library of Congress’ Meeting of Frontiers website, the SHS library lab, and the smart board in the classroom.  At present, we will be looking at David Nordlander’s For God and Tsar booklet on Russian America, which gives us a concise overview of the time period.  Students will be comparing Nordlander’s work to the writeup in their textbook by Ryan Madden.

Students need to bring the Ryan Madden book to class on March 1-3.

Further concise histories of Russian America are located online within the Alaska History and Cultural Studies website.  See the Russia’s Colony section.

Visit to SJ Museum

On Thursday and Friday,  February 11th and 12th, Alaska History and Cultural Studies students visited the SJ Museum to gather information for regional studies and for a cultural insider/outsider project. Students will work on the insider/outsider project in class during the week of February 16-19.  For 1st period students, the project will be due on Thursday, February 18th.  These students should note that sophomores in the class will be going to the World of Work Fair on Thursday, thus office hours and lab need to be used for completing the project.  Meanwhile, 2nd and 4th period students should have plenty of time to finish the project.  Those who missed the field trip need to make it up during lab on Wednesday the 17th.

End of Semester

The end of the semester is January 15th.  Important dates to remember in this regard are:

  • January 4:  Alaska By Regions presentations begin
  • January 8:  last day to submit makeup work
  • January 14:  final exam for 1st period
  • January 15:  final exam for 6th period

If you are traveling during the final exam time, you will need to make special arrangements to take the final.

Alaska Day & Statehood All In One!

This upcoming week will be a big week for Alaska Studies students.

(1)  On Monday, October 12th, students in both 1st and 6th period Alaska Studies will listen to Vic Fischer and Mary Mangusso speak about Alaska Statehood.  They will  be joining Ms. Christianson’s Alaska Literature class in the library for this mini-assembly during 4th period. 

(2)  On Tuesday and Wednesday, each class will then visit the Creating Alaska exhibit at the Harrigan Centennial Hall.

(3)  On Thursday, 1st period students will both discuss their weekly current events and debrief from the speakers and the field trip.

(4)  On Friday, 6th period students will discuss both discuss their weekly current events and debrief from the speakers and the field trip.

(5)  Sunday the 18th is Alaska Day.  Students are encourage to participate in the Alaska Day events publicized in the paper and around town, as well as in the classroom.  Students are especially encouraged to attend the transfer ceremony commemoration on Castle Hill immediately following Sunday afternoon’s parade. 

Students are reminded that when they attend events and write about them for their current events, these count as two current events assignments.  Alaska Day is an opportune time to take advantage of this standing offer!

Off and Running for Fall Semester

The 2009-2010 SHS school year is off to a great start!  For the fall semester, there are two Alaska History and Cultural Studies classes at SHS.  One is 1st period and one 6th period.  Ms. Smothers-Marcello is leading the 6th period class, while Ms. Garvin, a Master of Arts in Teaching Intern, is leading 1st period.

This week, both classes have been introduced to current events and how to do those over the course of the semester.  See the current events section of this blog for links to sources for current events articles.  6th period students have current events due on Wednesdays, while 1st period students have theirs due on Thursdays (except for the weeks of November 10 and 24 when they are due on Tuesdays).   (See the Current Events due dates here.)In addition to completing current events, students will work with an assigned partner to lead a discussion about current events.  Students are required to do this once per semester and will receive a life skills grade for leading the discussion.

6th period students have started a discussion of Alaska government by completing notetaking on federalism.  1st period students will engage in that notetaking activity on Monday, August 31st.

Please remember to return signed course outline!

Gold Rush, Testing, and Begich Sitka Visit

Students have a three-part assignment on that due on 4/8 for Ms. Smothers-Marcello’s classes.  “How did the Gold Rush impact Alaska?” focuses on Ryan Madden’s summary of the Golf Rush.   The two other parts focus on reviews of a book and a website about the Gold Rush.  We will work on those in class today, but they will be homework if not finished in class.  (See the links on this site for the Gold Rush websites.) 

Next week is testing week.  Alaska Studies classes will both meet on Wednesday afternoon, as we have periods 2, 4, and 6 after lunch that day.  Most students in period 2 will be involved in science testing on Friday morning.  6th period will meet as normal on Friday the 10th.

Students also need to remember current events.  If Redoubt activity continues, that is still a good topic.  Events surrounding Senator Stevens and the vacant Juneau state senate seat are hot topics, as are actions by the legislature. 

A unique opportunity for a current event is occurring next week as Senator Begich is coming to town and conducting a Town Hall Meeting.  Students are encourage to attend this meeting at Harrigan Centennial Hall from 6:30-8:30 pm on Wednesday, April 8.  Remember that attending such an event in person counts for two current events!