SHS AK Studies

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


Students in Alaska Studies are currently working on an Insider/Outsider assignment on Alaska Cultures.  Links for this assignment are under the category of Alaska’s First Cultures.  For 2nd and 6th periods, this assignment is due March 2nd.

Parent/Teacher Conferences are next week:  Tuesday 4-7 and Wednesday 4-7:30 here at SHS.  Tuesday’s conferences are open for drop-ins, whereas Wednesday’s are by appointment.  We will also be at ANB Hall on Thursday from 10 until noon.


AK By Regions: Spring 2009

This week we started a project called Alaska By Regions wherein students are researching a community in one of Alaska’s six regions.  Most (but not all) of our time over the next two weeks will be devoted to that project.  Due dates are 2/10 for 5th period and 2/11 for 2nd and 6th periods.  Students have a copy of the assignment instructions, an outline for their research/presentation, and a scoring guide.   (Copies of these are also available via the school network in the Alaska Studies class folder.)

Additionally, each student has been given the “golden nuggets” of websites that contain the best information for this project.  Wikipedia is not an accepted source.  The reason for the “golden nuggets” list is to demonstrate the best of the best of digital information about Alaska.  Students who believe they have a “golden nugget” website to add to the list may see Mrs. Gagner or Ms. Smothers-Marcello with the link.

All of the “golden nugget” websites have been linked to this blog.  See links under AK By Regions……..

Naturally, we are still following current events, especially what is if Redoubt rumbles more.   Current events are due on Wednesdays for 2nd and 6th and Thursdays for 5th.

January 19-23, 2009

U.S. Capitol Building from the North Side, Photo by JSM
U.S. Capitol Building, Photo by JSM

Students will be completing their Alaska Places assignment (Alaska map), taking notes on federalism, and then moving back to geographic explorations of where in the world is Alaska and where in Alaska. The latter will reintroduce them to the Alaska In Maps: A Thematic Atlas. “Where in the world is Alaska?” provides a chance to explore large human, physical, and historical patterns into which Alaska fits. For example, students will examine maps of World War II in the Pacific, Earth’s natural hazards, bird migration maps of North America, and cultural maps of the United States to determine Alaska’s place within the larger geographic patterns shown on the maps. One of Ms. Smothers-Marcello’s favorites is the circumpolar map from Environment Canada. She has a large paper copy of it in her classroom.

Federalism will be charted out this week as well since we have the both the inauguration of the U.S.’s 44th President on Tuesday and the beginning of the new Alaska legislative session also starting that day. It will be the 26th Legislative session. Now and then during the semester, we will watch live video of the legislature, as students and parents can do any time at Gavel to Gavel Alaska.

Students are invited to watch the inauguration festivities at school on Tuesday morning, the 20th, beginning at 7 am. Light breakfast snacks will be for sale, though it is recommended that students bring their own breakfast, and join their friends in the commons to witness this historic event.

2nd Semester: Week 1 (January 13-16)

We’re off to a great spring semester.  All 2nd semester Alaska Studies classes have now met at least once.  (1)  Students receieved course outlines, which need to be signed by both the student and parent/guardian.  Please also supply e-mails, as that will make school-home connections easier.  Signed course outlines need to be returned by Thursday/Friday this week, depending on your class section (Friday for 2nd and 6th periods, Thursday for 5th period). 

(2)  We started talking about the process of current events for the semester.  Current events are a weekly homework assignment, due on Wednesdays for 2nd and 6th periods and Thursdays for 5th period.  Students have a Current Events log and forms for the entire semester.  The first current event (on Representative Chenault’s death penalty bill) was started in class and will be finished in class this week.  For all the other weeks, current events are strictly homework.  Student-led discussions will occur when students come to class the day current events are due each week.

(3)  Next Tuesday is the presidential inauguration.  We’ll have the television on in the commons before school.   All students are encouraged to come to school early that day and watch the inaugural events together here at school and then use that event as their current event for next week.

Ms. Gagner has 5th period Alaska Studies this semester, and Ms. Smothers-Marcello 2nd and 6th periods. 

Final Exam

Alaska Studies students will take a final exam on either Thursday 1/8 (for 5th period) or Friday 1/9 (for 2nd and 6th periods).  Students will be able to use their binders on the final.   Students missing the final due to basketball travel need to arrange to take the final upon their return to school next week.

ANCSA, ANILCA, and Today

During this last week before the winter holidays, we are making sure we understand the connections among statehood, ANCSA, and ANILCA and that we understand the precedents that led to them.

Students must finish their notes on the Alaska Lands Sequence and the ANCSA questions this week, as they will be checked in class on Wednesday for 2nd & 6th periods and Thursday for 5th period.

We will also be examining how ANILCA divided Alaska and how some of thoese controversies exist today.  That will be an in-class activity.

Additionally, students must finish Promises to Keep over the winter break.

Current events are due this week and the week after break.

Finals in Alaska Studies will be on January 8th for 5th period and January 9th for 2nd & 6th periods.  During the final, students will be able to use anything that is in their binder.

Post-Thanksgiving Week: AK Constitution Case Study

During this post-Thanksgiving week, students will be working on an Alaska Constitution Case Study, as we watched the 49th Star last week.

The 49th Star is about the statehood movement, the Constitutional Convention, and Statehood.  Students who missed the 49th Star may watch it online by clicking here.  Ideas within the video set the stage for this week’s work.

For the Alaska Constitution Case Study, students will be writing an essay in which they demonstrate a triad of knowledge about culture, the Alaska Constitution, and natural resources.  Students will have three class periods to work on the essay this week, but it is also expected that homework time, office hours, and labs will need to be utilized in order to complete it.  For 2nd and 6th periods, the essay is due Friday, 12/5, at the end of class.  For 5th period, the essay is due Monday, 12/8 at the end of class.

Students will be provided with the necessary background materials in order to complete the assignment, but online versions of some of the resources are the Alaska Constitution (see Article VIII) and the Citizens’ Guide to the Constitution (see pages 127-141 on Natural Resources).  Also, the 2008 Southeast Alaska Sac Roe Herring Fishery Management Plan is online, with the Sitka fishery discussed on pages 8-10.

A reminder that current events are due as normal on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.  The departure of Ted Stevens from the Senate continues to be analyzed.  The Sunday (11/30) Anchorage Daily News contains an article on that topic.  It is entitled:  Will Alaska pay price for ousting Stevens?  Click on the article title to access it.  Another interesting topic from Sunday’s Anchorage Daily News is on new technology for a fish tracking network.