November 27,2017

It is hard to believe that I have 2 weeks left at Crazy Horse School in Wanblee. I have not added to the blog in the past few weeks. They were difficult weeks and I had to take time to grieve. On November 4th, we lost another family to a drunk driver, Waylan, Jerome's nephew, his wife Jaylene, a 3rd grade para at the school, and their 2 young sons were killed by a drunk driver. Waylan and Jaylene were on the way to Pine Ridge Hospital to take baby Waylon to the hospital. The baby was having an asthma attack. It was a difficult few weeks. Jaylene was loved by the kids and I had been working with her as a mentor. The funeral, wake and time here at school were difficult. My way of dealing with grief and talking with children about death was totally different than what was allowed at the school. Teachers were point blank told we were not to cry at school or talk with the children about it. We were to go on as if this had not happened. No matter how much I talked to the principal about this she would not budge. I was told this is how we handle this situation. Death here is a part of everyday life, our children need to see that. I took her research and talked and talked to no avail. I did talk with my kids about their feelings and answered questions. From my perspective, we just demonstrated to kids how little a life matters. To my thinking that ties right into the thoughts my students have expressed all semester that "we" don't matter. Jerome and Theresa are holding their own. This makes 9 members of their family killed in car accidents on the reservation since May. It is one of the reasons I refuse to drive up here after dark. Waylon worked with Bob and Mary on the building. He was like a son to them. Waylon's kids called them Uncle Bob and Aunt Mary. So, no shortage of people hurting here.

I took the Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving off. I went home to Omaha on Sunday. I needed time the week there to reset myself and to recuperate a bit. I am exhausted!! We spent Thanksgiving day as a family. Janna made the turkey. She was correct, she does a better turkey than I do. I am enjoying my leftovers here. We had a nice day together. The girls and I planned our mom and girl Birthday trip. Jeff and Janna got all the reservations set while I took a much-needed nap. The girls and I will be heading off to celebrate their 30th birthday in January. It is hard to believe they are they old!!!

While most of my children have made huge strides. I am working with one boy who continues to be difficult and at times violent or abusive. He can turn the classroom into an uproar in just a short amount of time. He goads others and encourages others to join in his disrespect and behavior. Most students do not, however he has 2 or 3 buddies who at times join in. This makes for difficult times and disrupts the learning of the other 25 students. I am meeting with his guardian tomorrow. Pray for me that I am able to communicate this situation and get him some additional help!

kids in hats

kids in hats

The fifth-grade class won the award for the most improved behavior. They were awarded a cafe day. They loved sipping hot cocoa and eating cookies instead of doing required academics. We did a paper chain around the room. Each time they were caught on task, helping others, getting work in on time etc... we added loops to the chain. Good old behavior modification at its best. After one month, their chain wrapped the room. As an additional reward, the children received hand knitted hats from my knitting buddies in Omaha. The photos are them in their hats. Thank you to my knitting friends for the wonderful hats!! The children loved that there were all so unique!

We are getting ready for the elementary Christmas Program on Wednesday, December 6. The fifth graders will be doing a readers theatre of Twas the Night before Christmas. We are working hard on reading fluency, stage presence and reading with a clear loud voice. We have all nailed two digit multiplication and are beginning to make headway on long division. My goal is that all will be dividing with consistency before Christmas Break.

Finally, I thank those of you who have sent me support via emails, texts, and phone calls. Thank you to all who have contributed to my ongoing list of needs here. My leaving will not take away the needs. Please know we continue to need items for rewards at school. Small toys, art materials, food such as breakfast bars, cheese and cracker packets etc.... A group from Omaha comes up every 3rd weekend of each month. I know I can send materials with them and I am planning on joining when I can. Wanblee in some ways has become a second home to me. I will miss my classroom children and my time here. I know my work here is not done. I will be returning and hope the contacts I have made here will help to meet the needs of the community.

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