Pickle Lake: Cupcakes, Snow and How-to-say-No!

Where have the Pickle Lakers been all this time you ask? Not to worry, we can fill you in!

We are four weeks into our stay in the lovely town at the end of the highway. It is crazy to think we have only two more weeks left here, and so many more things to do! We have been running around for the past two weeks gearing up for Girl’s Nights, road tripping to Powwows, fishing, and lesson planning for all different grades.

Last week we started off our Mental Health unit at Crolancia, teaching about self-respect, bullying, peer pressure, and conflict resolution. With the 1/2/3 class, our emphasis was on conflict resolution. All week we had Grade 1/2/3 kids coming up to us telling us to STAND TALL and TAKE A DEEP BREATH. It was great to see the students so engaged with the lesson. We also worked with the 6/7/8 students on Peer Pressure and we were so pleased to see them actively thinking about possible responses and ways of dealing with social pressures.  

On Friday, the Pickle Laker PE’s were split apart in order to DOUBLE our outreach. Maggie was off to Mish with the MissaBay PE’s to help out at the Baby Centre and speak with Jeff about future outreach. It was really wonderful to be able to discuss the different programs that Maxine and Jeff run, which include Wolf Spirit, Girl Power and Mamo-Ombiggi- Owsowin. Julia hopped on a school bus with a group of Crolancia students to attend a Powwow at the Dryden Highschool. Julia rocked out to all of the girl’s music on the bus as they counted FIFTEEN BEARS on the ride there. Julia was in shock, but the kids assured her this was just a typical day in the North. At the Powwow everyone stood to see the awesome opening ceremony, marked by intense drumming and chanting by the circle elders. As the Powwow progressed all the students were invited to join in the dancing around the drums along with the ceremony dancers! It was such a cool sight to see, and it was great to watch all the Crolancia students join in with the crowd. At the end, the dancers tried to instruct all of the teachers and older kids on how to do the Hunter’s Dance. Unfortunately, Julia definitely needs to work on her coordination before she is able to show off her new moves. 

As the long weekend approached, the four PE’s took a much-needed trip to Dryden to stock up on groceries. Since it was a long weekend, we took Monday to explore the hiking trails around Pickle. This gave Maggie a prime opportunity to demonstrate her superb navigation skills! And by this we mean she unfortunately identified our location as the opposite side of town. After working up an appetite we drove to the dams for a bit of fishing, hoping to catch our dinner! The fish had other plans apparently though, so we nommed on some sunflower seeds and smores until a less fishy dinner was cooked up.

Our third week in Pickle flew by as well. Starting this week, Maggie and Julia will be working with the 6/7/8, grade girls and 1/2/3 girls every day to focus on self-esteem, respect, and communication skills. This is a really great opportunity for us to work so closely with the girls and we have been thrilled with the discussions and activities we have done with them. Our emphasis with the 6/7/8 grade girls has been on stress, conflict resolution and respect. It was definitely a highlight to see the girls so engaged with the worksheets we created as they wrote down what they were proud of and their ambitions.

 In the 1/2.3 class we have been focusing on friendships and the ways in which secrets and tattle tailing hurt people’s feelings. They really enjoyed playing broken telephone and seeing how much the message can change from person to person. Additionally, we had a great chat about excluding (a new vocal word for the girls!) and how that makes friends feel. The girls loved writing kind messages to everybody when we did a warm fuzzes activity with the girls and we are happy to see them thinking that everyone in the class is friends and there is something unique about each of them.

With the 4/5 class our emphasis has been to teach them all about sexual anatomy and puberty. As Julia is convinced words like “epididymis” and “fallopian tubes” are the funniest words in the world, the kids quickly got comfortable saying them. After a few lessons on puberty and sexual health vocab the kids got to show off their knowledge with the totally awesome GAME OF PUBERTY that Maggie worked hard to create (thanks for the inspiration, Justice and Fabi). The game included activities challenges, such as assemble a puzzle of the female and male sexual anatomy. They impressed the both of us by remembering everything we taught them and working super well together as a team. Props to you, Grades 4 and 5!!  

We had the opportunity to teach every single grade in the school in one day? Did we mention we did it TWICE this week?! Well it’s true, we were super excited to stop into every classroom with lessons on sexual health (including STI jeopardy for the high school students) or physical education for the younger kids. It was a great week at Crolancia, that is for sure.

Our third week in Pickle also featured two Girls Nights. Girl’s Night 1.0 took place on Wednesday afternoon right after school for the JK/SK and 1/2/3 ladies of Crolancia.  We started off with decorating cupcakes and creating clothespin creatures (Maggie is undeniably proud of being able to make crafts out of anything). We never realized just how much younger girls loves glitter and sprinkles After snack time we demonstrated our oatmeal face mask on our wonderful volunteer, Nick. After seeing just how much he loved it, of course all of the younger ladies were eager to have an oatmeal facemask as well!  After rocking out a bit to Call Me Maybe, we finished up the afternoon with our special feature:  Giving Nick a makeover!  This was most certainly the highlight of the event, as the girls were able to show off their creativity and show off Nick’s inner beauty queen.

Still enthused from our successful girl’s night at Crolancia we were quick to start our work for girl’s night at Missabay! How many PE’s does it take to bake 50 + cupcakes?? How does one make enough frosting for 20 plus girls?? It appears that Nick does not know…. 

The PE’s were slightly delirious after hours spent baking cupcakes, mac and cheese, and bucket loads (literally, we ran out of bowls, so we used a pail) of frosting. It all was worth it though, as Girls Night 2.0 was a hit! We were so happy to spend time with over 20 girls from Grade 4,5,6,7, and 8 at Missabay on Friday evening. We began the night with fun games like Tape Tag and Huckle Buckle in the gym. Laura and Julia were the champs of Huckle Buckle, taking down the male squad of Nick and Matt (a teacher from Missabay) in the final round while Maggie lost her voice narrating the games. After running around for quite a while we had cupcake decorating and then had Missabay’s Next Top Model. Who were our top two contestants? Matt and Nick of course!! The ladies split up into teams to see who could make the loveliest models. We had two very interesting final contestants, that is for sure.  It was a night filled with giggles, MORE Call Me Maybe (we DEFINITELY know all the lyrics by heart at this point), and lots of smiling Missabay ladies. We don’t think anyone was quite ready for the night to end when the clock struck nine.

After so many busy days one might think we would be taking it easy and reveling in last’s nights snow (Maggie might have exclaimed ‘It’s snowing!!” over 20 times). None of that though! We are off to get ready for Boy’s Afternoon with the younger fella’s of Crolancia, and then we’re all excited to watch a movie with the kids of Pickle Lake. 

Over and Out, Call Me Maybe (if I had cell service!), Much more Pickle Lovin and a whole new jar of peanut butter,

Mama Jules and Aunt Marge 

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