Category: People

Greetings! My name is Natali Jones. I spent the summer in Oregon, but am very happy to be back home in Homer. I enjoy hiking, exploring outdoors and most things chocolate.

I graduated last spring from UAF with a MA ED in Counseling K-8. I am currently working as a 7-12 itinerant guidance counselor, which doubles as my internship experience to become 9-12 certified this spring. I am very excited to work with and learn from a variety of Alaskan communities. I plan to implement a comprehensive guidance program, which includes classroom lessons. I believe this course will assist me in being successful in the classroom.

Blog 6: Philiosophy

My current philosophy about creating a productive learning environment is that students should teach each other. More often than not, students feel more comfortable talking to their peers   than their teachers. The role of a teacher should be that of a facilitator, a guide for when people are lost. Not all students will have the same knowledge, but their input will be valuable for the learning experience.


The most effective moments in the classroom is when students work together. Before students have to take a quiz, I give the students a practice quiz. Students work on the quiz together, then we go over the problems as a class. While students are working together, I can focus on personal instruction. Individual students will have questions about the practice quiz, and those are the opportunities when students will finally “get” the material. Those opportunities arise more often when they first work with other students, because they often ask the question as a group.


Classroom management is very important,  regardless of what the students are doing. Even when they are working in groups, it’s important that each group can function on its own. Even then, students need affirmation that what they’re doing is correct. Now granted, I certainly cannot make every student pay attention to me. There will be students who will look right through me. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try. As that old saying goes: I can’t make a horse drink, but I can certainly lead him to water. When it comes to Mathematics, I am an excellent guide in doing just that.

Blog 6: Whatever happened to the cool kids?

This is an excellent article! I never thought the predictability of “cool kids” becoming premature failures would be so scientific. It was a common problem I saw from the people in high school, and so I selectively chose the people I hung out with. Even as an adolescent, I knew those could would grow up to be delinquents, because there was one giant trait about them: their personality was insubstantial.


Now I agree that positive social interactions are key for getting the right job. There is nothing wrong of building a friendship that is beneficial. If I was a high school freshman again, I would probably try to build more friendships. The problem with “cool kids” is that their friendships are not substantial. The common bond with each other stems from a concept that is premature in nature. I knew which friendships I chose and which ones I avoided. I’m glad to say my most of my high school friends have their Bachelor’s degree, and they are making something out of their lives.


Fortunately, Homer High School is not made of delinquents. When I was in high school, the average GPA was a 3.6, which is really good! I made sure not to involve myself in illegal activities, and I earned over a 4.0 GPA. I was valedictorian for my class, and just recently I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics.  One of my 4.0 friends graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology, and just recently he published an iphone app. In high school he did not care to be premature, and now he doesn’t need to rely n his high school personality to be successful.


I think of rebellion as a failure in nearly every situation. A parent is able to give valuable advice based on personal experience. I listened to my parents while I was in high school and now I have excellent academic performance. I know in a society that values paperwork so much, I’m opening up my options by succeeding in school. I just wish my peers understood that earlier.

Classroom Observation

As a Mathematics teacher, transitions are clear and precise. One could say our behavior is modeled by an equation! But seriously, for starters, there is no other effective transition than answering problems to homework. Everyone values the time spent on answering homework, especially since students get professional help on a difficult problem. I value the opening, since I show off my knowledge and students are very attentive at doing the problem correctly.

Opening a lesson is straight-forward. The textbook shows great organization skills,  displaying progressing difficulty with each lesson. So instead of immediately beginning the chapter, the teacher will share an amusing anecdote to lighten the students. It may be an experience last week, or even an event the previous night. Students are always interested, and quite frankly, I would be more surprised if they weren’t.

Lesson closure involves telling students what to expect tomorrow, or the following week. Students are always up-to-date. Other than quizzes and tests, there are little surprises. Needless to say, there isn’t much to make math exciting to everyone. Still, communication is key to a successful relationship, and I’m certain students prefer information than a lack of verbal confirmation.


There are three main transitions that occurred in class:

Answering Homework/Lecture:  Eventually, the teacher has to teach the lesson. The teacher handled this by preparing the lecture before answering homework. All the teacher has to do is answer the difficult homework problems on the SmartBoard, then present the lecture. During the brief time of pulling up the lecture, the teacher did have to lower the volume of the class.

Lecture/Homework: One the lecture is done, students are given their homework. This transition takes less than a minute. All students have to do is get a piece of paper and open their textbooks. It’s that easy. All the teacher had to do was present the assignment on the last slide, and the students would do the rest. Maintenance was required to make students finish the homework, however.

Group Work/Collaboration: The teacher assigns a specified amount of time working on problems. When the time is up, the teacher gathers the attention of the students, and they bring their attention to the front of the room. Again, the transition takes less than a minute, but the hardest part is making students stop talking. However, the teacher is very sharp on telling students to stop talking.


If there’s one thing I want to learn quick, it’s growing eyes on the back of my head. I want to be able to turn around and hear Tim chewing gum. I want to see a paper airplane in midair while I’m facing  the board. So if there’s anything I could practice after the observation, it’s timing my discipline. If done right, students can be impressed. And impressing is a skill I admire.


The activities in a math classroom may appear mundane to most, but there is a lot of maintenance going on. Structure is organized and efficient.

Student -Teacher Relationships



Video: (

Keith Hughes offers personal insight into 10 effective classroom management techniques. They’re simple rules, but rookies tend to not apply all these rules their first years of teaching.The rules include: keep rules simple, don’t snitch on students, be ready to act crazy (but not insane), etc.Most importantly, don’t make misbehaviors personal!


Website: (

Need professional help  to solve a problem? Don’t know how to manage a classroom? has all the necessary materials for running a classroom! The site hosts multiple posts, from personal experience to preparing learning games. There are multiple topics to choose from, and multiple perspectives to read. It’s useful for solving the most minute of problems.


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The blog provides a simple method of developing positive student-teacher relationships: survey on first day of class. The  study consisted of 315 ninth graders and 25 teachers. Students and teachers who knew their similarities showed positive results in class. In short, learn similarities as soon as possible!

A Future of Alaska Native Education

Paul Berg hits the nail in the coffin. History repeats itself, but we ignore the nuances of the repetition. Maybe humans are aware of the nuances, but they chose to ignore them, which is even worse. To be honest, I wasn’t aware of the acculturation within Norway and New Zealand. That being said, the people of Alaska should know that Alaska Native culture is at risk.


What we have here, in Alaska Native education, is a lack of care from the people in power. How come Alaska Natives have  so many accommodations for in-state education, yet face the highest drop-out rates in Alaska? In an effort to situate Alaska Natives in their education, politicians are completely ignorant of the type of education Alaska Natives require.


What we need are more systems like that in the  North Pole School District. We need other politicians  to understand Alaska Native culture, their way of life. From a system of government that  protects  species from the risk of extinction, why can’t they understand that Alaska Native culture is dying? Fortunately, there are those out there who understand this predicament, but we need those people to unite in their efforts. A band of sticks is stronger than its individual parts!




Who else but Jody?

Salutations! My name is Jody Gaines. I am a simple mathematics major earning his education license. My goal with the education program is to teach calculus in my hometown Homer, Alaska.

I suppose my interest in education began in 11th grade. After a successful lesson of teaching students how to graph trigonometric functions, I decided that the role of educating students was a rewarding experience. My high school calculus teacher influenced me to earn a degree at UAF, and that is one of the most valuable pieces of advice a teacher taught me.

My other interests include music and cartooning. I was in choir for 9 consecutive years, and I don’t plan on giving up singing. I don’t plan on giving up cartooning either. On a good day I might serenade for you, or even make a doodle.

Although I’m only 22 years old, what I lack in experience I make up in my spirited youth and ambition to teach!Photo