Monday, February 28, 2011

What a weekend...

I was on duty this weekend which meant that I got to be involved in the most exciting event to date this term. This particular Sunday I had a very full morning—supervision from 8:45-10, sitting in on Rachel’s Sunday school from 10-11, doing letters with the seniors from 11-12, and then Senior Sunday School from 2-3. It was the Senior’s walk to Church, so Mark had taken the kids down to Hillwood and everyone on the off duty team had headed out to a local assembly. I was had just walked through the dorm to kick any kids out (it was a beautiful sunny day) when Rachel found me and asked me how to open the hall. I was just walking down the hall when I heard the familiar cry, “Miss Burklin! Somebody’s hurt!” I turned around and saw one of the first graders, Abigail heading towards me flanked by a few concerned bystanders. She was crying a bit, and the tone of her cry and comparatively how little noise she was making let me know right away that she was actually hurt. I went up to her and saw that her left arm was crooked right below her wrist and knew that it was broken.
She was still somewhat in shock, so I quickly got her over to the chotta by the girl’s dorm holding her arm and pulled her onto my lap to keep her calm and keep her arm as still as possible. Rachel went tearing over to Sick Bay to find Pam (who almost never walks to church) only to find out that she had chosen this Sunday to walk to church. Then Rachel went and got Vickie, Vickie took one look and called Pam while trying to find some ice and some pain killers for Abigail. I carried her into the dorm so we could put her arm out straight on the table for Pam to splint when she got back and sat with her till Jill came down. After that I went to help Rachel with her Sunday school. One of the funny things was all the wild rumors that were flying around the school shortly after the accident—Abigail broke both arms, Abigail broke her hand, Abigail had been jumping on the high bars… Kids! She had actually slipped off the low monkeybars and landed on her arm at just the wrong angle.
Thankfully Abigail is now back and her normal bouncy self after getting her cast. She’s also enjoying her celebrity status! Yet another Abigail story to add to Sakeji lore… Life is never boring out here in the bush…

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Nothing like a science class gone wrong...

So, I got this brilliant idea that I would do a simple experiment demonstrate the three states of matter. When I was in high school, our chemistry program used the same experiment to demonstrate everything--fill a balloon with baking soda, fill a 2 liter bottle with vinegar, and then do different things with the same experiment. Our class was enlivened by the fact that the mom in charge of lab always brought water balloons--the trying process of trying to ram 20 grams of baking soda into a tinny balloons stands out in my memory right up there with the fact that as we gingerly held the tinny balloons on the bottles, they would inflate to their full capacity and burst by your face dusting you group with a fine powder of baking soda. Good times!

So, I remembered that experiment, and decided that if I tinted the vinegar blue for visibility, it would be a great experiment to do for my kids. So, I duly dumped a good bit of vinegar into a 2 liter bottle, filled a LARGE balloon with a a generous amount of baking soda, and put in the food coloring. I vaguely remembered that the experiment was always rather pathetic, and I wanted that balloon to inflate, so I put in a good amount of both components.

The next day I duly placed my loaded bottle in a plastic tray I had just brought up for the kids to put their health assignments in, gave my little talk about the three states of matter, put the balloon on the bottle neck, tipped it up, and let 'er go. Well, all went well for the first bit--the reaction started, the balloon started to inflate, all was well and good. Then, I noticed the hole in the balloon that was letting vinegar smelling gas out. Then, I noticed that I had started something a little bigger than my bottle could contain! As I watched in horror, blue vinegar started to spurt merrily out the hole in the balloon and all over one of my 5th graders notes. I grabbed the spurting balloon and directed the spray down, but not before the notebook was liberally splattered, and a howl of shock and appreciation was let loose by my riveted class. Once the reaction was finished, I sent a kid for a rag to wipe up the floor and desks that had been spattered, and tried to recover with something approaching grace. Ah, life is never boring! I'll go down in history as the teacher who sprayed the class blue!