We were so exited to see the students from the Yakama Nation this week. In the morning, we played some name games and energizers together. Later in the day, a UW student named Zulen gave all of us a tour of the UW Campus and shared with us fun facts about the buildings and the school. The students got to tour the HUB, the Quad, Red Square, Suzzallo Library, and the Rocket Lab at Johnson Hall. During lunch, Jim LaRoche, the American Indian/Alaska Native focus Admissions Counselor came to speak to the students about how excited he is for this partnership and program. He let the Yakama students know that there is a place for them here at UW and that he would be one of those people that could really help them when they get around to the time to apply for colleges. It was so great that the students could explore and learn about UW and see the possibility of higher education and all that it has to offer. Til’ next time! 🙂
We had the wonderful opportunity to have a conference call with Neuee, a third grade teacher at Neah Bay Elementary School. For those on the Yakama team, this was their first conversation with Neuee, while for the Neah Bay team and I, it was great to hear her voice again. Neuee has been a teacher in Neah Bay for many, many years and her family has great history in education in this community. Her great-grandparents, the parents of ten children, donated their land in order to to construct a school in Neah Bay and prevent the children of Neah Bay being sent away to boarding schools. Today, the current school is still located on the same plot of land. Youth has, and always will be a central theme in Makah culture.
Neuee introduced us to the teaching style known as “growth mindset”. This technique allows students to become aware of their thinking habits. At Neah Bay Elementary School, growth mindset has been used in the classroom and has improved student learning greatly. For example, Neuee explained to us that her students were stressed, and some even tearful, of an upcoming multiplication quiz. These students had a fixed mindset that they could not do multiplication because it was their first time doing it. Neuee assigned a multiplication problem for them to each calculate the area of a rug, but instead of just grading for an answer, Neuee was more concerned with them understanding how to figure it out. This was her four-step strategy she gave the students in the directions.
- Box, circle, or underline important parts of the question.
- Draw what the diagram (rug) will look like.
- Write the equation to show how the problem was solved.
- Show the correct answer with labels.
After the quiz, Neuee gave extensive feedback for each student. The specific details give them an understanding on how to meet expectations and be successful. She then assigned a new problem after the feedback, in order for the students to feel more confident and demonstrate what they learned. As Neuee put it, “having a fixed mindset is a closed door, negating any change to learn. But with a growth mindset, you’re believing and thinking, and even if you might fail, at least your door is still open”.
Teachers care about their students, and strive for them to succeed. Neah Bay Elementary School is strong, both academically and culturally, due to their hardworking teaching staff and community support. Teachers like Neuee put in extra time and effort instructing with growth mindset, and it is worth it, because it makes a life-long difference.
Words can’t even begin to express the wonderful experience we had working with the kids at Yakama Nation. Despite being outsiders to their community, the kids and parents welcomed us into their home with open arms. A week being in a foreign land can sometimes be scary and intimidating, but seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces makes you forget about that instantly.
The stories that we have learned about the kids so far while they were doing their cultural boxes and Best Part of Me Projects has been refreshing and fascinating. They taught us to think about nature and animals in ways that we have never imagined. They are creative and adaptive, they teach the ones who are older to never forget to have fun. And sometimes climbing a tree or swinging on a monkey bar is all that is needed.
While we are learning a lot by doing the projects with them hoping to share their stories with the world, we also had a lot of fun playing different games such as museum statues, ships and sailors, etc. Something that was even more special about the week in the Yakama Nation was seeing the kids make their special hello video to the Neah Bay kids. They were innovative, courageous and were not afraid to share their love for animals with the world.
We have recently returned from our week spent in the Makah Nation with the Neah Bay elementary school students and let me tell you, we had a BLAST! The community was incredibly welcoming and generous, our students were fantastic, and we were blessed with some beautiful weather.
In the mornings we worked with the fifth grade students. Throughout the week we discussed and worked on activities based on our identities. We started off by creating culture chests by drawing visible qualities of ourselves on the outside of our boxes and placing three items within the box that depicted something that other students might not know about us. Our fifth graders were so brave and shared openly with the class about what their chests represented both inside and out. We learned a lot about each other in a very welcoming environment.
In the afternoons we had the opportunity to work with the third grade classrooms where we created an exercise, also done with the fifth graders, called Literacy in Photography. Both the third graders and the fifth graders wrote about the best part of them, then we photographed their best part, and then the students wrote a post write which asked them to reflect on their photo and their best part. Our students were incredibly creative and very thoughtful about which part they wanted to show in their photos. They thought outside the box and were very excited to include playground equipment, classroom props, and friends in their photos. The fifth graders took the project a step further and did a second Literacy in Photography work that portrayed something that was connected to them. The class came up with a multitude of ideas and enthusiastically wrote, photographed, and wrote again about what they were connected to.
Additionally, the fifth graders worked on putting together a welcome video for the Yakama Nation, incorporating Makah culture through greetings and dancing. Each of the students introduced themselves and said a little something about themselves and what it’s like to live in Neah Bay. They also gave a tour of their school, showing off their favorite places and their classroom. As a Neah Bay team, we will be working on putting this video together and giving it to the Yakama Nation, so that they can know a little bit about the Makah Nation and our fantastic students.
At the end of the week there was a mini beach day, which due to rain, was held inside the gym. Here we had the opportunity to play games and do activities with our classes. During our short time in Neah Bay we made lasting connections with our students and the community. We had a wonderful time and are anxiously awaiting spring break, when we’ll have the chance to go back to our students and work more with telling their stories.
Thanks for reading a little bit about what we did in September. I wish I could write more about the adventures we had in Neah Bay, but that would be way too much reading and we have a whole year to share about how awesome the community of Neah Bay is and the experiences we had! 🙂
– Lydia and the Neah Bay Team
My name is Rebecca Thompson and I am going to be a senior here at UW this up coming school year. I am Native American, part of the Makah Tribe so that makes me from Neah Bay Washington where I have lived my whole life. I am so excited to be a part of this pipeline project because we get to visit my hometown and work with the kids, which is what I plan on doing after college. I also was a part of the pipeline project when I was in elementary school and UW students came out to Neah Bay. I loved the experience then and am positive I’ll love it this time around! I also can’t wait to meet my group members 🙂
Hi 🙂 My name is Angel Wenwen Li, and I am a senior here at the University of Washington studying in Medical Anthropology and Global Health. I am hoping to minor in ELS as well. I hope one day that I will be working in Health Administration. I am from Yakima, Washington. And I love watching netflix and running in my spare time. I have always loved learning about different cultures and helping other students, so this is the perfect opportunity for me to do both and I can’t wait to start and be a part of this team.
Hi from Amanda! I am a pre-med undergrad at the University of Washington, embarking on my 4th yr. Majoring in AIS (American Indian studies) physiology biology and a minor in nutrition I am Oglala Lakota & Chippewa from turtle mountain, grew up in Everett WA & I am the eldest of 4 and I have a dwarf bunny. :3
I enjoy hiking with friends and taking long walks through nature on a nice day. I love photography and capturing the moment & I am spontaneous in everything I do.
I grew up struggling through school, never getting the right help I needed until I could motivate myself and start looking at the resources that were offered for someone like me. I persevered through the worse of the worse during high school and made my way towards college where I got accepted at the university of Washington to pursue a career in the medical field as a E.R. Trauma doctor where I wanna travel to different reservation to help aid with their healthcare system and also with the youth to encourage them to get a higher education so they can help their family and community members, along with traveling the world and helping 3rd world countries who suffer from the lack of a positive healthcare infrastructure.