A fun place to work

I have no idea why this was happening, but it seems like a fun place to work.

My wife sent me this video. The YouTube description states it occurred last year at headquarters of Groupon in Chicago. That description also says that this is a baby tyrannosaurus, but I think it is supposed to be a velociraptor traipsing around the lobby of the building.

For a few seconds I wondered what was happening. The roar sounded real to me. The head moved realistically. Then I noticed the legs.

Even then it was fun to watch, and most everyone seemed to enjoy the dino, except maybe the woman coming out of the elevator.

More Art

I’ve written before about the apparent fascination the students of Eek School have with drawing me. This last week I was working with this young lady on math when I got a phone call. I answered the call leaving her to finish some problems on the board. When I hung up, she had completed the math work and was busily engaged drawing me.


Artistic Students

James during his red period

Unfortunately, art is one of those classes that we don’t often offer at Eek School.

We wish we could offer art more often, but reading, Writing and Math take priority and art teachers willing to come to the bush Alaska are hard to find.  That doesn’t mean that our students are any less artistic.  Art is very much a part of the Yup’ik culture.  I wish the students would do more with traditional themes, but for some reason they often like to draw me.

This first drawing was done just today by James.  We are doing state testing this week and I was helping out in his class.  When James was done with testing for the day he decided that drawing me was a great idea.  Picasso had his blue and red periods so, I’m guessing, James is in a red period.

lena draws Kyle Pratt

I can barely write a legible word using dry erase markers however, earlier this year Elena had just a couple of minutes at the end of class and created this image using them.  She is a very talented student; she won a school emblem design contest and has created a number of detailed drawings.

Over the last few years I have collected a number of different drawings.  After a while I started posting them on the bulletin board beside my desk.  As you can see there are contemporary drawings, others depict me when I was young and in the military, and one student seems to be exploring cubism. 

Students draw Kyle Pratt

Some of the drawings just show up on my desk, others are proudly presented to me.  I’m glad the students like to draw but I find their interest in drawing me a bit bewildering and at the same time very amusing.   



Chrome Experiments

Teachers don’t just work during the school day. 

The vast majority put in many more hours.  Yesterday I was working in my classroom for about six hours, updating grades, making lesson plans and photocopying materials.  While I was working I was playing a podcast about current technology called This Week in Google.  The name is a bit misleading as they talk about a wide variety of cloud technologies on the program.  One thing they just mentioned was a site called Chrome Experiments and some of the fun and interesting projects on display there.  I was intrigued and visited the site. 

Weird Kyle Pratt

This weird picture of me is taken using an experiment called Webcam Displacement.  Another experiment that I found particularly interesting is 100,000 stars.  It is an interactive star map of our neighborhood of the galaxy.  I can definitely use it while writing future science fiction stories.  There are currently 541 projects on the site.  While they don’t say it specifically, these are Chrome experiments and you will need the Google Chrome browser, which is free, to use the projects. 

Perhaps I would have finished my work sooner if I hadn’t paused to examine these projects, but I’m glad I did.

Halloween Follow-up

Halloween was again a big day here in the village. 

Tim & Kyle Pratt "Peace in the Middle East"

I saw most of my students, between the ages of 5 and 18 out trick or treating, and a few people both younger and older, were out collecting candy. 

Unlike many schools in the lower 48, we have fun with the day.  Many, perhaps most, of the children dress in a wide variety of costumes.  This year I went dressed in a traditional Arab outfit.  This is the costume I mentioned in the previous post that Lorraine brought up and wanted me to wear.  Tim is the student with me in the picture.  He wants to be a Marine Corp officer after graduation and is dressed appropriately for that career.  We saw each other early in the morning and, he said later, “We both looked at each other wide-eyed and pointing at each other and laughed out loud. Peace in the middle east.” We both thought it would make a fun picture.

Kyle Pratt and ? - which one is posing?

A couple of days before this the principal had been up in the attic of the school cleaning and found this giant blowup pumpkin decoration. 

We have found many strange things stuffed in corners of the attic over the years.  In addition to old textbooks and novels there are enough old electronics to start a museum.  I’ve found sewing machines, lab equipment, and canned food.  I joke that the next thing stored up there will bring the attic down to the main floor.  Really, how much can you put in an attic?

Anyway, since we were going to a Halloween carnival the next day the principal brought it down and everyone had to have their picture taken with it.

Halloween and Me

It doesn’t matter how cold or snowy it is on that night, Halloween is a big event in the village.

Kyle Pratt - This is my costume

People don’t usually decorate their homes, but every child gets dressed up, even many of the parents.  One of the nice things about living in bush Alaska is that it is safe.  Kids can just be kids, get dressed up and run from house to house getting candy.  When you live in a remote village of 300 people, everyone knows everyone else and they watch out for the little ones.  Older teens find it hard to ignore a crying kid when their older brother or sister is in their class.     

If you need to talk to someone that night don’t go looking for them.  Just wait at home and they will probably come by with their children or grandchildren.


I had stopped observing Halloween until I came to Eek, Alaska, as a teacher.  Here it is such a big event that gradually I’m getting more involved.  As this picture from a few years ago shows, I don’t really get dressed up.  I wore this costume three years in a row and then the kids nagged me to change.  I’ll post a picture of my next costume tomorrow.  Lorraine brought costumes for us this year when she came up and has ordered me to wear it.  If anyone can get me to put on a costume, Lorraine can.