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Leading By Example, in the 21st Century...

All Blog Posts (156)

I still have a dream (and will return one day to manifest that dream)

Teaching and Learning in Tuluksak (dreaming dreams of being on the river and things being right)

As a classroom teacher in Tuluksak (2004-2009, 2016-17) , dealing with the complexities and variables that go into teaching and learning in rural Alaska can often be challenging, frustrating,...and at times daunting. 

But, knowledge and communication can be powerful tools in the effort to make these variables and…


Added by Mark J Biberg on August 9, 2017 at 4:22am — No Comments

An assessment story

The essay is from an essay called: All the Fish in the River: An Essay on Assessment.

"More than a quarter century of experiences in the classroom has taught me not to be too sure of where I am going, and that often the best way to measure learning won't occur to me until my students and I are in the midst of the learning itself. "I've come to think of myself as like a fishing guide on a wonderful wild river, where the current is swift and difficult to negotiate, into which I…


Added by Mark J Biberg on January 17, 2017 at 5:04pm — No Comments

Thinking of the past and those who influenced me

Here's to the Auntie's out there who were often, in loco parentis, and did a good job when called upon. Some are quiet, simple, and prepare good lunches. Others are loving, giving, and may take you to a circus. One Auntie I know will talk your ear off. Another is stern, wise, yet hospitable. One auntie, is a…


Added by Mark J Biberg on December 20, 2016 at 9:56am — No Comments

Now is the time for the citizen to stand up and vote

I am looking forward to the debate next week. Not so much in a political junkie sense (although I am one in many senses)

but rather with the hope the the time has come for the unmasking, the time when the curtain is drawn and the vampire is led to the light.

In short I hope the debate (s) provides the much needed forum that does not allow Trump to lie and evade, or if he does, the sane voter, the caring…


Added by Mark J Biberg on September 24, 2016 at 4:41pm — No Comments

How can we teach self regulation in the age of iPhones and short attention span (plus a few references to history)

Chapter 34: A lesson in Life (A Lesson from a Finnish Elder, a story in memory of Charles Gust Biberg 1905-1961)

By- Mark James Bib erg

Intro to the 2016 edition: Charles Gust Biberg (1905-196) was a patriarch of sorts, although that title may better befit his father, John Bib erg (1856-1933). But both were Finn landers and people of the land. They farmed and worked hard all of their lives. John and Lisa (Charles’ mom) were part of a generation of…


Added by Mark J Biberg on January 31, 2016 at 10:36am — No Comments

It was the best of times, it was the worst of time: Teaching as Learning as a Journey.

The Process of Becoming a Teacher


By Mark J Biberg


It was a process that I went through…I did not just decide one day to become a teacher. When I was young, education was not stressed. There was an idea that I should do well in school, but beyond that my parents never encouraged me to embrace education as something that would take me places. (Biberg, 22)


But I will say my older siblings and aunties did read to me. I acquired a gift and…


Added by Mark J Biberg on January 31, 2016 at 9:17am — 1 Comment

Teaching, Learning, and Life on Alaska's North Slope

It seem so surreal back then- leaving Minnesota for what felt like the final time- On March 28th, 2001. I was leaving my hometown, Blackduck and staringt a trek to Alaska; a journey that I hoped would lead me to opportunities in education; opportunities that my hometown did not offer me.

I left Blackduck and my friends and family to look for something. That something was both concrete and abstract. I knew I wanted to teach. I had spent the better part of the last 6 year reading and…


Added by Mark J Biberg on January 31, 2016 at 7:00am — No Comments


 How do you raise the collective ability of groups to inquire, learn and use their understanding, in order to make increasingly intelligent decisions about the projects that affect their members?


Elements in our answer (to date):

  • Provide them with easier access to the information that they want & need.
  • Reduce the collaborative barriers between group…

Added by John Trampush on January 30, 2016 at 8:30pm — 1 Comment

A teaching career in a 500 words or less

The story of my teaching career, like the life of Black Beauty, is the tale of the people in it. On the brief essay I would like to review and reflect on my 15-year teaching career and to gauge whether it is time for a change of venue at the end of the year.

The genesis of my career as a teacher starts with the several learning communities that I belonged to a young student in Blackduck, Minnesota, (1975-1988), the Marines (1990-94) and my time at Bemidji State (1988-89. 1994-98). The…


Added by Mark J Biberg on January 9, 2016 at 6:30pm — 3 Comments

Growing into who we should.

Sartre told us many times that we are all unique, at least in our sense of making choices and having a self awareness of being the agent of that behavior.

He also said that is we are going to become what we should become, or manifest our destiny, it will be through the means of ours choices.

Having goals is a choice and wiring them down and focusing on them can be a part of the process of making them real, making them manifest.

We tend to grow…


Added by Mark J Biberg on November 27, 2015 at 9:49am — No Comments

History and the refugee question : The better angels of our nature.

On being afraid and acting out of fear


There has been a lot off knee jerk reactions to the questions of allowing refugees in the wake of the recent terror attacks in Paris, Beirut, Mali, etc. and this is one of this times where it may serve us well to take a step back, pause, read some history and then return to the conversation.

But a few things to think about:


1) We are a nation of immigrants; all of us, with exception of Native Americans, are…


Added by Mark J Biberg on November 21, 2015 at 11:36am — No Comments

Alaska Natives Students and the FAPE Provision of The IDEA (Updated with thoughts for 2015-16) This will be an update on the issue of FAPE; it will be a start of a ten part series, with the format be…

Alaska Natives Students and the FAPE Provision of The IDEA (Updated with thoughts for 2015-16)

This will be an update on the issue of FAPE; it will be a start of a ten part series, with the format being to take existing parts of the essay, of the theme and adding in some real time research, or just updates from the ground. (Biberg, 2015)…


Added by Mark J Biberg on September 7, 2015 at 12:59pm — No Comments

A Rough Draft on Literacy vs Technology (or an update on the ongoing battle with technology in the classroom)

Reading versus Cell Phone/ Game Time:

I want my sons and others I work with to read more and use technology less. I am asking them to be equally proficient in technology and in literacy.

Actually I am asking them to be more proficient in literacy and part of my challenge will be to convince them of a better balance between literacy skills and technology skills. (and I certainly believe in technology skills) (full disclosure that is based on my experience with…


Added by Mark J Biberg on September 7, 2015 at 12:23pm — No Comments

Teaching and Learning on Alaska's North Slope

When I was young I used to dream of coming to Alaska, not to teach but to pursue a Jack London like dream of getting away from it all. Alaska was very appealing to me in terms of its natural beauty, rugged mountains, and a place where a person could go and manifest them.


But life happened and as I grew up in Minnesota my dreams got pushed aside in favor of more practical things. When I went to college, the dream was revived, and as I studied history and philosophy, the call…


Added by Mark J Biberg on August 8, 2015 at 7:30pm — 1 Comment

The Dog Yard Method of Counseling from Niklolai

Working With Dogs as an Approach to Counseling (Rough draft)


This will be a third part if my effort to define and expand my theoretical approach to counseling. Of course it will be based on my upbringing, my parents and siblings, but also my education, especially my study of history and philosophy. (American history and existentialism in particular).

But I am also working other activities into my approach, especially activities that are hands on and involve…


Added by Mark J Biberg on February 15, 2015 at 12:30am — 2 Comments

News From Nikolai

We are studying WW1 in US History and are trying to take some of the lessons of the past. It has been 100 years since the Great War (1914-17, 17-18 for the US) and for many it could just as well be the Greeks and Romans.

However, much of our modern world, can be traced to the events that transpired during and after WW1, including the map of modern Europe, the seeds of communism is Russian, the roots of WW2, the basis for the modern Middle East, etc.

It is more…


Added by Mark J Biberg on January 14, 2015 at 8:20pm — 1 Comment

The story of my life is the story of the people in it (and of the memories that have ben passed on of my forefathers)

John Kustaa Biberg 1855-1933

by Mark J Biberg, Nikolai, Alaska

John Kustaa Biberg was born September 2, 1855 in Kortesjarvi, Finland. He was the son of Juha Kustaa Biberg who was born in 1824 and Lisa Greta who was born in 1821. John had six siblings; he was the forth child and first son. Lisa is from the region just to the south of Kortrsjarvi, called Alaharma. Both were not far from the western coast of Finland where the Baltic Sea water flow in the…


Added by Mark J Biberg on October 11, 2014 at 12:24pm — 2 Comments

How can we teach writing to our students in a high school history classroom? (or to our sons and daughters?)

Imitation: A Common Sense Approach

writing and edited (and imitated) by Mark J Biberg, Nikolai, Alaska


This article written by Andrew Pudewa asks the question “How do we learn to read to write or how to we learn to do anything?”  This is a very relevant question in today’s world of high stakes testing and pressure on schools to teach children basic literary skills.

The teaching of writing has swung back and forth like a pendulum without any…


Added by Mark J Biberg on October 11, 2014 at 12:18pm — No Comments

I want you to be Malawa

Becoming a learner

They conquered the continent with pen, paper, a musket, and powder-  on Lewis and Clark

I support Malawa and think she is a great example for us to follow. If I or any of us had half of her courage we could do amazing things.


What do I want you to be; I want you to become a learner, a self sufficient, Independent learner. My job is to encourage you, set a good example for you model learning for you, ask you…


Added by Mark J Biberg on October 11, 2014 at 9:00am — 2 Comments

Going to Camp with the Kids from Now-where (Nikolai, Alaska)

Going to Fall Moose Camp in Nikolai, Alaska


By Mark Biberg and the students at The Top of the Kuskokwim School.


It was a warm fall day as we pushed off into the swift current. We were loaded with camping gear and hearty learners who were looking forward to experiencing fall moose camp.


The colors of the trees along the edge of the river made the view serene and relaxing. As the motor picked up speed and the boat surged up in the water, I sensed…


Added by Mark J Biberg on September 20, 2014 at 1:29pm — No Comments

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