Learning shapes

One of the expectations of the course that I followed was to create a unit for the class I am currently teaching.  I decided to do an inquiry on structures and, in order to understand how structures are formed, the children needed to understand that structures are created using shapes. The best way for them to learn the range of shapes that exist is for them to play games and do activities.

At centres, the children did the following:

  • Bingo: I asked them repeat the name of the shape after I had called it out (they were learning the French vocabulary at the same time as learning the name of the shape).
  • Tangrams: Using the cards in front of them, they created designs using shapes.
  • Matching: The children matched colours with shapes.
  • Lacing: In order to improve fine-motor skills, the children laced a range of two -dimensional shapes.
  • Memory game: I asked the children to call out the name of the shape on the cards they turned over. In this way they practiced saying the name of the shape in French.
  • Creating booklets: Children created their own shape booklet using pictures they had cut out from magazines. The pictures they chose represented the shape they were showing on the page of their book.

The children enjoyed the activities at the various centers – and they enjoyed playing the games for a few weeks. They learned the shape vocabulary quickly and were easily able to move onto the next step of the inquiry.

Do you remember how you learned about shapes?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

Posted in Learning and Teaching | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments


PHOTO PROMPT - © Douglas M. MacIlroy

PHOTO PROMPT -© Douglas M. MacIlroy

I watched the snow storm approaching. I was tired of this godforsaken place and longed for what I had seen in old videos: a time when the sun shone, when green filled the environment, when people walked outside in thin layers of clothing. I longed to breathe in air filled with sunshine and promise. Yet I knew my desire would not be fulfilled in my lifetime. Our forefathers had created this cold, desolate world with their avarice and wanton misuse of our planet. It was up to us to repair the damage.

friday-fictioneers-badgeWhat do you think caused this desolate environment?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

(This post was inspired by Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle. The challenge asks for bloggers to write a story in 100 words or less in response to the photo prompt.)


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A Growth Mindset

Yesterday afternoon I went on a workshop based on teaching Mathematics to children in the Early Years (kindergarten to grade 2). One of the quotes that had been put up on the wall resonated in me:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

So often children begin to believe that they are incapable of doing Math – that it is too difficult for them and that they will never achieve in this subject. Once they believe that they are incapable, they close their minds to the various possibilities of problem solving. Our challenge as teachers is to make them believe in themselves and their abilities. And to encourage them to enjoy the journey of solving Math problems. Teaching kindergarten, I have not come across a child saying they cannot do Math – and yet as children get older, some of them begin to say “I am not good at Math”, “I cannot do this”, “Math is not the subject for me”.

What I love about the above quote is that it can be relevant to other things in a child’s life: writing a paragraph or essay, participating in gym or a team sport, learning another language. As teachers, and even parents, the best thing we can give any child is the confidence to try whatever task is set out in front of them; and to have the belief that they can grow from the experience. The experience is in the doing and the process – not so much a perfect end result.

I enjoy learning and I have learned that making mistakes is part of the process. It is my hope that each day I help children realise that it is in trying and in making mistakes that we learn. It is my hope that each day I help a child realise that they can learn anything.

Do you believe you can learn anything? 

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

Posted in Learning and Teaching, Quotes | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments

Grateful for Spring’s Arrival

For the past week and a half, we have been enjoying the arrival of Spring. The temperatures are above zero, the birds are singing, and the grass is greening. As my colleagues and I stand outside supervising the children at play, we turn our faces to the sun and enjoy the fact that we are hatless and bootless. My favourite part of the season has to be the appearance of colourful blooms in planters and in gardens. I enjoy seeing the bright yellow of daffodils and the the riotous colour of pansies that I pass each day on my way to work. 

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

A Spring Planter. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

Processed with RookieWhat have you been grateful for this week?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

(Join me and share something that you have been grateful for in the past week. Link up with my post and feel free to use the badge my daughter created. )

I enjoy reading what others are grateful for – the posts make me think of other things I am happy to have in my life. Please remember to send me a pingback so that I know you have participated. 

Posted in My Gratitude Project | Tagged , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Done and Rested

Good day to everyone,

My assignment submitted and my course completed, my mind needed a rest  – and I took it for a couple of weeks. I read a few books, crocheted a little and began watching Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix (no, I had not watched it before). The rest has done me good and I am now mentally ready to write again. I think the climbing temperatures also have contributed to my well-being – I love standing outside with the sun warming my face sans the winter gear that we have been wearing for the past months.

I will slowly get back into my daily blogging and will begin with a few catch-up posts that I had planned before my break. It will be good to communicate with you all again and I look forward to catching up.

Enjoy the rest of your day and keep smiling


Posted in A Quick Note | Tagged , | 18 Comments

A Blogging Break

Dear Readers,

As you know, I am currently following a course to improve my teaching of French as a Second Language. I have enjoyed the sessions so far and have managed thus far to keep up with blogging. Deadlines are now looming, however, and I find myself switching on my computer to work on my assignment and presentation. In order to create more time to work on the deadlines, I have decided to take a blogging break until my course is done at the end of March, or until I have completed the work I need to do.

I shall miss the writing and the communication I have with you. Unfortunately, there are only so many hours in the day.

Your fellow blogger,


Posted in A Quick Note | Tagged , | 75 Comments

Winter Nostalgia

Winter in Toronto makes me homesick. The icy winds, the trudges in the slush and the treacherous ice remind me of the place I grew up in where daytime temperatures are above zero. On the days that I don’t feel warm outside no matter how many layers I put on, I long for the winter sun of my birthplace.

Winter also makes me nostalgic for family.

The short, cold winter days encourage me to think of the loved ones I left behind in South Africa. I remember the visits to family and friends: the conversations and meals we had together outside – winter or summer. I remember fondly the braais (barbecues), the games, and the conversations long into the night.

Winter is difficult on so many levels: the temperatures, the grey days, and the lack of family. The advent of spring brings not only warmer weather, but also the desire to go out and visit places – a desire that helps to fill the void left by the lack of close family nearby.

Five-Minute-Friday-badgeWhat nostalgia do you experience during winter?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

(This post is linked to Five Minute Friday. The prompt is: visit)

Posted in Five Minute Friday | Tagged , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Grateful for Soup

These past weeks have been extremely cold with temperatures plummeting to as low as -41c. On days such as these, I am always grateful to step into the warmth of the indoors. Dinner is a time to add to one’s warmth and I do this on many evenings by making a large pot of soup.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

Vegetable soup. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

My family and I enjoy eating vegetable soup. To make this, I put any vegetable I have into the pot: potato, parsnips, carrots, beans. If I have fresh coriander or parsley, that goes in as well when it is almost time to eat. When we have vegetable soup, I visit the supermarket and get a loaf of freshly baked bread at the bakery section: a favourite choice is a crispy baguette. My girls enjoy dipping their bread into the soup and allowing the bread to soak up all the juices. Delicious! The heat of the soup warms us from inside and makes us forget, for a moment, the freezing temperatures outside.

My favourite soup, however, is lentil soup. To make black lentil soup, I need half a day to cook the lentils until it becomes a creamy texture. Red lentils, however, cook faster. Last night I made a pot when I got home and by the time we ate, it was cooked to perfection. With this soup, no bread is required. Sometimes a little rice can be added – but often a large bowl is enough to fill a tummy.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

Red Lentil Soup. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

This week I am grateful that I know how to make a variety of soups. The knowledge definitely comes in handy on cold, winter days.

Processed with RookieWhat have you been grateful for this week?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

(Join me and share something that you have been grateful for in the past week. Link up with my post and feel free to use the badge my daughter created. )

I enjoy reading what others are grateful for – the posts make me think of other things I am happy to have in my life. Please remember to send me a pingback so that I know you have participated. 

Posted in My Gratitude Project | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 43 Comments

Mystery Afghan 2015 – Clue 2

This weekend I worked on the Mystery Afghan in order to complete the second clue before the next step is emailed out. The challenge this past week was to crochet a cross onto the granny square. (You can download the second clue here). Working on this clue, I learnt a new stitch: the front post single crochet. I watched Mikey’s video a few times in order to understand what I had to do – and I even crocheted along with him:

The first square took me a while to do as I stopped and started the video often.

I eventually understood the pattern and, after doing a few squares, I no longer needed to refer to the drawing I had printed out.

This clue was quick to do and I am curious to see what the next step is. When I get home this afternoon, I will be checking my email to see what it is!


Previous posts on the Mystery Afghan 2015

Yarn Choice

Clue 1

What do you think the next step will be?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

Posted in Crochet Projects | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Mystery Afghan 2015 – Clue 1

During the past week I worked on the first clue for the Mystery Afghan 2015. (If you want to join in, you can get the first clue here). The clue is to make 20 basic granny squares of 4 rows in the main contrast colour (contrast A).

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

Working on clue #1 © Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

I was pleased to see that the clue contained a drawing for me to follow (the written instructions are on the first page) as I find it easier to read and understand the drawings as opposed to the written instructions. My main contrast colour is white and so I began my squares with this basic colour.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

Clue #1 completed. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

If you wish to participate in the Crochet Along but are unsure of how to create a granny square, Michael Sellick’s video is helpful:


This week I completed clue #1 and am now ready to begin on the second clue. I am a little behind schedule but that is to be expected as I am doing my crocheting in between my work for the course I am following.


Previous posts on the Mystery Afghan 2015

Yarn Choice

If you are doing this crochet along, feel free to post your work in the comments below. 

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

Posted in Crochet Projects | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments