SoCS: Smells

Smells are an integral part of our lives, aren’t they? Think about the smells we experience each day. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee; the scent of orange zest as you peel away the skin from the flesh. The smell of rain as the water pounds the earth; the bouquet of blossoms on newly-leaved trees.

Smell helps to form part of our memories too. Whenever I catch the whiff of Old Spice after shave, I think of my dad. I see in my mind’s eye his smile and hear his voice. I think back to the times we went out as a family while I was growing up. I think of family get-togethers, and the sense of fun many of these gatherings had. I remember laughter, eating, and plenty of dancing and singing.

Smells make us think of the not so good times as well. I remember the feeling of nausea certain smells would encourage when I was pregnant. Smells that meant nothing before the changes my body was experiencing. Walking past dumpsters do not always encourage pleasant memories. I remember a few years back when the city workers were on strike. The stench of refuse filled the air in many places. It was a hot summer and I could not wait for an agreement to be reached between the city and the workers’ union.

Yes, smells are an integral part of our lives. And right now the delicious smell of roast chicken is permeating the air. I think we will enjoy our dinner tonight!

What are your favourite smells? And what memories do they hold for you?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post is linked to Stream of Consciousness SaturdayThe prompt is: smell)

Measuring Area

One of the activities at the Math centre this week in my classroom was all about area. How do you introduce area to 6-8 year olds? The grade 1 and 2 curriculum encourages teachers to introduce their students to this concept using non-standard units; that is, blocks and other manipulatives. I have found that the children enjoy this activity (which they do in pairs) and eagerly measure the surface of books, their journal, the seat of a chair, and a book shelf.

A few surfaces are covered by many blocks and the children need to work out some strategies to count up to large numbers. This necessity leads to one of those moments when the grade 2 partner helps the grade 1 student  The students’ collaboration often leads to both grades understanding the basics of area and measuring it.

Which photo do you prefer? The colour? Or the black and white?

mergeyes_widget© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This week Paula, over at Lost in Translation, suggests we post our photo today in both colour and in black & white for her Black & White Sunday challenge)

Weekend Coffee Share: A Short and Busy Week

Weekend Coffee Share | Nerd in the Brain (4)Good morning to you, and welcome! It has been a couple of weeks since we last spoke. I know that last weekend I was a little anti-social – I enclosed myself at home over the long weekend, avoided any type of social media and spent quite a time of time reading on the sofa. In between Zumba, household chores, and cooking dinner for my family I read The House of New Beginnings by Lucy Diamond and The Affair by Amanda Brooke. I enjoyed the stories by both novelists – so much so that I have searched in the library catalogue for more of their novels.

While the long weekend was relaxing, the short week was busy as I tried to fit as much as I could into four days. Added to this, our school concert was this past Thursday. The group I had worked with was ready to perform and my task on the night of the concert was to supervise them. I am glad that the concert is over. Now I can focus on completing my assessment and getting the report cards ready for mid-June.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the temperatures are a little warmer – and I am glad for it. It is not hot and humid yet and I am enjoying the in between temperatures of Spring. It does not usually last very long and soon, I am sure, everyone will be complaining about the heat! The warmer weather has made the kids fidgety and it is difficult to get them to focus when the sun is beckoning them to play outside. What I have to do is focus on creating interesting activities that will keep them motivated to work.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am still enjoying the flowers that I received for Mother’s Day. The reason why I enjoy potted plants more than cut flowers is that they last so much longer. I am looking at them right now as I am writing this, and they bring a smile to my face.

I do not have to much news to tell you this week – hopefully next week will be different. Have a wonderful weekend and a fulfilling week.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post is linked to the Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Nerd in the Brain)

Grateful for Lazy Days

This past weekend was a long weekend for those of us who live in Canada as Monday was a public holiday. Even though the weather wasn’t perfect (grey, gloomy and rainy), I spent a wonderful weekend. My three days consisted of Zumba, chores, family time and reading – plenty of it! I curled up on the sofa and read a couple of books I had taken out of the library on Saturday.

Going back to work yesterday, the relaxation of the weekend seemed a thing of the past – and too short. Crunch time is now on as we begin working on report cards. This week is filled with preparations for the school concert (which will be on Thursday evening) in between talking about our students’ assessment.

I am grateful this week that I had the chance for a weekend of relaxation before one of the busiest times of the year. Now it is full steam ahead until the year end.

What have you been grateful for this week? Share your post in the comments below.

Processed with RookieLast week:

Laura was grateful for ice-cream

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

Children’s’ Illustrations

Correcting my students’ work is not always easy. Often I find myself sounding out their words and reading what they have written aloud. There are times when I am unable to figure out what they have written and call the person to come and read for me. I need no help, though, in ‘reading’ their illustrations.

Children’s Illustrations. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

Yesterday I was correcting some work and I could not help but smile at some of the detailed illustrations that I saw. It is easy to understand why some children are so proud of their drawings.

What has made you smile this week?

Weekly Smile #WeeklySmile© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post was inspired by Trent’s Weekly Smile, a challenge which focuses on sharing all things positive.)

Grateful for Mother’s Day

Each year a day is set aside for Mother’s Day. Like all holidays, it has the danger of being commercialised but the sentiment behind it is good. This day is one in which you can show – and tell – your mother how much you appreciate her actions and support. I have certainly done so in the past.

Now that I am a mother myself, I enjoy this day of appreciation. I do get the hugs and the love during the year – but on this day, I am made to feel special. My children, with my husband’s help, prepare a delicious lunch for me (I prefer eating at home as opposed to going out to a restaurant). Besides the hugs and the presence of all my family members at the table, this year I received some beautiful flowers (from my daughters and son).

Mother’s Day flowers. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

Besides the flowers, my daughters bought me a lunch box that I had been eyeing. What makes their gift even more special is that they bought it with their own money – money that they had earned from their weekly tutoring job. And my husband? Besides organising our lunch and then cooking dinner, he bought me the fitness tracker that I had been eyeing for a while – yes, the Fitbit.

This week I am grateful for Mother’s Day, a day on which I am spoiled and reminded that even though I am taken for granted at times, my family does love me and appreciates what I do for them.

What have you been grateful for this week? Share your post in the comments below.

Processed with RookieLast week:

Laura was grateful for freedom

Lavender Ladi was grateful for tulips

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

Weekend Coffee Share: A Celebration Weekend

Weekend Coffee Share | Nerd in the Brain (4)Good morning to you and welcome on this sunny day. Yesterday the day was bright and the temperatures a lot warmer than we have had. The air coming through the windows today is a little cooler – but at least we can still see the sun shine. 🙂

If we were having coffee, I would the week began with news that we had almost expected – the school board delayed, once again, the decision on where the school is going to be located next year. The result? Two more teachers have decided to leave and have found positions elsewhere. We are sad to see them go but we can understand why they have made the decision to leave. Maybe we will know next week what the decision is to be regarding the school?

A Forest View. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

Mid-week I had the opportunity to spend some time outside when I attended a workshop at an Outdoor Education facility. I was introduced to a number of ideas on taking inquiry outside; and was inspired by the motivational speaker. The best part? I spent time outside in a piece of forest that exists in the city. I wrote about my experience in more detail when describing my Weekly Smile. (You can read the post here).

On Thursday we had the Shoestring Opera come to the school to present an adaptation of the opera Carmen. The children loved the interactive theatre – and I enjoyed listening to the music. Carmen is, after all, my favourite opera.

The story appealed to the children as the storyline was one they understood – a new girl in a new school and the experience she has on her first day.

Jump Rope for Heart. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

On Friday I definitely felt the expression TGIF! I am feeling tired even though it is the final hurdle before the Summer break. I am starting to think about report cards and am sorting out my students writing and reading abilities. But on Friday, we were not thinking of report cards. Instead the school participated in a school wide activity for Jump Rope for Heart. Our school community normally raises a substantial amount for this charity – and the kids love the activities that the gym teacher plans. The bonus was that the weather was perfect – not too hot nor too cold. It was lovely being outside and watching the children jump rope.

Birthday Cake. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

Saturday I woke up early to bake a cake to celebrate my youngest daughter’s sixteenth birthday. She planned to celebrate her day with her friends and I had plenty to do organising the food and cleaning our place. My husband went off to Chinatown to buy spring rolls and the dumplings while I chopped the vegetables and cooked noodles. My daughter had a wonderful lunch and afternoon with her friends. I will make a special meal for her later on in the week on her actual birthday.

During the week I prepared Mother’s Day gifts with the children in my class for their mothers. I collected the glass ‘petit pots’ that my yogurt comes in, bought some beads, and made sure I had enough glue sticks for my glue gun. I worked with two children at a time and guided them to create and decorate a pencil  holder for their moms.

Not only was the gift pretty and useful but making it also encouraged the children to work on their hand-eye co-ordination and to strengthen their fingers.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it is time to go. My children are kicking me out the living room so they can get lunch ready for Mother’s Day. If you are a Mom, enjoy your day. And if not, I hope you get to spend the day with your mother.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post is linked to the Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Nerd in the Brain)


You carried me for 9 months,

Protected me from harm.

You cradled me in infancy,

Gave me your love, warmth, being.

You picked me up when I fell,

Encouraged me to explore and meet those moments that

Amazed me,

Grew me,

Became a part of who I am.

You celebrated my joys,

Cried with me,

Comforted me,

Wished me well.

You gave me your love with no conditions and no paybacks.

You are the embodiment of Love.

You are Mom,

And I love you.

I wish all fantastic Mother’s a Happy Mother’s Day this Sunday. Especially my mom who lives so far away and whom I miss everyday. 

Five-Minute-Friday-badge© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post was inspired by the Five Minute Friday prompt: mom) 

A Day Outside

Yesterday I left home earlier than usual to go to a workshop on outdoor education. The goal was to gather ideas on how to take learning outside. I was excited as I looked forward to learning new things and spending some time outdoors.

A Forest View. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

I loved being surrounded by trees for most of the day. I walked a bit in the forest – and had my sessions surrounded by trees. I enjoyed smelling the fresh air and listening to the sound of the trees whispering in the wind. Rejuvenating!

In addition to being surrounded by nature during our sessions, we were introduced to some nifty ideas that we could implement with our students. I loved the idea of an outdoor inquiry toolbox for children to use while outside.

An outdoor inquiry toolbox. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

The day ended with a motivational speaker, Kathleen Lundy. I have heard this experienced educator speak before and both times she has spoken to the heart. Yesterday she put up a cartoon that encapsulates what a difficult task it is to teach.

Teacher Cartoon © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

As always with the group of people who run the workshops in the Beginning Teachers department, we received a gift of books. One, Natural Curiosity, I have been wanting to read for a while. And the other? I am always on the lookout for ideas on how to integrate the curriculum in my programme. And even though the picture book we received is in English, I can use the pictures to talk to with my class.

Book gifts. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

Yesterday was a lovely day and one that caused me to smile all day long.

What has made you smile this week?

Weekly Smile #WeeklySmile© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post was inspired by Trent’s Weekly Smile, a challenge which focuses on sharing all things positive.)

Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley

Close Enough to TouchWhile browsing through the list of new books in our library, I came across Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley. The blurb intrigued me. A story about someone who is allergic to people and cannot be touched? A scary thought.

The novel centres around the character Jubilee Jenkins, a woman who has a rare condition (she is allergic to the human touch). After a nearly fatal accident, she becomes a recluse. Her mother’s death forces her to leave her home and find a job. This she does at the local library where she begins to interact with people.

My teaser is near the beginning of the book. Her mother has died and Jubilee wishes to go to her mom’s funeral.

“My shoulders begin shaking as my laughter mutates into crying. 

I’m not going to my mother’s funeral. Lenny will wonder where I am. Anything my mom’s told him over the years about my being a bad daughter will be confirmed.

And while all of that is troublesome, another thought floats on the periphery of my brain, waiting to be let in. A terrifying thought. A thought that I realize maybe I’ve known deep down but haven’t wanted to admit to myself. But it’s hard to deny it when I’m leaning against the front door inside my house, unable to slow my heart or stem my tears or stop my body from shaking. 

And that thought it: Maybe there’s another reason I haven’t left my house in nine years.

Maybe it’s because I can’t.” (p 18-19, Gallery Books, 2017)

This novel was captivating and had me rooting for Jubilee. My heart ached for her as she fell in love and was unable to touch him as she wished to. There were many poignant scenes in this story; scenes which were beautifully written. This romance story is definitely not ordinary. I enjoyed reading this novel and would recommend it for anyone who is looking for a romance novel with a difference.

What are you reading this week? Feel free to share a few sentences from the book in the comments. 

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(This post is linked to Ambrosia’s Teaser Tuesdays at The Purple Booker)