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)

Mom

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)

Imperfect Structures

The culminating (final) task in the inquiry on structures I explored with my class was for them to design and create a structure with recyclable materials.

Recyclable Materials © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017
The children enjoyed the building of their designs.

Building Structures © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017
And lovingly painted their creations.

Painting Creations © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017
The structures may be imperfect but in my students’ imaginations these creations are beautiful.

Do you enjoy creating with recyclable materials?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post is linked to Paula’s Black & White Sunday. The theme this week is imperfect)

Weekend Coffee Share: It Has Been a While

Weekend Coffee Share | Nerd in the Brain (4)

Good morning! It has been a while since we spoke and I have missed our chats. My weekends have been filled with things birthday related and I have not had a moment to blog. The weekends past have been filled with my daughter’s birthday. Not just any birthday – but a birthday in which I realise how quickly time does pass. My baby girl is now 17 years old. Seventeen! I can still picture her as an infant, swaddled in my arms. Soon she will be finished with high school and moving towards her career. Conversations around the dinner table now often focus on what she wants to do when she has completed school.

Next weekend my second daughter will be celebrating her sixteenth birthday with her friends. I sigh when I think of my girls being so much older than my memory of them. They are doing so much more now independently of us, their parents. It is when I look at them (and my greying head of hair in the mirror!) that I realise time is passing and I am getting older myself.

Passing time and raising my children is not the only event that has been causing my hair to grey lately. The last few months have been stressful for the teachers that work at the school where I am. The school is located next to a site that has been slated for the building of a 35 storey building. Parents have been protesting, causing delays in decision-making by the School Board. (A comprehensive article by CBC News)

Parents and children protested in front of a midtown Toronto school on Thursday morning against the impending development of a condo tower next door.
Parents and children protested in front of a midtown Toronto school on Thursday morning against the impending development of a condo tower next door. © CBC News

The delays in the final decision is causing stress among the staff members. Is the school going to stay at its location? Or is it going to be relocated? How many children will be taken out of the school and the French Immersion programme by their parents? Will the school still be viable to stay open? The answers to these questions would affect the decisions that teachers would make going forward. Unfortunately none of them are being answered. causing a lot of uncertainty and the necessity to make choices based on scant information.

The dreary moments staff have been feeling at our school has been mirrored in the weather we have experienced this past week. The skies have been grey and gloomy – and rain has soaked the ground for hours. We are all wishing for warmer days, blue skies, and the sound of children playing outside in the playground. We are all hoping that next week there will be no indoor recess!

The week has not been always gloomy. The children make me smile with their antics and the things they say. This week a boy in my class, who is an avid Pokemon fan, made me smile because of the things he did with his figurines. (Read my description in my Weekly Smile post). And, of course, I loved dancing in my new Zumba shoes! (Described in my weekly Gratitude post).

As I get ready for my Zumba class, I look forward to dancing my cares away. I wish you a wonderful week. May the sun shine and may you be surrounded by all things positive.

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)

Pokemon Company

Most of the children in my class are crazy about Pokemon and it is a craze that is not abating. No matter what we talk about, they link it to Pokemon: oral, writing, even Math and Science. I have a boy in my class who focuses on his work and completes it ahead of his classmates. And his reward? He gets to play with his Pokemon figurines. On Monday, his ‘game’ was to create a survey and ask the members of the class what their favourite figurine was.

Pokemon Survey © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

I could not help but smile when I saw him putting into practice what I had explored with him (tallying and doing a survey). My smile grew even wider at the end of the day when he offered his Pokemon some birthday cake brought in by a classmate.

Pokemon eating cake © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

The best part of the day was seeing my student happily work and play with his Pokemon nearby. It is always a treat to see a child who is self-motivated to work on his activities.

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 Zumba Shoes

I have been doing Zumba for 9 months now. The first months were difficult as I struggled not only with the choreography, but also with catching my breath. However, I persevered and have come to love this form of exercise. There have been moments when I am truly dancing and am able to move to the music as I did all those years ago before I began my journey into Motherhood.

One of the things I have struggled with is the ability to move my feet sideways without hurting my feet and knees. The tread of the running shoes causes my foot to ‘stick’ to the floor. I used to think longingly of my ballroom shoes with their suede soles as they helped me move easily across the floor.

While waiting for class a few weeks ago, a few of us were talking with the teacher about shoes (she, of course, wears the correct Zumba shoes) and she mentioned that her shoes does not have the tread that the running shoes have. My decision made, I went online and shopped at zumbashop.ca for footwear.

My package arrived last Friday.

The package has arrived! © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

With much excitement I opened the box and admired my new shoes.

My Zumba shoes. Stylish! © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

I enjoyed the shoe box as well and appreciated the statement printed in bold on it.

I have worn the shoes at two classes and have enjoyed dancing in them. My movements are easier now and the bonus is my feet do not ache as much – and neither do my knees.

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

Processed with RookieLast week:

Laura was grateful for modern conveniences

Lavender Ladi was grateful for the scent of Spring

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017