Weekend Coffee Share: Bits and Pieces

wordswag_15073188796611453091488.pngIf we were having coffee, I would usher you in from the chilly weather. The past two days have seen a drop in temperature but, thankfully, not so far down that we have had snow. The beginning of the week we experienced beautiful spring weather – gentle breezes and and temperatures warm enough that we could walk outside for part of the day without wearing any jackets or sweaters.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am exhausted. No matter how much sleep I get, I wake up feeling tired. Only a couple of months left of school and then I will be able to sleep late and recharge my batteries. In an effort to lessen my fatigue, I did take a week off of exercise which, I think, did help. I was disappointed, however, that the day I went back to fitness classes, our Zumba instructor was absent and there was no one to replace her 😦

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this week the butterfly kits arrived at school. On Thursday, the caterpillars were big enough for me to separate into smaller containers; it is quite a fiddly task as you should not touch the worms. When I get back into my classroom on Monday, I will open a few pots and leave some of the caterpillars to roam free. The children do enjoy watching them climb up the branch I will place in the terrarium.I have noticed that if I do not free them, the children do not visit the centre to watch them. In addition, it takes longer for the caterpillars to form their chrysalis if they are left to roam free.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that tonight my family and I are going out to celebrate Mother’s Day. We do not eat out at restaurants too much so it will be a treat. And, as always, the extra treat is having my family eat together and share their stories.

If we were having coffee, I would now excuse myself as it is time to go to my exercise class. If you are a mom who lives in my part of the world, enjoy Mother’s Day tomorrow. I hope you are showered with love.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post is linked to Eclectic Alli and the Weekend Coffee Share)

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Aerial City Views

The new offices of Harper Collins Publishers Canada is near the waterfront in Toronto. The elevator in the building is controlled by the woman manning the front desk and, when I visited the publishing house, she sent me right up to the 41st floor. I was ushered into the room where the author meet was to take place (see my post here) and I was swept away by what I saw through the windows. The day was a clear Spring day with no fog. The time was 5:45pm. The views were stunning!

The windows were full length and offered an uninhibited view of the city. How lucky to be working there with the opportunity to see those views everyday. I was certainly glad to have had the chance to see them myself.

Have you seen aerial views of a city? Which city was it? Feel free to add a photo in the comments.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Grateful for Author Meet

Last week Wednesday evening, I was lucky enough to attend an author meeting at the offices of Harper Collins Publishers Canada in Toronto. The authors were Joanna Goodman and Ellen Keith. Both are Canadian authors, and both had written an historical novel. It was interesting for me to hear them speak about their inspiration for their novel, and the journey they had taken to reach the point of publication. It was also fun being surrounded by other book lovers who had patiently waited to meet these two women writers.

Waiting for the author’s meet to begin. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

This week I am grateful to Harper Collins Publishers in Canada for organizing the event. I am also grateful for the copies of the books they gave to me, as well as for the opportunity to have my copies signed by the authors.

Processed with RookieWhat have you been grateful for this week? Share your comments or the link to your post below.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Favourite Read of the Month: April 2018

During the month of April, I managed to read 7 books for this year’s Book Pledge.

The titles in April are listed below. To read my reviews (if you haven’t already), click on the title in the following list:

  1. Here So Far Away by Hadley Dyer. A YA fiction novel.
  2. My Secret Mother by Phyllis Whitsell. A memoir.
  3. The Good Liar by Catherine McKenzie. A thriller.
  4. Blink by K. L. Slater. A psychological thriller.
  5. The Bookshop on Rosemary Lane. by Ellen Berry. A feel-good novel.
  6. The Little Bakery on Rosemary Lane by Ellen Berry. A feel-good novel.
  7. The Storm by Arif Anwar. A literary type novel.

With the exception of My Secret Mother by Phyllis Whitsell, I enjoyed reading all of the stories I had chosen during the month of April. Looking back, I saw that I had managed to read 7 titles which does suggest that I had read a couple of novels that I could not put down. The Good Liar definitely falls into that category as does Blink. I did enjoy my introduction to Ellen Berry’s writing and savoured her feel-good stories – so much so that I went out and bought the next title in her Rosemary Lane series. I am now eagerly waiting for the next in the series.

For my favourite title this month I cannot help but choose The Bookshop on Rosemary Lane by Ellen Berry. The story may not be as literary as Anwar’s The Storm, or as nail-biting as Slater’s Blink, but I loved it. I moved through the pages quickly, loved the humour in the story, and the connection I felt to the main character. Berry’s story is definitely one I will read again.

What was your favourite read in April? Share your choice, or the link to your post, below.

Favourite Read of the Month:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Weekend Coffee Share: A Warmer Week

wordswag_15073188796611453091488.pngIf we were having coffee, I would greet you with a big smile on my face. Spring has finally arrived! I can hear the birds singing as I write this post; the sky is blue and the air is warmer. The air also seems to be filled with a lot more positivity. People are smiling more and don’t seem to be as sad. I am loving the warmer days – especially now that my classroom has warmed up and I no longer have to wear sweaters inside.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the week at work has been good. We have almost completed the structures inquiry in class – only a few more children need to present their work. They are doing a really good job this year in both the building and the presentation of their work. I added in another step to get them ready to talk about their structure and it has done the trick.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I had the opportunity to go and listen to a couple of Canadian authors speak at the offices of Harper Collins  Publishers. What a wonderful experience that was. I had never been to an author meet before and it is definitely an experience that I would want to repeat. Actors are made into superstars and I feel that authors should be too. They often spend years writing the novel for us to enjoy. As a society we really should show more our appreciation for their craft.

If we were having coffee, I would tell that you the signs of spring are all around in the sight of budding trees and blooming flowers. Another sign is my itchy eyes and scratchy throat. Even though I have taken an anti-histamine tablet, my eyes are burning and I have a desire to close them. Allergy season has arrived! I always wonder why I have a worse experience here in Toronto than I ever did when I was growing up in South Africa.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am looking forward to a week of spring. Enjoy a wonderful seven days and I will speak to you next week.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post is linked to Eclectic Alli and the Weekend Coffee Share)

Book Review: The Storm by Arif Anwar

For my next read, I picked up one of the ARCs I had received when I attended the OLA Super Conference. The novel, The Storm, was written by debut writer Arif Anwar and interweaves five love stories that chronicle sixty years of Bangladeshi history.

Shaahryar, a recent PhD graduate and father of nine-year-old Anna, must leave the US when his visa expires. In their last remaining weeks together, we learn Shahryar’s history, beginning in a village on the Bay of Bengal, where a poor fisherman and his wife are preparing to face a storm of historic proportions. Their story intersects with those of a Japanese fighter pilot, a British female doctor stationed in Burma during World War II, and a privileged couple in Calcutta who leaves everything behind to move to East Pakistan following the Partition of India.

The structure of the novel mimics a storm and builds towards a series of moving climaxes while it explores the ways in which families love, betray, honour, and sacrifice for one another. The story is grounded in history as it spans decades and moves between two continents. The writing is moving; the words creating beautiful images in the mind.

The beginning of the novel seemed slow-moving, yet beautiful, as I got to know all the characters in the story. Once I knew all the players in the story, I could not help but turn the pages. With the turning of the pages, I grew to understand the upheaval people experienced with the changes in India. I grew to understand a little, as well, the upheaval those experience who need to leave their loved ones behind.

The Storm is a novel I would recommend for those who enjoy reading a little history in their stories. In addition, the heartbreaking tales depicted in this novel conjure a sense of reality and pull at the heartstrings. This is a novel I will not forget quickly.

Do you enjoy reading novels set in India?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This novel was the 26th in my 50 book pledge for 2018)

Grateful for Publishing Showcase

I received an invitation to attend the annual showcase presented by Pembroke Publishers, a publishing house that focuses on education. The line-up of authors presenting their work was varied and the topics interesting. When I arrived last week Wednesday morning, I had a quick bite to eat before the start of the talks. My friend and I were looking forward to the event – it was the first either of us had attended.

The event began at 9am and, from that moment, we were engaged. Each author shared with us a snippet of their book and enthusiastically shared something that we could use to improve our teaching practice in the classroom. The 15 minutes that each teacher author had to speak was inspiring. The time seemed to rush by.

Three authors in particular inspired me:

  1. Literacy out Loud by Terry Campbell and Michelle E. McMartin. At the moment for our Teacher Book Club, we are reading about setting up a writer’s workshop in the classroom. This book will, I think, be a perfect compliment to that text as she believes it is important for the children to orally tell their story before writing it down. .
  2. Guiding Readers by Lori Rog. This text will be set aside for my Summer reading as I aim to improve on my guided reading sessions next year. I feel that I am fumbling when doing guided reading and hopefully this book will guide me with suggestions on how to make my sessions more explicit.
  3. Cultivating Readers by Anne Elliott and Mary Lynch. The speaker was so inspiring on ways to get students reading. I loved the one idea she shared with us and I want to read more.
A Couple of books purchased at the Pembroke Publishers Showcase. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

This week I am grateful for the chance to attend the Pembroke Publishers Showcase. The event was inspiring and gave me the chance to hear ideas from other teachers.

Processed with RookieWhat have you been grateful for this week? Share your comments or the link to your post below.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Book Review: The Little Bakery on Rosemary Lane by Ellen Berry

I loved my previous read by Ellen Berry so much that I had to visit the book store in order to pick up the next novel in her Rosemary Lane series – The Little Bakery on Rosemary Lane. This story centres on Della’s younger sister, Roxanne Cartwright, who is a fashion editor at the top of her game. Her job is her life, until a new boss is brought in shake things up. With her career in turmoil, Roxanne goes back to the quiet Yorkshire village she grew up in. She has braced herself for boredom but soon discovers that Burley Bridge has changed. Lively shops have popped up, including a new bakery that fills the village with the delicious smells of cinnamon and baking bread. She finds herself drawn to the bakery and to Michael, the baker. Roxanne adjusts to village life, and begins to wonder whether her heart really does belong to fashion.

I enjoyed this read and the insight into the story of a woman who comes to the realisation that she may have to change the direction in her life to become more fulfilled. This tale was not as humorous and riveting as the first in the series, but I still enjoyed the story. I did feel as though the ending were a little rushed and wished the writer could have spent more time on it.

I am still a fan of Ellen Berry and look forward to reading the next in the series – which will come out in July 2018.

Do you enjoy reading tales that are a part of a collection?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This novel was the 25th in my 50 book pledge for 2018)

Monster Drawings

My teaching on adjectives using the book Je Veux Un Monstre!  by Elise Gravel did not stop with colouring monsters. (If you missed my post on colouring in monsters, you can click here) The next step in the learning goal was for the students to draw their own monsters. I loved the drawings they came up with – they were so creative. After completing their drawings, and colouring them in, I was happy to see the children using the adjective anchor chart I had up on the wall as well as the key rings with vocabulary cards attached to write down the adjectives they would use to describe their monster.

After noting down adjectives, the next step in the task was to write sentences to describe the drawn monster. After correction, students created their neat copy. These I put up on the wall outside the classroom for everyone to read.

We have stopped working on descriptive writing for a while as we finish our inquiry on structures. When I re-introduce the need to use adjectives, we will be describing objects and living things that can be found in the world.

Which is your favourite monster?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post is linked to The Escapist Colouring Club. You are welcome to join us and share some colouring work)

Share My World: Random Sharing

Do you use paper money? If so is your money organized sequentially according to denomination?

I do – but not too often. Cash is used only at the stores that do not take credit/debit cards. Most times I take out my credit card to pay – or even my debit card. It is so much easier to pay the balance of what I owe at the end of the month. The paper money I keep in my purse for the odd occasion is arranged with the smaller denominations in front.

You are comfortable doing nothing? For long stretches of time?

I do not often sit doing nothing – my fingers always feel the need to do something. The times I do sit still is when I am admiring nature. Or if I am waiting for someone, I spend the time people watching. I find it interesting to see a snapshot of a person going about their day.

What is your greatest strength?

(This question sounds like one of those that are asked at an interview 🙂 )

I am loyal: loyal to my family, and loyal to my friends. My loyalty towards a person, or even a place, is broken only after many hurts and frequent disappointments. I am a person who will do many things for my family and help them when I can.

At work, I am also loyal – especially the longer I stay at a place. I am also passionate about my work and I love what I do. Teaching, to me, is a calling and even when I wasn’t paid well, I knew that I was playing an important part in the community.

041514 sywbannerWhat would you answer to any of these questions?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post is linked to Cee’s Share Your World weekly challenge).