Grateful for Toronto International Festival of Authors

Last weekend I realised, once again, how lucky I am to be living in the city of Toronto. Because I live in this metropolis, I am able to attend events such as the Toronto International Festival of Authors.

On Friday, we went to the first event that we had booked – In Conversation with Miriam Toews. I have not read any of her books but I was intrigued by the synopsis of her latest novel Talking Women. The hall was filled to the brim and I was pleased we had arrived early to get a seat near the front. The talk with the author was interesting (she had grown up in a Mennonite community) and, as she spoke about the story of Mennonite women deciding what to do after a group rape, I knew that I would read her novel.

The second event that we attended last weekend was a panel discussion featuring Kelley Armstrong, Michael Robotham, and Amy Stuart. My cousin had chosen this event as Michael Robotham is one of his favourite authors while I was interested to listen to Amy Stuart (I had read her latest novel Still Water). The panel discussion was riveting and I loved how different (and yet at times similar) the authors answered the questions. I could have listened to them for longer and was disappointed when the time was up.

This week I am grateful for the Toronto International Festival of Authors. The festival has given me the opportunity to listen to some well-known authors – those from Canada as well as those from other countries.

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

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

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Grateful for Shelter

One of the basic human needs is shelter: a place to protect ourselves from the elements, a place to keep warm, a place to call home. During the last two days not only has the temperature dropped dramatically, it has also been wet. Grey clouds have covered our skies, and the wet has been constant. Our weather has reminded us that summer is over and a new season has begun.

As I walked home yesterday I was reflecting on the change of season and how lucky I was to be able to have a place to call home. Each year as the summer surrenders to the cooler weather, I think of the homeless and their daily struggle to find a warm place to rest out of the elements. Each day I unlock the door to my home with relief. A joy that the homeless do not experience.

This week I am grateful to have my home. It may be simple and a little overcrowded but at least I am safe from the outside elements. At least one of my basic needs are being met.

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© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Grateful for Calm Class

For the last three years I have had challenging classes with regards to behaviour and willingness to work. These characteristics required me to be on top of things for the entire year which made for extremely tiring weeks. Last year especially, the mix of children in my class caused a lot of friction between the students.

As we now move into the third week of the new school year, I have noticed that my class this year is a lot calmer than I have had previously. I have not had to diffuse arguments between students in my class; and I have not had to speak to any group of students about the need to include everyone in their games at recess. Today I noticed that many of my students were working together and helping one another with the tasks that they have to do. I love seeing this: each person shares their strength and helps those who are struggling. Only three weeks have passed and yet I am optimistically hopeful that this year will run smoothly.

Helping one another with written tasks. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

This week I am grateful to have a calm class – the first one after teaching the combined grade 1 and 2 class for three years running. May the fourth year be a more relaxed one.

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© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Grateful for Killer Crime Club Event

As you know, I enjoy attending author events. At these events I get to hear the authors speak about their latest novel, the inspiration for their story, and listen to them speak about their writing process. While they are sharing their experience, I also get a little insight into the writers themselves and see a glimmer of what issues are important to them.

On Monday night I went to an event organised by Harper Collins Canada Publishers for their Killer Crime Club. I had read neither of these books, nor any of the other books by Mary Kubica (A. J. Finn was to speak about his debut novel). Their genre is the psychological thriller which I do enjoy reading. The event was set in an old church,  a very dignified setting.

I found the talk interesting. A. J. Finn has a very good sense of humour even though he writes dark thrillers; and Mary Kubica gets up early to do her writing. A. J. Finn plans out his novel before he writes; while Mary Kubica is a ‘pantster’ who writes the story as it comes to her. Karma Brown was the moderator for the panel and she did a wonderful job. The conversation between the three of them flowed and was so natural.

This week I am grateful that I had the opportunity to attend this event. Not only did I get to listen to new (to me) authors, but I also got to see that authors are people just like everyone else.

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© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Grateful for Classroom Space

Yesterday was the first day of the school academic year and, as I walked into my work space, I felt a sense of satisfaction. The room was ready to receive my students: everything was neatly laid out and the room was not cluttered. The space was ready to come to life with young children’s bodies and the presentation of their work.

The first day of school went well. The students’ presence has not yet impacted on the room; but that will come with time. This week I am grateful to have a pleasant space to work in with my students as the classroom environment, I believe, does have a subtle effect on behaviour and learning.

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© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Grateful for Picture Book

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend a Beginning Teachers set of talks organised by the Toronto District School Board. My mentee was unable to attend but I decided to go anyway. I always learn some nugget of information on days like this. In addition, it was a good opportunity to connect with other teachers. I attended a session on play in the Early Years as I will still be teaching grade 1 and 2 in the upcoming year. I also want to improve on my guided reading practice, so I attended a session on this as well.

What I appreciated most from the day, though, was the gift each person received on their arrival – a picture book. Often the books are in English and I cannot use them but this year we received one in English and one in French. The English one I exchanged with someone for the French so I will be able to give my mentee a token from the day. I love the book I received – and I am sure the children will too. I already have an idea of how I am going to extend it. 🙂

A French Picture Book. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

This week I am grateful that I had the opportunity to attend the series of talks but, more especially, I am grateful for the gift of a French picture book.

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© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Grateful for Connections

Processed with RookieDuring the past week and a half, I have been meeting up with people that I have not seen in a while: a cousin that I haven’t seen for 20 years and another in three years; colleagues that I haven’t met up for a year, and another for a month. I have enjoyed the chance to meet up with them during my summer break. When I am working, my days are filled with school-related activities and my weekend filled with chores and getting ready for the week. At each meeting with people from my past, I have spent a couple of hours with the person, chatting with them and seeing their smile. Seeing these people have made me happy and hopefully we will have to opportunity to meet up again in the future.

This week I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to connect with people from my past. Not only have we spoken about the past, but we have also caught up with our present.

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

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Grateful for Husband’s Cooking

As you know, my husband was away for a month. As a result, I was the one to do all the cooking – every day. On Friday my husband came back home and this weekend he took the opportunity to cook. As you can imagine, I was pleased to take a break from the kitchen. For dinner, he cooked a few dishes of stir-fried vegetables (one which was an experiment as he had not cooked it before) which we then ate with rice. As we feasted on his meal, we enjoyed the flavours he had created. As my daughter said, we had missed eating his vegetable dishes with rice.

This week I am grateful for my husband’s return home. I am also grateful that he is still willing to take a turn at cooking over the weekend in order to give me a break.

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© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Grateful For Author Event.

Last week Thursday I was lucky enough to be able to attend another author event at Harper Collins Publishing Canada. I was excited to meet the authors as there has been quite a bit of buzz about these books on twitter. The added bonus was that I got to see once again the breathtaking views from the publisher’s offices:

Listening to the authors Karma Brown, Tish Cohen and Uzma Jalaluddin was so interesting. The women had already presented together at other events resulting in joking and gentle teasing. I loved that they made us laugh – and yet were serious when they told us about the inspiration for their stories and spoke a bit about their writing process and supports. The added treat was when they were signing the copies of our books – they chatted personally with us and were not in any rush to leave. Their manner really endeared me to them.

This week I am grateful for the author event organised by Harper Collins Canada. I love getting to meet authors and speaking to others who love books as much as I do.

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

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Grateful for Internet Connection

It has been strange not having my husband around. After living with a person for just over 19 years, you get used to seeing them everyday day and always having someone around to talk to. Even conversation at the dinner table has been a little different.

Last weekend, my husband had the opportunity to contact us over Facebook messenger. The communication began with texting, and then we managed to have an audio-visual connection. It was good to see his face – he looked a lot better than the last time we had managed to connect. I could see that he was happy to see his family as well, judging by his large smile. Another week and a half and then we will see him in person.

This week I am grateful for an internet connection as it has allowed myself and my family to keep in contact with my husband while he is away.

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

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018