Weekend Coffee Share: A Week Too Short

If we were having coffee, I would welcome you with a tired smile. The heat continued until Wednesday, making outdoor activity a little difficult. My sleep during the week was restless because it was so hot (no, I do not have a/c at home – we rely on fans). For the first three days of the week, I was grateful that I now have air conditioning in my classroom – it makes being nearer the construction on the neighbouring site worth it! The children came in from recess relieved to be in a cool space. Everyone was relieved when the temperatures dropped on Thursday – but were not happy with the rain and the drop to below 10c on Friday.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that on Wednesday I went to a teacher’s workshop to refresh my knowledge on running records and using the reading kit for French Immersion the school board that I work for uses. I went with two of the people I am mentoring. It was good to spend some time with them and to get to know them a little more.

Practising Running Records. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

This year, the school board wants us to focus on reading with the grade 1s. We are to begin working with them early on in the year so that we can avoid them experiencing difficulties down the line. Our admin is supporting us in training us (there are 5 grade 1 teachers) and giving us support to implement the plan laid out by the superintendent. Twice a week for 1 1/2 hours, I have someone coming in to read with the at risk students in my class. Organising the reading and making the assessment more formal will help, I think, with knowing which children need help..

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am going to try Class Dojo, a programme/App that claims to help teachers communicate with parents about what is going on in the classroom, and about their own child. I set up my account yesterday and sent out the invites to all my parents. I hope to begin using it on Monday. I will let you know how it goes and whether it works well.

Class Dojo is set up! © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the teaching week coming up will be four days. Friday is a PA day (professional activity) filled with staff meetings. I would also tell you that next weekend is Thanksgiving here in Canada so many families will be preparing for their family dinners.

Have a wonderful evening and enjoy your week. Our temperatures are forecast to rise – but not as high as they were last week!

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017



Weekend Coffee Share: A Busy Week Flew By

If we were having coffee, I would definitely have the iced version! It is HOT here! Fall/Autumn has begun – and yet we are experiencing a heat wave. This is definitely not my favourite kind of weather. It is too hot to sleep, too hot to relax, too hot to breathe! It seems the heat will stay with us for the next few days. Tomorrow I will envy the children who wear shorts to school.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that we had our Curriculum Night at school last Tuesday. On this evening, teachers have the opportunity to let parents know a little about how things work in their classroom. This year we did things a little differently and had an Open House. I enjoyed it as I had a chance to speak with individual parents as they dropped in during the evening. I think the same format will be followed next year as teachers who are not normally visited (music, gym, library), were greeted by parents. I set up a few centres in my classroom so that parents could see a bit of how the children learn in my room.

During the week I received a new student who was moved from the grade 2/3 combined class. He is extremely shy and does not speak to anyone. I am hoping to help him gain confidence in speaking French, as well as make friends. I have seen him laugh a few times when we are on the carpet and it is a beautiful thing to see.

Last weekend I went to the library to pick up a book for my daughter and saw a tome I could not resist! As you know, I enjoy historical fiction and I quickly grabbed Alison Weir’s novel titled Anne Boleyn, a King’s Obsession. I am finding it  riveting so far – there is so much about her that I did not know. She definitely was a woman ahead of her time who believed that women could do so much more than they were allowed to do in the 1500s. I look forward to seeing how she merged her desires and the expectations society had of her.

As I get ready for bed, I am hoping that I can fall asleep. I will definitely leave the fan running as the heat is unbearable. I hope it is not too hot in your part of the world.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

Weekend Coffee Share: The First Week is Over

weekend coffee share logo hosted at parttimemonsterblog.comIf we were having coffee, I would greet you warmly on this chilly evening. I would tell you that I wanted to chat earlier, but the day seemed to run away from me. I have decided to try and create a new routine and try my hand at blogging in the evening. Maybe this way I can get back into writing.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my first week back at school was tiring. By the time the school year ends, you forget how little the children were when they started off with you – and how dependant they were on you. This year I have more grade 1s than grade 2s – and it does make a difference in the dynamic of the class. The grade 1s are not yet used to working the entire day – and they are not used to participating when we work together on the carpet. It takes a lot of energy in the beginning to encourage them and teach them the routines. I have worked only four days with them and I know they will eventually become independent.

During the first week at school, the children in my class did a number of activities. This week I will be adding even more to their routine.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that Saturday was welcomed so that I could rest a bit. I did not give Zumba a rest, though, and found the class rejuvenating. The fitness club I attend has put out a new Fall schedule and I am happy to say that a few more Zumba classes have been added. Most of them are during the day but I am able to attend the one on Sunday morning. Guess what I was doing this morning 🙂

If we were having coffee, I would wish you a wonderful week. I know that I am going to get to know my class more – and attend my Zumba classes. I am also hoping to get some blogging in. Enjoy the rest of your evening. Goodnight.

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 Diane, The Part-Time Monster)

Weekend Coffee Share: A Fulfilling Week

Weekend Coffee Share | Nerd in the Brain (4)Good morning to you and welcome. A cup of something warm would be appreciated as it is still a little chilly outside. Afternoons are warming up and some brave people – and many children – are going outside in their short sleeves.

The past week has been busy and yet fulfilling. I am getting everything ready so that I can put a final mark next to the work my students have done during the second half of the year. I have read with most of them, given them their final writing “test’, and organised all their work. In the upcoming week I shall listen to them speak with a view of giving them a mark, and complete the final Science activity for the report card. I am hoping by the end of next week to have all of the marks recorded so that on Friday (the PA day set aside for reporting), I can complete my report cards. If everything is in place and I focus, I know that I can do it!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I tried a new activity with my students during the past week and it worked very well. For our inquiry on animals, I took out non-fiction books on a range of creatures from our school library. I asked the children to choose a book to do research on an animal of their choice. With the help of sentence starters, they took down notes to record the information they had found. With this information, they wrote a paragraph which I then corrected.

Researching Animals © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

The fun part of the activity was when the children worked on their neat copy. They typed their paragraph into an app using the iPad. I had previously taught them how to use Piccollage and many of them were able to work independently.

They chose their background, font, and searched on the Web for appropriate pictures. I enjoyed reading their final copies as much as they enjoyed making them.

Next week, we will move onto the life cycles of animals. Once again, children will be researching their animal as well as using the iPad. But that story will be told next week.

Today the sun is shining and the skies are a beautiful pale blue. I am going out now to buy some groceries, pop into the library, and then go to my Zumba class. I look forward to the rest of my day (which will include some time relaxing and reading). May you have a wonderful day too.

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)

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)

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)

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)

Weekend Coffee Share: A Short Week

Weekend Coffee Share | Nerd in the Brain (4)Good morning everyone. Hope you are well this Saturday. It is gloomy outside and walking about the streets requires an umbrella today. Not the perfect weather but at least it is warmer than it was in the beginning of the week.

This week it was FREEZING in my classroom – so cold I was tempted to wear my gloves to keep my hands warm. It felt warmer outside even though the temperatures outside weren’t too high either. The second week of April is when the heating is switched off in the school and the next few weeks will not be pleasant until the building warms up naturally. In the meantime even the children are wearing sweaters – and the tissue box is handy.

On Monday night our Zumba instructor was unable to teach – and they could not get a substitute. Instead we had a BodyAttack class – it is a high impact class featuring a lot of running and strength exercises. He said he would go easy on us. I don’t know what difficult is because the class was HARD! A good experience, even though my body ached for three days afterwards.

I was grateful that we had a short working week. I felt tired and knowing this fact kept me going strong. Yesterday I did a lot of resting and I feel much better today.

Now I am off to Zumba. I am really enjoying the classes and have reached the point where I keep hearing the music in my head. I remember when I used to dance – I would hear the music in my head and dance in my head as well. I am sure that once I know the choreography, I will be doing Zumba in my mind while I am walking, and in my  sleep!

Doing Zumba has definitely helped me with my sleep. It is rare now that I lie awake for hours in the early hours of the morning. I like that I sleep well and begin a day well-rested. When I am not tired I do have more patience with the children I teach and with my family members. I do not see myself stopping this form of exercise. And the bonus is that I do not need a partner to continue it!

After my exercise class, I will get things ready and do a little shopping for tomorrow’s dinner. I enjoy our Sunday family dinners – and the bonus will be that Monday is no school 🙂

I wish you a wonderful Easter Sunday with your family (if you celebrate this holiday). Do not eat too many of those chocolate eggs!

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)

Weekend Coffee Share: A Good Ending

Weekend Coffee Share | Nerd in the Brain (4)If we were having coffee, I would greet you with a smile on this gloomy morning. Our temperatures have been down this week. They have crept up a little in that we had rain the entire day yesterday instead of snow. It is still chilly outside and I cannot put my winter coat away yet, but at least we are experiencing one sign of Spring – rain!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my week began with a Math workshop. The session was interesting and I jotted down a few ideas to put into practice once I have completed my current inquiry with the children. I have placed the sheet with my ideas in a place of prominence on my desk so that I do not forget to follow through 🙂

This week I managed to catch up with the documentation of my students’ work. Yahoo! Now I need to work on creating a new documentation panel outside of my classroom. We have been working on adjectives in class and I intend to put up a board showcasing the writing produced by my grade 1s and 2s.

The work week ended with a school wide trip to the cinema. Under the current principal, we have a yearly tradition of going to the cinema that is a 10 minute walk from the school. This year we went to see “Boss Baby”.

Not only did the kids laugh during the movie, but the adults chuckled too. We had a fun morning eating popcorn for snack while watching the film. And the afternoon? My students were hyped on sugar (they had fruit candy and a very sweet Fruitopia drink with their popcorn at the movies) and found it difficult to focus and do much.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the school week ended well and that I woke up refreshed this morning. Today at midday I am going to try another Zumba class – I am ready to add another session to my exercise schedule. The floor space at this gym is a lot smaller than where I usually go so I am hoping that there are not too many people. While I am in the area, I will also take the opportunity to stop by the library – the pile next to my bed is almost done 🙂

Enjoy your weekend and have a fantastic 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)

Weekend Coffee Share: March Break

Weekend Coffee Share | Nerd in the Brain (4)Ahh, good afternoon. The day has been busy so far – I have been exercising, shopping, and doing the laundry. The snow has been falling wetly outside and it is a lot chillier than I thought it would be. Now is the perfect time for a cup of coffee or tea. Which would you prefer? I think I will reach for the Cinnamon Rooibos this afternoon. I am in the mood for a little spice.

This week the school’s have been closed for March Break. There are a few people who call this week off a Spring break but, alas, it is not the correct term for it. The week began with ‘feels like’ temperatures of -17c; temperatures that encourage a person to wish that the warmer season was just around the corner!

On those cold days I spent time curled up on the sofa reading the books I had checked out of our local library; or relaxing with my feet up watching Bones on Netflix and crocheting. Even though it was cold, I did not give my Zumba class a miss – and even went to the noon one offered on a Tuesday. I am really enjoying the dance fitness exercise classes. I am getting fitter and no longer look at the clock on the wall 10 minutes into the session.

The highlight of the week was when my friend came to visit me. She lives quite a distance from where I am and therefore I do not see her very often. Seeing her was wonderful – our friendship picked up from where we had left off the last time we saw one another. It was sad to say goodbye and see her go home. We will see one another again in the Summer – three and a half months is a long time to wait!

Thursday and Friday the weather was beautiful. It was a lot warmer than it had been and the sun was shining. I took the time to go spend a few hours in my classroom. I have been wanting to sort though my cupboards and clear out the things I don’t use. I did not do everything that I wished to, but I made a head start. This morning I bought some more plastic sleeves so that as I go through the boxes of papers I have, I can file what I want to keep. It was peaceful working in my classroom and making some headway with no interruptions.

I am ready for the week to start on Monday. I will spend the rest of the weekend completing my household chores and stocking up the fridge for the week.

Hope you have a good one.

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)