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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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)

Weekend Coffee Share: An Event-Filled Week

wordswag_15073188796611453091488.pngIf we were having coffee, I would welcome you in from the cold. In spite of the mild weather we had during the week, both days this weekend have been chilly – the temperatures did not reach the double digits, but at least they did not drop below 0c!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that quite a bit happened over the past week: my attendance at a publishing house showcase, a school trip to the zoo, and my daughter’s birthday.

During my attendance at the OLA Super Conference, I dropped in at the booth run by Pembroke Publishers – a publishing house that specialises in educational books. I left my name and email address with them so that I could receive emails of new releases. A month ago, they sent me an evite to attend their annual showcase. The lineup looked interesting so I accepted the invitation.

From the time I had a bite to eat for breakfast until the moment I lay down my fork after lunch, I was engaged. A line-up of authors spoke about a tidbit from their book. The talks and snapshots were varied and inspiring. I had invited my friend and ex-colleague to attend the showcase with me – and we both loved it. I left the venue with my head buzzing on ideas to improve my teaching practice. I left as well with a purchase of three titles:

  1. Literacy out Loud by Terry Campbell and Michelle E. McMartin. At the moment for 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.
  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.
  3. Cultivating Readers by Anne Elliott and Mary Lynch. The speaker was so inspiring on ways to get students reading.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that on Friday I went with my class on a field trip to the zoo. As our school mascot is the penguin, we celebrate World Penguin Day (which was on 25 April). This year our principal organised that the entire school had an opportunity to go to the zoo and meet the penguins. On Friday it was the turn of my class. The talk was informative and the children had many of their penguin questions answered. After lunch we had some time to walk about the zoo before heading back to school.

Yesterday was a big day for my daughter – she turned 18! I cannot believe that the little baby that I brought home is now officially a young woman. She had a few friends over to celebrate and eat lunch with her. After we had prepared the lunch, my husband and I went out to give them some time alone. We took the opportunity to see a film we had been wanting to see for a while, Black Panther. We both loved it. I found the fight scenes so graceful. There were a few moments in the film that caused shivers down my spine. Loved the storyline. Loved the acting.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it is now time I do a little reading for the Book Club I am running at school. Speak to you next weekend, and have a wonderful 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)

Weekend Coffee Share: A Cold Yet Successful Week

wordswag_15073188796611453091488.pngIf we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am so happy to see a bit of blue sky today. This past week felt like winter with freezing rain, snow, slippery sidewalks and winter boots! All the adults at work were complaining while the children gleefully played with the snow during recess. By yesterday afternoon about 80% of the snow had melted (though we hadn’t seen much sun). I am hoping that next week we will have a proper Spring.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my colleague and I ran our first Teacher Book Club session on Wednesday. The meeting was well received and people afterwards came to me and said how much they had enjoyed it. I loved how people were sharing their thoughts and even their own experiences in the classroom. I had moved my tables (the children sit in groups at round tables) so that we were in a large circle. We were therefore able to see the faces of everyone as they spoke. There were twelve of us at the first meeting, and I do not think the number will dwindle.

If we were having coffee, I would continue on the subject of work and tell you that our assignments for next year have been decided. I have been given my first choice – which was to continue working with the grade 1 and 2 combined class. I will have more grade 1s in the class next year and plan to adjust my programme accordingly. The bonus is that I shall stay in my current room so I will not need to pack up and move to another space.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the guide book to Paris that I ordered from Amazon arrived earlier in the week. My husband is currently reading it and I think I will need to grab it from him sometime this weekend – there are a few places I want to check out that I did not visit the last time I was in that fair city.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that nothing else has happened this week. The days have followed the usual routine. Hopefully next week will be warmer – and I know will be a little different (I will tell you all about it 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)

Weekend Coffee Share: Vacation Planning Begins

wordswag_15073188796611453091488.pngIf we were having coffee, I would tell you that the weather is awful today! The temperature is down to -10c and we are experiencing freezing rain. This is not the weather one would expect in spring during the month of April. When you think of spring, you think instead of mild weather and blooming flowers. I have not seen many flowers and yesterday when walking in the park, my daughter and I noticed that there were not even buds forming on the trees. The branches are still winter-bare even though they are housing birds.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this week I had a Scientist in the School come into my classroom to run a workshop I love. This workshop is usually my introduction to spring and the inquiry on living things. Even though it was snowing outside during her presentation and spring was not mentioned at all (except the lack of it), the children still enjoyed the experience. The workshop was on bugs and the children had the opportunity to touch an assortment of them. I was surprised that many boys did not want to caress and hold the worms. The highlight of the afternoon was definitely the tarantula that the presenter brought in to visit!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this week we decided where we would go for our summer vacation. We toyed with the idea of going to a resort in Mexico again but then decided to go to Europe instead. We chose Paris as I am the only one who has been to this fair city. Both my husband and daughters are itching to go and I look forward to hearing my girls use the French that they have learned at school. This morning I began planning our days. I have opened a document in Google Drive and started listing the things we would like to see. My intention is to plan, more or less, each day we will have there so that no time is wasted. I am also looking at the cost of entrance fees and how to get to places – especially those places out of Paris. I have ordered a guide book as well as a map from Amazon and cannot wait to receive them.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you to not stay too long. The icy rain is still falling and the roads are extremely slippery. Stay safe for the rest of the weekend.

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)

Weekend Coffee Share: A Short Week

wordswag_15073188796611453091488.pngIf we were having coffee, I would urge you to come inside quickly. The temperatures have dropped and it is quite chilly outside. On Friday it snowed! I could not believe it as it is April already and Spring should have arrived. Luckily I had not put my Winter boots away because I have needed to pull them on for the last few days.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my body is feeling a bit sore at the moment. The teacher for Sh’bam on Saturday has a more intensive choreography than our previous Zumba teacher and, on top of this morning’s class, my muscles are feeling it. Speaking about instructors, we have a new one for the Thursday Zumba class. I like her. Her classes are high energy and she also does a couple of tracks that are Power Zumba. It can be intense. I think she may lose some people – but gain others. I look forward to dancing with her.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this week my class, and all the grade 1 classes, participated in a woodworking workshop. The workshop was set up in my room and we each had a session. The project I chose for the children to do was a windmill. They loved it! They got to build their structure using a hammer and nails. They made an axle and a pulley – it is a perfect way for them to understand the science concepts that I have been teaching them in class.

On Friday, once my room had been cleared, I gave the children the opportunity to paint and decorate their windmills. The room was buzzing with chatter as they worked. Every year that I arrange the woodworking workshop and encourage the children to decorate their windmills, it is a success. The structures are carried home afterwards with pride and placed, I am sure, in a prominent place in their bedroom.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the week did go by quickly – even more so because we had a four day working week. Next week we will be back to normal and will follow our usual routine. All I wish for now is some warmer weather!

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)

Weekend Coffee Share: Easter Weekend

wordswag_15073188796611453091488.pngIf we were having coffee, I would greet you with an Easter wish. The weekend has been busy so far and today I am able to slow down a little. I am feeling quite tired at the moment as I did not have too much sleep last night. My husband and nephew are working tomorrow (Monday), so we decided to have our Easter get together on Saturday evening. That way, we could socialise until late – which is exactly what we did!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I decided to cook one of my husband’s favourite meals for dinner yesterday evening. The meal is a chicken dinner from my French cooking recipe book. I cook the chicken in white wine and add mushrooms and tomatoes in addition to the herbs. It is delicious with rice and a salad. To go with the meal, we had a South African wine that my nephew had found near to where he lives. For dessert, I tried my hand at making mini milk tarts (a South African dessert). They went perfectly with the fruit and cream.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I did not spend all day Saturday cooking and getting ready for our family dinner. I also spent some time reading. I am currently on track for the book pledge (I have pledged to read 75 books this year). It is interesting to see my progress on the 50 Book Pledge website – I love how the books are lined up on a ‘shelf’. If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my week at work leading up to the Easter weekend was pleasant. I still had three children missing from my class as they were still on vacation. It is a pity as they missed a part of the inquiry that we are doing which children normally enjoy. I enjoy this part too as I like seeing how creative my students can be when they build with blocks.

In the upcoming week, the children will have even more opportunity to build – with blocks and with wood. Hopefully all of the students will have come back from any family vacations.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I will hide the Easter eggs for my children this afternoon. Last year I did not buy chocolate for a hunt and they were upset with me. Even though they are now in their late teens, they still want the thrill of the chocolate hunt 🙂

If we were having coffee, I would tell you to enjoy the rest of your weekend – and to not eat too much chocolate!

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)

Weekend Coffee Share: A Calm Week

wordswag_15073188796611453091488.pngIf we were having coffee, I would tell you that the first week back at school was relatively calm. During the entire week I had four children absent (one child was ill while the others were away on holiday). The smaller group was quieter – and there were less little dramas sprouting up during the day. It was a pity, however, that these children were absent as they missed the initial building part of our Structures inquiry.

The week began with building bridges. After looking at pictures of bridges that can be found around the world, children had an opportunity to build a bridge of their own with help from an adult (who was wielding the hot glue gun). The bridges created were simple – with a couple of grade 2s creating more complicated structures.

Once every child had had the opportunity to build a bridge, we moved onto the next building activity. After learning about axles and wheels, the children had an opportunity to build their own moving structure using this simple machine. Most students created a simple car, with one of my grade 2 boys taking the project even further and creating a body on top of his chassis.

This is the first year I have added these activities into my programme – and I loved seeing how much the children enjoyed the building. One of the boys in my class has already told me that his bridge and car are going to go on the shelf in his bedroom as a decoration.

By the time the weekend came around, I was feeling tired. Yes, I know. We have just had a week’s break! I think I will feel a lot better when the temperatures improve. I am tired of the cold and wearing all the winter gear. I look forward to the time when I can walk out the front door without dressing in layers.

Next week will be a short week due to the Easter weekend. My children are already looking forward to it – and I am sure the children in my class will be looking forward to Easter egg hunts.

Enjoy the upcoming week. And may the weather get warmer in the northern hemisphere 🙂

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)

Weekend Coffee Share: A Week of Reading

wordswag_15073188796611453091488.pngIf we were meeting for coffee, I would greet you with a relaxed smile on my face. As you know, last week was March break – a week during which the schools are closed. For one week I could sleep in, do things slowly, and spend time relaxing. The weather was not pleasant (it was grey, cold, and snowy). However, it was perfect for what I wanted to do – which was read. And read I did.

The mornings during the past week were perfect. I slept in (which, for me, is around 7:30am to 8am) and then curled up on the sofa with my current read and a bowl of fruit. Our home was quiet as my teenage daughters slept in until even later (as you would expect of teens, they got up at noon). I enjoyed this quiet time and savoured the stories I was engrossed in. I am a true bookworm and I relish the times I have when I can read to my heart’s content (something which I am not often able to do). During the week I managed to complete a book and read three other stories – one of which I struggled to put down.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that reading is not the only thing I did during March break. I went to the Zumba classes that I cannot attend when I am working. What fun they were! It is such a pity I cannot attend them more often. I also completed some of the games I had created the week before. I spend time laminating them and then cutting them out. It is a lot of work and takes quite a bit of time – but the games can be used for years afterwards.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that today the sun is shining. This afternoon my family and I are going out for a while and we will have an early supper at one of the restaurants my husband enjoys in Chinatown. At least the sun is shining but I do wish that the temperatures were a little higher. I feel that we are counting the days until spring has arrived. I am a little tired of wearing winter boots, a winter coat, and a hat with scarf.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I wish we had another week’s break. I am grateful, though, that we did have this week. At school we will now be entering the last stretch until the end of the school year.

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)

Weekend Coffee Share: The Start of a Break

wordswag_15073188796611453091488.pngIf we were having coffee, I would greet you with a smile on my face even though I had one hour less sleep last night (yes, the clocks have moved forward). I am smiling because it is March break and schools are out for a week. I look forward to a week of taking things slowly, of reading, and of resting.

The week leading up to March break was busy. Surprisingly, the children were not too excited and we were able to get quite a bit of work done. I held off on starting something new in Math and instead focused a bit more than usual on Science. When we return to school from the break, I want to encourage the children to do some building. They will build a simple bridge with popsicle sticks. I have some wheels and just need to figure out how to build something with them using an axle of some sort. Any tips?

On Friday, the last day of school before the break, we had our spirit day. All children – and some teachers – arrived at school wearing their pajamas. The children in my class brought their stuffed animals as well – and some even brought their blankies.

In the afternoon, a film was shown in the gym. I gave my class the option of watching a film in our room – an option which was taken (most of us did not want to have to deal with a noisy gym). Once we had watched for 45 minutes, I gave the children the opportunity to play if they had completed all of their tasks for the week. While they were playing, I tidied up the room. At the end of the day I locked the door to a clean room that is ready to greet all of us when we return to school in a week’s time.

As I am writing this post, I find myself yawning. I think it is time for a little nap to catch up on the hour of sleep I missed last night. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

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)