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)


Weekend Coffee Share: A Winter Comeback

wordswag_15073188796611453091488.pngIf we were having coffee, I would apologise for the late check-in this weekend. I have started reading Lawrence Hill’s novel, The Illegal, and I am finding it hard to put down! I bought this book two years ago with the gift card parents had given me as a Christmas gift, and had placed it on my growing TBR pile. I had read, and loved, his previous novel, The Book of Negoes.. I knew that I would enjoy this one as well and took the opportunity to buy it as a gift.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the end of February felt spring-like. The days were mild, the sun was shining, and the birds were chirping. As March began, however, we were sent a reminder that winter had not quite finished with us yet. During the night of 1 March, snow fell gently to the ground and we woke up to a white-covered world. As I walked through the park on Friday, I enjoyed the peaceful snowscapes – but hoped I would not see any more this season.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this week our school celebrated winter with a carnival of our own. For the day, children did a variety of activities at school such as creating with plasticine, making team flags, playing with large balls, and building with lego. The children were placed into six colour teams (the colours of the Quebec carnival), and supervised during the activities by the teachers and volunteer parents who are not running the stations.

As you can see, I was supervising the purple team 🙂 During the afternoon, the children watched a dance show presented in Freench . My class ended the day with some outdoor play and a story. The kids had fun – but I went home exhausted!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this weekend I worked on some new vocabulary games for my class. Each year I add to the games I have and this year I am in the process of making some to help them learn the science vocabulary for structures. The children enjoy playing bingo and memory game – and they learn the French words quite quickly while having some fun! I am hoping to have the games printed, cut, and laminated by the end of this week. Up to now we have been playing these games learning the shape vocabulary and the children are getting proficient at recognising and naming 2D and 3D shapes in French.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the weekend feels short once again. How I wish we had three days in which to recover from the week! Have a wonderful week and I will catch up again next 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)

Grateful for Thank You Card

When I arrived home on Monday I had a pleasant surprise waiting for me on the table: snail mail that wasn’t a bill or a statement. The envelope was small and a light coloured brown. I could see from the paper that the envelope contained a card of some sort. When I opened it, I saw that inside was a Thank You card thanking me for presenting at the OLA Super Conference. Reading the card warmed my heart and made me smile.

This week I am grateful for receiving a short note which reminds me that my efforts were appreciated.

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

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Playtime Structure

This year I have a group of three grade 1s who are focused when working and finish their tasks ahead of everyone. From time to time I give them the opportunity to play with the blocks, and each time they build something intricate. Last week Friday I captured the beginnings of one of their structures.

Soon I will give them the opportunity to build for our Science inquiry. I look forward to seeing what they can build with the blocks and materials I will offer them in class.

Black-&-White-BannerDo you know anyone who enjoys building with blocks?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post is linked to Cee’s Black and White Photo challenge. The topic this week is Structure.). 

Share Your World: A Brief Look into the Past

What are you reading right now?

This morning I picked up a new read to begin today – The Illegal by Lawrence Hill. I bought this book over the Christmas period last year and placed it on my TBR pile. It is my intention this year to read as many of the unread books lining my shelves as I can. My visits to the library therefore need to be limited – it is difficult not to turn in its direction as I pass the building while on my errands!

What was your first adult job?

The OK Bazaars at Eloff and Pritchard Street. © https://jeancollen.wordpress.com/

My first job ever was when I was 18. I had just completed high school and was eagerly waiting to begin university  in February (in South Africa the final exams for grade 12s finish near the end of November). My mom had heard that there were cashier jobs available at the OK Bazaars, a department store at that time. The store was the large one in Eloff street in the centre of Johannesburg. When I arrived, the hallway was filled with young hopefuls eager to begin work during the Christmas season. The resume which I gripped in my hand turned out to be unnecessary. The woman hiring came through the crowd and randomly picked out people as she passed. Luckily, I was one of them. My first job experience was a tiring one – I stood for 8 hours a day ringing up purchases during the busiest time of the year. My supervisor was happy with me as she kept me on for a month after Christmas to work for the Back to School purchases (the school year in South Africa begins in January). My experience working at the store where we used to shop was a positive one. Never again, however, did I work as a cashier.

 What’s your favorite breakfast cereal?

Image result for pronutroGrowing up, I remember my mom cooking us porridge for breakfast. As we got older, she began buying Rice Krispies and Cornflakes. We did love these cereals but the best, for me, was Pronutro. Pronutro is a South African instant cereal that is maize-based. I loved eating the plain whole wheat one. I would mix in not only milk, but flavoured yogurt as well. This tasty cereal would fill me up until lunch time and keep me going until long after noon. Now that I live in Canada, I am unable to buy my favourite cereal from the supermarket. Every time I go to South Africa, however, I eat Pronutro for breakfast.

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?  

The milder weather during the past week definitely made me smile – and many other people walking on the streets in the city. It is such a pleasure to leave my boots at home and walk hatless for a bit. I love that another winter is nearly over, and that the birds are chirping early in the mornings.

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). 

The Changing Seasons: February 2018

During the month of February, we experienced quite a bit of snow. Many mornings when I opened the curtains, I would be greeted by the following scene:

Early Morning Cityscape during Winter © Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

The air outside looked chilly – and it was. Each morning we bundled up in layers and trudged to our destinations. The playground at the school where I work was covered in snow. Icicles dropped down from the eaves. Winter seemed set to stay.

We did enjoy the snow while we had it, though. The crisp air and the pristine whiteness of the winter landscape is always a pleasure to behold.

February is almost over – and it appears that winter may be too. The last few days the temperatures have been mild and the rain has washed away the last remaining snow and ice. I am looking forward to the change and look forward to storing my winter boots.

What weather did you experience during February?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post was inspired by the Monthly Challenge: The Changing Seasons)

Weekend Coffee Share: A Short Work Week

wordswag_15073188796611453091488.pngIf we were having coffee, I would greet you with a smile. The morning is beautifully mild and I am looking forward to going out for my walk. It does feel like spring has arrived but I know from experience that we will have a cold snap. It has been raining quite a bit during the last week (plenty of indoor recesses) and it looks like we will have more next week.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my body is aching a little. On Thursday I managed to fit in a BodyPump class – the first (and last) one I had attended was during the winter break. I liked the instructor and I think I will be going back. I am sure that, with time, my body will get used to the squats and weight lifting – and then I will not hurt as much! At mid-day I will be going to the gym again for my Saturday group class. I am very disappointed (as are others in my class) that the powers that be have changed the Zumba class into a Sh’bam class. The fitness class is also based on dance – but more contemporary dance and hip-hop. The music is different – and it is only 45 minutes as opposed to 60 minutes. I do not enjoy it as much but I need to give it a chance.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that our work week was short because of the Family Day holiday on Monday. This week the days seemed to fly past. In class I was very busy with my students as we began our new inquiry on structures. We played a number of vocabulary games to learn the names of shapes and they love them – especially the bingo! I am hoping to find the energy this week to make another bingo game to help them learn the Science terms for structures. The children know most of the French words for 2D and 3D shapes – they are almost ready to learn the next set of words. In previous years I have just used flashcards but I have come to realise that the children learn the vocabulary better when they play word games.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am looking forward to my reading time this afternoon. I haven’t had too much time to read this week and my book is starting to get interesting. I am currently reading The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnsonn – a debut novel by a Canadian author.

If we were having coffee, I would say goodbye as I need to get my laundry out of the dryer. I am behind in my morning schedule as the dryer did not dry my load. I thus had to put my clothing in another dryer and have had to wait – once again – for the the cycle to complete.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you to enjoy your weekend and have a good 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 Last Mile by David Baldacci

For the Family Day long weekend, I wanted a novel that would be quick and easy to read. My intention was to spend some time on the sofa reading and I wished for a story I could complete by the time I had to go back to work. When I looked at the books lining my shelf, the choice was easy – I grabbed David Baldacci’s The Last Mile. 

The novel features a character I have met before in Baldacci’s novels – Amos Decker, a detective who has a perfect memory. In this tale, he is hired onto an FBI special task force. With the new team, he is able to take on the case of Melvin Mars, a man who is saved from the lethal injection on Death Row when another man confesses to the murder for which he was charged.

As with all of Baldacci’s novels, the action in this story does not stop. Using his memory and logical mind, Decker thinks of scenarios that can help keep Mars from returning to prison. With the help of the new FBI task force, and Melvin Mars himself, the past is uncovered bit by bit. I chose well, and this novel was a quick read that kept me interested in the story right until the end. Readers of thrillers will love this tale not only because it is action-packed but also because it is well-written.

Have you read any of the Amos Decker stories?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

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

Share Your World: A Question Answered

041514 sywbannerLast week a number of bloggers read my Share Your World post so I thought I would participate again. One of the questions that Cee asked last week was: Did you have a stuffed animal when you were a kid, if so what kind? Thinking back on my childhood, there was no stuffed animal that came to mind. I did not think I walked around with a favourite – but I could be wrong. It was in my mind to check with my mom, but I knew that I may forget to ask her. My mom reads my blog to keep up to date with what I am doing and she kindly answered my question for me on my Facebook page:

I have always been a reader – and it seems like I was one even before I can remember 🙂

Now for the questions that Cee has asked this week:

How do you like your eggs?

I enjoy eating eggs and how I eat them depends on my mood. I enjoy a well-cooked fried egg (runny yolk, but everything else must be cooked), soft scrambled eggs, and hard boiled egg on freshly made toast. Yum! I have eaten poached egg once or twice and have enjoyed the experience. I haven’t tried making it though. Omelettes are a perfect meal for lunch or supper. In the centre I put cheeses and finely chopped onion and tomatoes. Delicious!

Have you ever met anyone famous?

It depends on what your definition of ‘met’ is. I have shaken the hand and greeted some well-known people, for example: Cynthia Ball, a well-known South African painter of watercolour (I have one of her paintings hanging on my wall); and Marion Keyes at her book signing for The Break (of course I have a signed copy of the book).

What was the first thing you bought with your own money?

When I was a teenager, I loved buying records (yes, LPs) of my favourite musicians with my pocket money and birthday money. I remember it used to annoy my mom, but I loved listening to music on my record player. And what else would I spend my money on? Books? I am not too sure spending money on my library would have been any better. 🙂

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?  

This past weekend was a long weekend. Monday was a day which the government created to give families a chance to spend time together during the never-ending cold of winter. I appreciated this weekend as it gave my family an opportunity to spend more time together. We ate a meal together on Saturday to celebrate Chinese New Year; and then we went out for a meal on Sunday to celebrate our son’s birthday at a restaurant my husband and I had not yet been to. The food was delicious, and the atmosphere vibrant.

What would you answer to any of these questions?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

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

Grateful for My Home

Saturday was a frenzy of cleaning house and shopping for our meal to celebrate Chinese New Year. My husband did the bulk of the grocery shopping as he went to Chinatown to get the vegetables that he wanted to cook. By the end of the day, I had fulfilled my part of the bargain – our place was spic-and-span. Hubby had started cooking and I sat on the sofa reading while waiting for our son and nephew to arrive for the family dinner.

As I sat on the sofa, I looked out the window and saw that they were doing their work of keeping the chill at bay. I looked at my surroundings and felt a sense of comfort and happiness for what my husband and I had created – a home. A home in which we felt secure. A home in which we felt loved. A home in which the inhabitants felt happy.

This week I am grateful for my home. Not everyone is able to have a pleasant environment in which they can spend their time. I am lucky that 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