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.

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© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

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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.

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© 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.

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© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Grateful for IMAX Showing

As a teacher, I was invited by the Ontario Science Centre to a viewing of their new IMAX films: Pandas and Oceans: Our Blue Planet. The event took place last week Wednesday evening after the Science Centre had closed for the day. Once I had checked in and the doors to the cinema had opened, I found a seat and settled in to experience an IMAX film for the first time.

What an experience! Not only was the documentary interesting, but the experience too was astounding. I felt like I was in the mountainous forests in China, and in the depths of the ocean. The experience was unlike anything I had ever seen.

This week I am grateful for the teacher opportunity given to me by the Ontario Science Centre. Next year when I am planning my Science units, I will definitely have a look to see what times these films are showing. I think my students would love the experience.

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© 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.

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© Colline Kook-Chun, 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.

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© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Grateful for Spring Days

For the last few days the weather has been perfect! Blue skies, no strong winds, temperatures in the double digits – and no snow!Going outside has been a pleasure. Shedding hats and gloves, pedestrians have a spring in their step. Our neigbourhood park has more visitors of the small human variety. A green sheen is now coating the grounds I walk past. My step certainly has a spring to it and I cannot help but think of my favourite composition by Vivaldi – a beautiful expression of what I am feeling with the warmer weather:

This week I am grateful for the arrival of spring and the warmer temperatures.

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© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Grateful for Unexpected Gift

A couple of weeks ago one of my parents gifted me with some money to buy something I need for the classroom. Without hesitation, I knew what I would purchase – a copy of the book I had wanted for a while now: Iggy Peck l’Architecte by Andrea Beaty. I will use this story as a springboard for the final task in my Structures inquiry. It is the perfect tale to show the children the design process that I will take them through.This week I am grateful for the generosity of a parent who wants to give to her child’s class. The purchase of this picture book will not only help enrich her son’s learning, but the learning of many children in the future.

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© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Grateful for Biltong

On Monday afternoon at dismissal, one of my parents gave me a thoughtful gift. The gift? Biltong – a South African snack of lean meat that has been cut into strips then dried and salted. This snack is not easily found here. What I have bought previously has not been salted and spiced correctly. Beef jerky (the American equivalent) does not compare. The packet I received on Monday was perfectly cured and brought to my mouth a taste of home.

Authentic South African biltong found in Toronto. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

You may be asking yourself why the mother of my student would give me such a gift. My student’s father grew up in South Africa, Johannesburg in a suburb that I know well. We have reminisced together about places and foods we had once eaten. He mentioned once that he had found the perfect tasting biltong at a butchery not far from where we live. He must have relayed our conversation tto his partner as the next packet his wife bought (who is not from South Africa), she passed onto me.

This week I am grateful for the thoughtfulness and kindness of a woman who understands what it is like to miss the tastes from your home country. I am thankful to have tasted a little of my past and to have savoured a snack I had not eaten and enjoyed for five years.

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© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Grateful for Teacher Evening At the TMC

Processed with RookieA few weeks ago a teacher friend of mine forwarded me an invitation to the Textile Museum of Canada (TMC) in Toronto.The invitation was for a teacher’s evening at the museum which meant we had a little snack, listened to a talk on what the museum has to offer as school trips, and had a tour of the current exhibits.

The Textile Museum currently has two exhibits. I had already seen one and looked forward to seeing the other by Jane Kidd, a textile artist based in British Columbia, Canada. Her work is sold in galleries across the country so what we saw in the museum is her own private collection.

The artwork is beautiful – vibrant and inspiring. I enjoyed the evening soaking up the art, as well as chatting to my friend who no longer works at the same school I do. This week I am grateful she invited me to go along to the exhibit with her.

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

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018