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)

Share My World: Random Sharing

Do you use paper money? If so is your money organized sequentially according to denomination?

I do – but not too often. Cash is used only at the stores that do not take credit/debit cards. Most times I take out my credit card to pay – or even my debit card. It is so much easier to pay the balance of what I owe at the end of the month. The paper money I keep in my purse for the odd occasion is arranged with the smaller denominations in front.

You are comfortable doing nothing? For long stretches of time?

I do not often sit doing nothing – my fingers always feel the need to do something. The times I do sit still is when I am admiring nature. Or if I am waiting for someone, I spend the time people watching. I find it interesting to see a snapshot of a person going about their day.

What is your greatest strength?

(This question sounds like one of those that are asked at an interview 🙂 )

I am loyal: loyal to my family, and loyal to my friends. My loyalty towards a person, or even a place, is broken only after many hurts and frequent disappointments. I am a person who will do many things for my family and help them when I can.

At work, I am also loyal – especially the longer I stay at a place. I am also passionate about my work and I love what I do. Teaching, to me, is a calling and even when I wasn’t paid well, I knew that I was playing an important part in the community.

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). 

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)

Share Your World: A Few Favourites

Sunkist oranges, bananas, pears, apples, and a...

If you could have an endless supply of any food, what would you get?

I would definitely have fruit – of any kind. I enjoy sweet-tasting mango that has been ripened in the sun. A bowl of berries is, for me, the best tasting breakfast or dessert. Biting into a fresh apple is a treat, and eating segments of oranges slake my thirst. I would never be able to go on a diet that excludes fruit.

List at least five movies or books that cheer you up.

Image result for shall we danceFilms that give me that feel-good feeling are those that make me smile and have a wonderfully predictable ending. A few that I can think of are Shall We DanceStrictly Ballroom (though I have not been able to get a copy here in Toronto), Pride and Prejudice, Pretty Woman and Notting Hill.

Books that make me smile are written by women for the women’s fiction genre. Books by Carole Mathews (The Chocolate Lovers’ Club), Marian Keyes (The Break), Sophie Kinsella (Confessions of a Shopaholic), Emily Giffen (Something Borrowed), and Jilly Cooper(Wicked!) are just some of the authors that I turn to when I need some cheering up or if I feel in a slump.

If you were a mouse in your house in the evening, what would you see your family doing? 

Dinner time sees all of us at the table eating together. While eating we share our stories. After dinner is when we separate: My children go and do their homework, my husband either works or watches Netflix on his computer screen, and I watch Netflix or read for half an hour while drinking my tea. Between 9 – 9:30 pm the light in my bedroom is switched off. The other members of the household go to bed MUCH later.

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). 

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)

Share Your World: Life Changing Events

List things or events that changed your life.

  1. Attending university. At the tertiary institution, I found my voice and learned to express my opinion. I had always been a quiet child and at school was hardly noticed. While at university I found my confidence and came to realise that my opinion and actions do count for something.
  2. My first full-time job as a teacher. I chose to work at what, at that time, was labelled a street school: an environment created for high school students in the centre of Johannesburg. Here I taught children who did not have access to schooling in the townships. Teaching children of a race with whom I had hardly come into contact, broadened my horizons. I also felt that I was contributing positively to my society.
  3. Spending a year in Europe. During this time I was completely on my own and I was forced to do things for myself. I certainly grew in independence.
  4. Buying my own home. As a teacher, I did not earn much money in South Africa. To supplement my income, I worked at two other jobs and was finally able to buy a place of my own. I loved living in my own space.
  5. Getting married – to both a man and his child. Getting married and living with someone else forces a person to compromise. Sometimes a lot. And moving in with a teenager was not easy.
  6. Relocating to another country. Luckily I did not have to learn another language – even though Canadian English is a little different to the English I was used to. Learning the ropes and how another country worked was not easy with two toddlers constantly in my company.

Complete this sentence: Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it’s…

Superman! This phrase always makes me think of my childhood and when we used to listen to the stories on Springbok Radio in the afternoon after school. I remember sitting around the radio with my sisters eagerly listening to the exciting tales broadcast over the radio.

What genre of music do you like?

I love any music that I can dance to. There are times when I am in the mood for classical music but that does not happen too often. Currently I am listening to music that is played in Zumba classes. The better you know a song, the better you know the timing and when movement will change. The result? You can listen to the music and allow it to lead you into movement.

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). 

Traces of the Past: An Old Photo

I connected with my half-brother a few years ago over the internet. I had not met him before, even though I had learned of his existence when a young adult. Now we send messages to one another from time to time and, a couple of weeks ago, he sent me a picture of our dad – a picture that had been given to him by one of his cousins.

I had seen pictures of my dad at this age before in family groups but not a close up. It was strange to see this photo as my memory of him is always of when he was older. The next time I visit South Africa, I will need to check whether my uncle has any more of these treasures put away in a cardboard box.

Do you have any old photos of your dad?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post is linked to Paula’s Black and White Sunday)

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)

Share Your World: A Few Favourites

Been anywhere recently for the first time?

It has been a while since I have been anywhere new. I tend to follow my weekly routine with very few changes. A couple of weeks ago, though, I did venture to a school I had not visited before in order to attend a workshop. This I did with a colleague of mine. Together we took the bus and walked the roads in search of the unknown environment. Both supply teaching and workshop attendance has taken me across the city to many school locations.

List three favorite book characters.

I am an avid book reader and have met many characters in my lifetime.

  1. My absolute favourite character is Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice. No matter how many times I read Jane Austen’s novel, I enjoy the repartee between Elizabeth and Darcy. She definitely grows as a character and learns to recognise her prejudice and her pride.
  2. My second favourite character is Frodo Baggins. I enjoyed Bilbo Baggins when I read The Hobbit  by J.R.R. Tolkien as a pre-teen, and was enamoured by Frodo when I read The Lord of the Rings. I love that he is not what one would expect of a hero. And I cannot help but enjoy the adventures that he goes on.
  3. The third character that springs to mind comes from Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Miss Haversham and her eccentricities has always intrigued me. I wonder if a modern woman would react as she did to being jilted at the altar.

What is your favorite non alcoholic drink: hot or cold?

I enjoy drinking tea when I want a hot beverage. My cupboard is stacked with tins filled with a variety of tea leaves. I choose my flavour according to my mood. I have a tea I make for work, a tea I drink after supper, one I have during the day. If I am not feeling well, the tea with ginger does wonders. David’s Tea often sees me walking through the doors to refill my canisters.

To drink something cool, or when I am very thirsty, I down a glass of water at room temperature.

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

I appreciate the people who offer workshops for children. They come into the school and help teachers make a unit of learning interesting for the students. Last week I had a person come in to do a woodworking workshop; this week another is coming in to introduce living things to my class in the form of bugs. The children love these workshops and so do I.

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).