Weekend Coffee Share: More of the Same

If we were having coffee, I would greet you with a resigned smile. We have now passed the 2 month mark of the social distancing and stay-at-home mandate – and the ending of this seems so far away. Ontario is moving into stage 1 of loosening the noose on Tuesday 19 May, but that will not in any way alter my current lifestyle. I cannot help but sigh as I look forward to another two weeks of remote teaching. It has not yet been confirmed whether or not we will go back to school on the 31st May – I am thinking we will be told in a week or so. Somehow I don’t think we will.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that tomorrow is a public holiday in Canada – Victoria Day – and yet it will seem the same as every other day. Tuesday will be filled with meetings as we discuss where we are going to place children for next year’s classes. I think that doing this remotely may be a bit of a challenge but we will do the best for the kids in our class. I am wondering what next year is going to look like and what the impact of the COVID-19 virus will have on our practice. At least the monotony of Tuesday will be broken by our small celebration for my youngest daughter who is turning 19 years old. My plan is to buy her a cake and to cook one of her favourite meals.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the remote teaching is becoming easier – but there are times when I am out of ideas to keep my students engaged. They do love my Google MEET sessions with me and sometimes when talking with them, their chatter inspires an idea to take seed in my brain.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that not only am I uninspired to create classes, but also to write blog posts. This past week, no ideas sprang to mind but I am hoping that the upcoming week will be better. The temperatures are slowly inching up so I am thinking it is time to set up our balcony which will give us another space to work in. Luckily our wifi reaches the space so we can take our laptops outside to work. Maybe breathing in the fresh air and sitting at a different table will be inspiring.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am reading (too much!) and am working on a crocheted afghan (while listening to audiobooks). I am also still enjoying my morning walks in the neighbourhood which have definitely become a part of my daily routine. I am looking forward to the time, though, when I can meet with friends and share a cup of tea or coffee in real time.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

(This post is linked to Eclectic Ali and the Weekend Coffee Share)

Weekend Coffee Share: Closures

If we were having coffee, I would settle in for a lengthy chat as it has been a while since we got together. February was a difficult month: the school walkouts and picketing in below zero temperatures did take a toll on my physical and mental health. March has led to me recuperating and the strike action to being more school-centred. Negotiations are finally under way and I am crossing my fingers that an agreement is reached soon. We all want to continue doing what we love with no restrictions – working for the best of our students.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that yesterday schools broke for March Break (or spring break as it is known in other places). On Thursday evening I learned that March Break would be extended for another 2 weeks as all publicly-funded schools would close. In addition, yesterday it was announced that all public libraries, public recreation centres, and ministry-owned daycare centres would also be closed for the three week period. In addition, public museums and tourist hotspots would also be closed. My daughters came home last night with the news that their university has closed until the end of the academic school year – and that all their courses will now be online.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I hope all of these closures work at preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. What it has certainly caused is a mild panic among some people as some shelves in the supermarket have been cleared of their stock. Hopefully people will soon calm down and realise that these are only preventative measures.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I will be spending March Break a little differently to what I planned. I will not be going to the cinema but still plan to spend some time with my friend. Many events have been cancelled but coffee shops are still open. My daughters will need space to do their work so I will make plans to give it to them.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it is starting to feel like spring and that I am hoping to soon see flowers growing in gardens. The change of season brings a thread of hope into the panic that is currently occuring world-wide

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

(This post is linked to Eclectic Ali and the Weekend Coffee Share)

Weekend Coffee Share: A Strange Week

If we were having coffee, I would admire the falling snow with you that I see through the window. I enjoy it when the snow falls as the world seems to be quiet and at peace. In a little while, I will need to go out and do my weekly grocery shopping and I will enjoy the walk because not much snow has fallen and I will not struggle too much with the shopping cart. Yesterday sidewalks were cleared so walking is made a little easier.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the week was strange because I taught for only three days of the week. On Thursday and Friday, the elementary teachers in Ontario, Canada walked out of the classrooms to protest the changes that the government are proposing to public education. Yesterday I posted a summary of my experience which you can read here.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I planned and wrote yesterday’s post early in the morning. However I was having some issues with uploading my photos I managed to publish quite late in the day so many of you will have missed my summary. For some reason, the comments weren’t open – which I have now rectified. I love having the comments open on my posts as conversation is what I enjoy most about blogging.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that on Wednesday after school I went to a teacher’s evening at the textile museum. We were given a tour of their new textile exhibit which features the printing on fabric in the past by the indigenous peoples in Canada. I enjoy these evenings as they are informative and I enjoy seeing the creativity of people when they work with fabric. My intention is to work on a post this week so that I can share with you some of my favourite pieces.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this weekend I am recovering from being outside in the cold (and the below 0c temperatures) for 4 hours two days in a row. My throat is scratchy and I am coughing. I am trying to recover quickly as the upcoming week brings with it more picketing – unless the government moves towards the bargaining table. We do not have any hopes though that this will happen.

If we were having coffee, I wish you a wonderful day and the best week.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

(This post is linked to Eclectic Ali and the Weekend Coffee Share)

Weekend Coffee Share: A Quick Summary

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it is snowing right now. The weather was very kind to us during the past week temperature-wise and I am hoping that the snow does not bring frigid temperatures with it because in the upcoming week, we are going to be picketing again. Winter is definitely not the best time in which to have an altercation with the government – it gets too cold outside! Negotiations did begin again during the week but by Friday, they had fallen apart. The plan is to walkout for two days this week. We will see if it will make a difference.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that on Thursday and Friday I went to the OLA Super Conference again. I enjoy going there every year as I get to speak to publishers as well as authors. I met up with a teacher friend of mine who no longer teaches at the same school as I do, and we had some time to catch up. It was great seeing her and having lunch together.

Before the OLA conference, I was lucky enough to get tickets to attend a Harper Collins event on Wednesday evening in their offices. I took a friend of mine with me and we had a wonderful time listening to the author speak as well as catching up on our news. I look forward to reading the book the publisher gifted us with as it deals with postpartum depression. If you missed my post, you can read it here.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I spent the morning working on my bullet journal. I am really pleased with my spreads and will share them with you sometime this week. They do take a bit of time to set up but I think it is something I will continue to do as I do find the activity relaxing.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am now off to do Zumba with a friend. Her building has a lovely yoga studio with the perfect floor and we have now taken to exercising in there. It is great fun! I wish you a wonderful week – many it be filled with positivity.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

(This post is linked to Eclectic Ali and the Weekend Coffee Share)

Weekend Coffee Share: A Little Catch-Up

If we were having coffee, I would greet you with a big smile as it has been a while since we have had coffee. I have no excuse for my lack of commitment except to say that the weekends have, for the last month or so, been a time when I have avoided any computer screens. I have instead been journaling and enjoying the creative process that this activity brings. This coming week, I will share a little of what I have done with you. It is a relaxing activity and one that reminds me of the hours I spent as a teenager drawing and practising my calligraphy.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that since our last chat I have been on a break from school as well as celebrated Christmas in the warm climate of the Dominican Republic. I am still sporting browner skin but the memory of the warm sun on my skin seems like a memory. Instead it has been cold in the city I live with icy winds, sleet, and snow.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am back in my routine at school – the deadlines very quickly make a person feel as if a vacation hasn’t happened! On Friday we had a PA day on which we wrote report cards. As we are currently in strike action mode, we are not expected to spend hours crafting comments and inputting these into the system. Instead, we are recording grades on a class list. It makes for a less stressful and time-consuming experience.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that negotiations with the government have stalled and they are not negotiating in good faith. Up until today, we kept our fingers crossed that the situation would change. Alas, nothing has so we will walk out tomorrow. All schools in my school board will be closed and the teachers will be walking the picket line. Tomorrow is forecast to feel like -20c so I do not think it will be a pleasant experience! However, it is important for us to show solidarity and I am sure all of my colleagues will be with me in front of our school standing up for what is important.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I plan to spend some time reading this afternoon. For some reason, I am feeling tired this afternoon and will take the time to relax.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

(This post is linked to Eclectic Ali and the Weekend Coffee Share)

Weekend Coffee Share: A Long Weekend

If we were having coffee, I would wish you a wonderful Easter – or Passover – if that is what you celebrate at this time of year. This weekend has not only been a time of reflection, but also a period in which to relax. I have been feeling quite tired recently and looked forward to 4 days of no work.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that Friday afternoon was spent sleeping. After my nap, I left the papers I had brought home to correct in my bag. They still remain carefully organised on the sofa and will probably see light of day tomorrow. I am a little behind on my marking and will take the opportunity during this long weekend to catch up a little while listening to some music.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that yesterday I met up with a close friend of mine. It had been a while since I had last seen her and we spent hours talking. How I wish we lived nearer to one another so that we could meet up more often. Good friends are definitely treasures to have in one’s life and, to me, she is definitely one of my favourite people.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that now my girls are older, I no longer organise an Easter egg hunt for them. I also do not buy them loads of chocolate. This year I offered each family member a small packet of Lindt chocolates instead of the requisite Easter rabbits and chocolate eggs. These chocolates will definitely be savoured more, I think, than the sugary offerings that line the store shelves.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am finally going to take the time to figure out how to download/upload some of the music that I have chosen for my practical exam. I currently have 40 minutes of Zumba choreography and will soon I will have enough for an entire class. Maybe another month of practice and I will be ready? On Thursday my Zumba instructor asked me to take over her class quickly for a song – and happily I remembered all of the dance moves! 🙂

If we were having coffee, I would wish you a wonderful week ahead. Schools are closed on Monday so I will have another day at home. 🙂

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to Eclectic Alli and the Weekend Coffee Share)

Weekend Coffee Share: A Cold and Sickly Week

Join us for some coffee time!If we were having coffee, I would greet you with a tired smile and a bit of a cough. This week my body insisted on resting and saddled me with a cough and runny nose. I guess it was my turn to get sick! I still went into school as my students were presenting their projects during the week and I needed to be there to assess them. They did a good job with their projects and they were so excited to share what they had learned about one of their ancestral countries. I plan on inviting the parents into the classroom next week to come and have a look at what the children have done – and for the children to have the opportunity to share what they have learned with parents.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the weather this week has not been too pleasant. After a very mild weekend, the temperatures dropped and with it came precipitation in the form of ice pellets and snow. We experienced a couple of days in which we had indoor recess. I made sure the children had an opportunity to get rid of their excess energy by putting on Just Dance for them. Most of the kids enjoy this activity though there are some who do not enjoy moving their bodies.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I read a Middle Grade novel during the past week – Inkling by Kenneth Oppel. I really like his writing and loved this story. Keep a look out for my review this week if you are on the look out for a wonderful story for 7 – 12 year olds.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that on Monday evening my family and I went to dinner to celebrate the start of the Chinese New Year. We had a wonderful time eating delicious food. I loved the atmosphere in the restaurant and could not resist snapping a few pictures of their decorations.

We ate until we were too full – definitely too many dumplings! As always, we enjoyed the variety of the buffet and ended the meal with a few bites of dessert.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I intend to rest this weekend and hope that by Monday my throat will no longer be aching.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to Eclectic Alli and the Weekend Coffee Share)

Weekend Coffee Share: Tidying Up

Join us for some coffee time!If we were having coffee, I would welcome you in quickly from the cold. The temperatures here have dropped quite rapidly: Tuesday I was overdressed and felt too warm the entire day but that changed on Wednesday with the colder weather. The last few days it has felt like winter, and what you would expect of January here in Toronto. We haven’t had much snow, though, just a few flurries. The snow that has managed to stick, has melted very quickly. I do miss having snow during winter as the surroundings are very grey without it – bare trees and brown grass in the parks do not brighten up the concrete buildings and sidewalks.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my day on Tuesday ended with a highlight. I attended an event organised by Frenzy Presents of Harper Collins Canada. (If you did not see my post, click here). I enjoyed the event as I always do. It was fun to go out for a little and meet another author (whose book I loved, by the way. If you want to read my review, click here). The key lime pie we ate was also very tasty. It was my first time trying it and it is definitely a pie I will eat again.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that during the past week I did quite a bit of organising of my students’ work. My aim this week is to write their report cards – which are due in 2 weeks time. I have been recording their results; and testing their oral, reading and writing skills. It is not an easy task as I try my best to put the correct symbols next to their name.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that by the end of the school week, I felt like I had not had a break. This is a busy time of year as we get everything sorted to write the report cards. Teachers are closeting themselves in their rooms during lunch times as they work towards the upcoming deadline. After the deadline has been achieved, things at school will be a little bit more relaxed.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I foresee a busy week ahead. I know that I am going to have to focus and stick to my goals of the day so that I do not get stressed. I wish you a wonderful week ahead – may it be a stress-free one.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to Eclectic Alli and the Weekend Coffee Share)

Weekend Coffee Share: A Fall Week

Join us for some coffee time!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it definitely feels like Fall. The temperatures is consistently staying lower and I have had to wear coat and gloves when going outside. Inside our apartment it has also been cold. After complaining, however, the problem has been fixed and now we are warm and toasty in our home.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am enjoying the Fall colours. Even though I live in the city, there are places where I can see the beautiful colours in the trees. One of the spots is in our school yard. This week, I went outside with the children and they spent some time searching for leaves so that they could work on an in class project. They had such fun searching for a variety and, once the bin was filled, they had extra time to play outside in the crisp air.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that on Wednesday I took a break from the classroom and attended a teacher’s workshop on guided reading. Guided reading is an area I want to work on this year as it is so important to get he children reading. Our school board has a vision of getting all grade 1s reading by the end of the year – which is why the grade 1 teachers have been given guided reading tables and are being sent on workshops. The session on Wednesday was a little disappointing as they spoke on the Daily 5 – something which I am already implementing in my classroom. I have been promised that the second session will be more of what I want. I will attend it with my grade 1 teacher colleagues next month.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that last night I went to another author talk presented by the Toronto International Author Festival, and that I will attending another this evening. I am really enjoying these sessions and will definitely attend more next year.

If we were having coffee, I would be saying goodbye. It has just gone past 11am and I need to get ready for my exercise class. When I get back I will work a little on some book reviews before going to the author event. My read books have been piling up and I haven’t had a chance yet to sit at my computer and write down my thoughts on these book. Tomorrow it is my intention to complete my report cards as they are due on Tuesday.

If we were  having coffee, I would wish you a wonderful weekend – and a Happy Halloween. 🎃👻😈

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: Culture and Dance

Join us for some coffee time!

If we were having coffee, I would greet you with a tired smile. Even though the work week was short (we had Thanksgiving on Monday), my days – and nights – were were filled to the brim with a visit to the Art Gallery and a danceathon in aid of charity.

On Wednesday evening I had the opportunity to view a new exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario. The evening was set aside for teachers, the idea being that we might be interested in taking our classes to the exhibit. The evening began with a talk about the photographer’s work and what he had hoped to achieve with showing his work. The title of the exhibit is Anthropocene and it showcases the changes that humanity has made on the earth’s landscape.

The talk and the exhibit was extremely interesting. It is not an event I would take my class to as I believe they are to young to appreciate it. I would, however, do so if I taught older children.

During the week my husband and I celebrated the fact that we have been married for 19 years. We decided to go to a movie – just the two of us. On Thursday evening, I took him away from his computer and his work to see A Simple Favour. We thought it might be an action movie (my husband loves watching these) but instead it turned out to be a psychological thriller. The story had quite a number of twists in it – just like the novels that I enjoy reading.:)

The late nights were catching up to me (I am normally asleep by 9:15pm), so I was a little bit slow on Friday. On Saturday, however, I looked forward to participating in my first ever dancathon. The event had been organised by some Zumba / Sh’bam / Body Jam teachers at the Gym chain that I belong to. The event was part of a group of events that have been organised to raise money for children with special needs.

The event was fun and the two hours passed quickly. My body felt tired afterwards though, and a little stiff once I had cooled down. When I got home, I could not believe the amount of steps that my fitbit had recorded – this is the most I have moved since I got the watch.

The weekend is almost over. I am on my way to see my cousin then I will come home to complete my weekend chores. The past week has been a pleasant one – and I look forward to what the next week will bring. May your week be a wonderful one.

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)