Square in September: Pink Blooms in Luxembourg

It is a cold, blustery day today with the threat of rain hanging in the sky. I cannot help but think back on the warm days of summer in Paris and the time I spent with my family. On one of the days we spent in the beautiful city, we went to the Luxembourg gardens to see the park. We loved the beautiful flowers which were a perfect accompaniment to the view of buildings many hundreds of years old.

Looking at the sun-filled and colourful photographs reminds me that summer will come around again in 10 months.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post is linked to Becky’s Square Challenge, Square in September. This month we are posting pictures featuring in the pink, i.e., photos featuring the colour pink,  something ‘in the pink’ of health, or those which leave you ‘tickled pink’)

Weekend Coffee Share: A Week Long Heat Wave

Join us for some coffee time!

If we were having coffee, I would greet you with a smile. The heat wave has finally broken and we are feeling a lot cooler. The past week was difficult as it was too hot to do much of anything. My daughters and I spent the first week of the summer break sitting in front of the fans trying to cool down. Sleep was difficult and we woke up every morning drenched with sweat.

I managed to do quite a bit of reading this week and completed three novels – many of which I have been waiting to read for a long time. It was a very pleasant feeling to read guilt-free as I had no deadlines to complete, and no work responsibilities. This upcoming week, however, I will not do as much reading as I prepare for our family vacation to Paris. I will begin packing at the beginning of the week to ensure that we have everything that we need. I like to give myself a bit of time to pack so that I can still shop for the essentials that we need and do not have at home. I will also spend time on our itinerary and fine-tune the details of what I have already planned.

My week has been very low-key – perfect for the start of my school break. I have gone to a few more exercise classes than I normally do. I like being able to go during the day as the classes are not as full and there is more space to move on the floor. Inn addition, I get to experience different instructors and different routines.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you to enjoy your week. May your days be not too hot, nor too cold.

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)

Summer is Over

Summer is over and tomorrow I will go back to my normal routine. It is unbelievable that the past two months have gone by so quickly!

As you know from my last post, my mother came to visit us. Her stay lasted two months of the summer and we kept busy: chatting, sightseeing, shopping, sewing, spending time together. I am sure you noticed that summertime did not include blogging. Lack of social media output had not been my intention but I did find it difficult to include time to spend in front of my laptop during my mom’s visit.

When my mom left, I took a few days to rest  – and to participate in my favourite past time. I curled up on my favourite spot in the living room and read a few books on my to-read list. Once that time was over, and some errands had been completed, it was time for me to get ready for back-to-school. As you may remember, construction is happening next to our school. During the summer, the school board prepared for this and did a lot of construction at the school itself.

The grounds at our school were changed and improved on. New windows were installed and many classrooms received air conditioning units. My classroom was painted (finally!) as were a few others. Due to the construction, we were not allowed on the premises until last week.

When I stepped into my room it was a mess. I noticed that not only a white film of dust layered everything in the room, but also that some of my cupboards had been emptied. I sighed and began the huge task of getting the room in order. The last week of my summer was spent at the school and ended with me finally having the space ready to receive my new students tomorrow.

I look forward to the new school year and getting back into my routine. I have restarted my exercise routine and hope to pick up my blogging routine once I am back at work. The summer is over (as we can feel from the cooler weather) and it was one well spent.

How did you spend your summer?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

Grateful for Water

Water dropping from a tap.
Water dropping from a tap. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This year has been a hot summer! Heat waves, thirst and sweat are words used to describe the last few weeks. Thirst has been combated by a tall glass of cool, refreshing water; sweat has been slaked off by the rush of water coming from the shower head. Living in the city in a developed country, I am blessed to have the water that I need at the twist of a tap. There is no need for me to walk long distances to fetch the water I need and then carry it home. It is not necessary for me to boil the water before I drink it. This week I am grateful for water that is clean and easily accessible.

What have you been grateful for this week?

Processed with RookieLast week:

Lavender Ladi was grateful for lists

Laura was grateful for small arms and gentle hugs

Claire shared a list of things that she was grateful for last week.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(Join me and share something that you have been grateful for in the past week. Link up with my post so that I know you have participated)

School Prep

This year I will be teaching a different age group of children: a combined class of grade 1 and grade 2. The timetable and many curriculum expectations for these grades are different to kindergarten and, in order to be ready for the first day of school, there were some school preparation activities I did during my summer break.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

I created pen/marker/pencil holders with recycled materials. For a while I had been collecting the tins of canned food (tomato puree, tuna, chick peas). I soaked the cans in bleach to get rid of any food smell residue. Then I cut wallpaper to size from a roll I had picked up at a recycling depot. Covering the paper with sticky plastic to protect it, I smoothed it onto the tin. I had chosen a paper that focused on neutral colours and which would add to the calming environment I wish to create in the classroom that has been assigned to me. I do not yet have enough of these holders and shall be adding to the collection as I consume more canned foods.

photo 2 (94)With my class I will need to use the numbers 1 – 100 to teach them to count in French; as well as to learn certain skills using a 100 math grid. I looked at buying the numbers but decided to make my own. I made penguins as it is the school mascot – and the penguin image I found was too cute! Using Word I created 100 penguins, printed them out, pasted them onto card, and then laminated them. My final task is to put magnets on the back of them so that I can place them on the board. I have done the first one and it really stands out on the white board.

photo 3 (75)One of the projects I gave my children during the summer was to clean out their shelves and closets. As they are teenagers now, I am encouraging them to give away the toys and games they played with when they were younger. One of the games they passed onto me to use with my class was a shape game. As I teach French immersion, I set to translating the game. I will use these cards when I teach shapes and will set it up at the game center with some tangrams.

photo 5 (44)Last week I worked on the cards that I will display on the white board to show the timetable. In this way, the children will know what their routine for the day will be. I will also display cards to show them which centers they will work at on that day. I have found that knowing the routine helps to calm the children as they know what they can expect to do during the day. In addition, I use the timetable to help them learn to manage their time .

photo 4 (59)As well as working on the cards for my board, I read a little about teaching combined classes. When looking at the curriculum, I thought it would be easier for me to see it side by side. I decided to cut & paste it so that I could easily compare the two classes. I have noticed some differences and many similarities. In addition, often grade 2 is an extension of what is learned in grade 1. I am sure that during the year I will often refer to the large sheets of paper that I prepared.

I am currently working on setting up my classroom and have put many of these things in place. I am eager to share what I have created with the children I will be teaching next week.

Do you use your free time to prepare for work?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

The Changing Seasons: July 2015

The warm days of my Summer break seem to be melding into one. Looking at the calendar this morning, I could not believe that we are already in August – before I know it, schools will be open again and children will be entering classrooms ready to learn.

We have had some very hot days during the month of July with the humidity raising the temperatures up to 40c. The result is that midday the parks are quiet as children and their caregivers stay in.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015
Park in the Summertime. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

Even though the park is empty, it is still a pleasant sight to see with the green foliage giving it an air of summer. Voices ring out in the open air after dinnertime when moms and dads bring their little ones out to play.

The Changing Seasons posts for 2015:

January 2015

February 2015

March 2015

April 2015

May 2015

thechangingseasons challenge© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

(This post is inspired by Cardinal Guzman’s Monthly Challenge: The Changing Seasons in which bloggers post pictures of the same location throughout the year. The location I have chosen to focus on is the nearby public park.)

Grateful for Additional Fan

This week has been hot and humid with the heat sapping energy from all of us. We decided that one fan was not enough and went out to buy another.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015
Fan. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

I am grateful that we did – and that we bought one that is powerful. My children and I sit in front of the fan to cool our bodies down so that we can continue reading and relaxing.

What have you been grateful for this week?

Last week Lavender Ladi was greateful for the rain

Processed with Rookie© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

(Join me and share something that you have been grateful for in the past week. Link up with my post and feel free to use the badge my daughter created. )

I enjoy reading what others are grateful for – the posts make me think of other things I am happy to have in my life. Please remember to send me a pingback so that I know you have participated.

The Summer Vacation Begins

The school year is over! On Friday I handed in my classroom keys for the summer and walked through the exit doors with pleasure. Like everyone else in the school, I am looking forward to the break: getting up late, going for walks, shopping with my girls, going to the cinema, reading, and relaxing. I will take the time to do some chores that have been on my list for a while; and I will make connections with friends I have not seen for a while.

During the first week of our summer vacation, my daughters and I will have an unexpected experience. We decided to accompany my husband on a business trip to Phoenix, Arizona. This will be my first foray into the United States and I am interested to see what the people are like and to explore the environment they live in. We will be gone for a week and – even though it promises to be really hot – we hope to do a little sightseeing.

After Phoenix, we will see how the summer unfolds. But whatever happens, I am hoping to get plenty of rest in.

What are your plans for the summer?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

Grateful for Warm Days

Putting my feet up on the couch yesterday, I noticed the tan lines caused by the sun and my comfy sandals. The tan lines are not the most beautiful: they are too easily noticed when I am barefoot, or when I am wearing shoes that do not strap over my foot.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Summer feet. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

I am grateful for the lines, however, as they show that we are experiencing warm days. I am thankful for the sunny days – the days that allow me to walk outside in sandals and bare my skin to the sun. I am soaking in the warmth and storing it for the cold winter days that are sure to come.

Processed with RookieWhat have you been grateful for this week?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(Join me and share something that you have been grateful for in the past week. Link up with my post and feel free to use the badge my daughter created. )

This week’s contributions: 

Gratitude Wednesday: My wheels go round and round

Gratitude: Aquilegia Flower

A Communal Garden

As soon as the days begin to warm in spring and the forecast indicates no cold spells, landscapers come in to plant flowers in the communal garden of the building I live in.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
A hanging basket. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

As the trees become green and the flowers take hold, the garden becomes a haven in the city.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
View of a communal garden. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

And sometimes you may even come upon one of nature’s shy creatures who scamper away as soon as you are seen.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
A chipmunk sighting. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The start of spring brings budding flowers and colour to our world after the grey, browns and whites of winter. An array of colour and beauty which is enjoyed even more during the summer.

Do you enjoy spring and summer gardens?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was inspired by Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge prompt: wood/season of spring)