Pausing for Remembrance Day

This morning the final preparations for our Remembrance Day assembly took place. This solemn event always brings tears to my eyes and today was no different. The pause at 11am makes me grateful for the fact that I currently live in a peaceful country.


I would like to take this moment to thank all those who have fought for our freedom; and those who continue to help those around the world who cannot stand for themselves.

what do you do for Remembrance Day?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

Weekend Coffee Share: Two Months Already!

If we were having coffee, I would greet you tiredly. As I was going through the day yesterday, I realised how tired I am – so tired that last night I went to bed at my usual time when it is my habit to stay up later on a Friday night. Today I am still awash with fatigue so I see myself hitting the hay early again tonight.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this year I was not feeling Halloween. I did not think creatively on a costume and just grabbed a dress I wore a few years back with no intention to add the wig and makeup. Now that my own children are older, there is no vibe at home and, with the change of admin at the school, the vibe at the office and at school is also not there. I still decorated my door and classroom so my room still had the Halloweeny feel about it.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that even though my students were tired yesterday after their late night trick-or-treating, they worked calmly in class. I was so pleased to see that parents did not send them to school with loads of candy. If they did have any in their lunch box, it was only one.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this past week I completed the first draft of my report cards and handed them in. I also worked on two modified IEPs (Individual Education Plans) which took so much time! Now that I am thinking about all that happened this week, I am not surprised that I am feeling tired! This afternoon I will definitely relax with a book. I have a couple of holds at the library which I will pick up after doing my grocery shopping later on in the day. I am in the mood for reading a relaxing romantic comedy.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the weather has turned. Halloween was a cold and rainy day which brought in the icy winds. When I was outside yesterday, I decided I needed to bring out my winter gear: I am sure I will need my boots, hat and scarf soon to protect myself from the cold. My least favourite season is almost upon us!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it is now time to go to my exercise class. Have a wonderful weekend – and may your week be a good 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)

Happy Halloween!

Today is a day filled with excitement for little people. Streets will be flooded with little phantoms, zombies, and princesses. Spidermen will be sighted, as well as some wizards and Jedi masters.

This year, I am not feeling the vibe for Halloween – instead of feeling the excitement, I cannot wait for it to be over. The reason may be that I am tired and would love to be able to sleep uninterrupted until refreshed. I know, however, that the children are excited for the day so I have done the usual preparations for the celebrations: I have decorated the classroom, prepared some activities, and co-created a Halloween door.

We do love our door and have been enjoying it for the past two weeks.

Tomorrow I will take down the decorations and prepare the space for our next festive celebration.

Do you enjoy Halloween?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to Becky’s Square Challenge for which we will be posting square photos featuring lines during the month of October; and Norm’s weekly challenge Thursday Doors. )

Leaf Bouquet

It is that time of year when I receive many leaf bouquets. I enjoy the colours of the Fall leaves and am always pleased to bring them into my classroom and enjoy the array on my desk.

No matter what year it is, the children in my class show their appreciation of nature’s beauty by collecting the leaves that have fallen on the ground. I remember my own children doing this when they were younger. It is a practice that does make me smile.

Have you received any leaf bouquets this year?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to Becky’s Square Challenge for which we will be posting square photos featuring lines during the month of October; and Trent’s Weekly Smile challenge which focuses on sharing all things positive. )

Weekend Coffee Share: Working Towards Deadlines

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the sombre days have begun. Yesterday I took advantage of the shining sun to take some pictures for my Instagram posts because when it is overcast, the photos I take are too dark and cannot be used. In addition, during the past week we were reminded that summer is a thing of the past and we are required to now wear closed shoes and jackets. There is definitely a chill in the air and I definitely feel it when I am on duty outside on the playground.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this week I have been working towards achieving my deadlines at work. Two are coming up next week: the report cards for my students as well as the IEPs (Individual Education Plans). Staying after school on a couple of days and working on the report cards bore fruit as Friday at 5:30pm, they were done. I walked home with a sense of satisfaction as that meant I would not have to work on them during the weekend. Now I can focus on the IEPs.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I had a pleasant surprise when I arrived home on Friday. I had bookmail! The marketing group at Harper Collins Canada sent me an ARC copy of a Fantasy novel that I wanted to read: Infinity Son by Adam Silvera. I am so excited to read this one that I pushed aside the books I had planned to enjoy during October and opened this one this afternoon. I am loving it so far!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the tree foliage has changed colours – and it looks beautiful. I am also receiving a few leaf bouquets which are decorating my classroom. These are definitely the highlight of the season and the children in my class love collecting them.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my Sunday afternoon was spent reading and relaxing. It is definitely my favourite part of the weekend. Now that I have older children, I definitely enjoy these moments that I have for myself – it is like I am finding the person I was before children. 😀

If we were having coffee, I would tell you to have a wonderful week. And if you do anything for Halloween, enjoy it.

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)

Patterns in Play

On Friday afternoon, I gave my students the opportunity to play with blocks in the last period of the day if they had completed their tasks for the week.

A group of girls pulled out the pattern blocks and started creating with them.

When I looked closer at their creation, I noticed that they had created a series of three dimensional patterns which they repeated a few times.

I had to snap some pictures quickly as this is evidence that they have taken their learning further than expected. My intention is to print these pictures, add my comments, and insert the pictures into their Math folder as evidence of level 4 application of their learning. So exciting!

Have you seen child create a three dimensional pattern?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to Becky’s Square Challenge for which we will be posting square photos featuring lines during the month of October)

Pumpkin Task

Today is the Fall Fair at our school – one of the major fundraisers that are organised by the parents. This week, teachers were tasked with helping students decorate a pumpkin for the silent auction. After a discussion with my students, I decided to work on my idea that would encourage all students to participate in the decoration.

I divided the pumpkin into 20 segments and asked each student to paint a segment with acrylic paint. As we are currently working on patterns, I asked them to use the colour that was next in the pattern. We used red, green, and blue as these colours show up nicely on the orange of the pumpkin (yellow definitely does not work).

Once the paint was dry, I asked each child to spell out a word that we would use during Halloween with foam letters. After I had checked the spelling, the child pasted their word onto the pumpkin.

The students were proud of their work; and I was happy that I had incorporated both literacy and math into the task.

Our pumpkin is currently sitting on a table in front of the office for the silent auction. I am interested to know who will finally take it home.

Do you decorate pumpkins for Halloween?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to Becky’s Square Challenge for which we will be posting square photos featuring lines during the month of October)

Patterns and Blocks

I have begun the unit on patterning with my grade 1s and 2s. The children enjoy this unit and tend not to have too much difficulty with it. As a diagnostic, I asked my students to use attribute blocks to create a pattern.

Once they had created and extended their pattern, my students recorded their work in their Math notebooks. While they were working, I observed them and made notes of any difficulties a student may have had. If they transcribed their work incorrectly, I also made a note.

Before I ask my students to create another pattern, I will teach them how to improve their responses. I will also challenge them to create more advanced patterns. I look forward to seeing what they create.

Have you used attribute blocks to create patterns?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to Becky’s Square Challenge for which we will be posting square photos featuring lines during the month of October)

Weekend Coffee Share: A Saturday Catch-Up

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I cannot believe that another week has gone by. The days seem to be moving along very quickly – I cannot believe that it is the last weekend of September and that school has been back for a month! Time really goes by quickly when you are busy and every moment of your day is occupied.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my students and I are slowly getting into our routine. For the first time on Friday, I felt the sense that my students were in their rhythm and that the class was working as I like it. It does take a lot of effort on my part and a lot of energy. September evenings always see me tired at the end of the day as I work towards getting my classes running smoothly, as well as completing all of my deadlines.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the highlight of my week was an author event I attended on Tuesday (you can read the post here). Even though I knew I would be tired the next day, I bought my ticket to attend as the publishing house was hosting one of my favourite authors: Gilly MacMillan. I had such a fun evening at the event and laughed along with the authors during the conversation.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this afternoon I watched a movie on Netflix: 211. It has been a while since I had watched a fast-paced movie and I actually enjoyed it. The film contained some emotional moments in it that I actually appreciated. It was well worth spending the time to watch.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I will call my mom tomorrow after my Zumba class. I look forward to chatting with her and I am sure we will spend a couple of hours on the phone. We have a lot to catch up on and I am hoping that the signal will be a good one.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my dinner is ready. My husband knows the way to my heart and has cooked tonight for the family. It certainly smells delicious!

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)

Something Old, Something New

This year a student has been placed in my class who has in the past exhibited violent behaviour towards her classmates as well as the adults in the room. In order to prepare me for dealing with her, my principal sent me on a workshop yesterday to learn a way in which to deal with the child if she has a violent episode. The CPI training focuses on nonviolent crisis intervention and has, at its core, the safety of all the people in the room.

As a teacher what you want is to prevent the child’s behaviour from escalating. We were reminded of signs that we, as people who work with children daily, already know. She showed us an interesting video to remind us of the importance of non-verbal cues:

The instructor mentioned some techniques that can be used to calm a child down: holding a hand, a stroking, or even giving a hug. I could not help but notice the irony of this as when I was first hired with the board, we were told not to touch the children under any circumstances. I do prefer the message given yesterday as it acknowledges the healing power of touch and how we, as humans, crave the touch of others.

In the afternoon, we were introduced to ways in which to deflect the violence aimed at our bodies. We were also given permission to move away and remove ourselves from the situation that could harm ourselves. We were shown holds to contain a child if necessary – holds that are to be used as a last resort. We practiced them for a while. I do feel, however, that I need to practice it some more. And I hope I never have to use them!

I found it interesting to speak to the other participants at the workshop who are all special education teachers. Their job is to deal with a group of children every day who may display violence. They are accepting of this part of the job and seem adept at dealing with it. I could not help but think as I was speaking to some of them that the CPI training is what an ordinary classroom teacher like me needs as not all children who display violent tendencies have had their behaviour officially documented (especially in the younger grades).

Yesterday was an interesting day. I was reminded of things that I already new; and learned a few new things. Hopefully the CPI training will help me cope with a volatile child in my classroom.

What are your thoughts on non-verbal cues?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019