Classroom Christmas Door

This year I decided to decorate my classroom door in the spirit of the Holidays. This year I have only one child who does not celebrate Christmas so the children’s vote was overwhelmingly in favour of Santa coming down the chimney. I thought to add Christmas stockings on the mantle and some garlands. My SNA (Special Needs Assistant) added a few Christmas presents and a tree.

We love our door and have had many compliments from children who pass by. I encouraged other teachers to join in and now our hallways look very festive.

Do you enjoy decorating doors for the Holidays?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post is linked to Norm’s Thursday Doors challenge)



Grateful for Colleague’s Encouragement

Processed with RookieThis year I am mentoring a number of new grade 1 teachers. We have a good team who support one another and help one another with ideas and things that we have found online to incorporate into our classes. Not only do we chat with one another on potential lessons, but we also connect with one another when we need support in other ways.

Last week one of my mentees and I attended a workshop that had been specifically designed for mentors and mentees. While chatting with others from our school on how we look after ourselves (one of the things teachers tend to forget to do in the enthusiasm of planning for our classes), we got to talking about exercise and the classes we take at our local gym.  I, of course, take zumba classes. My mentee encouraged myself and another mentor from our school to join her in a BodyCombat class – a class that includes many punches and kicks inspired by marshal arts.

The class was not as much fun to do as zumba – but I did exercise different muscles in my body. Will I go again? Why not? Not only am I exercising, but I am also spending some time with my colleagues.

This week I am grateful for my colleague’s encouragement to try something new to add to my exercise regime.

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

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

Grateful for Assistance

Processed with RookieThis year I have a few people helping me in my classroom: an SNA (Special Needs Assistant) for a child that suffers from epilepsy; an EA (Educational Assistant) that comes in twice a week for an hour to help children who are struggling with their writing and reading; and a university student who comes into my classroom when she can. One may think that these are a lot of extra bodies in my room but these are bodies that are able to help me with the children.

Often when teaching young children, I feel that I do not have enough hands. At times I need to remind them that they are to wait their turn. But when I have the assistants in my room or the university student, the children know that they can ask another adult for help if I am busy. In addition, the number of children that get helped each day is increased.

Last week when I was sick off work, supply teachers were difficult to find. The SNA in my room was the constant factor for an age group that needs consistency and routine to feel settled. She worked hard at keeping that consistency and getting the children to work. With her being there, the children kept up with their work and their daily routine.

This week I am grateful for all the help I have this year in my classroom. The help certainly makes my day less stressful.

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

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

Weekend Coffee Share: A Sickly Week

wordswag_15073188796611453091488.pngIf we were having coffee, I would greet you with a smile and a sigh of relief. My voice was on a hiatus for a few days and decided to get back to work on Wednesday. What a relief! I was off sick at home for three days (it was not only my voice that needed a rest!) and my mind kept drifting to my class and the activities I had planned to do with them.

As you know, being sick is not fun. But, as my husband says, rather be sick now and not during the school break. I would not want to be sick either during Christmas as I enjoy the time with my family too much to want it spoiled by illness.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my SNA (Special Needs Assistant) was so happy when I entered the school on Thursday morning. And I was so happy to see how she had held everything together by following the routines I had established in the classroom. The children were also happy to see me back – especially when I brought out the projector and put on a video for them to watch. 🙂

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have not yet gone back to zumba. I am not 100% healthy yet and don’t want to go back too soon and experience a relapse. I do miss it though, and I keep hearing the songs we dance to in my head. I am hoping that by Monday I can get back to my exercise routine.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have begun my Christmas shopping. I don’t have too many gifts to buy as my children are older now and what they want/need is so much more expensive. I am starting to stock up, though, on the treats my family and I eat over the Holiday (shortbread biscuits, pastries, and some Liquorice Allsorts from the UK that I saw in the store this morning). These things I need to stash away from my family so that they do not devour them before Christmas. This afternoon I plan on going to the bookstore to browse through the books and decide which books I can buy for my family this year. Tomorrow I will go to some clothing stores to see if I can find a few items of clothing for them. I don’t buy too much of this either as I prefer to have them with me when I shop.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you to enjoy the rest of your weekend, and to have a productive week.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

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

Going Back to Work

For the last four and a half days I have been trapped indoors. My body screamed at me, “I need to rest!” The battle began with an aching throat and the loss of my voice. When I refused to submit, my body caused my eyes to tear so much I had to close them; and filled my sinus passages with mucus. My body won and I lay in bed and rested.

Early Morning City View. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

As I opened the curtains in the living room yesterday, I longed to be outside in the mild Fall weather we are currently experiencing. By late afternoon, I was bored: I had had my fill of Netflixing and of my current read. My mind kept filling with images of what I wanted to do with my class regarding our pumpkin inquiry. I knew then that I was ready to go back to work.

So today I go back. I am not 100% my healthy self, but I feel I need to return to the environment and the people I have chosen to work with everyday.

Do you stay at home until you are 100% healthy before going back to work?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

Weekend Coffee Share: A Quick Update

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the busyness of my life has caught up with me. For the past two days I have had no voice, and my throat has experienced a tickling sensation. I am not surprised as the days leading to issuing the report cards can be long, as are the days when conducting parent interviews. Now as I have relaxed a little, my body seems to be telling me to relax a lot!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I cannot believe that it is a month before Christmas! I am not feeling the Christmas Spirit yet – I am sure it will begin soon. The children in my class are excited this year. One child could not wait for Halloween to be over so that we could start talking about Christmas. I think she will be one of those children who will love Jean-Jean, my Elf on the Shelf. I will bring him out when December starts.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that since we last spoke I have done some reading. I finished Paula Hawkins’ latest novel yesterday, Into the Water. As I closed the last page, I felt that her second novel was even better than her first – it was certainly less confusing. I would recommend it – especially if you enjoyed her debut novel. I wonder if this yarn will be made into a film?

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that yesterday I went boot shopping and I was lucky to find boots that I liked amongst the Black Friday deals. I bought a pair of high ones for the Fall (which I will begin wearing on Monday), and I found a short pair of warm, winter ones to warm my feet as I stand outside doing yard duty. To replace my high winter boots, I will need to go shopping again in a couple of weeks as they did not have anything that I liked. I also took advantage of the Black Friday deal at my local tea shop and stocked up on some teas for the next month or so.

If we were having coffee, I would wish you a wonderful week. If you are anything like me, you will begin your Christmas shopping soon.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

Weekend Coffee Share: It Has Been a While!

If we were having coffee, I would hang my head in shame as it has been a while. Days have slipped by and, even thought I have thought of blogging, I have not been able to place my fingers on the keyboard to write a post. This time of the year is always so busy for me – and this year it seems to be even busier. My days have been filled with getting to know the new children in my class, planning lessons, mentoring new teachers, and working hard to create a balance in my life. I have managed to keep going to my Zumba classes, and that I am thankful for.

This year in addition to the usual home and work responsibilities, I added another. The school board I work for has run a day conference each year for the past 5 years on using the Google applications in our teaching. This year I presented with a colleague. It was an added responsibility but I decided to take on the challenge.Yesterday was the day. that I presented. Google Camp, as it is called, began early at 8:30 am and lasted the entire day until 4 pm. Presenting did make me a little nervous but it was a positive experience and I was glad I did it. I was also able to attend other sessions and learned about different applications that have been added to the Google Suite. I now have something new that I want to try out in my classroom. I have heard about it and now need to try it out. It is only by trying it out that I will be able to fully learn how the application works.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the last week was not all work but fun too. Halloween was on Tuesday and it was great seeing all of my students in their costumes. As the parents had come out for the annual Halloween parade, I took the opportunity to invite them to the classroom. The children sang for them and showed them their work portfolio. We had a good day – though not much academic tasks were done.

I did enjoy the day as a blonde – and getting a double-take reaction from people who did not recognise me at first 🙂

If we were having coffee, I would have to say a quick good-bye. We started daylight savings today but the extra hour does not seem to be enough. Enjoy your week and speak to you soon.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

Grateful for Warm Tea

Processed with RookieLast week I was grateful for the air conditioning units in my classroom. This week, I am grateful for something warm. Yes, the temperatures have dropped that much – especially in my room! As my space is north facing, no sun comes through the windows during the day and, with the lowering of temperatures outside, the space is not warmed up at all.

Because the heating in the school has not yet been turned on, my students and myself wear our sweaters. And if the children do not have sweaters, they wear their jackets. It is at that time of year when it is warmer to be outside than it is inside. We definitely look forward to when the furnance is turned on.

In the meantime, I warm myself from the inside by drinking tea from my thermos. My bottle of water remains untouched as my body craves something warm to drink. I am wondering whether I should take another thermos of tea to drink instead. Brr!

This week I am grateful for warm tea – and the occasional cup of coffee – to warm me while working in my classroom.

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

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

View from a Classroom

As you all know, the windows in my classroom were changed during the Summer. The new panes are not covered by a thick mesh, hindering my view of the outside. Instead, the new window protectors are thin and barely noticeable.

View from a Classroom Window. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

The view from my window has also changed. Now I see the new play structure and the green of the pristine soccer field and running track. When I work from my desk in my classroom, I can enjoy the sight of children at play as well as the pleasing aesthetic of the newly renovated grounds.

What do you see through your window at work?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post is a response to the weekly WordPress photo challenge. This week the prompt is: windows)

Weekend Coffee Share: A Week Too Short

If we were having coffee, I would welcome you with a tired smile. The heat continued until Wednesday, making outdoor activity a little difficult. My sleep during the week was restless because it was so hot (no, I do not have a/c at home – we rely on fans). For the first three days of the week, I was grateful that I now have air conditioning in my classroom – it makes being nearer the construction on the neighbouring site worth it! The children came in from recess relieved to be in a cool space. Everyone was relieved when the temperatures dropped on Thursday – but were not happy with the rain and the drop to below 10c on Friday.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that on Wednesday I went to a teacher’s workshop to refresh my knowledge on running records and using the reading kit for French Immersion the school board that I work for uses. I went with two of the people I am mentoring. It was good to spend some time with them and to get to know them a little more.

Practising Running Records. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

This year, the school board wants us to focus on reading with the grade 1s. We are to begin working with them early on in the year so that we can avoid them experiencing difficulties down the line. Our admin is supporting us in training us (there are 5 grade 1 teachers) and giving us support to implement the plan laid out by the superintendent. Twice a week for 1 1/2 hours, I have someone coming in to read with the at risk students in my class. Organising the reading and making the assessment more formal will help, I think, with knowing which children need help..

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am going to try Class Dojo, a programme/App that claims to help teachers communicate with parents about what is going on in the classroom, and about their own child. I set up my account yesterday and sent out the invites to all my parents. I hope to begin using it on Monday. I will let you know how it goes and whether it works well.

Class Dojo is set up! © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the teaching week coming up will be four days. Friday is a PA day (professional activity) filled with staff meetings. I would also tell you that next weekend is Thanksgiving here in Canada so many families will be preparing for their family dinners.

Have a wonderful evening and enjoy your week. Our temperatures are forecast to rise – but not as high as they were last week!

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017