Walking the Picket Line

Yesterday my colleagues and I participated in the fourth phase of our ongoing strike by withdrawing full services. The day dawned with the frigid temperatures of -18c but we were determined to stand up for what we believe is important.

Our bodies constantly moving to keep warm, we gathered together in front of the school where we teach. The school is not at full capacity, so the group was small. However, we cheered one another on as our bodies got used to being out in the extreme cold. As someone mentioned, it was a little like yard duty – but for an extended period of time.

I am proud to be working as a teacher for our school board. I know that we have an important job to do – a job that some in our society do not appreciate. However, the parents at our school are very supportive and understanding. They realise that the reason we are standing up to the government and the cuts they want to enforce is for the good of their children, our students.

A few parents brought their children over to show them that yesterday was not just a day away from school; these parents had explained to the children what it is we are fighting for. Two of our students yesterday morning walked the picket line with us to experience strike action. Definitely a learning moment.

It is not often that we were able to catch the sunlight and stand in its warmth. Our neighbourhood has been changing over the last few years as condos are sprouting up in its streets. We became sun seekers, searching for any spot in which to stand. Sunlight was rare, though, and we walked up and down a section of the street to keep ourselves warm (especially our feet!).

We are hoping that the government ministers see the light (did you see what I did there Becky 😀 ) – but we do not have any hope that they will. Today the secondary schools are going on their third walkout and, thankfully, the temperatures have risen by 15c. Hopefully the next time we walk out of our classrooms for the strike action, it won’t be so cold.

Have you walked the picket line?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

(This post is linked to Becky’s Square Challenge.)

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)

A Winter Themed Door

In the spirit of the Holidays, I usually decorate my classroom door with my students. This year I decided to go more with a winter theme so that the decorations could stay up during the month of January.

Snowflakes are a must for a winter theme and I decided to place all the snowflakes the children had coloured in a wreath. I love the icy blues and shades of purple that they chose.

On the bottom of the door, my student volunteer and I created a snowy mountain on which I placed snowmen featuring the faces of the children in my class. The children and I love seeing the smiling faces on the door as we approach the room. It is definitely a pleasing way to start the day!

I am crossing fingers that the snowmen stay attached and that none are lost. When I take down the door decorations, I usually paste their work in their workbook so that the memory of our door stays with them.

How have you decorated your door for the winter season?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

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

A Visit by the Classroom Elf

This week Jean-Jean, the classroom’s Elf on the Shelf, made an appearance. As per tradition, I read the story about the elf to the children on Monday and some children in the class shared stories about the elves that are visiting their home.

Each morning I place the elf in a different place, often linked to what the children are currently doing in class. I remind the children that they are not to touch the elf as he will lose his magic and return to the North Pole. Those children who have an elf at home already know about this admonition.

As always, there are children who don’t believe – which is okay. However, there were some children this year who decided to touch the elf in order to test whether he was magic or not. So Jean-Jean was put away much to the dismay of some of the children. Hopefully the class, as a whole, will learn the lesson to follow the instruction given and not spoil the experience for others.

Do you have an Elf on the Shelf who visits your home or work space?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

A Word Collector

I was so happy when I saw that The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds had been translated in French which meant that I could use it in my classroom. I love the story about a little boy who enjoys words so much that he collects them. Eventually he makes sentences with his collection; and when his collection gets too big, he shares the words with everyone.

This week I read the story to my grade 1 and 2 students and afterwards I opened a centre at which they browsed through some books and found words to record in a notebook. My plan is that at the end of every week, my students will take the notebook home in order to practice reading and writing the words they have collected.

The children love the activity – especially as they are able to write using colorful gel pens. This is one task that they will all complete with joy!

This week I am grateful for authors and illustrators who create stories that inspire my lessons and centre tasks. It always makes me smile to see the children enjoying both the stories and the activities.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post is part of my Gratitude Challenge and is linked to Trent’s Weekly Smile, a challenge which focuses on sharing all things positive.)

Weekend Coffee Share: It’s Been A While

If we were having coffee, I would apologise for taking so long to touch base. The last couple of weeks have been crazy busy as I have prepared the report cards, done all that comes with that activity, as well as seen parents to talk about the progress of their child. It is a tiring time of year for me as I meet with so many people back-to-back. It will calm down now as we move closer to the winter break; and hopefully I will now be able to catch up a little on my marking.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that on Tuesday the teachers in my union will begin strike action. The action will begin with a work-to-rule which is a mild form of strike action and will not impact the students and their parents at all (we will still be doing extra murals and meeting with parents). Everyone is hoping that this first step will encourage the government to continue with negotiations in good faith – though we do not have too much faith in this hope. Time will tell what the future will bring.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that last weekend I slipped on the ice, fell, and banged the back of my head. Hard. As a result, I decided to err on the side of prudence and not do any strenuous exercise for the week. It was hard for me not to dance in my Zumba classes – but probably better for my health. This week I will slip into my routine again and look forward to the exercise. The weather is currently a little warmer than last week and the temperatures have reverted to normal for this time of year – therefore there is no ice. The cold and snowfall have, however, caused all the leaves to fall off the trees so it looks a little glum outside at the moment.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I finished reading my library stack. The romances were perfect for my mood and helped freshen my palette for the read I picked up this morning – a thriller titled The Wives by Tarryn Fisher.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I want to start bullet journaling with my daughter. Our plan is to work on a December spread next weekend. I look forward to drawing with her and doing something together at the dining table. Now that my girls are older, we do not really do an activity together and this is one that may work out. I have purchased a dot journal and a few pens and now I just need the creativity to flow! 😀

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am now off to make some toasted sandwiches for my family. My husband made some fresh bread last night and I want to try my hand at making paninis. It is time for a little experimentation. I love it when my family is willing to be taste guinea pigs!

If we were having coffee, I would wish you a wonderful afternoon – and may you have a wonderful week.

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)

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. )