Weekend Coffee Share: Beginning to Wrap Up

Join us for some coffee time!If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the weather for the last week has been perfect – not too hot and not too cold. This morning the air outside is refreshingly cool and has the potential to be hot and muggy. By then all my chores will be done and I will be able to do a little bit of relaxing  and reading.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am taking things slowly in class. I have finished the curriculum and all the planned activities that will be reported on in the report cards. Now what I will do with my class are fun learning activities. During this upcoming week three of my students are leaving before the end of the school year to go on vacation and I am therefore getting all their work together so that it can go home before they leave for their planned trips. We will also have the class party a week before I normally would hold it as I want to wish them all well for the upcoming year – as well as give them their gift.

In addition to gathering all of my students’ work, I have started taking down things from my walls and putting items away in the cupboards. I was told on Thursday that my classroom will be used during the Summer for a Summer camp so it is important that the room be tidied and ready for another person to use by the 29 June. The downside to this is that my task needs to be done in 2 weeks; the upside is that I will be forced to finish on time and not linger over the tidying in the first week of our break.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my family is missing the father of our tribe. We managed to speak to my husband last night and it was nice to see his face and hear him laugh. Sigh … another 2 weeks and then we will all be back together again. At least for a while.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am going to have a busy week. My report cards will be returned and I will make the corrections; the school concert is happening; and I will be tidying my room. The children are excited that the Summer vacation is almost here – and the teachers are looking forward to the break and the chance to rest and connect with their families. There is quite a buzz in the school at the moment.

I wish you a wonderful week ahead. May it be filled with sunshine and smiles.

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)

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Weekend Coffee Share: A Successful Week

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If we were having coffee, I would greet you with the news that I have completed my report cards. All I need to do is read through them once more to check for errors before printing and submitting them. I am pleased that they are finally done – I really pushed myself this week to get them finished. Now I can focus on completing a few things with the children (including lots of outdoor play), filing and getting their work ready to go home, and tidying things away in the classroom. I cannot believe that there are only three weeks left of the school year – the last two months have really gone by quickly.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it is strange not having my husband at home. After 19 years of living with a person, you get used to having them around. He is missing us too but it is good for him to spend some time with his siblings. One can never be sure when he may have the opportunity again.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that during the past week I managed to blog 6 days out of 7 days. I have also managed to get my book reviews up to date (the last of them will be posted in the upcoming week). Each time I tell myself that I will keep up with them as I read but something (another book!) gets in the way. I am better able to type my thoughts when I have just completed the book as my reactions are fresh in my mind.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the weather has been a little cool this week. The rain we have had has been good for the little garden my class and I planted last week. It is currently surviving – no kids have damaged it by pulling out plants, or running over the flower bed.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am now going to do some grocery shopping. Before I go, I will look in the fridge to see what I didn’t use during the past week. I have not had to cook as much with my husband away so I know that there are some vegetables left over.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you to enjoy your week. Make it a good 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)

Weekend Coffee Share: It Feels Like Summer

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it felt like summer during the past week. The temperatures and the humidity were high, causing us all to feel a little listless. Our bodies have not yet acclimatised to the heat – though it was very pleasant to feel the sun beating down onto our heads instead of feeling the chill of a winter wind.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my husband has arrived safely at his destination and that my brother-in-law’s funeral was yesterday. I have not yet spoken to my husband today but he has texted to say it went well and was well attended. We miss having my husband around and we look forward to him being back home in a few weeks.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I did some gardening with my class on Friday. We had a fun time digging in the dirt outside. Friday was the best time for me to do some planting with them and I am hoping that the garden survives the weekend and that we watered then plants enough. I was hoping that it would rain a little this weekend but, even though it has been cloudy and cool, we have had no rain.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this week we did the class placements of the children we are currently teaching. During the class placements, the teachers of each grade get together and place the students into classes for next year. These placements could be shuffled around by the admin during the summer – especially if we lose students. But, for now, most of the work has been done.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have begun working on the report cards. This is our final week for assessment and it will be filled with tests for the children so that I can be sure that I give them the grade that they deserve. It is unbelievable that there are only 4 weeks left to this school year – the last couple of months have gone by so quickly!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you to enjoy the upcoming week. Now I need to go and complete the household chores that wait for me every weekend!

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: Bits and Pieces

wordswag_15073188796611453091488.pngIf we were having coffee, I would usher you in from the chilly weather. The past two days have seen a drop in temperature but, thankfully, not so far down that we have had snow. The beginning of the week we experienced beautiful spring weather – gentle breezes and and temperatures warm enough that we could walk outside for part of the day without wearing any jackets or sweaters.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am exhausted. No matter how much sleep I get, I wake up feeling tired. Only a couple of months left of school and then I will be able to sleep late and recharge my batteries. In an effort to lessen my fatigue, I did take a week off of exercise which, I think, did help. I was disappointed, however, that the day I went back to fitness classes, our Zumba instructor was absent and there was no one to replace her 😦

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this week the butterfly kits arrived at school. On Thursday, the caterpillars were big enough for me to separate into smaller containers; it is quite a fiddly task as you should not touch the worms. When I get back into my classroom on Monday, I will open a few pots and leave some of the caterpillars to roam free. The children do enjoy watching them climb up the branch I will place in the terrarium.I have noticed that if I do not free them, the children do not visit the centre to watch them. In addition, it takes longer for the caterpillars to form their chrysalis if they are left to roam free.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that tonight my family and I are going out to celebrate Mother’s Day. We do not eat out at restaurants too much so it will be a treat. And, as always, the extra treat is having my family eat together and share their stories.

If we were having coffee, I would now excuse myself as it is time to go to my exercise class. If you are a mom who lives in my part of the world, enjoy Mother’s Day tomorrow. I hope you are showered with love.

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: A Warmer Week

wordswag_15073188796611453091488.pngIf we were having coffee, I would greet you with a big smile on my face. Spring has finally arrived! I can hear the birds singing as I write this post; the sky is blue and the air is warmer. The air also seems to be filled with a lot more positivity. People are smiling more and don’t seem to be as sad. I am loving the warmer days – especially now that my classroom has warmed up and I no longer have to wear sweaters inside.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the week at work has been good. We have almost completed the structures inquiry in class – only a few more children need to present their work. They are doing a really good job this year in both the building and the presentation of their work. I added in another step to get them ready to talk about their structure and it has done the trick.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I had the opportunity to go and listen to a couple of Canadian authors speak at the offices of Harper Collins  Publishers. What a wonderful experience that was. I had never been to an author meet before and it is definitely an experience that I would want to repeat. Actors are made into superstars and I feel that authors should be too. They often spend years writing the novel for us to enjoy. As a society we really should show more our appreciation for their craft.

If we were having coffee, I would tell that you the signs of spring are all around in the sight of budding trees and blooming flowers. Another sign is my itchy eyes and scratchy throat. Even though I have taken an anti-histamine tablet, my eyes are burning and I have a desire to close them. Allergy season has arrived! I always wonder why I have a worse experience here in Toronto than I ever did when I was growing up in South Africa.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am looking forward to a week of spring. Enjoy a wonderful seven days and I will speak to you next week.

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: An Event-Filled Week

wordswag_15073188796611453091488.pngIf we were having coffee, I would welcome you in from the cold. In spite of the mild weather we had during the week, both days this weekend have been chilly – the temperatures did not reach the double digits, but at least they did not drop below 0c!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that quite a bit happened over the past week: my attendance at a publishing house showcase, a school trip to the zoo, and my daughter’s birthday.

During my attendance at the OLA Super Conference, I dropped in at the booth run by Pembroke Publishers – a publishing house that specialises in educational books. I left my name and email address with them so that I could receive emails of new releases. A month ago, they sent me an evite to attend their annual showcase. The lineup looked interesting so I accepted the invitation.

From the time I had a bite to eat for breakfast until the moment I lay down my fork after lunch, I was engaged. A line-up of authors spoke about a tidbit from their book. The talks and snapshots were varied and inspiring. I had invited my friend and ex-colleague to attend the showcase with me – and we both loved it. I left the venue with my head buzzing on ideas to improve my teaching practice. I left as well with a purchase of three titles:

  1. Literacy out Loud by Terry Campbell and Michelle E. McMartin. At the moment for Book Club, we are reading about setting up a writer’s workshop in the classroom. This book will, I think, be a perfect compliment to that text.
  2. Guiding Readers by Lori Rog. This text will be set aside for my Summer reading as I aim to improve on my guided reading sessions next year.
  3. Cultivating Readers by Anne Elliott and Mary Lynch. The speaker was so inspiring on ways to get students reading.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that on Friday I went with my class on a field trip to the zoo. As our school mascot is the penguin, we celebrate World Penguin Day (which was on 25 April). This year our principal organised that the entire school had an opportunity to go to the zoo and meet the penguins. On Friday it was the turn of my class. The talk was informative and the children had many of their penguin questions answered. After lunch we had some time to walk about the zoo before heading back to school.

Yesterday was a big day for my daughter – she turned 18! I cannot believe that the little baby that I brought home is now officially a young woman. She had a few friends over to celebrate and eat lunch with her. After we had prepared the lunch, my husband and I went out to give them some time alone. We took the opportunity to see a film we had been wanting to see for a while, Black Panther. We both loved it. I found the fight scenes so graceful. There were a few moments in the film that caused shivers down my spine. Loved the storyline. Loved the acting.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it is now time I do a little reading for the Book Club I am running at school. Speak to you next weekend, and have a wonderful week.

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: A Cold Yet Successful Week

wordswag_15073188796611453091488.pngIf we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am so happy to see a bit of blue sky today. This past week felt like winter with freezing rain, snow, slippery sidewalks and winter boots! All the adults at work were complaining while the children gleefully played with the snow during recess. By yesterday afternoon about 80% of the snow had melted (though we hadn’t seen much sun). I am hoping that next week we will have a proper Spring.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my colleague and I ran our first Teacher Book Club session on Wednesday. The meeting was well received and people afterwards came to me and said how much they had enjoyed it. I loved how people were sharing their thoughts and even their own experiences in the classroom. I had moved my tables (the children sit in groups at round tables) so that we were in a large circle. We were therefore able to see the faces of everyone as they spoke. There were twelve of us at the first meeting, and I do not think the number will dwindle.

If we were having coffee, I would continue on the subject of work and tell you that our assignments for next year have been decided. I have been given my first choice – which was to continue working with the grade 1 and 2 combined class. I will have more grade 1s in the class next year and plan to adjust my programme accordingly. The bonus is that I shall stay in my current room so I will not need to pack up and move to another space.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the guide book to Paris that I ordered from Amazon arrived earlier in the week. My husband is currently reading it and I think I will need to grab it from him sometime this weekend – there are a few places I want to check out that I did not visit the last time I was in that fair city.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that nothing else has happened this week. The days have followed the usual routine. Hopefully next week will be warmer – and I know will be a little different (I will tell you all about it next week).

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: Vacation Planning Begins

wordswag_15073188796611453091488.pngIf we were having coffee, I would tell you that the weather is awful today! The temperature is down to -10c and we are experiencing freezing rain. This is not the weather one would expect in spring during the month of April. When you think of spring, you think instead of mild weather and blooming flowers. I have not seen many flowers and yesterday when walking in the park, my daughter and I noticed that there were not even buds forming on the trees. The branches are still winter-bare even though they are housing birds.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this week I had a Scientist in the School come into my classroom to run a workshop I love. This workshop is usually my introduction to spring and the inquiry on living things. Even though it was snowing outside during her presentation and spring was not mentioned at all (except the lack of it), the children still enjoyed the experience. The workshop was on bugs and the children had the opportunity to touch an assortment of them. I was surprised that many boys did not want to caress and hold the worms. The highlight of the afternoon was definitely the tarantula that the presenter brought in to visit!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this week we decided where we would go for our summer vacation. We toyed with the idea of going to a resort in Mexico again but then decided to go to Europe instead. We chose Paris as I am the only one who has been to this fair city. Both my husband and daughters are itching to go and I look forward to hearing my girls use the French that they have learned at school. This morning I began planning our days. I have opened a document in Google Drive and started listing the things we would like to see. My intention is to plan, more or less, each day we will have there so that no time is wasted. I am also looking at the cost of entrance fees and how to get to places – especially those places out of Paris. I have ordered a guide book as well as a map from Amazon and cannot wait to receive them.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you to not stay too long. The icy rain is still falling and the roads are extremely slippery. Stay safe for the rest of the weekend.

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: A Short Week

wordswag_15073188796611453091488.pngIf we were having coffee, I would urge you to come inside quickly. The temperatures have dropped and it is quite chilly outside. On Friday it snowed! I could not believe it as it is April already and Spring should have arrived. Luckily I had not put my Winter boots away because I have needed to pull them on for the last few days.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my body is feeling a bit sore at the moment. The teacher for Sh’bam on Saturday has a more intensive choreography than our previous Zumba teacher and, on top of this morning’s class, my muscles are feeling it. Speaking about instructors, we have a new one for the Thursday Zumba class. I like her. Her classes are high energy and she also does a couple of tracks that are Power Zumba. It can be intense. I think she may lose some people – but gain others. I look forward to dancing with her.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this week my class, and all the grade 1 classes, participated in a woodworking workshop. The workshop was set up in my room and we each had a session. The project I chose for the children to do was a windmill. They loved it! They got to build their structure using a hammer and nails. They made an axle and a pulley – it is a perfect way for them to understand the science concepts that I have been teaching them in class.

On Friday, once my room had been cleared, I gave the children the opportunity to paint and decorate their windmills. The room was buzzing with chatter as they worked. Every year that I arrange the woodworking workshop and encourage the children to decorate their windmills, it is a success. The structures are carried home afterwards with pride and placed, I am sure, in a prominent place in their bedroom.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the week did go by quickly – even more so because we had a four day working week. Next week we will be back to normal and will follow our usual routine. All I wish for now is some warmer weather!

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: Easter Weekend

wordswag_15073188796611453091488.pngIf we were having coffee, I would greet you with an Easter wish. The weekend has been busy so far and today I am able to slow down a little. I am feeling quite tired at the moment as I did not have too much sleep last night. My husband and nephew are working tomorrow (Monday), so we decided to have our Easter get together on Saturday evening. That way, we could socialise until late – which is exactly what we did!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I decided to cook one of my husband’s favourite meals for dinner yesterday evening. The meal is a chicken dinner from my French cooking recipe book. I cook the chicken in white wine and add mushrooms and tomatoes in addition to the herbs. It is delicious with rice and a salad. To go with the meal, we had a South African wine that my nephew had found near to where he lives. For dessert, I tried my hand at making mini milk tarts (a South African dessert). They went perfectly with the fruit and cream.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I did not spend all day Saturday cooking and getting ready for our family dinner. I also spent some time reading. I am currently on track for the book pledge (I have pledged to read 75 books this year). It is interesting to see my progress on the 50 Book Pledge website – I love how the books are lined up on a ‘shelf’. If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my week at work leading up to the Easter weekend was pleasant. I still had three children missing from my class as they were still on vacation. It is a pity as they missed a part of the inquiry that we are doing which children normally enjoy. I enjoy this part too as I like seeing how creative my students can be when they build with blocks.

In the upcoming week, the children will have even more opportunity to build – with blocks and with wood. Hopefully all of the students will have come back from any family vacations.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I will hide the Easter eggs for my children this afternoon. Last year I did not buy chocolate for a hunt and they were upset with me. Even though they are now in their late teens, they still want the thrill of the chocolate hunt 🙂

If we were having coffee, I would tell you to enjoy the rest of your weekend – and to not eat too much chocolate!

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)