Spring is Here!

During the past weekend I saw signs that Spring has arrived in the city. Although the temperatures are still cool, it is warmer than winter. The sky is blue this week. The birds are singing. The buds on the trees are unfurling. The grass has turned green.

The signs of Spring make me smile: warmer weather is on its way and, with it, the chance to wear sandals and short sleeves.

What has made you smile this week?

Weekly Smile #WeeklySmile© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post was inspired by Trent’s Weekly Smile, a challenge which focuses on sharing all things positive.)

Grateful for Woodworking Workshop

In my class we are nearing the end of our inquiry on structures. Children have discovered the materials structures can be made of; and explored simple machines (such as levers, axles, and pulleys). Last week I asked U Can Do It!, a woodworking group, to come in a work on a project with my students.

All set up and ready to start. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

I chose the windmill to be our project as it has moving parts – thus both the grade 1 and grade 2 curriculum is addressed. The bonus for me is that the workshop is presented in French and the children are exposed to more French vocabulary. During the workshop, the children hammer away and are totally engaged in the activity. The children enjoy this workshop very much – as do the parent volunteers. This is the second year I have asked these facilitators to come in – and I know that I will book them again next year.

The next day, on a Friday, the children spent the afternoon painting their windmills. And at the end of the day? They proudly carried their work home.

This week I am grateful to the people who run U Can Do It. With their help, I am able to expose my students to woodworking – a skill I have not completely mastered myself.

What have you been grateful for this week?

Processed with RookieLast week:

Laura was grateful for country skies

Lavender Ladi was grateful for flowers in her garden

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

Woman of God by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro

During the weekend, I picked up a book at the library. The title, woman of God, intrigued me as did the blurb on the inside of the sleeve: “St.Peter’s square, Rome. White smoke signals that a new Pope has been chosen. Is it possible that the new Pope … is a woman?” The idea of women as priests, and even as a Pope, excites me. It is an event I would love to see in a world that has been dominated by men for centuries.

In this novel by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro, the story centres on Brigid Fitzgerald. Brigid is a woman who, in spite of a difficult childhood, graduates to be a medical doctor. As a doctor she works on healing those in war torn Sudan. As her life moves along, she becomes more involved in the Catholic church.

My teaser comes from the beginning of the book and describes one of her experiences in Sudan while the hospital she worked at was under attack:

“I yelled, “Sabeena! Help me!”

She had her hands full. The girls were with her. Bullets were flying. I wasn’t sure that she had even heard me.

I said to Father Delahanty, “I’m going to help you up. You have to help me get you to your feet. Grip my forearm.”

But he didn’t do it.

He was losing so much blood. He was going into shock. And then he said in a whisper, “It’s been two weeks since my last confession.”

“You have to get up,” I said. I was frantic.

“I must confess.”

I sat back down beside him and held his hand. I wanted to fall on his chest and cry, but I contained my sobs and tried to keep my voice even. “Tell me,” I said. (p 60-61, Little Brown and Company,  2016). 

I am enjoying this book and its unusual subject matter. The topic certainly makes a person think.

What are you reading this week? Feel free to share a few sentences from the book in the comments. 

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(This post is linked to Ambrosia’s Teaser Tuesdays at The Purple Booker)

Gimme Hope Jo’Anna

In July of 1989, I took an aeroplane for the first time and left my country of birth, South Africa. I took the trip with my uncle and godfather, my sister, and my cousin. The four of us had planned an adventure with my uncle taking the lead. The destination? Mauritius – the island where my dad, my uncle and many relatives had been born. For him it was a trip back to his birthplace; for the three of us it was a trip to discover the place where one of our parents had been born.

The 10 days we spent together on the island were magical. We had a lot of fun and made many memories. I got to spend time with my godfather (whom I loved a lot), and I got to know my cousin even better. It was a time before I graduated from university as a teacher, and a time when my sister had been working for a year. We spent moments on the beach, shopped in Port Louis, and met my cousin’s grandfather who took us to so many places in his old car (which broke down a few times!).

For our holiday, my uncle had booked a bungalow which was near one of the big hotels along the Mauritian beach. At night we would head over to the hotel to drink cocktails and dance to the music played by the DJ. At that time there was a song we loved to dance to – a song that was not being played in South Africa at that time.

While dancing to Gimme Hope Jo’Anna by Eddy Grant under the warm Mauritian skies, I could not understand why such a catchy tune was not being played on South African radios – especially as his other songs were being aired. It was only a few years later when I was able to listen carefully to the lyrics, did I understand why it had been banned from the country. It was a song against Apartheid, the government of South Africa, and the people who ran Johannesburg.

Knowing the meaning of the song’s lyrics, however, does not change the pleasant memories I have of the time I first heard and danced to the song.

Do you remember hearing this song? Where was the first time you listened to it?

(This post is linked to Hugh’s 51 weeks: 51 favourite songs from the past. Join us with a song of your own.)

Weekend Coffee Share: A Short Week

Weekend Coffee Share | Nerd in the Brain (4)Good morning everyone. Hope you are well this Saturday. It is gloomy outside and walking about the streets requires an umbrella today. Not the perfect weather but at least it is warmer than it was in the beginning of the week.

This week it was FREEZING in my classroom – so cold I was tempted to wear my gloves to keep my hands warm. It felt warmer outside even though the temperatures outside weren’t too high either. The second week of April is when the heating is switched off in the school and the next few weeks will not be pleasant until the building warms up naturally. In the meantime even the children are wearing sweaters – and the tissue box is handy.

On Monday night our Zumba instructor was unable to teach – and they could not get a substitute. Instead we had a BodyAttack class – it is a high impact class featuring a lot of running and strength exercises. He said he would go easy on us. I don’t know what difficult is because the class was HARD! A good experience, even though my body ached for three days afterwards.

I was grateful that we had a short working week. I felt tired and knowing this fact kept me going strong. Yesterday I did a lot of resting and I feel much better today.

Now I am off to Zumba. I am really enjoying the classes and have reached the point where I keep hearing the music in my head. I remember when I used to dance – I would hear the music in my head and dance in my head as well. I am sure that once I know the choreography, I will be doing Zumba in my mind while I am walking, and in my  sleep!

Doing Zumba has definitely helped me with my sleep. It is rare now that I lie awake for hours in the early hours of the morning. I like that I sleep well and begin a day well-rested. When I am not tired I do have more patience with the children I teach and with my family members. I do not see myself stopping this form of exercise. And the bonus is that I do not need a partner to continue it!

After my exercise class, I will get things ready and do a little shopping for tomorrow’s dinner. I enjoy our Sunday family dinners – and the bonus will be that Monday is no school 🙂

I wish you a wonderful Easter Sunday with your family (if you celebrate this holiday). Do not eat too many of those chocolate eggs!

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post is linked to the Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Nerd in the Brain)

A New Streak

For Christmas my husband bought me a pedometer to help me with my efforts to lose weight. I set my goal at 8000 steps per day and, as I work at a school very near my home, I need to make an effort to reach it. Reaching my target is easy when I have a Zumba class but on the days I do not exercise in a group class, I need to do a little extra walking.

This week I hit a new steak – 13 consecutive days in which I reached more than 8000 steps. I feel quite a sense of accomplishment. And I am smiling! 🙂 I broke my streak yesterday as I felt too cold to go out and walk those extra 500 steps. No matter, I now have the goal to beat my record.

What has made you smile this week?

Weekly Smile #WeeklySmile© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post was inspired by Trent’s Weekly Smile, a challenge which focuses on sharing all things positive.)

Artistic Daughter

Last week I could not help but smile as I passed my daughter lying on the floor in the living room. She was stretched out on the ground with her sketch book in front of her and planning her next assignment.

Artistic Daughter © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

It is always a pleasure to see her enjoying the process of her work.

What has made you smile this week?

Weekly Smile #WeeklySmile© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post was inspired by Trent’s Weekly Smile, a challenge which focuses on sharing all things positive.)

The Songs of Alphaville

I remember the moment I was introduced to Alphaville. My sisters and I were lying on the floor with my cousins. We were looking through his LPs and I picked up one he had recently bought. The album? Forever Young by Aphaville.

I was hooked. My cousin made me a tape of their music that he had, and I bought some of their albums as they came out. It is difficult to think of which was my favourite track. I remember listening to Afternoons in Utopia often:

And I always enjoyed listening to Dance with Me:

Do you have any Alphaville favourites?

(This post is linked to Hugh’s 51 weeks: 51 favourite songs from the past. Join us with a song of your own.)

Grateful for Dental Insurance

Yesterday was that dreaded cleaning at the dentist. Lying in the chair with my mouth open, I allowed my mind to wander over the day I had had. I realised quickly that the hygienist was gentle and barely hurting me. Added to which she seemed to be moving through the process quickly.

I remember a time when a cleaning was not only painful, but took a long time. For the last three years while working permanently with the School Board, I have been able to visit the dentist more frequently to check my teeth and have them cleaned. My visits now are shorter than they were previously – and the cleanings are definitely a more pleasant experience.

This week I am grateful that I have Dental Insurance that allows me, and my family, to look after our teeth.

What have you been grateful for this week?

Processed with RookieLast week:

Laura was grateful for friendhip

Lavender Ladi was grateful for Harry Potter’s world

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

Weekend Coffee Share: A Good Ending

Weekend Coffee Share | Nerd in the Brain (4)If we were having coffee, I would greet you with a smile on this gloomy morning. Our temperatures have been down this week. They have crept up a little in that we had rain the entire day yesterday instead of snow. It is still chilly outside and I cannot put my winter coat away yet, but at least we are experiencing one sign of Spring – rain!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my week began with a Math workshop. The session was interesting and I jotted down a few ideas to put into practice once I have completed my current inquiry with the children. I have placed the sheet with my ideas in a place of prominence on my desk so that I do not forget to follow through 🙂

This week I managed to catch up with the documentation of my students’ work. Yahoo! Now I need to work on creating a new documentation panel outside of my classroom. We have been working on adjectives in class and I intend to put up a board showcasing the writing produced by my grade 1s and 2s.

The work week ended with a school wide trip to the cinema. Under the current principal, we have a yearly tradition of going to the cinema that is a 10 minute walk from the school. This year we went to see “Boss Baby”.

Not only did the kids laugh during the movie, but the adults chuckled too. We had a fun morning eating popcorn for snack while watching the film. And the afternoon? My students were hyped on sugar (they had fruit candy and a very sweet Fruitopia drink with their popcorn at the movies) and found it difficult to focus and do much.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the school week ended well and that I woke up refreshed this morning. Today at midday I am going to try another Zumba class – I am ready to add another session to my exercise schedule. The floor space at this gym is a lot smaller than where I usually go so I am hoping that there are not too many people. While I am in the area, I will also take the opportunity to stop by the library – the pile next to my bed is almost done 🙂

Enjoy your weekend and have a fantastic week.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post is linked to the Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Nerd in the Brain)