An Abundant Amount of Paper

I spend my work days planning lessons, preparing for my classes, assessing my students’ work, and teaching. Every minute of my day feels jam-packed and there are times when I do not stop for a breather. Tidying up the new activities I have created as well as filing my students’ tasks is a low priority in my day.The time may have come, though, to set some time aside to clear up the teetering piles of paper on my desk.

What does your desk look like where you work?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

This post is linked to the WordPress photo challenge. The prompt this week is prolific.)


A Hammer and Nails

One of the highlights of the Structures Inquiry that I am currently doing with my students is a woodworking workshop. Each year I invite a person into my class to run the workshop. He prepares the materials for the project I have chosen (this year I chose the windmill). He brings the tools and woodworking tables into my room and he runs the sessions. This year the grade 1 classes joined my class.

The children love this workshop – and I love seeing the smiles on their faces when they they see that they are building something themselves with a hammer and nails. This year was extra special to me because, not only were the girls successfully building, but the parent volunteers were all women.

Proudly showing off their windmills. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Two days later, all the classes had tried their hand at building and we were ready for the next phase of the project: painting and decorating. I set aside Friday afternoon as ending the week with a burst of creativity is always a good thing.

The children enjoy this part of the project as much as the building. When they took their efforts home, the windmills were held proudly in their hands. I can only imagine the smiles the structures would bring to the faces of those who admire them.

Windmills ready to go home. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Once again the woodworking workshop was a success. No matter what grade I teach next year, I know I will include this activity on my programme.

Do you enjoy building with a hammer and nails?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post is linked to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge. The prompt this week is Smile.)

Chocolate Bark

My husband shopped for and made the dinner that we had to celebrate Chinese New Year. I do not mind making our family meals for occasions such as Christmas, birthdays, and Easter. However, I always insist he cooks at the start of the lunar calendar as he stir fries vegetables so much better than I do.

As always when my husband cooks celebration dinners, I think of the sweet treat we will have with our tea after the meal. On Saturday afternoon when I moved into the kitchen, I realised that I had not bought more milk to make my intended dessert. So I fell back on a family favourite knowing that I had enough ingredients i. The cupboard: Chocolate Bark.

I gathered all the ingredients together: semi-sweet baking chocolate, sliced almonds, walnuts, and cranberries. I prepared my pots to melt the chocolate: I insert a stainless steel bowl into one of my smaller pots that has boiling water in it. I prefer melting my chocolate this way to using the microwave as it ensures that I will not burn the chocolate. Once the chocolate is all melted, I add the nuts and cranberries. Once the ingredients have been covered in the melted chocolate, I spread the mixture into a baking tray lined with baking paper. The chocolate hardens in the fridge and, once it has been broken into pieces and placed on a plate, is ready to be enjoyed.

This sweet treat is simple to make and is always enjoyed by my family. The few remaining pieces never last long in the fridge.

Do you make your own chocolate bark?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post is linked to the WordPress weekly photo challenge. The prompt this week is Sweet.)

A Sweet Valentine

I don’t do much in my classroom for Valentine’s Day but we do make cards. This year, my colleague came up with a cute idea for parent cards which I thought I would try out. On a piece of card, the children carefully used cotton buds to create hearts with tempura paint. The cards were addressed to both parents. Those children whose parents are separated, I asked to make two cards – one for mom and one for dad.

At the end of the day, the children were kind to one another as they exchanged their cards.  Each year it is a pleasure for me to watch them open one another’s cards and read the little messages inside. The children never forget me and I always have my own cards to read and chocolate hearts to enjoy.

Teacher Valentines. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Valentine’s Day is a sweet time of year. Not only because chocolates are exchanged; but also because the sentiment behind the giving is one of caring.

Did you receive something sweet for Valentine’s Day?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post is linked to the WordPress weekly photo challenge. The prompt this week is Sweet.)


A Quiet Day

Today was a PA in elementary schools across Ontario – that is, it was a day set aside in which teachers could work on their report cards. This morning when I stepped into the school at 8am, the halls were quiet. My classroom was silent without the chatter of young children.

An Empty classroom. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

I sat at my desk determined to make use of the day. I did not want to have to work on reporting at home over the weekend. I am trying my best to keep the work at school and not spend time at home on classroom projects. It is not always feasible to do, but I am managing to spend more time on other activities at home besides work.

Working on report cards. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

It is extremely difficult for me to sit for hours at a time in front of the computer. Like many of my students, my body wants to move! But I force myself to sit still and focus on the task at hand. My efforts were rewarded this afternoon when I finished all of my students” report cards after 5 hours.

A well-deserved treat. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

My treat when I got home was to have a cup of coffee and put my feet up while spending time with my current read. Our home was quiet. My children were still at school, and my husband at work. The perfect way to end a working day.

Are you able to focus in silence?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This post is a response to the WordPress photo challenge. This week’s prompt is silence.)

A Biscuit Treat

South African biscuits. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

Yesterday was a difficult day dealing with many flare ups occurring in the classroom. Why do all the issues happen at once and on the same day? At the end of the day I took a deep breath and decided to leave for home straight after school (which is unusual for me).

When I reached home yesterday, I was happy to see that no-one had arrived home yet as that meant some quiet time alone. I made some tea and raided my stash of South African biscuits. When I was living in my birth country, I enjoyed these sweet additions to my tea break often. So often, they seemed pedestrian. Now they are a treat to be savoured.

I really need to learn how to make Romany Creams!

What is your favourite biscuit (cookie) treat?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

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

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)

Art Gallery

On Monday I sorted all the art pieces my students had created for this term’s art inquiry. I had given them the opportunity to create a design using shapes.

Art Gallery (1) © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

Every second week, their pieces were created using a different medium: tempura paint, watercolour, oil pastels, crayon, plasticine.

Art Gallery (2) © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

I have organised the artwork on the bulletin boards in the classroom. The pieces for each child are grouped together in a semblance of order.

Art Gallery (3) © Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

I have invited parents to browse the gallery and they are visiting before and after school. And during the day? The children and I enjoy the vibrant colours gracing the walls.

wordpress photo challenge -2014Do you enjoy looking at children’s art?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post is linked to the weekly WordPress photo challenge. The prompt this week is order)

View from a Train

View from a Train. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

The Gold Reef City theme park in Johannesburg, South Africa, has been modelled on the structures of a Johannesburg long gone. Riding the train around the park, I took this photo from my seat. The time period seems magical and as you stroll around the re-invented streets, you can almost imagine what it would have been like living there decades ago.

Do you enjoy strolling through the streets of a time long gone?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(This post was inspired by the WordPress Photo Challenge. This week’s prompt is: magic.)

Natural Chaos

I enjoy the colours of Fall: the oranges, reds, and browns. I look on the trees with their brilliant foliage in delight, absorbing the colours and the textures that Nature puts on display. I take pleasure, as well, in the colours strewn over the ground. The leaves fall where they will, and are pushed around by gusts of wind.

Scattered Fall Leaves. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

At the park, the natural chaos of the Fall leaves are interspersed with the ordered chaos of a child’s play.

A Park Construction. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

In the city, the display of Fall leaves on the ground is often raked up and bagged. But until they are ordered, I enjoy the sight of the scattered colours on the ground.

Do you enjoy the sight of scattered Fall leaves?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(This post was inspired by the WordPress Photo Challenge. This week’s prompt is: chaos.)