Time to Celebrate!

It’s that time of the year, where we get overwhelmed with school work, the holidays and everything else we need to do! I don’t know about you, but my to do list keeps on increasing. I cross off one item, then I need to add five more. I’ve come to a point of not putting things on my to do list, because I think it will just stress me out more if I can’t cross it out immediately!

I think as teachers, we get so caught up in all that we need to do, we don’t stop and reflect enough on our accomplishments, how small or big they might be. I love that in reading and writing workshop, at the end of every unit, we have some sort of celebration, where we celebrate the hard work that my students have done as readers and writers. Sometimes it’s an all out publishing party with food and parents, other times, it’s a simple sharing with each other.

What if as teachers, we were required to reflect and celebrate after each quarter/semester the work that we do as teachers?

A small accomplishment that I felt proud of was when my students got really excited to read a particular book I recommended. The book I recommended to my students was Because of Mr. Terupt. I actually first heard about this book from a post from Two Writing Teachers! It has been a hit with my students. I have one copy that has been rotating around and another student just finished it this weekend. I love it when books in my class have a long waiting list and students can’t wait to read it next! My student came in and told me, “This book makes me write a lot of post-it notes.” I just smiled back. The other two students that read the book absolutely loved it as well!

My student had about 3 more pages full of post-its!

So today, stop and take a moment to reflect on the past few months and share with us one of your accomplishments! Let’s celebrate all the great work that you have been doing!

For more slice of life entries, go to two writing teachers!

Read Aloud Guests

This year, I started something new with my students. Every Friday, I have a read aloud guest who comes in and reads to my students. We’ve had different teachers and staff from our school come in to read almost every week (If I haven’t asked you yet, don’t worry your turn will come soon!).  It has been a lot of fun as my students are always curious to know who will come in and what they will read.

I have given my read aloud guests a few options on what to read. I can give specific book recommendations, or they can read a particular story they love to read, or they can choose a story in the genre that we are studying in reading or writing workshop.

So far, we’ve had a variety of stories read from picture books, short stories and even a teacher’s own written narrative. I know for me, I loved getting books read aloud to me from my parents. I know that in America, it is really common for parents to read aloud to their child every night when they are young, but I wonder how often the parents of my students do that here in Korea. I always do emphasize the importance of parent involvement in reading to their children at home during back to school night.

This week my younger brother, who also happens to be a teacher at my school will come in and read! I’m really thankful to everyone that has come in and read to my kids. YOU could be next! 🙂 Some of our past read aloud guests:

I am curious now, how many of you had your parents read aloud to you daily?  To my readers that are parents, how often do you read aloud to your kids?


A Rare Moment

Last period was  finally approaching on this long Monday and we had some extra time. I wanted to try something different. I explained to my students that we would write poems about what they are thankful for. We would share these poems at our thanksgiving celebration on Wednesday. I gave them the prompt,”I am thankful for…”

Then, they opened their writer’s notebooks and wrote, but unlike the other times, where I walk around and meet with students, I decided to write as well. I opened up my writer’s notebook, which I admit was gathering some dust in my bookshelf, and got out my inky teacher pen and wrote. I crossed out some lines and struggled to come up with what I wanted to say exactly. However, I managed to put something together. A rough draft. A beginning to something. After about 15 minutes of writing, I walked around and encouraged students to expand and be more descriptive on what they wrote.

I read aloud to them what I had so far and had a few other students share as well. Afterwards, one of my students came up and asked, “Is that your writer’s notebook? Can I see the cover? Oooh, lucky…” Unfortunately, I didn’t decorate the cover of that writer’s notebook, but my student still seemed to like it.

I was reminded today that writing with my students and getting caught in the writing process along my students is worthwhile . So here’s a little something of what I’m came up with…

I’m thankful for…

the blank pages that welcome my pen

avocados from costco, no matter the price

the songs that resonate in my soul

the warm blankets that I can snuggle underneath on a cold winter day

genuine smiles

getting paid to do what i love

my blog readers!

unexpected gifts

my family that supports me no matter how far apart we are

books that i can’t put down until i’m finished with it

my students from the past and the present

good friends that love me just as i am, no explanations needed

the excitement a student has in telling me about the book that they simply loved

hugs

answered prayers

slice of pumpkin pie, marshmallow yams and cranberry sauce

God’s unfailing love

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? 🙂

For more slice of life entries, go to Two Writing Teachers.

A Little Inspiration

Sometimes you’ve had one of those days, weeks, or months, where you just need a little inspiration. Here you go! 🙂

Source: Uploaded by user via jy on Pinterest

Source: ilovedust.com via jy on Pinterest

Source: flickr.com via jy on Pinterest

Write Down Your Idea!

As we strolled into Art Box, we immediately were drawn to the myriad of pretty notebooks that lined the shelves and tables.  I knew the minute we stepped in, it would be hard to leave empty handed, as we were two teachers in a stationary store full of notebooks, fancy pens and more. Trying to stay focused on our task of buying a birthday present for our friend, we started to look at the notebooks. After finding one suitable for our friend, we got side tracked. We were immediately drawn to this notebook at first. Loved it.

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Then, we found these. They were perfect. Idea notebooks. Melody liked the black one and I chose the white one.  The writing teacher in us made it hard to resist a splurge on a new notebook! We justified the purchase by deciding that could start writing down all our wonderful teaching ideas and reflections. We could brainstorm ideas for our future teaching blog that we plan on making together. We could write down the funny thing our student said. We could stop and reflect on the exhausting, time consuming, and rewarding life of the teacher.

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For more slice of life entries go to two writing teachers!

I Ran Seoul!

A sea of crimson Nike dry fit shirts gathered in the center of Seoul. I could see the statue of King Sejong on one side and the mountain peaks lining the clear crisp autumn sky. I couldn’t have imagined a better day for a race. I had originally signed up to be in group C (beginner group). However, Janice, and I decided to sneak into group A(advanced). We heard that group C was really slow and most of the people walked, and it would be hard to get around the walkers. There were 10,000 people in each group!

We easily snuck into group A, and as one of the guards there, tried to pull me aside, saying this was only for group A people, I just kept following the crowd of people into the center of the starting place. I noticed that many other people from group B and C had snuck in there too. They led us through stretches and played a bunch of upbeat songs to get us pumped up. The excitement I had from earlier started to quickly drop as I was filled with nerves. What if I couldn’t finish it? What if I started to get bad cramps while running? What if I had to go to the bathroom?

All the doubt started to fill my mind, but I tried to stay focused. As the countdown started and I was in the midst of 30,000 people, there was no backing out now. The sound of the gunshot from the screen signaled the start to something I would have to finish, no matter what.

I started to run really slowly, as we were still in the midst of a huge crowd, standing almost shoulder to shoulder. We slowly started to pick up our pace as we reached the START line. We started to run. We immediately had to make a right turn and then continued straight. It was pure madness, running in such a huge crowd. I tried to stay next to Janice, but considering how everyone was wearing the same shirt, it was hard to keep track. We continued running passed stopped cars that were unfortunately at the wrong place and wrong time on a Sunday afternoon. People started running to the side of the cones that marked the border for the runners and the oncoming traffic.

We continued to run on the left side, trying to avoid the dense crowd of people, after about a km, the crowd grew smaller, as some sped ahead and others slowed down. I felt the inside of my mouth getting extremely dry. I needed water. I would have to wait another 2.5 km until the first water station. I lost Janice in the frenzy of the crowd. I was on my own.

As I kept running, I kept telling myself, I will never run in a 10k race again. It was hard running on the streets. I was feeling so tired and I hadn’t even reached 2 km yet. Everyone had told me that you would run faster on race day because of the adrenaline pumping in you. That was a total lie. All I wanted to do was walk. However, I kept telling myself to keep going. The beginning of my run was always the most difficult.

As I almost hit 3 km, I slowed down and walked for a bit. However, I knew that I had to keep on going. As I approached the first water station, I immediately grabbed a cup of water.

Around 5km, I reached the Mapo bridge that we had to cross. There was a small hill. I didn’t train for any hills! As we crossed the bridge, I knew that I had made it halfway. I was surprised that I hit 5km in about 29 minutes. I must have been running faster than it felt in the beginning.

As I continued to run, there were some people cheering on the side, and people in neon green shirts encouraging the runners with high fives and smiles. I just tried to stay focused. I wanted to stop. However, I told myself to keep going. I tried to motivate myself by saying that I would treat myself to buy a really nice bag if I finish the race. It worked. I continued to run. As my nike run application told me that I was on the ninth kilometer, I used up all my energy to sprint towards the finish. Only 100km left the friendly voice told me.

Then, I saw the sign. 9km!! The voice on my headphones had just told me I had finished running 10km. How could it be? Who was lying? I had no choice. Everyone else was running. I had to keep going. This was torture. It was suppose to be a 10km race. I continued to remind myself that I was almost done. Just a little more.

Finally, the finish line was in sight. As others sprinted ahead, I jogged across the line. 1 hour and 8 minutes.

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For more slice of life entries go to two writing teachers!