Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Another Classroom Tale

Today we were brainstorming our favorite places for a poem we were going to write. Unsurprisingly, one of the kids suggested Disneyland and all the other children jumped onto the mousified bandwagon. It seemed liked every last one of them had been there sometime in their short 7 year existence. Out of pure curiousity, I asked them to put up their hand if they really had visited Disneyland. All but two put up their hands and the two little girls who had never been before started to look slightly sad and left out. Trying to make them feel better...

Me: Don
't worry. I was 12 when I first got to visit Disneyland. It's not really the happiest place on earth. There are lots of screaming kids.

Lil Boy in My Class: YEAH! And it's NOT the place where dreams come true! When I went there, I wished for a Nintendo DS and I never got it!

So young. Already jaded.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Potted Plants and Praise

This lovely, potted hyacinth ended up on my desk this week. There is a little boy in my class who like many others often rushes through his work, the result being sloppy sentences and messy pictures. Over this past week, I noticed that he had been completing his work more neatly. I made a point of oohing and ahhing over his finished work every time he brought it up to me, exclaiming in my best primary teacher's voice, "I am SO proud of you for doing your best this week. You are on a roll! What a good job you've been doing!" Well, one morning this past week, he came into the classroom holding this potted hyacinth. His mom later let me know that on a trip to the grocery store, he asked if he could choose some flowers for me. As he handed it to me, in true little boy fashion, not getting sentimental at all, he warned, "Mrs. Lai, the flowers stink." It actually is really fragrant and I love it. It makes this job so worth it.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Field Trip

Our Field Trip destination for the day:

The kids got to hold a live salmon egg from the incubator. You can see the two eyes and when held up to the light, the embryo could be seen too.

Intently watching as Salmon Man fed the smolts in the holding pools and the fish were jumping out of the water. The kids kept exclaiming over and over again, "Awesome!" No other adjective. Just that one.

Into the forest...

for a little hike to the dam.

View of the resevoir where our water comes from...upstream of the dam.
Standing on the dam itself and looking downstream

So Much Fun! I actually really do enjoy field trips.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

VALENTINE's Day @ School

Personally, The Husband and I are not big Valentine's Day revelers and have never made a big deal out of this holiday. However, in the classroom, I love making V-Day crafts with the kids and focusing on showing love and kindness to one another.

The festivities started by putting together and painting mailbags for holding Valentine's cards,

creating decorations,

and hanging our mailbags on the back of our chairs yesterday.

Then we spent some time walking around the room with pencils in hand and stopping at each person's desk to write a short message aimed to encourage and put a smile on a friend's face.

Afterwards, we decorated cupcakes (thanks to SuperVolunteer Mom in my class),

brought out the special treats and cards we had made for each other,

And delivered them to each person's mailbag.

Finally, while enjoying the cupcakes of our labour, we dug into our mailbags and quietly read all the little cards and messages we received. I spent some time watching one particular girl intently reading the pink sheet of messages her friends had left her, a smile widening as she made her way down the page.
Love to All!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

25 Random Facts About Me

1. I was born in Singapore.

2. At 16, I actually failed my driver’s road test but sweet talked the tester into passing me anyways (she actually told me not to tell anyone) and I got my license that day.

3. I started dating my husband when I was 19 and we dated for almost 5 years before getting married.

4. One of my students told me I’m scary when I am reprimanding certain children in the class. I think a little fear of authority has never hurt anyone.

5. I secretly thought I could become the next Kristi Yamaguchi in my pre-teens, having never taken a single skating lesson.

6. I truly love my job as a teacher but my secret (or not-so-secret) side-career ambition would be to get paid for scrapbooking and making crafts.

7. When I was 4, I was the proud owner of 2 lovebirds. My mom sprayed them with insecticide accidentally and my dad had to buy me 2 more. The same thing happened again a few days later and my Dad refused to buy me anymore.

8. In university I would look at my friends who blew all their money travelling with disdain, thinking they were wasting all their money. I now know how wrong I was and I have become them.

9. If I did not become a teacher, I would have enjoyed being a graphic designer, interior designer or wedding photographer.

10. I look forward to buying a townhouse in the next year purely so I can make myself the ultimate craft/sewing/scrapbook studio.

11. The Husband and I made a pact when we got married, that we would go away every school break and long weekend that we had, and have kept to that pretty well.

12. I wanted to marry someone who was a teacher (for summers off together), a PK (pastor’s kid who would understand where I was coming from), and musical (who could sing me down the aisle). That all became my reality. Weird huh?!

13. I am a compulsive cleaner who must have everything tidy and clean. The first thing I do when I get home is put everything in its right place.

14. I had never been a dog lover and was secretly scared of dogs until we bought our puppy Leila. (I’m still afraid of big dogs)

15. I’m a teacher at the school I grew up in, teaching with some of my former teachers and in the same classroom where I spent many hours as a student. I have many déjà vu moments while at work.

16. I love my life and am terrified that something horrible will happen to shake it all up

17. I get asked all the time when I will have a child. I’m so tired of answering, "I still want to travel and sleep".

18. I dislike eating fruits, vegetables and dairy products. Give me carbs and meat.

19. I got engaged in Paris

20. In high school I was a high jumper and could jump my own height minus 3 inches.

21. This past summer (thanks to my cousin) I got to pose as a travel writer and was comped extraordinary hotel rooms, spa treatments and food.

22. I have put on at least 5 pounds in the last 3 years since I was married.

23. I am a Chinese who does not speak Chinese. I speak only English to my Chinese grandparents.

24. I still sleep with a special blanket that I’ve had for a long time and miss it when we go away. Every so often, my husband threatens to throw it off the balcony.

25. I love paper and pens, and have a huge collection of both. The first time I travelled to Japan, my main goal was to buy awesome pens.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Today's Tale from the Classroom

My writing lesson today included a review of nouns, verbs and adjectives. Students have been working on publishing a book of poetry. Our poem today involved choosing a topic and listing nouns, verbs and adjectives about that specific topic.

My little darlings were writing silently and I was feeling quite proud of what we had accomplished..

Little Boy: Mrs. Lai, did you know that Rosie is writing a poem about her Mom?

Me: Oh, Okay.

Little Boy: Mrs. Lai, did you know that Rosie wrote bra as her noun?

Me: What did you say?

Little Boy: [huge grin] She's using bra as her noun.

Me: Rosie..???

Rosie: [annoyed] Well, she does wear one!

Their parents are going to loooove the final products.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Another Photoshop Layout

Spent another couple hours learning photoshop this evening. My latest learned accomplishment - stamping those flourishes on the side of the page one at a time. Going to work on a blog header next.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Playing with Photoshop

In an effort to further cultivate creativity, I installed Photoshop Elements 7 today, watched a number of tutorial videos here, downloaded some digital elements, and designed my first layout. I have a feeling this is the beginning of yet another creative hobby.