Friday, March 31, 2006

The End of Kidtelligence = The Beginning of Harmony's Teaching Tickle Trunk

Regina is losing its only major teaching store- Kidtelligence, which isn't a very good thing for all the friendly teachers in town. But it has been a very good thing for me, as everything in the store has been 50-70% off. I think I spent less than $30 preparing for my high school classroom. I can't quite say the same about getting ready for my first elementary classroom! Stickers, borders, books, games, posters, galore! It's a whole new world!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Gravity? We're stumped.

mysterious birdie

(just checking)

You've seen this picture, right?!
Oh, it does an Aunty's heart good.

Field Trip Day

Today was Field Trip Day. In Mandarin class we went out for lunch to a local Chinese restaurant and filled ourselves on spicy tofu, ginger beef and wonton soup. Immediately following the Chinese feast, the Grade 10s and myself drove to the Legislative Building to sit in on question period, take a tour of the building and visit with our Regina Rosemont MLA, the Honourable Joanne Crofford. She is a fantastic lady and kindly introduced our class to the Assembly during the session. She commented on Western being a welcomed bright spot in our community as well as stating our "students seek a high standard for their life decisions"- or something to that effect, although it sounded better when she said it...anyway, it made me think, hey, that's a pretty neat thing to recognize in our kids. I have now taken both Gr. 4's and Gr. 10's to the Leg., and I'd have to say in terms of management, they work at about the same level...ha ha. Just kidding, they were good reps for our school.
So here it is just about 1am again, and I'm rounding up on the prep for tomorrow. I must say I am feeling somewhat lethargic about things related to teaching these days...I am ready for Easter! Oh dear. Things are lighter for me now that the hoops season is over, so I can't complain...and I really shouldn't. It's too easy to whine...oops, that's whining too, isn't it? You'd think I'd take the advice/orders I give my 9/10's everyday- "do not whine at me- I am not your Mother and you are not 5 years old!"
On a positive note, lately I have realized I am not socially inept, as I had feared I was becoming during the last few months in the height of teaching and coaching busyness. Birthday celebrations (Happy Birthday Crystal!!!! You're my Hero, the Funniest Distraction, and the Queen of Peppers), India buffets, plenty of March Madness, soccer, basketball, badminton, working out at the gym, a monster long chat to China...all these I have enjoyed in the past week. Now, I really must head for bed. It's better for all that way!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Passing on the love...

My favorite class of the day is the one I don't usually teach- Mandarin class. It is the students' favorite class, too. They call me a "co-teacher", but that's a pretty far stretch for a gal who spent a year fiddling with a language with less than great intensity. Our real teacher, Evangeline, is one fantastic lady. She works at QCC (the ESL high school that is located at Western). I teach one class a week (something related to my China experience, a craft, or a lesson on Chinese history, landmarks, geography or politics), while she teahes the other four. We've made spring rolls together, Chinese valentines, we've ate dry squid and fish, and a meal at a Chinese restaurant is in the agenda for next week.
Our little high school has really caught fire when it comes to learning about Chinese language and culture- it's really quite neat, and a unique experience for our kids. They're so excited about everything! Each student is also paired up with a Chinese student from QCC, and they hang out together once a week in an exchange of language and culture.
Today we spent most of the class working on our Chinese characters. A student and I agreed that it is such a peaceful thing to do. 20 people in a room working diligently on these little strokes that combine to actually create real words! It's hard for our English minds to figure out just how these picture characters have meanings.
It has been so fun for me- learning more Chinese everyday, getting to know another wonderful Chinese person, and having the chance to pass on my love for this country to my students.
Here's my homework from today!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

I'm're next!

1. Subway Sandwich Artist (I look best in purple)
2. Bata Shoe Seller
3. ESL Homestay Student Assistant
4. Teacher

1. Notting Hill
2. Hoosiers
3. Two Weeks Notice
4. Cheaper By the Dozen

1. 7301 7th Ave., West siiiide Regina, Saskatchewan
2. 1751 Bond St., East siiide Regina, Saskatchewan
3. Gospel House of Love, East siiiide Regina, Saskatchewan
4. The Rooftop, Shiyan, Hubei, China

1. March Madness
2. American Idol
3. Amazing Race
4. March Madness

1. Muscat, Oman
2. Clearview Christian Camp, Kenosee Lake, Saskatchewan
3. Yellowknife is #1, baby! Summer, or's the vacation hotspot!
4. Beijing, China

1. Fajitas!
2. Anything Made By Mom
3. Colorful colorful salads
4. Chinese Green Beans, How I Miss Them!

1. gmail
2. myfamily
3. evergreen curriculum :)
4. all kinds of blogs! try this one!

1. Tamara Tamala
2. Elijah's Dad
3. Water Lab Technician Boy
4. Dr. Slywka

She Loved Well

About a week ago, the Maxima and I journeyed together to Portage for my Aunty Laurie's funeral. Actually, it was not a funeral, it was a celebration. She would have nothing to do with funerals; she wanted her friends and family to get together and have a party in remembrance of her life. So that we did. We played bingo, listened to an Elvis impersonator, and later we ate pizza and cake, her favorites. We cried plenty too, and remembered all that Aunty Laurie gave in her life on Earth. The word that described her over and over was love. Love, love, love. It was a very good reminder to me that it really is all that lasts and endures. Love. People remember love- love as an action that helps and shares and gives. She loved like that and it touched people. We admired her amazing endurance through so much pain- she was courageous to the end.
I was glad that I could be there. It was the day before, though, that likely sparked some thoughts for me. I went to her viewing; I have never done this before. She is the first person that I really knew that has passed away. It was quite an experience for me. I was sad to see her there, because it meant Aunty Laurie had left us and I wouldn't know her here on Earth anymore.
But more than that, I felt an amazing sense of joy for her. She was, and is, free! The words that ran through my mind were "It's just a tent. This body is only a tent- nothing more". The flesh has lost the battle, but my Aunty Laurie is free. For the last week my mind has sometimes drifted to Aunty Laurie and I wonder what she is up to. What's it like up there, over there, wherever you are experiencing the other side of this?
Anyway, it is all leading me to think about how much time I waste on the surface level of life. It has helped me think about cultivating the spirit inside of me that my Father wants. I confess I am consumed by so much of what will pass away.
I've been reading Brian McLaren's book, "A New Kind of Christian". I happened to run into his chapter on "What is Heaven About Anyway?" the night before the service.
I think he has some good thoughts on how death teaches us about "becoming" in the now. I'll let him speak for himself:
"We are becoming on this side of the door of death the kind of people we will be on the other side. And for that reason, the reality of death gives us an important gift every day: it reminds us that we can't keep putting off the work of becoming. It tells us to prepare to meet God then by entering into a relationship with him now. It echoes the words of Jesus, "Turn, turn, turn to God...because the kingdom of heaven is near. Because someday it will be time to turn in our final exam. Someday the teacher will say, "Time's up. Pencils down". Someday the essay that we have written with our lives will be complete.
What we will have become on this side of the door, that we will be on the other. That fact means that we live every moment in the nexus of peril and possibility."

My Favorite Chinese Word

This makes me giggle everytime, so I thought I'd share it with you.
Next time someone asks you how your day is, and you want to say "so, so", you should not say "so, so" because this is not very exciting, or fun. Instead use the Mandarin translation of this expression- say "Ma ma hu hu". Isn't that much more enjoyable? If you become bored of ma ma hu hu, well then try the Cantonese version: "Ma ma fu fu". Hee, hee. Chinese is great.

Speak up, O Blogger

Many thoughts. Followed by lazy moments and not quite the motivation to put the thoughts together to make any kind of sense. So here we go, let's get back on the blogging block. I'm getting myself pumped up here. Woo, wooo!!!
Translation "Xiao Liu". This is a way to give little brothers or sisters in a family a nickname. So "xiao" (she-owwwww!) means "small" and "liu" (leo) means "six".

Monday, March 06, 2006

Nothing Beats March Madness!!!

March is by far my favorite month of the year, hands down. The greatest sporting event known to mankind will kick off with Selection Sunday six days from now. Ooooooh. The NCAA Basketball Tournament. The 64 Team Showdown. The Big Dance, Baby!
There is nothing that moves me like a 14 seed pulling the big upset on the 3 seed...or a classic 8-9 match up coming right down to the wire. Seriously, buzzer beaters make me just plain weepy! Who will emerge as the cinderella story of 2006? Which number one seed will plummet first? Which kid will come out of the closet as the next top NBA prospect? How long can I sneak out of class to watch as many games as possible?!!!
I'll let you know about what I'm thinking on this year's bracket's...but not until our big fantasy league is underway. I'd hate to let my secret selections out of the bag. Ha, ha!
There's just something about the whole bracket thing that makes me
kinda goofy. Sheesh, I love those brackets! Every since high school, I get this tingly rush making my gambles and random guesses on teams, and then, oh the best- during the first two rounds...watching and updating as the scores pile up. Oh, admit it, some of you deep down feel the same way! So, if you want to join the bracket craze, send me an email and I'll get you signed up for a fantasy league with the hippest bracket junkies around.
Oh, and this year the Madness is even more intense because I'm coaching my way through a bracket! It was Selection Monday for us in Saskatchewan. I was a little disappointed with our seeding- 9th out of 16. I'm not convinced the strength of our schedule was taken into account as it might have been (we were 10-14 overall this season, and 5-10 in Regina playing against a majority of 3A and 4A schools), but oh well. That's alright! We're headed to Herbert to play in the tight 8-9 game vs. Radville. Should we be victorious in the Friday night game, next up will be the mighty Herberters?- the number one ranked team in the province. The slipper might just fit! Go Mustangs!
It's actually a pretty fun time for high school basketball here, with all of the divisions holding their regionals this weekend and then four from each will move on to the Big Dance- aka Hoopla, the following weekend in Moose Jaw.
Anyway...countdown to the Madness is on...I know you're counting down, too! :)