Monday, November 5, 2012

Seoul Wine Train

A few weekends ago Jenelle and I organized a ladies only wine train trip.

I would write about it but....Jenelle already did and she is a much better writer than I am.

So here is a link to her blog about our amazing weekend!

Soul Wine Train

I will add, I love these ladies! I only have a handful of girl friends and I feel so lucky to have these women in my life. I love them like sisters and we have the best time together!

Oregon City Pen Pals

All of my students have pen pals this term. I posted on Facebook in early September asking any and all of my teacher friends if they were interested in being pen pals with my students. I was SO happy when my friend Jacinta replied and said that she would LOVE to work it into her schedule.

Jacinta and I were inseparable in our last few years at WOU. Her and her son became like family. We did everything together. Those are some of my very favorite college memories.

 Jacinta, Sebastian and I on my first trip to Jacinta's home town, Hood River, for her birthday. 
July 2007
 Jacinta and I wrote some curriculum together during our time student teaching at WOU. 
We were selected to present our work on campus. May 2008
Jacinta and I at her wedding. August 2011

I am SO excited to be able to be pen pals with her and her class. It is a fun way to share our classroom lives and keep in touch. I sent her class the first set of pen pal letters in early October.
My students were super excited about having a new "friend" in the United States. They love the unique names and that we have to wait for the mail man. Everything about pen pals is exciting to a first grader.

Well something fun and unexpected happened today.
Our pen pal letters from Jacinta's class came! yay!

How cute is she? Seriously! Jacinta was SO thoughtful. She sent a cool Oregon photo guide so that I can show the kids where Joe and I live in the United States. She even noticed on Pinterest that I am slightly obsessed with the mustache craze and got me these fun mustache cookie cutters! But what truly made me tear up were the Reese's candy bars.

Jacinta and I were obsessed with Target in college. We would stalk the sale aisles and find fun teaching stuff or prizes for our students. Then one Easter we found that Target discounts all of the holiday themed Reese's bars the day after any holiday. We bought about a dozen bags of the Easter egg shaped Reese's bars. But here's the kicker, they were honestly like $0.38 cents a bag. Hahaha! We filled her freezer and ate on and gave away Easter candy for the rest of the year. To this day when I see a holiday shaped Reese's bar I think of Jacinta.

She also sent a cute hand written letter. The mail man came before lunch and it truly made my day! I opened a few letters to check them out. Her students did a great job. And she took all of their pictures and sent them in with the letters!

My first graders went nuts! The loved "meeting" their pen pals, and see their faces. Hubert wanted to have his picture taken with his new "friend". Of course I obliged. Then in true first grade fashion everyone else wanted a picture with their pen pal.

Amy (BIS) and Carter
Ashley (BIS) and Kiara
Hubert (BIS) and Jacqueline
Kelly (BIS) and Katie
Ben (BIS) and Alexandra
Woods (BIS) and Joaquin

This is just a few of the kids with their pen pals. All of my classes are between 4-9 students. So I have several of my classes paired up with Jacinta's class. Throughout the week as I see students I will give them their letters and have them write back.
I can't even describe how excited my students were. This is such a fun project. I am so thankful that I get to share it with Jacinta. 

A Walk in the Park

***I have a ton of catching up to do on this ol blog......but the thing is life keeps happening and my list of "to blog about" keeps growing. So I figured I might as well blog about something even if it is not at the top of my "to-do" list.

Work has been a drag. Being a teacher can really suck sometimes. The work load lately has been heavy. It's the end of a term for our older elementary students. Which means reviewing all of this terms material, making review worksheets, term test, then my least cards! Ahgg. I HATE writing them. I won't go into it but they are more complicated then back home, its not a fill in the bubble, click a comment to add. Every single student gets a personalized comment that is no less than a paragraph long for each subject, from each teacher. It it a miserable task for me. Anyway....then at the end of this month it's term test for the first graders too. And to add to the fun this month....drum roll please....we got  four new students in pre-k! They are only Korean age 5. Which means in North American age they are between 2- 4 years old, depending on their birthday. I haven't seen their paper work yet, but I imagine one is 3 and others are 4. We build a whole new class for these little darlings.

So... Joe and I decided to take the kindergartners for a mini field trip. Getting out of the building after a long week was perfect. We have had a beautiful fall so far but it will be getting cold really soon. Winters are long in Korea and we knew it would be the last time we would be able to get outside with the kids until next spring. The weather was perfect. Cool, crisp air, sunny and dry. It was a picture perfect fall day. There is a great little park near the school that has a pond full of fish and the path to the park is lined with trees with the leaves changing colors. We had about 90 minutes to get to the park and back. Not an easy task with 20 small children, but do-able. We set out walking, then moved to speed walking, then when I noticed we might not make it back in time for the kids to catch the bus, we ran.


It's hard to see in this picture but Joe is carrying/running with Matthew. Matthew is by far the heaviest Kindergartner we have. He just could not keep up with the others, so Joe scooped him up and ran with him.  Matthew told the other kids he was flying. The next day Joe was sore. 

 I packed a small bag of Eddie's dry dog food so we could feed the fish. We were lucky enough to have some ducks come by and we got to feed them too. The kids LOVED it.

Steve- "I'm so tired, I can't wait to sleep on the bus" 

 Jayden got something stuck in his shoe. He stopped and refused to move until the issue was resolved. Of course that meant it was the perfect time for a picture according the Vicki, our photographer for the day. I swear nothing happens at BIS without a camera within reach. Joe and I didn't even think any of the Korean staff would go with us. Unfortunately as soon as we loaded up into the elevator, Vicki squeezed it. She doesn't really speak English, all she said was, "For picture", then held up the camera.

We all had a great time. We ran and played. I had the kids collect leaves for a future art project. I think the pictures speak for themselves.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Bring Your Mother to Work Day

 ***I found some great pictures on my work computer from when Debbie came to work with us so I am taking a break from my Beijing posts to share them.***

We convinced Mom a few different times to come to work with us and help us teach.
It was REALLY fun to have her in class. The kids loved it, but I think Joe and I enjoyed it the most.

There was something really special about sharing our students and our daily teaching life with her. Teaching in front of her and watching her teach. It was definitely one of the highlights of their trip for me.

For the kindergartners I had found a cute craft to go along with the Eric Carle book, The Grouchy Ladybug. I thought it would be the perfect activity for Debbie to do with the kids.

A few days before Debbie was planning on coming to work with us I had all of the kids make a grouchy face and I took their pictures.
We would later use those grouchy pictures to make personalized grouchy ladybugs.

When Debbie came to school with us it was really cute to see all of the kids respond to her so well. She read them the story and talked to them about what makes them grouchy.
It was fun to be the "student" and watch her teach. After we were finished in the gym we moved over to one of the kinder classrooms and began to assemble our grouchy ladybugs. All of us had to decide what made us grouchy.
Some of my favorites are;

Steve: I am grouchy when......the Samsung baseball team loose.
Claire: I am grouchy when.....Torie my dog will not play with me.
Clara: I am grouchy grandmother doesn't know what I am saying.

There were a few "when the TV is broken" and "so and so won't play with me"

Joe wrote; I am grouchy when the Oregon Ducks don't win.
Debbie wrote: I am grouchy when I must leave my kids and go back to the United States.

At the time of this little project we were having a heat wave and in true Randall luck, our air conditioning broke. We had 4 fans running 24/7 and it was still 90 degrees with 80% humidity in our little apartment. It was miserable.
I wrote: I am grouchy when it is too hot in my home and I can's sleep.

(Our apartment is provided by our school. I had brought over our vice principal to show her that the air conditioning was truly broken (she was convinced that I simply didn't understand how to turn the unit on properly). When I brought her over it was 87 degrees in our apartment and the AC was running full blast. She was standing in the middle of our apartment, with beads of sweat dripping down her temples, and she said to me; "See, the air conditioning is working. This is right." 
The next day I spoke to our principal, there may or may not have been tears, but we got a new AC unit installed the next weekend. )

Anyway, the grouchy ladybugs turned out SO cute!
I found about a million cute pictures and couldn't decide which I wanted to put up, so I made a slide show so that I could have them all!
Click play and enjoy.

Debbie also sat in on one of Joe's kinder classes and took these cute pictures. I love watching Joe with the youngest students. They adore him and he is SO cute sitting in the little chairs with them.

We put Debbie to work in a writing class Joe and I were teaching together. I love the pictures of her working with the little boy. They both look like they are really concentrating.

The younger kids LOVED the special attention from Mr. Joe's mom.

She must have had a good time because she come back again to teach the older kids the next day. Joe and I some how got ourselves wrangled into teaching a CNN/Speech/Debate class. We find articles/videos, share them with the kids, then we talk about it and share our opinions. Sometimes it is really fun and the kids (ages 12-14) participate and are all getting along and have manageable hormone levels. But most of the time they are annoying, pubescent middle schoolers that require way too much patience. (secretly I really do enjoy these little monsters but I will never admit it to them)

I love how serious Debbie looks on one picture, then in the next I am sitting on a desk and Joe looks zoned out on the computer.

We loved "bring your mom to work day". I can't wait until we all live closer and she can come to work with us more often.