Wednesday, June 17, 2009
It has been announced that students are welcome to come to school on Wednesday for a brief period to pick up their belongings, receive their report cards and yearbooks and say goodbye to their teachers one last time. These visits must remain brief in order to comply with the government's decision to close schools. Class gatherings are absolutely not permitted at school and teachers are not allowed to attend class parties (off campus) during school hours.
This was a message that I sent out to parents last week explaining the details of what happened when the government of Hong Kong decided to shut down all schools due to increased spreading of swine flu among school-aged children. It was a sad and seemingly unfair way for the Explorers to end their amazing year. Since Thursday our class conference on the school network has seen more than 200 messages passed (all by the Explorers themselves), 4 students have been blogging their reactions and responses to this sudden change, and students have found each other to keep in touch by using Skype. We actually managed, to some extent, to have more closure and opportunities to say real goodbyes through our digital tech saaviness. Pretty cool for 10 and 11-year olds, if I do say so myself.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Now that I am back in, I am ready to wrap this baby up. Over the next 1.5 weeks until school finishes I plan to post frequently with some reflections on the year, but then close the lid and seal it with a bow. Next year I will try to maintain a new blog (year 2) as well as a brand new EduBlog which will be a professional reflection on my own teaching practice specifically. It will also be a place where I can begin to compile a professional digital portfolio, list projects and achievements and share my successes with fellow teachers. The EduBlogs that I have had the pleasure of perusing this year have been endlessly inspiring, and I think I am ready for this challenge :)
Click here to see one of my favorites.
Friday, May 15, 2009
I woke up this morning to a slightly grey day, bright but not sunny. I went out for a morning walk through the markets and ended up coming back home early because of annoying spitting rain, the occasional dirty water stream off an awning and the sea of umbrellas floating and bouncing along at my exact eye-level. The slippery streets in the wet markets make me nervous on my feet and gross me out around the meat and seafood stalls. So once I returned home I thought I would check the weather (something I rarely do in Hong Kong). What I discovered was so disheartening, I needed to share it with the world.
Spring is here, and with it comes the rain I see.
School has been a fun and exciting hullabaloo lately. My coaching has wrapped up with medals and team achievements. My class is happily investigating a new Unit of Inquiry into the Human Body, which puts me right in my element and makes every minute of class time fun for me :) I'm the Gr. 5 Lower School Student Council teacher rep. and we are putting on a big party at the end of the month, which I have enjoyed planning with the kids. Every day I slip a little more into my role of Gr. 5 convenor as the team begins to plan next for year and reflect on the past year's successes and failures. Although it really is great going to school each day, I am also counting down to summer holidays! Thirty-six days until Canada.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
My students are blogging and I am blown away by their imaginative creativity, unexpected senses of humour and occasional reflective intellect demonstrated through this style of public writing. Hurray for blogs! Here is a link our class website where you can access their blogs (bear in mind they're probably only AMAZING to me :)
Monday, April 27, 2009
At the end of the conference I had made some important connections with people and learned about what they are doing in other places. I tucked away some good ideas for future projects, heard some inspirational stories of success, and talked to some intriguing people. More importantly, I had time to really think about my teaching. Rarely on a weekend or weekday night, do I actually get much reflection time. I plan, I mark, I assess, I review, I create and I apply, then I eat and sleep. But I rarely get to really reflect and re-evaluate. Life here just happens to fast. Before I close my eyes for more than a blink, I'm on to the next thing and there's no time for quality collaborative reflection. The conference gave me the gift of time, the spark of inspiration, and the arena to really dig deeper into my thoughts about how I infuse technology into my classroom, why it is a critical tool for understanding my students and how I can use it to empower them in their own lives.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Here's something I found in my virtual mingling, that really grabbed my attention and plays directly into issues I have been tackling lately with my student's acceptable use of technology in our classroom.
Friday, March 6, 2009
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Life outside of school = pretty much non-existent :) But I'm still a happy camper.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
The students in 5E are investigating the lives of children around the world in our current Unit of Inquiry into Social Justice. Recently we learned about Bob Geldof, BandAid, and USAforAfrica. Specifically we have discussed Geldof's influence on making a change in the world by raising awareness for people who were suffering from starvation and malnutrition in Africa in the 1980s. We have learned how music can be a huge catalyst for inspiring people to want to make a change and help heal the world. Out of our enthusiasm and admiration for what those musicians did 25 years ago, we decided to honour them by re-making the video "We are the World".
Please check out this showcase on the CDNIS Learning & Teaching Technologies webpage
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Lots of people have asked if I feel any different, and honestly I don't. I have been letting myself get at least 8 hours of sleep each night. I don't feel weak and I wake up feeling normal. I have been doing Yoga each night and that helps me feel good, but so far not any different.
So I think I'm ready to stop this diet experiment, but now I am not sure what to do next. How do I choose what to start eating again?
Sunday, February 8, 2009
I kicked off this weekend with yoga on both Saturday and Sunday mornings. Since the retreat in Thailand I have not practiced once! I must admit, it didn't great on Saturday, but today was better. I have some damaged tendons in my left ankle, and I am still wearing a tensor bandage, so I have to be careful and not push it too much.
Then I reflected on the Ayurvedic body styles I learned about in Thailand to help me plan a 1-week cleansing diet. I'm not in the mood to try and just 'eat better' or 'snack less', I need a serious regime to clean out my body as well as my mental state of craving comfort foods and compromising my better judgment in terms of food choices. I researched some common cleansing diets and applied the dos and don'ts to my Ayurvedic body type - which is Kapha - to come up with a general idea of what I will be eating over the next 7 (or more) days. Then I went out into the wet markets in my neighbourhood and stocked up! I bought broccoli, peppers, asparagus, artichoke, apples, blueberries, eggplant, carrots, spinach and a dozen bunches of fresh herbs. Then I stopped in the super market for a sac of mixed Thai rice (8 rice varieties), 2 liters of pure carrot juice, herbal tea, rice paper, raisins and dried apricots.
So here I go. I just cleaned out my fridge of all that could tempt me (there really wasn't much in there to begin with), cut up some carrot sticks, put some rice to soak, ate a bowl of blueberries, and I have no idea what to do next...
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
I planned on writing every day over the CNY holiday, but ended up being too busy having an amazing time to even consider wasting time on the computer. I love it when that happens. Unfortunately there is now way I can recount all the fun, so I'll just have to rely on Jodi's great memory (and journal) to protect the wonderful memories.
Showing Jodi around (and getting to know) my new home city of Hong Kong, and see the festivities and traditions of Chinese New Year was really neat. Highlights included: walking around the outer rim of the Macau Sky Tower, Hong Kong Ocean Park, Picnic + Fireworks over Victoria Harbour, Pizza Dinner Party at my flat, A traditional round table Chinese meal with Joanna, happy hours and dinners in SoHo, and exploring Kowloon.
The upcoming 60 days will be less exciting, as I count down to my Easter vacation when I will fly to Korea to celebrate Rohanna's first birthday with Bruce and Barb. I can't wait. Not too much should happen between now and then, so I will make all efforts to write, more often, about the daily adventures of my life as Master Explorer.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Today we had an amazing Chinese New Year concert at school, and our students were fantastic performers. Tomorrow is the last day before holidays, and we will dismiss the students at 11am. Then the staff will enjoy a Chinese New Year celebratory lunch, which should be nice.
Jodi and I are booked into a hotel in Macau for Saturday and Sunday! Planning to return on Monday for the Hong Kong night parade and also looking forward to the fireworks over the harbour on Tuesday!
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Jodi arrived at 3:15pm and has now crashed out for the night. She was awake for a good 50 hours or so, so she'll need to recuperate and adjust. Good to get rested up for the festivities to come. I can't wait to explore Hong Kong with her!
Sunday, January 18, 2009
So now I am back. Back to school, back to being healthy, and back to blogging. My dear friend Jodi arrives tomorrow to help me celebrate Chinese New Year and explore some of Hong Kong's culture. We will have many, many adventures, I am sure, and I will be here online to share them with you :)
Thanks for not giving up on me.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Tomorrow I will change islands, catching a 9am ferry to Koh Phangan. There someone from the Yoga Retreat will meet me at the pier and take me to the north (quiet) side of the island. Ko Phangan is very famous for it's half and full moon parties, and for New Year's Eve it is said to be one of the best party spots in South East Asia. Luckily for me the famous beach parties all happen on the south end of the island. The Yoga Retreat is 1 short km from the beach, tucked into a hilly jungle landscape, promising to indulge my senses with relaxation and tranquility. I can walk down to the beach and snorkel or trek a bit in the mountains to a couple waterfalls if I seek activity, but I imagine the 4 hours of Yoga and Pilates every day will be rejuvenating enough. The retreat also offers a vegetarian restaurant and cooking classes as well as a herbal steam room and plunge pool (whatever that is). Check out the website here.
I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday time, and are looking forward to a great new year ahead.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Yesterday we set out on the longtail at 7am and were in the water at Chumphon Pinnacle by 8:30. At 26 meters my dive instructor, Emily, and I saw the back end of a Reef shark as she shyly swam away from us. We had only been in the water 5 minutes! We then went to 32 meters and did our nitrogen narcosis tests - I didn't feel any silly side-effects, unfortunately. It just seemed like normal diving to me. The colours were very different and that was neat.
For our second dive I was paired up with a dive master trainee (DMT) and I had to plan every aspect of the dive and then lead her through my plan. I had to decide the maximum depth, maximum dive time and route around the site. This included using maps, a dive computer and an underwater compass. I was so eager and anxious to know where I was, that once we submerged, I took off like a shot. I suspect that the teacher-in-me exploded at this opportunity to 'lead the way'. I was SO excited that we circled the entire dive site within about 15 minutes. Ooppps! So we went back, slowly, and I toured my DMT around, finding all the cool sites and making it back to the buoy line at exactly 45 minutes. She was impressed and I am now and Advanced Open Water Diver. The visibility is not greats right now (~5meters) so this was actually as huge accomplishment. Others in the course had a truly difficult time with the navigation. I relied on my compass and computer a lot , and felt comfortable using them properly.I spent the afternoon checking out Koh Tao on foot and booked a 5-day yoga retreat starting next Monday and ruining until Friday afternoon when I must fly back to Bangkok and catch my flight home to Hong Kong. The yoga retreat is on Koh Phangan Island (the one between here and Koh Samui) and it includes accommodation and breakfast, as well as 4 hours of Yoga per day and a little pilates if I'm interested. It should be amazing.
One week of diving + One week of yoga. Life couldn't be better :)
Sunday, December 21, 2008
I feel like I can't begin to explain how wrong that sentiment was, although I'll give it a try right now in a few short paragraphs about my first 36 hours here in Thailand.
I flew into Bangkok yesterday morning and between 11am and 5pm I wandered around some neat neighbourhoods. I was trying to eventually get to Koh San Road, but never found my way there. I just enjoyed being lost (completely) and eventually jumped in a tuk-tuk to the train station. Here I booked a bus + ferry boat ticket to get me all the way to my destination, one of the best attractions for scuba divers in south east Asia, Koh Tao Island.
I killed a 1.5 hours wait in the train station by treating myself to a 75 minute Thai foot massage for ~$10 CAD. The bus journey started out exciting as a bunch of traveller's from all parts of the world and speaking at least 4 different languages all settled into seats around me. I had fun meeting everyone, but we were quickly lulled to sleep by Transformers (the movie) being played a maximum volume. Nice. About 8 of us were dumped by the side of the road, cold and sleepy at 3:20am in a place called Chumphon. At 4am a jeep took us to the pier, about 40 minutes away where we sat anxiously reading all the available travel brochures describing the set of 3 islands that comprise one of Thailand's hugest tourist areas (Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, and Koh Samui). At 6am about 60 more sleepy, rugged, and smelly backpackers joined our little group. The boat left at 7am. The view was nothing too exciting, out a thick and dirty window, so I slept for almost the entire 2.5 hour journey to the island.
A jeep picked me up at the pier in Koh Tao and took me to the dive resort. I arrived at 9:55 and as I was being checked in by one of the divemasters, she told me that and Advanced Open Water course was beginning at 10am. There were 3 students already participating, and there may not be enough students to start another class for a couple days. In about 30 seconds I went from thinking that it was crazy to begin right away, to thinking "why not?" I dumped my stuff in a very humble first floor cement room with a double bed and private bath (I can't complain as I am paying the equivalent of $8 CAD per night) and joined the class.
Our first dive was a specialty buoyancy training, basically 45 minutes underwater playing games, swimming through hoops and other obstacles, hovering upside down, and playing charades underwater - super fun! Then it was on to our navigational dive where we had to find certain landmarks underwater and use a maps and an underwater compass! I rocked at this dive and learned SO much. We are also learning how to use dive computers on all our dives - super cool! We came back onto land for a quick 1 hour break at sunset and then went out again at 7pm for a night dive, which was totally amazing. What an incredible first day.
After a shower and change into clean, dry clothes I headed to the beach for a bite to eat. I sat front and center for a specular fire dancing show and ate the best chicken green curry I have ever tasted. Honestly, one of the best meals of my life. And I am thinking, holy crap - this place is a paradise like nothing I have ever imagined. The people, the food, the environment - both above and below the water - it is all fascinating. And all I keep thinking is, "One day down, thirteen more to go." I am the luckiest person in the world!
(this was our second dive site today :)
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Thanks to a lovely Christmas present from Dad, I went out shopping on Sunday to a Pro Dive Shop that was advertising a holiday sale. And what a sale it was, almost everything was half price. I walked out with a full piece, all black wet suit, as well as a high quality black mask and snorkel. I never dreamed I'd own an underwater bond-girl outfit! Look out Thailand :)
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
So while everyone I know rushes around tomorrow night to multiple Christmas parties, eating and drinking way too much, and feeling gross in the morning, I will be contently and comfortably at home, creating art with my computer. Ahhhhh, lucky me :) I will get out and about a bit too though, as I do have a couple social commitments on my agenda than I am really looking forward to. Tonight I enjoyed dinner a cool little sushi restaurant in SoHo with John. A place we had both never been to. Then followed with mulled wine and cake at the Peak Cafe, where we ran into Cindy, Ross and Bruce, other teachers from school.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Things are winding up at school, and I am looking forward to Thailand more and more each day. Thanks to my dad, I will also being sure to enjoy at least a couple days of scuba diving. I've been dreaming of diving in Southeast Asia for more than 5 years now. I can't wait.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Just a hint: You can click on the photos in this blog to see them full-size.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Then we went to see a Taiwanese film at the mega mall in Kowloon called MEGA BOX. Crazy! There is an indoor ice rink in there with floor to (extremely high) ceiling windows, which look out over Victoria Harbour to the sprawling Hong Kong Island skyline. We finished the day off with an amazing organic dinner at Life, next door to my flat. Good day.
On Sunday we joined Rob and Barb for a ride out to Sai Kung, the large National Park in the New Territories, about 1 hour outside of Hong Kong. We had a nice late lunch and hiked along the coastline. It has gotten cold here, about 15 degrees feels normal now. On the bike it was even cooler, so I have been wrapped up in scarves and pulled out my heavy coat.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
Hurray for outdoor and experiential education. I am so excited. The site we are going to is called Ark Eden. For more details check it out here.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
They other day Explorer 11 suggested that we change the call to "Mayday, Mayday!" and the students all put their hands on their heads above a shocked and horrified open mouthed silent scream. For a few days this worked brilliantly and we were all happy with the new attention call. Until last Friday when Explorer 7 decided to tell a funny joke during our class community circle. It was a joke he had seen on YouTube and it made the entire class cry in laughter. This kid is a pretty fantastic joke teller. We were already sitting on the floor, but had we been standing up I am sure some of us would have fallen to our knees with uncontrollable exuberance.
Here's the joke,
So now when I say "Mayday! Mayday!" the class bursts into fits of laughter and a few of them yell, "We are sinking, we are sinking!"
I think we'll go back to "Land A'Hoy"
Monday, November 24, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
So I spent the entire day totally engrossed in learning new skills and programs that I can use for lesson plans in my classroom, and even things to teach to my kids how to do themselves. Soooo fantastic! Best of all, I didn't have to go across the city or even to another country for this workshop - it was right here in my own school provided by the experts of the L.T.T. (learning and teaching technology) team.
So I made my very first Podcast! It's a public service announcement example to show my kids as we begin our new unit of inquiry - Waste Management. My students will use this example, along with my instruction (and fresh expertise) to create their own public service announcements.
SO MUCH FUN!
Monday, November 17, 2008
Ahhh, I sure am glad I chose to live in Central!
Saturday, November 15, 2008
The day included 3+ hours on a ferry boat with spectacular views, a hike around the circumference of a beautiful, and historically significant, semi-deserted island, and an interesting lunch prepared by local villagers. We didn't get a chance to swim, although it would have been a perfect oasis for a quick dip.
You can find the RGS write-up here.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Yesterday my class comedian tells me that he had a dream the night before that I was a giant cartoon who locked the three of them (who are all in my class) in the Simpson's garage. I told they had ten days to find a way out and then they had to make it to the airport to obtain freedom, otherwise I would eat them! On the ninth day one of then busted a hole in the garage wall with a giant hammer and they all began running towards the airport. I guess they only made it about half way before a giant me came crashing after them, snatched them up and ATE THEM! We all laughed a lot during his narrative recount of his dream, and now we make silly jokes about "Ms. Cahusac, the giant small child eater".
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Here is a shot of what I see every morning as I wait for the school bus to pick me up around 7am. This is a 10 minute walk from my flat.
And this is what I see every afternoon as I leave school to catch the 5:20 bus after a my workout in the school gym. This is a 20 second walk from my classroom.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Having a few errands to run on both Saturday and Sunday, I opted to take the tram instead of the crowded and speedy MTR (mass transit railway). I love the tram. If you get a seat up top, the view is fabulous. Fabulous for taking pictures. You can look up and around and down and see things happening all around you. Hong Kong Tramways was founded in 1904. It is the world's largest fleet of double-decker tramcars (2 antique wood) still in operation, carrying an average of 240,000 passengers every day! The fare is 2 Hong Kong dollars (roughly $0.25 CAD), and the route follows the north shore of Hong Kong Island, East to West.
Here are a couple photographs I took from the tram.
Monday, November 10, 2008
When I arrived in Hong Kong, I looked for tteok treats everywhere I went, and sadly couldn't find any. Packaging here can be indecipherable, pictures don't tend to sell me, and local bakeries had nothing resembling Korean tteok. But I was relentless. One day in a wet market I found a package of 4 softly-white glutinous balls, with a circumference comparable to a tennis ball, squished into a saran wrapped package. It was lightly dusted with powder on the outside (a good sign) and when I bit into it I was joyously surprised to find a sticky sesame and shredded coconut filling surrounded by familiar chewy tteok. This was amazing! But aside from that wonderful day in the market, I have not been able to track down a consistent supplier of tteok. How could this be? Hong Kong is the center of the Asian Universe, there had to be tteok somewhere.
And then about a 2 weeks ago I learned something that changed my Hong Kong life. Mochi. Yes, there is tteok here (of course), and it is everywhere, it is called Mochi. Now that I know what I am looking for, I find everywhere I go. In my cupboard, at the moment, you can find Japanese-style green tea mochi, black sesame mochi, red bean mochi and even peanut mochi.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Saturday, November 8, 2008
I have decided (since everything is so new in my life) to try a new blogging style. I am putting the long, well-thought-out, weekly or bi-weekly story telling on hold. And replacing it with short, in-the-moment, painfully accurate daily entires about my minute-to-minute life here.
As I am tempted to write more, it conflicts with my desire to keep these new blog posts succinct. So you (and I) will just have to wait until tomorrow. How's that for a hook :)