Monday, April 28, 2014

Where is Thumbkin?

I have been working on creating some more emergent readers. Mine are a tad bit different from other ones in that you don't just read SING them!

Since my students are blind or visually impaired, they really respond well to music. Each page is sung to "Where is Thumbkin?"

I don't know about you, but now I have that tune in my head...

You're welcome!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Five for Friday

It's Friday! It's time to do a happy dance! I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs for the weekly linky party.

Let's get it started!
So I now have a new favorite spot in my neighborhood. I found it by accident, and I absolutely love it. Here are some pictures to show you why...

Can you see why it's my favorite spot? Makes you want to visit Korea, doesn't it?

This was totally me! I would sleep 9 hours and then STILL wake up exhausted. And I would wake up often in the middle of the night with restless legs. If you don't have restless legs, you're lucky. They are a pain in the butt.

However, it's not me anymore! Now, I go to sleep easily, stay asleep, AND wake up refreshed...often after only 6-7 hours of sleep.

I never knew how great it could be.

I started taking Plexus in November, and it has totally changed my sleep. Woo-hoo!!
On Wednesday, I had not one but two pleasant surprises. 

First surprise, my co-teacher and I sat down and had a wonderful conversation about our teaching together. We collaborated and came up with some ideas and solutions for our students (they are not on grade level, yet we must use the grade level textbook). It was so good. I will admit that my heart started pounding a bit with excitement. 
Second surprise, while walking home from school, a random Korean woman approached me and asked me if I spoke Korean to which I responded very little. She then tells me that my Korean is very good (I don't speak a me), asks some more questions (where is my family and am I religious). Afterwards, she gives me this big hug (hugs, especially from people you've just met are simply not done). Korea, you surprise me sometimes. I sure do like surprises. 
I finished The Office last week and had asked for suggestions for the next TV show to watch.

I normally LOVE crime, murder, and mystery shows, but I was in the comedy mood.

My cousin's husband suggested Parks and Recreation.

So I started watching it.

I LOVE it! Each season gets better. I am now on Season 5. I feel like Ann and Leslie are my friends.

Does that make me weird? Wait...if the answer is yes, don't tell me.
On Tuesday night, I was walking home from the subway at 11:00 pm. I was joined by a big group of middle and high school students walking home from their hagwons. 

Many students go to their hagwon (private schools) after a long day at public school. No football. No band. No drill team. Nothing like that. It's all about studying for the big exam. 

I cannot imagine growing up like that.

Since my students are blind or visually impaired and most have learning disabilities, they do not go to hagwons, so I don't know the ins and outs of them.

My friend, Ashlee, says it the best...
As soon as kids hit middle school, any form of a LIFE goes out the window. I believe this is a reason the standards for males and females when searching for a significant other is so ludicrously high - their sense of reality when it comes to the real world and real world people is severely warped. There's a reason most Koreans go to Jeju Island on a honeymoon (many of them know NOTHING of sexuality before seeing the sex museums on the island). It's somewhat bizarre, but moreover sad.
Students RARELY made their own choices in response to their futures not that long ago, but that DOES seem to be slowly changing.
What's even more bizarre, though, is that most individuals here choose to dress, act, and live in the exact same way as their fellows (it's a VERY communal society), so the vicious cycle of high suicide and low college entry rates continues to fester.
This country truly is marvelous, but there are some things that just seem incredibly and unnecessarily unfair for these kids.

The last thing I want to mention is the ferry accident here in Korea. The country is in mourning. School trips, school events, city events, etc have been postponed. This country is a very collective society...they are all about community. By canceling or postponing events, it shows that you support the community.

My friend posted this on Facebook, and it had me in tears.

You have to understand how it's done in Korea. Remember when I said that it's all about community, and they do things together?

If someone tells you to do something, you do it. You don't question it. It's hard to explain, and I'm not doing a good job of explaining it. There is no going against the flow here. It's all about the status quo. So maybe that helps you understand why most of the children stayed in their cabins. The people in charge (granted they had NO safety training) told them to stay in their cabins. So they did.

Please join me in praying for these families. 

I'm glad you found my blog, and I "heart" comments if you want to say howdy!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Five for Fraturday - my fantabulous week

Well Friday came and went and oops! I totally forgot Five for Friday. In my defense, I did have a busy day and evening. So I hope you don't mind that this one is on Saturday.

Let's get it started! This week was a fantabulous week. I have now been in Korea for 8 months. I can hardly believe it. I only have 4 months left. I plan on living it up as much as I can. Carpe diem!

On Sunday I went to a Clothing Exchange. Finding clothes that fit in Korea is sometimes hard. So a couple of women started this clothing exchange twice a year, and everyone brings clothes to exchange. Then you walk around the room and just pick what you want to keep. And all the leftovers go to charity. I found a couple of Old Navy tops that fit and a couple of books. What a cool thing to do! Wish we could do this at home.

If you knew me in person, you would know that I LOVE hamburgers and French fries. They are my favorite food. I love them. Seriously.

In Daejeon, there is an awesome restaurant called House Grill. The guy who owns it actually lived in California for several years, and his burgers and fries are out of this world. I will absolutely miss this place when I move back to Texas.

On Monday, I took my new co-teacher, Jin Ju, to House Grill. She had never been there before. She LOVED it. I always get the Texas burger (can't imagine why....hehe), but I got the Hangover Burger this time...even though I don't really drink and didn't have a hangover. It's two patties, cheese, bacon, and their special sauce. SO good. Wow. Oh, wow. I will be going back there this week. Nah...I'm not obsessed or anything.

If someone had told me that spring was this beautiful in Korea, I wouldn't have believed them. It is absolutely gorgeous here right now. First, the cherry blossoms came, and I was captured by their beauty. But then these flowers started blooming. They are SO bright, vibrant, and colorful that they look fake. These photographs were taken near my school on the way to the subway. Or they gorgeous or what?

I have several students who are blind and are learning their ABCs. So I decided to make "touch" ABC cards for them. I took simple ABC cards, laminated them, and then used a hot glue gun to outline each letter. They worked out great!

We also used our ABC rainbow mats to match up the letters. I love to use our favorite ABC song and pause it after each letter, allowing the students to find the letter and match it to the one on their mat. The girls love that song so much that one day I caught one of them singing it in the bathroom. LOL!

Last but not least, I have some exciting news. Last week, I shared that I had to have a biopsy. I was nervous for the results but also for the fact of just being in a foreign country and having the possibility that something might be wrong. Scary place to be. I just heard from the doctor yesterday, and my mass in my breast was benign! Praise God! She tells me that I have fibrocystic breast disease, which is quite common but not dangerous.

I'm also excited that my jeans are so big that I can fit my whole arm in them. Weird but exciting! I think it's time to retire those jeans. Don't you think?

How was your week? I puffy heart comments and would love to know who all is reading my little blog!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Multiplication Game Freebie!

One of my absolute favorite clip art artists is having a celebration since she just reached 10,000 followers. I can't even imagine having 10,000 followers. I'm still trying to get to 100 followers!

Krista at The Creative Chalkboard is freakin' AH-MAY-ZING.  Yeah, I know I spelled that wrong, but I wanted you to get the full effect. I wish I had an ounce of her drawing ability. I don't. So I just buy it. A lot of it. I'm a tad addicted.

She is being extremely generous and is offering all of her followers 10 days of fabulous clip art. FOR FREE! Did I not tell you that she is AH-MAY-ZING? Head on over to her TPT store and get all the freebies.

The girls over at A Tale of 2 First Grades are hosting this cute linky where peeps are linking up and sharing a freebie product made with her clip art. I totally had to join in, so I whipped this little baby up using one of my game boards from my Fun Ready-To-Go Game Boards.

You can have the students just say their multiplication facts OR have them draw arrays OR even have them create a word problem based on the multiplication fact. My students LOVED using my game boards, so I tried to use them often. I just loved seeing their enthusiasm and excitement during math class!

Go on over to my TPT Store and download it! Also, be sure to follow me on Facebook so you know when I upload new products. At this time, my new products are 50% off for the first 48 hours.

Thanks peeps! Hope you have a great week! My week started off great since I had a holiday today. It was my school's birthday, so we had the day off. I have no idea why you celebrate a school's birthday, but I'm certainly not going to argue!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Five for Friday - my birthday and a biopsy

This week was one eventful week. I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching to tell you about it.

On Saturday, I decided to venture the city on my own and visit the Cherry Blossom Festival at Chungnam University. I ended up meeting a new friend from Louisiana and running into several "old" friends who are fellow EPIK teachers. We hung out for the rest of the day. It turned out to be a great day! And I didn't spend it alone after all!

It was so gorgeous! It was snowing cherry blossoms all around us.

Cherry blossoms are only in bloom for a short while over here, so my friend, Bola, and I decided that we wanted more. So on Sunday we met up to go see the cherry blossoms at Kaist University. They were even prettier in that part of town!

Is my city of Daejeon gorgeous or what?

My birthday was on Tuesday, and my co-teachers and some students threw a surprise birthday party for me. I was really surprised. They went all out. And yes, I got a little teary-eyed. Jin Ju even had all the classes sing Happy Birthday to me. So sweet! I felt so loved. And to answer your question, the cake and the cookies were REALLY good...especially for Korea's standards!

That night, a big group of us met for Mexican food (it's not Tex-Mex but it's Korea has to offer...picture a lot of cabbage in your burrito and taco) and then I persuaded 5 friends to go to a norebang (Korean karaoke) afterwards. We only signed up for an hour and a half but ended up staying over 3 hours because the guy kept giving us extra time for free (common in Korea). We could have had another hour for free, but it was almost 12:30 am, and we were tired. And it was a school night.

It was THE BEST birthday! Better than I could have asked for.

I updated my game boards and added some new ones. I really like the ending result. For each game board, I included a board in full color and one in partial color if you're trying to conserve color ink. What do you think of some of them?

Each game board has several "jump ahead", "go back", "go back to Start" spots, which are related to that topic. I used game boards in my classroom last year, and my students were always begging me to use them. Little did they know that they were practicing their skills and learning at the same time. Oh, how happy it made me! They LOVED being able to choose their game board and often had a favorite. I would only let them choose from maybe 5 at a time. Otherwise, they would have been there all day!

They are great to use with task cards, flashcards, or even boring old worksheets!

I have also been working on my giving face lifts to my emergent readers. My emergent readers are a tad bit unique from other emergent readers. Since my students are blind or visually impaired, they respond well to music. So I created each page to be read/sung to the tune of "Where is Thumbkin?", which is great for my kiddos...especially because they repeat each line which helps their reading. It's a win-win!

Last but not least....before I left for Korea, I had my very first mammogram. As is often the case with first mammograms, they found some irregularities and wanted to keep close watch for comparisons. They wanted me to get another mammogram in 6 months. I'm a little bit behind, but I went for my mammogram yesterday (it was actually more like a sonogram). The doctor found some nodules that were questionable, so she wanted me to get a biopsy. So here I am in a foreign country with no family around me and having to get a medical procedure done. Can you guess what happened? Yep...I got a little emotional and teared up. They told me to go down the street several buildings away and visit this other clinic that specializes in breast biopsies. I walked there and was planning on scheduling my biopsy. Well, Korea is pretty efficient in their medical procedures, and they actually saw me right away and did my biopsy yesterday. I had always thought that it was a day procedure kind of thing. Nope. The doctor was very sweet and spoke perfect English. She will call me in a week with the results. I'm doing OK today, but I was pretty reflective last night. I'm very grateful that everything was done so quickly and that I didn't have to wait. I was standing on the corner in downtown Daejeon last night, and I completely felt God's presence. And felt comforted.

Like I said, it was a pretty eventful week. How as your week?

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