Tuesday, September 27, 2011

52 Weeks of Happiness - Week 30

Elections were last Tuesday.
Thursday Scott wasn't feeling well, and came home early.
Thursday, there were also riots in town, so school closed a little early
Friday, a new president was announced.
And the town went crazy again.
School was cancelled.
And Scott came home sick again.
We decided we needed a weekend away.
So we packed some clothes, and headed out.

Ethan and I were in our camouflage gear.

To get to the Protea Safari Lodge
you get to drive through a amazing forest
and see animals hiding.

We  reached the lodge, 
to find it's there,
right on a lake.

We spent most of the weekend by the pool,
only to learn we weren't the only ones to love it.

Saturday morning, we made our way to see the lion enclosure.

Before heading out on Sunday,
we decided to take a drive around the park
to see what we could see.

This place would look amazing during the rainy season.
For now, it gave me small reminders of autumn.

We did manage a couple glimpses
of some beautiful animals.

Happiness is a beautiful, relaxing weekend away.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Room - Emma Donoghue

OMG! Talk about heartbreaking. What a fabulous book this was.

A couple weeks ago, a colleague of mine told me about a book she read when she was flying from London to Lusaka. Her connecting flight in Jo'burg was delayed, which she appreciated, as it allowed her to finish the book. All she told me was that it was called Room, was a story written in the perspective of a 5 year old who's basically grown up in a room and everything is his friend (ie the Table and Dora).

Jack is 5 years old. His mother was kidnapped 7 years ago and has been locked in a room ever since. Jack believes their Room is the world and everything Outside is like TV. Jack's mother realises they need to escape and comes up with a plan. But the plan depends on her 5 year old being the saviour.


Once they escape, the book continues as Jack begins to see the World as it truly is. It's big, there are people everywhere, some things on TV are real and some things are not. He must learn to deal with these changes, including the changes in his mother, who missed the world and is trying to cope with the changes being away for 7 years has done.

Jack is a typical 5 year old in that he is curious and inquisitive. He doesn't understand why Room was bad. He misses the simplicity of life in Room. 

And after reading Room, I made sure to give Ethan some extra hugs.

Once Dead, Twice Shy - Kim Harrisson

This was one of those free or 99 cent books offered through Pixel of Ink. You've got to like that, because you get to read a book you probably would never have found on your own. And what's even better; when you enjoy it!

Once dead, Twice Shy is the first in the Madison Avery Trilogy, but when you start reading it, you almost wonder if it's the second book, or even if you've missed the first few chapters. 

The book opens with Madison telling you how at her prom, she was killed. Sorta. She was scythe by a dark reaper and when he came to take her soul, she stole his amulet and now she's got the impression of a body. This is where I wondered what I missed. It wasn't made clear, at least I didn't think so, until further in the book that the dark reaper has her body, her soul now has the amulet which gives her the body people see, so although she's dead, she's not! Follow?

Because she has the amulet, she has a light reaper by her side. He's there to help and protect her. When it's learnt the amulet belongs to the dark timekeeper and not reaper, a guardian angel is also sent to guard her. As I type this, I realise it's beginning to sound complicated which is it, until a few chapters in when you get more information.

There's even a cute budding romance. And we all know I love those romances. teeheehee.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Power of our Words:Teacher Language That Helps Children Learn - Paula Denton

I've listed The Power of our Words:Teacher Language That Helps Children Learn as a book I wouldn't normally read in my 11/11 Book Challenge. The reason is simply, I tend to prefer articles on such matters, or skim a few chapters over reading an entire book. This particular one was a new book in our school library and the title grabbed my attention. While reading it, I wished it were my own book so I could take a highlighter to it, instead of a library book where I wrote notes. 

And there was a lot of note taking.

Topics included are:
Using language to get children to envision their success
The use of open ended questions
The use of listening and silence
The 3 R's - reinforcing, reminding and redirecting
Saying what you mean, and meaning what you say
Offering meaningful, sincere encouragement

Paula Denton just tells you what you probably already know, but needed reminding of. She breaks things down into steps. It made me see things I have been doing or haven't. It's already made me think of the way I word things with my students.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Half Way to the Grave - Jeaniene Frost

Isn't it great when you read a book and feel like home?

Halfway to the Grave is the first in the Night Huntress Series. Cat Crawford is part human, part vampire. Her mother was raped by a vampire, and to avenge her mother, she's out to kill every undead she comes across.

In comes Bones. A vampire. A bounty hunter. He hunts vampires as well. Together, Cat and Bones are out to rid the city of the nastiest vampires.

Cat is never sure if she can trust him. He is an evil vampire, after all. But she's drawn to him. Well, he does have one darn sexy accent, so who could blame her really.

The story goes over their training, and chase of the vampires who are involved in sex trafficking. But there's an underlying story of their attraction, and love. Cat's mother would never accept her daughter being involved with another vampire, so what's a girl to do?

Really great storyline. And while I wait for the next Sookie Stackhouse, BDB and Blood Destiny books to be released, I have found another series to sink my teeth into.

Ethan's Art Work

I popped into Ethan's classroom the other day and took some pictures of his art work.
Ethan is into abstract art.

At the beginning of the school year, the students were asked to paint a picture of their family.
Here's Ethan's family portrait,

I've asked Ethan a few times to tell me about the picture, and each time he tells me this story. He's also able to tell me where we all are. I'd like to comment, that Scott is hiding in his office!

A few weeks ago, Ethan made another portrait,

Ethan's class is also learning to retell a story. 
I thought this was The Lion and the Mouse
but it's something else;

The lines are so you can pull the animals and the mouse.

And here's the beginning of Swimmy;

So now, will Ethan be a chef, or artist?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Nature

Don't you love it when there's a nature lesson
right outside your classroom?

Chef Ethan

It's Wednesday
which means Ethan had cooking class.
This week Ethan made
Special Burgers.

Ethan beat an egg.

Chickpeas were soaked overnight,
then boiled.

He used all his might to squash the chickpeas. 

 To make the squishing easier, he added the egg.

 Chopped veggies were added.

Ethan measured out some bread crumbs. 

 And got his hands dirty making the patties.

The burgers before being cooked...

..... and after.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

52 Weeks of Happiness - Week 29

I'm not one to talk about school curriculum.
I figure most teachers are either told what curriculum to use,
or use a few great ideas. 
While I love sharing ideas,
if you're given a curriculum, 
there's not much you can do about it.

I'm also not a big Maths person.
Maths was always my worse subject.
Since teaching,
I use the curriculum given to me.

The same goes for this year.
My school uses Bridges Mathematics.
And for the first time,
I'm excited about Maths.

Even Ethan enjoys it.

This week he's been given some homework.
Colour some shapes and sort them. 

Ethan sorted them by shape.
I was impressed with this, 
as usually kids his age see colour before shapes.
He's moved up a stage.

Ethan then proceeded to make a pattern.

It was very important for me to know this pattern was based on colour, not shape.

Happiness is enjoying Maths with your 5 year old.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Muffin Tin Meal

So here's what I love about the Muffin Tin Meal.
I went to make some pasta for Ethan's dinner.
There was not a lot left.
I had 2 choices;
1) Give him the small bowl of pasta and add a side of yogurt.
However, the chances are, Ethan would eat the pasta then tell me,
"I'm full mama. I'll eat the yogurt later."
2) Put it in a muffin tin, add some yogurt and other stuff
and watch him devour it.

The bottom three rows are pasta with cheese. Then the yogurt I wanted him to eat, some strawberries and, of course, dessert, a chocolate tart!

Muffin Tin Monday at

Friday, September 16, 2011

Five Question Friday

We went camping last week, so I missed the Five Question Friday.
But I'm back this week! 

1. If you had a weekly newspaper column, what would you name it?
Ok, so bit boring here. But seeing how my blog is called Life in Lusaka, I'd probably have that as my column. Only as I had hoped this bllog would be filled with new adventures. And while there are some, there's also a lot of daily life going on.

2. Who is your mentor/inspiration?Wow. I have a few.

 Mrs Dudley, my high school home ec teacher was probably the best teacher I've ever had. She's the kind of teacher I inspire to be. 

My Seed Mamas. 
You know who you are. Moms of twins. Working moms. With no housekeeper, nanny or cook. You do it all. Take care of a houseful of kids, work, cook, clean. You are superwomen.

3. What is your wake up beverage of choice?
It's unbelievably dry here. Lately, I wake up a drink a bottle of water. 
When school began this year,  I'd make myself a cup of tea and take it to work. 
Then I discovered that the school tuck shop makes a mean latte. 

4. Would you wear your mom's clothes?
Nope! Sorry. 
My mum and I aren't exactly close. Nor do we have the same taste in clothes. I know my mum would love it if I wore a sari once in my life. 
Sorry. Not going to happen!

5. When you were a kid, did you put posters on your wall? If so, what were they of?
Really? You want me to share? Won't that show my age?
Fine then!
Let's see....
Duran Duran, Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe all graced my walls at one time or another.

Now that I've share, it's your turn now.