Finding my Voice

When I was a young child I would go straight to the little desk at my grandparents’ house and begin to “write” or so I’ve been told. I have no recollection of when it first began but apparently I would spend hours drawing and pretending to write until I learned to write for real! I don’t know what I wrote but there are probably some papers in a box somewhere at my parents’ house. [Edit: my aunt just reminded me of the time I created a menu for an Italian restaurant – I saw that a few years ago!] I have vague memories of doing this as I got older or maybe it’s that I’ve been told it so many times over the years that I’ve created the memories. I often wonder this about childhood memories particularly when I was really little – do I really remember? Or do I think I remember because people have told me stories about those moments? Something to ponder…

My aunt reminded me the other day that my grandma always said one day I would be a writer. Maybe that day is now. Blogs didn’t exist back in the day, so my grandma probably meant a different type of writing, but does it matter?

Blogging has helped me find my voice. It has allowed me to share my thoughts, opinions and feelings in a different way. I don’t have many followers but my voice has reached readers all over the world. I’ve received positive feedback about my posts and that’s encouraging. I’ve found that desire to share. 

I don’t have a particular niche. I write about what I want, when I want. It doesn’t matter that it might not be everyone’s cup of tea but it’s my enormous steaming mug (Starbucks collector series of course) of Decaffeinated Earl Grey from M&S.  And that’s all that matters.💜

BC Curriculum Content Planning Toolkit

I’ll be checking this out for next year!


Hey fellow teacher friends (and/or non-teachers with a weird interest in the BC curriculum), I have no idea if you will get any use out of this, but I thought I’d share it in case you do. It cut my report card writing time IN HALF and seriously helped with my planning.

I’ve taken the new curriculum (K-3 only) content section and (painstakingly) typed it out (including all of the points that expand) and put it into a toolkit that essentially you can copy and paste your desired points RIGHT into your report cards.

Check it out, I even added a term 1/2/3 checklist so you can plan your year. (More info on what I’ve done is in the first page of the document.)

This doesn’t include Curricular Competencies or Big Ideas.  The pdf version has comments that can be copy+pasted right into MyEducation BC.  Feel free to download and share…

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Procrastination Tips: Report Card Edition

The school year is coming to an end and with that comes the writing of report cards.  You would think that knowing they are the last ones of the school year would be motivation in itself, but it just doesn’t work that way.  And so, here it is, in no particular order, a list of procrastination tips!

  1. Coffee Date with a friend you haven’t seen in awhile – 2.5 hours later you’ll be SO SURE you’ll crack down and work when you get home
  2. Grocery Shop – Surely stopping for three items on the way home is necessary
  3. Make Lunch – It’s 1:45 pm by now.  You’ve got to eat!
  4. Text with your significant other until they go to sleep (9 hour time difference) – It just wouldn’t be right for him to go to sleep without having a lengthy conversation about eggs (weird, I know)
  5. Search for recipes on Pinterest – What can you do with the protein powder that in your pantry that is about to expire?
  6. Make peanut butter protein balls for the first time ever – That protein powder can’t go to waste
  7. Check Social Media approximately ever five minutes – You just never know when someone will post something important
  8. Watch an episode of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix – Heaven forbid you get too far behind

FINALLY…you’re ready to focus.  Here it goes.  Open laptop.  Open report card file.  Work on Opening Comments for approximately 15 minutes and then realize it’s 6:00 pm. Dinner time at last!

8. Make dinner – A girls gotta eat
9. Go to blog site – Have you had any views today?  What could you write about?
10. Watch Orange is the New Black –  Your SO told you Season 5 is out now but you’re only on season 2!  You need to catch up!

11. Call back the friend that called you earlier – Wait.  Shouldn’t she be writing report cards too?
12. Check cell for messages – Woohoo!  Brook is procrastinating!  She’s writing something that would make a good blog post.  Brainwave!  Write a post about procrastinating!
13. Text your best friend – She will probably respond right away if she’s a teacher because she’s probably procrastinating too.  Yup, Kyla just washed her hair in avoidance.
14. Write that blog post – And here it is…Procrastination Tips: Report Card Edition

Okay, that pretty much sums up my Saturday.  Maybe now I’ll be able to focus on report cards.  But wait…I should have pictures in this post…


Challenge Accepted: April’s Mini-adventure in New Westminster

Earlier this month I challenged myself to do one thing each month that I wouldn’t normally to alone. And there I was this morning, April 29th, still not having done anything. Not willing to let myself just forget about it I decided to hop on the Skytain and venture to New Westminster Quay, which I discovered is now called River Market at Westminster Quay . I hadn’t been since it had been redone and I was pleasantly surprised. River Market is a short walk from New Westminster Station so it was super easy to access.

I entered on the 2nd floor and came across this cool hopscotch “game” that included facts about New Westminster in some of the boxes. A man ahead of me pulled his keys out of his pocket, threw them onto a square and proceeded to play. Nothing like reverting back to your childhood!

The next thing I saw was the Vancouver Circus School where people were trying all kinds of things. While it’s not my cup of tea, mostly because I’m afraid, I can imagine it was quite fun for everyone that was bouncing around.  There were a few business on this level and I checked out a pottery shop that sold pottery created by local artisans. There was also a craft fair supporting a local elementary school.

Downstairs boasted more shops and a variety of eateries. I was tempted to try something from Re-Up BBQ (I will another time) but opted for a London Fog from Tre Galli Gelato Caffe. Since once of my reasons for challenging myself is to be out of my comfort zone I forced myself to find a table to sit at instead of walking with my drink.

When I finished my drink I went for a short walk along the Fraser River. It was raining, surprise surprise, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

I remember seeing this Tin Soldier before but I didn’t recall knowing it was the tallest one in the world!

I also popped into the Fraser River Discovery Centre to see what it was all about. It turns out it’s a museum with tons of interactive and hands-on activities. I thought it might be good for a school field trip so I inquired about that.

Finally I hit Columbia Street and walked to Big Star Sandwich Co. which I had seen when driving by in the past. I ordered a small #2 (turkey, bacon, cheddar cheese and guacamole.) It was really good and I would go back again!

After eating in the establishment (look at me go, that was twice I didn’t get something to go!) I walked back to New West Station and so ended my mini-adventure.

I have to say I really enjoyed it and while my challenge was only one thing per month I think I’ll be more inclined to do more. It was fun to explore somewhere different and I really didn’t care what anyone was thinking about me sitting somewhere alone.

Check out:


Living in the Moment

Put April, May and June together and what have you got? Aprilmayjune. In no time the school year will come to an end. Stress levels are high. Patience is wearing thin. And all the while, for various reasons, many of us, myself included, are wishing the days away. I often catch myself thinking about the future: summer plans, the next school year, completing my graduate diploma (I’m only one semester in!) But lately, I’ve been working on being more present and have started exploring meditation as you’ll see below.

Oprah & Deepak Hope in Uncertain Times:

A good friend and colleague mentioned a 21-day Meditation Experience that she had done in the past. As luck would have it, a new 21-day program had just started so I downloaded the app. In the past I was super skeptical of meditation. Afterall, I was the person who had to stifle laughter the first few times I went to yoga when I was expected to sit there silently.  Anyway, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try. Each day there is a new centering thought, Sanskrit mantra and message.

Oprah and Deepak speak about the daily topic and then the meditation begins. I was presently surprised to find it so relaxing. I was able, if only for a short period of time, to take my mind off of work and life stresses. I admit I’m a few days behind but it’s something I believe I will continue with.

Visit for more info!

Guided Meditation at Kushala Yoga:

Another good friend and colleague mentioned Guided Meditation by donation at a local yoga studio so a few of us decided to check it out. I’ve been twice and both weeks were different. The first week included a 30 minute meditation…yikes! I didn’t think I would be able to do it for that long but I surprised myself. It really didn’t seem like that long. The second week was different; we did concentration exercises (counting breaths) and a 10 minute meditation. Both were great and this has become part of my Thursday night.

You can find info about the studio here:

I think meditation helps me to remember to live in the moment. To focus on what’s happening in the present. Today is a gift. I need to let go of my current worries and anxieties about the future. I shouldn’t be counting the minutes until the end of the day or counting the days until summer. Life is precious. Live every day like it’s your last; one day it will be.

Challenge Accepted: Changing my Definition of Independent

Independent? I have a career. I own a home. I own a car. I pay my own bills. I do my own shopping. I have a savings account. Surely this means I’m independent, right?

I’ve recently been reminiscing about my solo trip to Amsterdam last summer. During those two weeks I experienced a different type of independence; one that was quite different than at home. But why? Why is it that when I travel I thoroughly enjoy taking public transit? At home I haven’t taken a bus since 2010 and I take the Skytain the least amount possible. Why is it that I didn’t hesitate one bit to eat at a restaurant alone in Amsterdam? I wouldn’t dream of doing that at home. And walking around Vancouver by myself? No way! Yet walking around Amsterdam solo was incredible.

Why is it that when I’m at home I don’t push myself out of my comfort zone? I’m guessing it’s because I don’t have to. I’m surrounded by family and friends to join me at restaurants or exploring Vancouver and I don’t need to take public transit often because I have a car.  But if there is something I want to do that nobody else wants to or nobody else is available that day…I don’t do it. I stay home and miss out. It’s ridiculous really. I long to feel that sense of independence I had in Amsterdam when I’m at home. And so, I’ve challenged myself…

Once a month for the remainder of 2017 I will do something I wouldn’t normally do. Alone. Go out for coffee and actually sit in the coffee shop. Eat a meal in a restaurant. Go to a movie. Walk around downtown Vancouver. Go for a hike. Check out a museum. Really, the possibilities are endless. Maybe by the end of the year I’ll feel that different type of independence or maybe I won’t. Maybe that feeling can only be found while in a different country. All I know is that there is only one way to find out.

What’s Your Superpower?

I would hazard a guess that when most people think of what a superpower is they think of things like invisibility, the ability to fly, super strength, etc. – the superpowers we usually attribute to the superheroes we see in comics and movies.  But what about the extraordinary “skills” that we all possess in the real world? Can those be our very own superpowers?

This afternoon I was chatting in the staff room with a group of friends and we started talking about superpowers (this wasn’t the first time.)  One suggested this could be my next blog post, so here it is!

My superpower:
– The ability to start crying the second I see someone else tear up (I call it sympathetic crying)

My friends’ superpowers:
– The ability to retrieve and recite song lyrics for any occasion
– The ability to spout out a quote at any given time, whether it be from a play or a movie or something with deep meaning
– In his exact words: “I have a really odd superpower.  I have multiple powers (including speed, smell, intelligence, creativity, and charm), BUT I have no choice on which one, when it comes, or how long it lasts.  More frustrating really.”
– Staying positive even in the most difficult of times

I figure I’ll add to this list…I have a feeling it’s a topic we’ll revisit at some point.   And I’m thinking I’ll do an activity with my class of grade 2’s and 3’s about it.  I wonder what they think their superpowers are!

What’s YOUR superpower!?!