Teaching Moments: Valentine’s Day Game

Love Bug Game_000001With Valentine’s day right around the corner I thought I would share a simple Valentine’s day game I created last year while I was substitute teaching.  I always tried to bring in my own creative lessons and activities that I could bring with me to classrooms in different grades.  I found this left the kids excited to have me, and relieved some of the pressure the classroom teacher felt to ensure they left me full day plans.  However, as a sub who is trouncing from classroom to classroom you can’t always be lugging around mass quantities of materials, so simple is always the best approach.

This game is just that.   All you need is a set of dice for half the class and the handout, leaving both the prep and needed materials minimal.  I used this as an early finisher activity all the way up to grade 8 (even the older kids like a break to be a kid now and again) or paired it with a Valentine’s day picture book to turn it into a math activity for the primary grades.  I always kept the students switching partners which made this is a great social and interactive activity that fills up the spare moments of time before transitioning to something else.

Here is the pdf version of the activity for you to download: Love Bug Game

New York: A Candid Reflection on Settling In

Preface:
This post was written during our first week in New York and just now I am confident enough to share it since the feelings have begun to subside and I have adopted new routines and settled comfortably into big city life.  So although the things I miss are still present on my heart, my excitement for this adventure and my immense love of what I am learning is now what prevails.  However, the road to get here took a little transitional time.  So here is a bit about that…

Taxi

This post has been inspired, and in a sense commissioned by my dear friend Linh, who like me has uprooted her entire life from our mutual island home and left all that is familiar (including our mothers, who are also our best friends) to pursue graduate school far away.  She encouraged me to continue writing through the hard stuff in order to reflect, even though instinctually I hesitate to be vulnerable, in part because I feel like I should be feeling nothing but spine tickling excitement by living in Manhattan and commencing my studies at an historic, respected ivy league institution.

However, it hasn’t been a seamless, simple transition as part of heart is still on the west coast with those I cherish most.   My loving mentor teacher and beautiful sister have both reminded me that this is okay, that I am like them and that it takes some people more time than others to settle into new routines.  Then one of my best friends, Jacob, asked me to give him the gamete of things that were weighing on my heart in my most trying moments.

That list was easy to comprise: being away from my mom, how I have a group of very special friends who I do a book club (turned trashy TV watching) with and how much their silent and spoken weekly support grounds me, the comfort of working and teaching in a school district I know and love, being in a different timezone than my colleagues and best friends who I went through my teacher training with, craving simple things like the ocean, being across the continent on my nieces birthday or family dinners with the Jordan’s, butternut squash soup at fifth street with my dad and brother, feeling lost without the plethora of immediate family we have that weaves a little protective net around us, being absent for the births of children born to well loved friends when I already deeply love their newest additions from afar, the desire to walk through cook street village, that if I think too hard these several months away from all that I mentioned seems like an eternity, the wobbly confidence I have in myself on how to tackle the new obstacles of graduate school and the cruel, illogical self doubt that comes with considering if I am able at all.  After hammering it all out in a text his question and my answers only served to compile all the emotions to a pinnacle and made the world seem even heavier to carry.

Then he asked a follow up question: what was it that I was loving about my New York experience?  So that is where I am going to go today.  I am going in with full acceptance of the fact that it is okay to be homesick, it is okay to feel so overwhelmed in a SoHo clothing store that you have an overpowering urge to sit in the middle of the aisle to collect yourself,  it is okay to have a conversation about home with your husband in the middle of a bustling Starbucks outside of New York fashion week and well up with tears and it is okay to sit through a breathtaking church service with your emotions so raw that your eyes brim with tears for the entirety of the two hours.  It is all okay, first because you live in Manhattan and anyone who sees you is sure to encounter someone else doing something way crazier on their walk back home, and second because it will pass and the following is what you have to look forward to…

Continue reading “New York: A Candid Reflection on Settling In”