Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Good News!

I have a place to live!

I've been so stressed over trying to find a place to live overseas, but I've finally been able to make contact with a lovely woman who is renting rooms in her home. Through the magic of online video chat, she was able to show me her property and my beautiful room (The Daffodil Room). She used to run a bed and breakfast, but now just rents out her rooms to lodgers. The home is an old Victorian house, and I'm so excited to get to move in!

My teaching agency consultant sent me an information packet about Lowestoft, Suffolk (where I'll be living) that included a number of local attractions (including a zoo and an African safari, which I'm pretty excited about!). I'm wondering, for those of you who are from the UK or have been to the UK what are the top sites I should plan to see while I'm there. I do want to do some traveling around Europe, but I also want to see some of the big sites in England as well.

I hope you are all enjoying this sunny day!

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Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Worldly Wednesday: Australia

Hello Internet Friends,

I've been MIA for almost a week - holy cow! I've been kept busy working, working, working with my little friend.

So about 6 years ago, I took a trip with my high school to Australia and Hawaii. It was quite the exciting trip for a 17 year old girl (full of lots of shopping!). I had begged, and begged, and begged my parents to let me attend the $4000 trip, and they told me that I was free to do so - if I paid for the trip myself. I figured this was more than fair, and so for a year and a half I worked every weekend babysitting and running a weekend daycare at a local gym. I paid every last penny of the trip myself.

So, off I went on this great adventure. I experienced my first plane ride, and then about another 6 after that by the time I got home. Our first stop was Los Angeles, for a days stop-over.

That evening we boarded our plane for beautiful Hawaii!

Here, we attended a Luau, visited Pearl Harbour, went on a tour of the city, spent lots of time on the beach (it was 2 blocks away from our hotel!), and of course had lots of shopping time.

The S.S. Arizona
Showing off the bracelets and headbands we made at the Luau.

After 4 days of beachy fun, we were finally on our way to Australia! We flew into Sydney, where we stayed for another 5 days.

Sydney Opera House
The view walking up from Bondi Beach
Sydney Harbour Boat Cruise
An opalized dinosaur skeleton at the Opal Museum

Next, we flew to Carins (pronounced 'Cans') and had a great time exploring the rainforest and snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef.

Gondola ride over the Kuranda Rainforest canopy
Great Barrier Reef from inside the boat (it had windows in the bottom area)

And last but not least, my VERY favourite picture......

Me and Maya the baby Koala!

This trip was very special for me, and is one that I am not soon to forget. The thing that really makes me happy about this trip is that I paid for it myself. One day on trip we were waiting out a quick rain shower under a large tree and one of our teachers/supervisors began asking my fellow students who had paid or helped to pay for their trip. When it was my turn my teacher was shocked to hear that I had paid for my own trip (I felt really proud). I find it a bit sad that so many young people today expect these large and expensive things to be paid for for them. I always had to work for the things that I got (I even had to pay my own cell phone bill, which many young people don't do). Am I the only one who feels this way? I just wish that more youth could experience the feeling that I did when I was able to make my own great experience happen.

I hope you are all having a wonderful and worldly Wednesday!

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Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Worldly Wednesday: Canada/Ecuador

Well, I've survived the heat today, I was half-expecting to melt into a puddle on the pavement. I'm looking forward to the impending thunder storm we are supposed to receive.

My Mom just got back from a trip to Halifax and brought me the most darling earrings.
They are sea turtles! I love them so much. I'm wondering if there is a correlational effect between my love of animal shaped earrings, and being a primary/junior teacher?
While we are on the topic of adorable animal shaped earrings, here are a pair of parrots I picked up in Banos, Ecuador.

I can't wait to wear them to school!

So, as I begin making preparations for my big trip in September I am still slightly unsure about a few things. Most importantly, where I will be living. If I stick with my supply teaching contract (which guarantees me at least 4 days of work a week) I will end up moving to the beautiful coastal town of Lowestoft, Sufolk. However, I've been made aware of a possible long term position in a lovely looking school in Corrington, Essex. I'm torn as to what to do. I would love to be able to settle right into my own classroom and find a place to live close by, it would also be nice to have some time supply teaching to accustom myself to the curriculum differences in the UK.

If any of you know anything about either location, I would love to hear your opinion.
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Monday, 15 July 2013

Tunes Tuesday

It's time to link up with Sweet Rhyme & Pure Reason for Tunes Tuesday! I'm posting super early because I have to leave for work in the morning and didn't want to be late to the [linky] party.

I chose inferencing for my Tunes Tuesday Grammar Skill to contribute and used the lyrics to the Rascall Flatts song 'Skin' to illustrate the skill. The song is about a young girl who is diagnosed with leukaemia and faces attending the high school prom without any hair. The author of the song does a great job of showing instead of telling what is happening in the story, which makes it more emotional (in my opinion). I would recommend this activity for grades 5 to 8 students. You can download my Tunes Tuesday package HERE.

This is my first time sharing a PDF file on a blog, so please let me know if the link doesn't work!

Have a groovy Tuesday everybody!

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Monday Made It

Today I am linking up with 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made it!

All last week I was working on putting together my scrapbook from my teaching trip to Ecuador. I found these really great scrapbook pages at Costco for $7.96 for about 100 pages. I have so many pictures from my trip I had to go back and buy a second pack.

I haven't completely finished it yet, but I have completed the first "section" of my trip, and the rest of my pages are planned out. Here are a couple of my planned pages.

Finally, here are a few of my completed pages!

Our hotel in Quito, Ecuador.

Myself and some of the other pre-service teachers who I travelled with standing on the Equator.

Our cabin in the Amazon, the towel elephant that was on my bed, and Rumi the friendly dog.

Some snaps from our jungle hike.

Hopefully I'll get more finished soon so I can show you more of beautiful Ecuador! This was definitely the trip of a lifetime, and was quite a life changing experience. If you ever get the chance to go, you will not regret it! The country is beautiful and the people there are warm and friendly. I'm sure I'll talk more about this trip as I continue my blog.

My other 'kind of' Monday Made It, is my new blog background. I downloaded the photoshop program GIMP (It's free!) and made the design for my background and for my header. Thanks to the tutorials and content on The Cutest Blog on the Block, and also some downloaded online scrapbook decals (website at bottom of page), I was able to create a decent design. It is by no means perfect, I still have a lot to learn, but I think it's pretty good. I would like to make some further customizations to my layout and template, but the Blogger.com tools for this seem to be out of order for the time being. Is anyone else having this problem?

I hope everyone is having a great Monday!

- Melissa

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Pre-Tunes Tuesday

Better late than never. I just signed up to contribute to Sweet Rhyme & Pure Reason's Tunes Tuesday Linky Party. It's not too late to contribute (The resources are being posted July 16th), so head on over to claim a song and a grammar skill to post! This Link-Up is a resource sharing collaboration using music and lyrics to teach a variety of grammar skills for literacy.


Yesterday I had a great time shopping in Watertown and going out for lunch with my Dad. Luckily my passport came back to me in time! I've been looking for some new pieces for my 'Teacher Wardrobe". I managed to find 3 nice pairs of dark wash jeans. I would like to hear the opinion of some of you who have been in the profession for a while, dark wash jeans - are these 'professional' enough to wear to work?

Today I've been working on more paperwork(When will it end?!). I scanned a number of documents including my diplomas and Visa to send to my agency, as well as application forms for my umbrella pay roll company. Due to the fact that I will essentially be a kind of 'free lance' worker under my teaching agency I need to sign up with an umbrella corporation to handle my pay roll and such. The good thing about this is that they help you get a number of deductions from your taxes (while overseas I will be responsible for paying UK taxes)including travel and accommodations. As well, the company helps to quickly set up a UK bank account for me. This is very helpful as opening a new bank account in a foreign country can be quite an ordeal(essentially, you need proof of a UK address to open the bank account, and in order to rent a flat you need to show proof of having a bank account!).

Today I also want to start scanning some of my resources to have digital copies when I go to the UK. Books can be super heavy, so instead I am planning on taking a few small hard drives with my essential school resources on them to print off when I need them. I just need to find the motivation to sit at the scanner for a few hours to get it done.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Visa's In

This morning my UK Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa was delivered to my door. Now, not only can I finish filling out my paperwork, but I can now start looking seriously at flat rentals.

Yesterday I made a trip to Chapters to pick up the book Miss Nelson is Missing by James Marshall to go along with Second Grade Sugar and Spice's supply teacher package on TPT. It contains a number of worksheets to use for your supply teacher, or if you are a supply teacher (like I will be) and you are left without plans, or end up having extra time. The worksheets have the students compare their class with Miss Nelson's class, and among other activities have the students develop a create story about what their teacher is doing while they are away from school. I'm hoping that this will prove to be a useful resource for me.

I've been trying to get through some of my resource books before September because they are too heavy to pack and take with me. At the gym yesterday I began reading The First-Year Teacher's Survival Guide: Ready-to-Use Strategies, Tools & Activities for Meeting the Challenges of Each School Day by Julia G. Thompson. It's an informative book that includes self tests so you can see where you stand with your skills. It is an American book, so not everything inside is applicable, but it is still a good resource for the basics.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

And So It Begins...

 It's official! I'm moving to England in September to begin my very first year of teaching. This week i have been up to my ears in paperwork, who knew it would be so involved to move to another country? Only 7ish more weeks until take-off day, and I still have so much to do. I'm starting up this blog to share my journeys and experiences for other new teachers, and teachers thinking about teaching abroad.    I'm sure once I figure out this whole HTML thing, this blog will look much better : )