Awesome # 60: Winning a Prize

Just after Valentine’s Day, my students participated in a school-wide contest in which they were to design a poster on the theme of love and friendship. It was a collaborative project to which they all had to contribute – both their ideas and their artistic abilities.

Seeing as collaborative and cooperative skills are a still a work-in-progress in my class for a number of reasons (it being a 3-grade multilevel class is a major one), I anticipated this to be a notable challenge. I’m not going to lie, I expected tears to flow. I was prepared to break up a fist fight. And, I’d come to terms with the possibility that someone would get frustrated and rip up our poster paper before it was completed – because these things, until recently, have been a near-daily occurrence.

But, not only was the final product something my students can, and should be proud of, their poster won them 50$ in the contest.

I was inspired to write today’s post of awesome – winning a prize – yesterday afternoon, as I threw a celebratory pizza party for my students (the supplies for which we bought with their 50$).

Winning a prize is awesome enough for its excitement factor alone. I’m sure everybody enjoys winning a prize. But in this particular case, the prize that my students won means so much more.

It means that my students have grown tremendously since we returned after the Christmas holiday (this, I’m afraid, cannot truly be portrayed to someone who’s never seen my class in action). My students, who once, even on a good day, could barely even work together enough to play a game of BINGO, participated in this project with hardly a hiccup.

It also means that over the past several months, I’ve learned enough about my students and about teaching to structure the project in such a way that would work for them – each contributed his or her own ideas and each contributed artistically and, in retrospect, the whole endeavour ran rather smoothly (thanks, also, to my Inuit colleague Mary).

And, it means that my students are now all the more ready to do some of the projects that I really want to do with them – one being a performance of “The Three Little Pigs” (a play we’ve been working on through the AIM language learning program that’s being introduced in Nunavik), which I hope to eventually record so that I can take them to the radio station to play on the FM for the people of the village to hear.

Congratulations A, H, G, J, N, M, T and E!


Awesome # 59: Leftovers

I know people who refuse to eat leftovers. They never “doggie bag” uneaten portions of meals at restaurants and they throw away remnants of meals cooked a little too large. Those people are missing out on the awesomeness of leftovers.

I love leftovers. I love that, with leftovers, you have a meal prepared with little-to-no additional effort (sometimes more). Leftovers are a time-saver – especially during the work week – making room for you to do awesome things other than cooking on your lunch break (such as reading and working on art projects).

Leftovers bring multiplied gratification, growing exponentially with size and deliciousness. But some are even better than that. Some meals taste even better the following day, depending on the spices or herbs they contain. The first time around, a good meal is delectable in a freshly flavourful way. But, given ample time, a good meal transforms into something even better as spices or herbs bloom into a more “mature” flavour. Italian and Indian dishes are good for this, as, I’m sure, are others.

And what’s even more awesome – today, I will be eating leftover lentil curry for lunch, which I’d cooked Sunday evening.

Awesome # 58: Marathons of Hilarity

I recently purchased the series box set of Corner Gas from Amazon. It arrived in the mail last week.

I don’t have a television, nor do I have internet fast enough to stream movies (otherwise, I’d use Netflix). So when a thirst for lethargy came over me yesterday, I was fairly limited in what my several hours of ¬†film watching would consist of. Not that I mind, though. Corner Gas is genius – right up there with The Big Bang Theory. It’s hilarious. And it’s Canadian! And curling up in bed for a marathon of hilarity on a Sunday afternoon is just awesome.

Awesome # 56: Knees

If you think about it, knees are a pretty awesome set of joints on the human body. Enabling leg bendability, knees facilitate such awesome motion as walking, running, dancing and jumping jacks. Knees help you sit down and they help you stand up. And, without them, going up stairs would be an arduous, if not impossible endeavour.

I realized last night, as I engaged in my first full-fledged workout since the beginning of the month (when I’d sustained a slightly debilitating knee injury that’s just now fading into nonexistence), not only the awesomeness of knees, but also that this is an awesome I’d been taking for granted.

Awesome # 55: Curly Hair

It seems to me that people often curse the hair with which they’ve been endowed. If it’s curly, they wish it was straight; if it’s straight, they wish it was curly. They wish it was more, or less voluminous. They wish that it was longer or shorter. They even dye their hair to cover its natural hue.

I won’t lie, I’m one of those people. Save for some highlights I had put in my hair last year, it’s been years since I coloured my hair entirely, but it’s very seldom that I leave my hair in its natural texture. When I do, I usually cave and bring out the flat iron before the end of the day.

My hair is naturally curly. It’s also big, and when it grows, it grows in width, not length.

I’ve never mastered the art of styling curly hair – I’m clueless about products and useless with a hair dryer. I’ve also never used a diffuser and wouldn’t know how to if I tried. Thus, my hair in it’s curly state often takes on a less-than-flattering triangular configuration – flat at the roots and big at the tips.

Despite this, however, I decided that, this morning, I would attempt (like I do every once in awhile) to embrace my hair’s curliness. With this decision, I realized the awesome of curly hair – options. I have choices. I can wear my hair curly or I can wear it straight, depending on my mood. On top of that, if it does not cooperate, I always have my flat iron.

Straight-haired people aren’t always so lucky.

Awesome # 54: Early Morning Workouts

It was only recently, due to professional obligations, that I started exercising in the evenings. But though I’ve gotten quite used to the evening routine of early dinners followed by a post-digestion workout, I do much prefer to exercise in the mornings.

Early morning workouts are awesome because they don’t involve wavering internal dialogue, as my desire for physical activity meets lethargy. Nor do they involve the ensuing procrastination which, some evenings, last longer than the workout itself because, quite frankly, after some of the more challenging and exhausting teaching days, working out is the last thing this gal wants to do.

On the contrary, early morning workouts entail me rolling out of bed and “gettin’ ‘er goin'”. They entail little-to-no chance to second guess my desire to exercise as I literally jump out of my sleeping bag and into my running shoes.

Early morning workouts are also almost absent of the pressure that comes with trying to accommodate them with social opportunities, phone calls, appointments, errands, chores, my desire for both quality “stare-at-a-wall” time as well as time for hobbies because most of these things just don’t happen before the sun rises.

This morning, because I was invited to dinner at a friend’s house, I decided that, rather than juggling my limited after-school free time to accommodate all of these things, I woke up a bit earlier for a 6 AM bodyweight training session with Jillian Michaels – something I haven’t done since I was in Puvirnituq for union meetings.

I’d forgotten how good it feels.

Having just finished said workout, I’m reminded, through experience, of the energy that an early morning workout infuses into the rest of my day – propelling me into my day feeling strong and ready to take on the world with pumped up muscles and a clear head. I’m tempted, save for my long run days, to make early morning workouts a more frequent occurrence.