Our Wedding PART 2

So now that you know that Worchihan, his family and his villagers were 100% responsible for the preparations for our wedding, let’s move on to the wedding. Which was INCREDIBLE, a word that actually means unbelievable, not amazing, but it was that too.

If I had known what our wedding was going to be like (I didn’t really because Worchihan left for our wedding more than a month before me to prepare and the internet in his village is terrible), I would have invited National Geographic (is it too late, NG?). It was beyond words, so we’ll show you plenty of pictures. (All photos were taken by Wren Raleng — thank you, Wren!) Continue reading “Our Wedding PART 2”

My 3 Favorite Children’s/YA Novels in Verse

Even though I studied Secondary English in college (this is what people who want to teach middle and high school English study), I am not a huge poetry fan. Maybe I should be, but I don’t enjoy reading what I don’t understand. There IS a lot of accessible poetry out there though — accessible enough even for children — so really everyone can enjoy poetry if they’re exposed to the right stuff. And why not expose children and young adults (aka teenagers) to poetry so that they have more time to enjoy it?

Each of these novels could be a good introduction to poetry for kids and teenagers who haven’t yet been introduced because these books are the best of the best; all are highly acclaimed. They’re also great resources for teaching poetry in the classroom (or the kitchen).

Without further ado, here are my go-to free verse novels, in recommended-age order.

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Our Wedding PART 1 (Or The One Where the Bride Did Nothing)

I’m pretty sure Worchihan and I had one of the easiest weddings ever. Well, at least it was easy for me. I did ALMOST nothing.

How is that possible, you might ask? To be fair (to myself), the location determined pretty much everything — especially the fact that I wasn’t going to be a lot of help — and made the decisions easy.

When to get married? We got engaged on November 4 (Worchihan had a pretty sweet reason for asking me on this particular day) and visited Worchihan’s family in the village that Christmas. Our next shared holiday was Songkran, the 3 days + a weekend mid-April Thai new year celebration, so that was the obvious choice. When you are as old as we were when we got engaged (Worchihan was 29 and I was 30), you gotta get married. Fast.

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The Best Literacy Resources for Young Learners

I’ve been teaching young learners – preschool and then first grade – for a couple of years now. After teaching middle and high school students for 7 years, it’s quite a change, but I’ve found that I enjoy it. Because I majored in Secondary English in college, I’ve had to learn how to teach letter sounds, basic reading and basic writing; thankfully, I’ve found so many great (often free!) resources for me and for my students. Here are my 5 favorite places to get these resources and my favorite resources from each shop. (NOTE: Most of these resources should be laminated.)

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Ayutthaya

If you travel to Bangkok, don’t miss Ayutthaya. The second capital of the Kingdom of Siam, Ayutthaya was founded in 1350, prospering until it was razed by the Burmese in 1767, leaving its temples and palaces in ruins. The Historic City of Ayutthaya was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991. As Ayutthaya is only about an hour north of Bangkok and is easy to get to and get around, it makes for a perfect day trip. (For more about Ayutthaya, visit https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/576.)

I have been to Ayutthaya 3 times and have had a different experience each time. The first time, I went with 2 fellow foreigners. We took a (very fast) van to Ayutthaya and then rented (very old) bikes to ride around the temples. I’m pretty sure this is the hottest way to see the ruins. The second time, Worchihan and I took the (rather slow) train from Hua Lamphong with a group of Thai and Naga friends. Since we didn’t buy our tickets in advance, we got 3rd class standee tickets (can’t complain when they’re only 20 baht!), but fortunately we were able to sit all the way. On the way back to Bangkok, we ended up with 3rd class standee tickets again on a pretty full train; Worchihan and I ended up standing outside between two cars, which was a little scary. Anyways, on that trip we rented a long tuktuk (and driver) for a price a little bit cheaper than what foreigners would pay. The third time, this past Saturday, our friends Ping and Som took us, so we drove to Ayutthaya and then drove around to see the temples, which is the most comfortable way to go. Going with Thai friends in a car is the best way to go! Continue reading “Ayutthaya”

Eight Lessons I Learned from My Parents about Money

One Saturday a couple weeks before Christmas when I was maybe 9 or 10, my parents took me to a tree lot to pick out our Christmas tree. We had lunch at Taco Bell, which at that time was my favorite place to eat, and where my parents decided it was time to teach me a lesson. They gave me $10 and told me that I would be paying for lunch, which also meant that I could keep the change. We all ordered, and after we had eaten, my mom AND my dad both said they were still hungry. It’s like parents are in on these things together.

I rushed in with something like, “No, you don’t need anything else. You can eat more at home.” My parents didn’t end up ordering any more food, but I bet they enjoyed my panic. I wanted to keep EVERY LAST CENT of my change.

And that’s when I first truly understood what it means to spend money. When you spend it, it’s gone.

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Worchihan: My Story

Worchihan was recently asked by a distant cousin of his to share his story in a Facebook group. He then shared it on his own Facebook page and now we want to share it here.

My name is Worchihan Zingkhai and this is my story. I am from the beautiful Tangkhul mountain village of Ngahui in the Ukhrul district of Manipur. I began school in Ukhrul, finished in Shillong and then in January of 2007, came to Delhi to work, study and be free.

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UK Trip 2018: Glasgow

Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, was our last stop on our 3-week UK trip. There wasn’t anything in particular we wanted to see or do in Glasgow, but we thought we would visit since it’s only an hour and a half on the bus from Edinburgh.

What We Did

Glasgow was the only city we visited for which we didn’t make a list of things to do. Because nothing came to mind when we thought of Glasgow – no church, no museum, no attraction – we were free to explore. It was a nice feeling especially after the pressure of our long lists for London and Edinburgh.

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Word Attack Strategies

The quickest way for a student to hurt my heart is to say that he or she doesn’t like reading. I love reading so much that I take this personally, but I also realize these students (most students) were probably not encouraged to read the way I was when I was a kid: my mom took us to the library often, both my parents read a lot and the school I grew up in encouraged reading. My primary academic goal for these students–for all my students–is that they would enjoy reading and writing. If students enjoy reading and writing, they will read and write, and if they have the right guidance, they will become good readers and good writers.

One difficulty all readers encounter is unfamiliar words. Good readers aren’t discouraged by these words because they are often able to guess the meanings of these words, but struggling readers can easily become frustrated because they don’t know what to do when they see words they don’t know.

We can empower our struggling readers–all of our readers–by giving them ways to figure out the meanings of unfamiliar words; we can give them the clues to solve the puzzle. Continue reading “Word Attack Strategies”