Review of Mac in a Sac- Traveling Raincoats

Overall Rank

On Mac in a Sac Website, it received 5 stars from about 900 customers. They have a great color variation. Many customers are extremely happy. Also, Mac in a Sac is proactive and tries to fix and sort out issues from their products. They want you to have a truly great experience. This company is based in England.

Product Description

Rainproof raincoats that can fold up nice and tiny for ease of packing and travel. I need this when I travel since during my week or 2-week holidays I want to pack as light as possible. Also, I usually only bring 2 suitcases whenever I move somewhere. I want my clothes and belongings to be able to shrink and fit in my suitcases. Also, to not be overweight. So a raincoat that can roll up into a small bag sounds like the perfect product to add to my suitcases when I travel the world. Who’s with me?

Pros & Cons

Pros are always nice to start with, I will start there.

1. Folds up on its own to a small bag.
2. Variety fo colors to choose from.
3. Associated with TargetDry, a highly rated outdoor company.
4. Not too expensive.
5. Lightweight and breathable.

Some cons I came across just seem to be a pile of bad luck. Sizes were smaller than anticipated. So if someone is shopping from outside the UK I would suggest comparing how sizes are different than your own country. Also, the product ripped within a few days. This issue can easily be fixed within the 2-year guarantee.

Price

20 pounds to 30 pounds per coat.
This I fee like is a fair price for a quality product.

Guarantee

Every customer enjoys a 2-year guarantee for the product. I think this is a great amount of time to see if this product is for you and for you to use in on the exciting holidays we experience in International Teaching!

Get your own Mac in a Sac!

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Teach Addition and Subtraction- Reading Stories!


Reading can promote learning in all content areas. Teaching in predominately ESOL classroom, I love to include stories while I teach math. Parents can also purchase books connected with math. Math can be tricky to teach as well as for students to connect to math. If students are naturally good in math, they love it! If students feel nervous or do not do as well in math, they generally do not like math class. I try to incorporate as many other skills in math class so students can engage through their strengths.

In a general math lesson, I like to read a story every week to demonstrate what topic we are learning. There is a book for everything! Sometimes, I show videos of someone else reading it. I find videos like this on YouTube all the time. Crazy, huh! Next, I show examples for 5-10 minutes. The following 10-15 minutes, I have students give directions to other students or they work in partners and read the steps we created together as a class. Lastly, I give a 5-10 minute activity of independent work. Students love to engage others. Many students in my class express they begin to like math class. I teach 3rd grade. This scares me that students already associate math with fear and anxiety.

My top 5 reasons to include reading in math

1. Students love getting read to. I know even in high school, I enjoyed getting read to in classes. It’s strange and its weird but I think it reminds children or students when their parents read to them at night. Students associate read aloud to love and caring.
2. The students can understand the “why,” in math. Common Core wants students to understand the “why” and be able to express “the why” through oral and written formats. While I teach math, I constantly have students tell me “why” they added or “why” the borrowed in subtraction. Consistently giving them ways to hear and express the “why” is important.
3. Using different ways of teaching is beneficial. Some students have math anxiety. Reading a story might calm nerves and these students who do better with language skills. Teaching through their strengths might allow students to relate to math.
4. Add these books to a small library dedicated to math concepts that students can read during reading time. This promotes math concepts during reading lessons and reading skills during math lessons. Cross-curricular and making connections between subject promote and prove to show more learning. Students begin to have more long term memory about the different topics.
5. Connect writing or oral stories in the classroom. Books can encourage and be a support to help with word problems. Many books about mathematical concepts use similar language to questions in word problems. Also, word problems become less scary because they have already included reading comprehension in their math lessons.

Books for addition and subtraction

The first two books are the puppy series. Here are reviews about these series. Reading through this blog, I found so many positive reviews! They are great for younger students. Suggestions would be KG-2 grade.

The Number Tales series recieved mostly 5 stars on Amazon. From reviews, many parents who read to younger kids (3-5) found them less engaging. I reccommend these books for 1-3 grade.

If you are looking to get a set. Amazon has a set of 5 books, including the two I have here.

Only two reviews on Amazon, but both gave the next book 5 stars! I know I enjoy reading this book. This can be read to younger children still. I recommended KG-2.

The next two books are great for older students. Recommendation is 2-5 grade. Frankie Pickle is a collection of comic strip stories relating to math concepts! Engaging! No reviews were less than 3 stars on Amazon! Multiplying Meanace really engages older students in multiplication facts but students can relate through repeated addition. I love reading this story to my students.

Amazon might provide better deals, so check their prices at first!



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Why Is Saying Goodbye Hard?- Last Days of Venezuela

Goodbye Friends.

Hope to see you soon. It was a pleasure to work with you. We won’t say goodbye but see you later. This is truly the hardest part at the end of a school year.  It is the time of the year where you know you may never see this person again. You hope you do and some friendships can last through social media and WhatsApp. Maybe a few relationships will continue through Skype. You could also be lucky enough to work with another international teacher in another country in the future. Maybe you will both travel to the same country? But the realization that the last days at a school still hurt each time and it does not get easier every time. It gets harder because the hope you have that all the beautiful friends you met here may never talk to you again. It is hard realization.

 

Tips for this hard moment

  1. Find a way to keep in contact. Both parties should agree if keeping in contact is through Facebook. Maybe, you decide you will skype occasionally? Like family members back home, make time for those who are truly special to you. Exchange contact information or update your contact information as you change countries. I find comfort in knowing I can speak to the amazing friendships I made in Kuwait and China. So, knowing that I have lifelines in Venezuela feels good. I make it a goal to send a message to my close friends bi-monthly. Yes, sometimes I miss a month. But I want them to know I am thinking about them. I also want to keep up with their lives. Although we do not live in the same country, I want to know all the new adventures they are going on. Even if their adventure is binging on Netflix! I binge on that too!
  2. If you can or have the ability to plan a face-to-face visit, do it! I met my best friend in China. I have seen her every other summer since we met in China. Or is it every summer? Either way, both parties tried to make sure we see each other for at least a few days. It does feel like you start from where you left off. You laugh at the moments you experience together. But you also celebrate how different your lives are now. I know my BFF is a mommy of twins. She moved to a new state and recently went back to school to further her degree. I am traveling the world still and did end up meeting the man I will marry. Both of our lives took a great and unique direction. The most important aspect is we celebrate each other for what they are doing now! She also has never made me feel guilty for my choice to work abroad. It is sometimes the easiest to talk with her because I am not expected to fit her mold of a successful life.
  3. The hardest part for me is comparing new friends and colleagues to previous friends and colleagues. Everyone is different. All the friendships that you form will be different. One close friend, I only speak to twice a year, but that is A LOT! While others I message virtually monthly. I also compare how the friendships turn out. I remember thinking in Kuwait. “Wow, I like working with non-teachers. They are easier to get along with.” I move to Venezuela. “Wow, I like working in a larger school. There is more opportunity for friendship.” But, China was only 8 foreign hires in the city! I find myself also looking at the greener grass instead of celebrating and appreciating the green grass I have in my life. I am sure in Mongolia, I will wish I have a Mongolian mommy who loved me like one of her daughters.

 

Stay Positive

While everyone cries the last day, stay as positive as you can! Make sure you give and show the love to the people who matter to you in the school year. Make sure they know how much you love them. This can be gifts. But this can also be just your warm presence.

 

Remember and talk about all the fun times! Remember and thank them for all the times they stuck by you and helped through that difficult time. Remember that they were an intricate part of your life and it is your decision to decide if they stay that way. Obviously, it is extremely difficult to talk to all the staff you worked with. However, I do find that I have a close relationship with 2-3 people a year.

 

I found myself done this over the past few years is pull away. I think this is a protection strategy. I know I will cry but I do not want to cry in front of people. It is a fear, but I always find I cry in front of people once during the year. I cried yesterday, so maybe I can stay strong until I get home. Peter get those tissues ready!

 

Letter to My Venezuelan Momma

Dear Daniela,

Since last year, maybe you did not know it, but I always felt the closest to you. I felt like we are the same person but born a few years apart and in different countries. Over the course of this year, I met your beautiful family and fell in love them as well. You are truly and beautiful person. Although my Spanish sucks and you believe you speak like the step mom on Modern Family, we found common ground and love that can’t be explained or taken away. I send my prayers every day for you and your family and I hope that one day we meet again. Maybe in Venezuela! Maybe in the USA! But, I still hope and pray that our paths will cross again. I hope we WhatsApp throughout this time apart and I hope we continue to find common ground and connections miles and countries apart. I will love you and your family forever!

Love,

Krissy

 


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Hands-on Activities For Kids- Great Fun!

Mom, I’m Bored!

 

What parents out there have heard this sentence? I am sure on a daily basis. I hear it at school as a teacher. Usually, I hear this sentence when they need to do work they do not enjoy. So during math class (if they feel they are not good in math) or writing class (if they feel like they can’t write). Being bored can be good for children. It activates the creative process to figure out what to do so they are not as bored. Summer vacation is approaching and now mamas have their children all day. I bet, “I’m bored!” will ring in your ears every day. Some days let your children figure out what they will do to overcome their boredom but other days check out these resources to add to your repertoire.

Looking back to when I was a child, I am sure I said this to my mom. Heck, I still say this to my mom when I come home. Usually, it is because I am in summer mode while my parents and family are in work mode. They are not educators so do not have the summer when they can get more free time. As an international teacher, I more or less have the summer’s off. This is a huge plus! Talk to teachers in the United States or the United Kingdom. I bet they do not feel like their summers are free and wide open.

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Venezuela vs. Kuwait- Where Should I Move To?

 

Many times when I go back home after a placement, I seem to get the same question. Where did you like teaching better? Where did you like living better? Would you stay if x, y, or z didn’t happen?  So today I would like to dive into whether I liked Venezuela or Kuwait better.

Schools

International Schools abroad target the rich population or foreign population in the country. You are required to have a passport from another country. Bilingual Schools do not have that problem. They teach two or three languages equally throughout the day. The school I worked in Kuwait was a bilingual school, so therefore I did not serve the richest students in Kuwait. However, most Kuwaitis are given sums of money from their government and are considered wealthy throughout the world. Also, I served students whose parents did not want to spend the most on their child’s education but at the same time wanted a decent education. Blend these together, you get parents who believe they know how to make a great educational system without conferencing with teachers or other educator professionals.

 

 

Also, the school becomes “for profit,” so budget cuts are done through not purchasing programs or more learning materials. Therefore, the classroom I worked in was given nothing but whatever the parents were willing to bring. Luckily, you ask nice enough in Kuwait at least 5 parents bring in more than you ever wanted the next day. I also worked with a team of 8 other teachers in grade three. Each class could have 20 students each. That is 160 students per grade level. The high school had 6 classes each of about 25 students. There was a lot of students to hold clubs. There was a lot of students to participate in sports. Therefore, there was also people to teach and inspire as well as teachers to bounce ideas off of and get new information or ideas.


Read for free, now on Serial Reads: Law and Disorder by Heather Graham!

 

The school I worked in Venezuela was smaller. The school only had one class per grade level. I taught the biggest classes at 16 students. Some classes were 3 students. Just 3. Imagine how work ethic diminishes when you only have 2 other people to bounce your ideas off of. Imagine if you don’t like one of your classmates. The small class sizes proved to be unhealthy in social skills. This school also said it was an International school. Therefore, all students have another passport. It, however, was mainly Venezuelans that were born in America or have a Spain or Italian passport. This school was the cheapest international school in Caracas.  One mom put the tuition cost and the parents’ opinions in a perfect metaphor. “Parents here want to pay for the mashed potatoes but they expect the lobster with it.”

 

It was run by a board who also were parents. They believed they knew more than educational professionals. My opinions were never expressed to the board and my administration never used our opinions to improve the learning environment effectively. This soon becomes demotivating for teachers to not put full effort into their work. I soon only made sure I put all my efforts into my classroom and all the other things I needed to do became less serious.

 

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International Schools- Virtual School

Does Virtual School Work?

Whenever you work in a new country, you start to realize how the United States in many ways has figured out to be a stable country. Many friends, who have only traveled to Europe, are the only people who would disagree. They might mention are terrible public transit in the United States or how education is not up to par. But working and living overseas in obscure places has taught me that the United States has a lot figured out.

Working overseas many teachers will teach the elite of the country. Venezuela was no different. I only taught truly local kids in China when I made $800 dollars a month. International teachers make enough to save but sadly do not teach the true middle class without taking a pay cut to the salary.

Scholastic Teacher Store Online

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Programs to Learn- Mom’s Choices


1. Curious World

This is a super-cool APP on iPads or smartphones. It is owned by a well-known textbook company. This is extremely cool for the kiddos between ages 2-7 because it is reflecting what they learn in school and providing building blocks before they get to school. There are tons of videos that they categorize by age. This means little time to watch content to double check if it is appropriate. YouTube channels are great, but you would need to spend time watching each video to make sure it is appropriate for your child. Videos are great but this app also provides games. We all know children love playing. If they love what they are doing than learning is easy and naturally takes place. You can choose yearly or monthly subscriptions. This is between 10 and 80 dollars.

2. Online Newspapers for kids

Online newspapers give children current events articles which are easier for them to answer. They are interactive and fun. This is also a great way to get them interested in current events, scientific reasoning, and critical thinking skills. Who doesn’t love that? A few suggestions below that I find useful as a teacher.

TIMEforKids
Scholastic, even using Scholastic Teacher Store Online
National Geographic
Zoobooks: This I found to be interesting is Zoobooks offers a program for 1-3 years old. Start their curious minds earlier!


Zoobooks.com

3. KHAN Academy
This is a great resource. Teachers that sign up can sign up for free. I am unclear if a parent signs up if it is also free. KHAN academy aligns itself with MAP testing. It has great instructional videos about topics in Math and gives standardized test questions. This is geared to 2nd-grade students or older. Students highly enjoy using KHAN academy in class.

4. Readtheory.org

This is a free website for teachers. It is definitely geared to higher grades because the focus is on reading comprehension. However, the stories are shorter and many students can do two or three stories in 20 minutes at their correct reading level. I use this as an alternative to the more childish versions such as RAZ-Kids.

5. Study Island
Many schools use this program and it is a lot of fun and very effective. It connects to the curriculum and is aimed at school-aged children. If you want you can always give Study Island a try. I suggest you try Study Island today!

6. Reading Eggs
This program is geared to 4 to 11 years odd. It concentrates on the building blocks of language. It reviews Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Fluency, Vocabulary, and Comprehension through interactive games online. It is the Online Phonics Program That Kids Love. Parents are highly satisfied with this game. This product is ideal for children between 3 to 11 years old. They offer tons of options: monthly for $9.95, 6 months for $49.95 and 1 year for $75. Also, you can get workbooks. Great program and a great cost.

learn to read online

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Steps To Be An International Teacher- Easy and Simple

Working and finding a job abroad can be daunting. Although in reality, it is much easier to move to another country than to another state. My family all the time tells me of jobs or teacher shortages in other states. However, I think the cost of living is usually higher than abroad. I also know teacher internationally gives me an allowance for housing or free accommodations. The school does all the hard thinking and work for an international hire. As long as the school is honest and transparent, teaching abroad is less paperwork and way less stressful inside and outside the classroom.

 Step 1:

Make sure you graduated as an Education Major and you have your degrees. Also, you should have your transcripts. The schools want 2 or 3 years of experience. They take years of experience from your home country as well as less desirable international teaching jobs. Schools that do not want the 2-3 years of experience may need a lot of new teachers. This means the school is new or the school is run more like a business. This either suits a teacher or you find the way administration handles situations awful. Some schools require 2-3 years of experience because of the country’s visa policy.

Use TIEonline for job postings. You can also join other agencies that help get international jobs like Teachanywhere or Search Associates.

Check the school’s reputation onInternational Schools Review. It gives a review of all international schools.

Another way is to join International School Fairs. I have never gotten a job this way. However, this is a popular way amoungst international teachers.

Step 2:

Think about your top choices in countries. Europe generally does not supply housing. The Middle East and Asia generally pay the better salary versus living expenses. South America and Africa generally pay a salary where you come out even. Also, I like living in obscure places. So sometimes it is knowing what countries have to offer and what you want. Kuwait, for example, is one of the easier countries as the first international experiences. The main reason is they have everything you may think you need. Tim Hortons, Starbucks, Olive Garden, Texas Roadhouse and much more. If certain comforts are needed they most likely have the same brand or similar quality.

 

Step 3:

Say yes to a job. Sometimes this is the hardest part. International schools like to give you a short timeline. Breathe and reflect if the country a good fit and if the school is a good fit. Ask for more time if you need it. Be honest with the reasons why you need time. I find when I tell them I have other interviews and want to see other offers first, the school does wait.

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Checklist for Moving to A Foreign Country- Easy to Follow

Moving abroad can be hard. Especially saying all of those goodbyes can break hearts. But this checklist makes packing for you new and exciting adventure easy. Remember, ask what products are in the country and what you can find. The less materialistic you are the easier it is to live anywhere.

      1. Passport with at least 6 months validity. (You can always get a new passport once you move to a new country at the USA Embassy. Make sure you fill the new job’s requirements. Sometimes they would like at least a year.)
      2. Clothes for the seasons you will be living in. I always found I could buy clothes abroad. China is harder the heavier you are or for bigger sizes. I could only find form fitting clothes there and during my time in China, I preferred baggy clothes.
      3. Keep all important documents in two places. I bring a folder with me with ALL my health checks and documentation. Copies of my passport, birth certificate, Social Security, Credit Cards, and anything else important. I also keep a copy at home. Therefore, if something happens I have two copies made and can fix any paperwork dilemmas quickly. I never needed to thus far. But you never know. I know many countries want you to get an STD check. Clicking the link, you get $10 off your purchase. http://www.stdcheck.com/?coupon=10OffOrder
      4. Figure out the top 5 things you can’t live without. Ask if you can find these products or brand names in the country your moving to. If you can’t bring at least a 6 month supply. If shipping is not good, bring a 10 month supply so you have those items and feel comfortable and at home.
      5. Money to exchange or local currency. I would say about 300 to 500 dollars for the first month of working can have you be fairly comfortable and depending on where you move can help set up a few things such as new furniture (if you are a nester) or pieces of artwork. This will come with time but it is not to not feel like your waiting for a paycheck.
      6. Ideas and plans for travel. As an international teacher, you get more breaks than I feel my United States friends do. You also have enough money to get in a few international destinations check off the bucket list. Having a few ideas of what you want to see is great. Air tickets are cheapest about 8-6 weeks before travel. Also, check what kind of visas are needed for tourists and most of the time this paperwork can be done in a host country. If not get VISAs over the summer for your bucket list destinations.

    ed2go

    1. Charity thinking: Ask the school if there is something the local teachers need. They love getting goodies from their international teacher friends.
    2. Ask the school if school supplies are needed to purchase. What can you find in the country? What would you need to bring?

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Questions to Ask in Interviews?- Be Prepared

The Interview

Please come prepared with questions. Do you have any questions? What do you want to learn about us? What do you want to know about the school? Do you have questions about the country?

 

Interviews can be scary. You get nervous. You really want the job and you start to feel like you can’t it after a few rejections or when the school ghosts you. But really interviews should just be the time you let who you naturally are shine. I have found the more relaxed and open I was in an interview, I got along and understood administration better and worked better with them. The interview process should be looked at as a dating prospect. You both need to like each other for the dates and eventually a marriage to continue. In the international circuit, once you don’t like a school or a school doesn’t like you, the job change happens quickly.

 

 

Being mentally prepared with questions is ideal. Peter and I write all the questions we want answering. We make sure we at least have 15 questions ready. Sometimes, the school answers most of them but you have enough to seem intelligent, prepared and that you equally care about furthering this relationship.

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