Listening to the news after hitting the gym yesterday was hard.  I literally drove home in tears because of the eyewitness accounts I heard on the radio.  One guy said he saw an old lady get hit and then run over.  Another eyewitness said the driver of the white van hopped the curbed and it looked like he was aiming for people.  My heart broke.   My mother-in-law said her friend’s daughter was a paramedic who was with a victim that passed on the way to the hospital. I thought of all the parents not coming home to their kids after a day at work.  There were young adults who would never get to live up to their potential.   It was such a beautiful day so many were probably out for a walk or enjoying an afternoon movie.  Yonge and Finch has to be one of the busiest hubs north of the city.  Certainly no one enjoying the lovely day anticipated this kind of ending.  No one thought they wouldn’t be going home.

          This morning, driving into work had a different feel for me.  I was waiting to field questions about this attack and for students to ask me, “Why?”  Perhaps the age group I teach is old enough to know what happened and watched the news already.  I was glued to the t.v. last night.   I’m waiting to discuss the topic more today with my own kids.  How do I explain why one person’s actions caused pain for so many? Why would someone hurt others because he is hurting?   Is it safe to walk around anymore?

        I have to admit that I never thought Toronto would be the site for something like this.  Toronto, known for being peaceful and quiet, multicultural and buzzing with throngs of people who get together to watch sports games, never did I think something like this would happen in my own backyard.  The accused, Alek Minassian, lives just a few minutes from where my husband grew up.  It’s scary to think about how we must all have six degrees of separation with a victim, injured, or those who live in that area.  My cousin was in the area an hour before the attack.  I have several friends who live around Yonge and Sheppard.  It is still unsettling and unbelievable.

         In the next few days, we will learn more about the accused and the victims.  We need to heal together and understand together.   Please hold your family a little closer tonight and pray for all those who have lost their lives.  Their families will be grieving and we need to make Toronto stronger for them.



Editor’s Pick: Rebel King Designs


         Customization.  Love it.  I like having something unique for my family or myself that makes someone say, “Hey, where did you get that?”  I’m not particularly handy so despite all the DIY sites out there, rarely do I think I can copy something and make it look like the photo.  So, I ask friends or reach out to local sources.  I feel the same way about personalization.  I love it, but you can imagine how rare it is for me to find my name on a keychain or hairbrush on the shelf.  (I admit, I still look for me when I look for my girls.)

      Lucky for me, I discovered one in my Markham area.  It’s a mom who does customized tank tops that are perfect for hot summer days and my kickboxing classes.  I need lightweight tops because I overheat easily.  No one enjoys a workout while dealing with heat rash.  She was able to take a design I found online and recreate it.  I liked it so much, I ended up making a few more.


         Rebel King Designs is a local Markham shop who corresponds quickly on Facebook.  Adryanna is fast, friendly, and getting more popular by the day.  This would be a perfect chance to explore that customizatin avenue as you may have a resolution to work out so a cool new tank would be ideal!  Contact Rebel Kings on Facebook and speak with Adryanna today.  She is really sweet and will gladly redo something if it is NOT to your satisfaction.  (My Starbucks tank top above appeared a bit yellow with the new vinyl she was using and I wasn’t too happy with it.  She redid one for me quickly.)

           She has cute designs or can copy a design if you send her a picture.  Let me know what you end up ordering something!  Tell her Hip Teacher Mama sent you.  🙂



Manners Matter


        Today a colleague came up to me and told me something that made my day.  She pulled me aside while my class was lined up waiting to go into Music class and asked, “So what do you do?  Your class is so quiet.  I saw them earlier and you were way ahead, but they were still quiet.  Now again…I asked them what you do and they said you threaten them with homework.”  I laughed and she said, “I know you don’t, so what is it?”  I replied,  “Not sure, but we talk about being respectful and mindful of other classes.  We talk about thinking about others before ourselves and that people are learning.”  She smiled and I told her feel free to share your thoughts with the students.  They need to know that their good manners are recognized and appreciated.  She did and I think they realized that their little deed makes a difference.  Hopefully, it made some of them proud.

         It got me thinking about simple manners like please and thank you.  I have a few kids in my class who are consistently good with that.  A few always greet me in the morning and make sure to say bye to me at dismissal.  I love that!  It shows a lot about what’s been taught in the home.  Parents are children’s first teachers.  I FULLY believe that.  I always tell my students that what they do at school represents their family in the real world.  I can usually tell how a family is just by how the student is.  They live what they know, right?

           Today I was waiting for a mom to pick up an item I was selling on a Facebook Mom group.  She was supposed to come yesterday between 10 and 2.   She didn’t show up and no reason given.  She said her brother was coming, but he didn’t either.  Last night, I messaged her to remind her to come as I had to reject another mom who was willing to come on Friday (but it was a fastest pick up post).  She said she would come today.  It is now dinnertime, she hasn’t come, nor has she given a text, apology, or reason.  Maybe that is just me (my husband thinks so), but he says not everyone is like me and about accountability and will text.  It seems like common courtesy.   Is that not a thing anymore?  Does the amount of stuff people have to do excuse them for not doing the courteous thing?

       What’s your take if someone RSVPs to a party and then doesn’t show up?  This happened a few weeks ago at a party we were throwing.  After a few people asked me about a guest and I was running around busy, but I eventually texted and wondered if there was an accident.  No answer for awhile so I decide to call.  This individual made a flurry of excuses and finally settled on one about an argument so not in the mood to come.  I understand that, not being in the mood to socialize at a happy event, but maybe a quick text?  I was worried.   Again, my husband doesn’t believe that everyone thinks that way (to let others know what they are up to).  I don’t know. Doesn’t seem hard, just again, common courtesy?

           What do you think?  Are our lives so busy nowadays that a simple phone call or text is too much if you are late for an event or missing one altogether?  Or is it simply the lost art of manners because we are all on electronic devices and the basic act of physical communication is gone?  I joke we don’t even need a landline anymore and only keep it for the bundle discount.  Sadly, it is true though.  I hardly use the phone for conversation anymore because texting is more convenient and fast.   I don’t think I have lost my manners though and still try to remember that I’m setting an example for my kids and students.  Thoughts?  (THANKS.) 😛
























Kid Mindset

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     It is funny when chatting with mommy groups. You know when you are going to hit it off or not.  Your personalities will inevitably click or not based on how you parent.  When you do find a good one, the support system you find in one is amazing because you have a group of women all coming from the same place.  Their priority is their children and well, so is yours.

     Two recent instances come to mind.  One friend and I laughed about this the other day.  Someone wanted to host a party and dinner started at 6:30 p.m.   Our three year olds go to bed at 7:30 p.m. so that may not work out.  With bath and bedtime routines in place, the whole sleep event starts around 7.  My friend decided she would attend alone because realistically the meltdowns will start.  Only people with kids will truly get this.  Kid mindset.

     Another time (funny, these both involve food) was a suggestion of having Korean BBQ.  Being surrounded by plates of raw meat and a sizzling hot plate and children…it wasn’t even touching those items that worried me, it was being able to enjoy the experience.  Depending on the child’s age, long gone are the days of wine and chatting for three hours over a meal.  It is more like how fast can you eat without choking?  I try to avoid buffets and long banquets for this reason.  I know it isn’t possible especially for a three-year old.  Again, kid mindset.

     For those who want to attempt a long dinner out, may I suggest a “Fun Bag”?  My two eldest girls know how to pack their own and it’s usually filled with colouring books, word puzzles, or notebooks.  For the preschooler, I usually choose crayons, stickers, and the best gift known to parents, an iPad.  We try to do all the hands-on stuff first and then break out the big guns.  Baby C watches videos and plays games like making carnival food, learning her fruits and veggies, as well as matching shapes and putting together simple puzzles.

     Picking mommy groups and making plans works best when sleep schedules and routines are in sync.  Otherwise, there will be a family who will have parties that start at 6 p.m. and expect it to end at 10 p.m. and you are gone by 7 p.m.  Only parents with babies and toddlers probably remember that complex scheduling because as kids get older, the parents do get a bit more leeway.  We are pretty much there with our older two.  They MAY be cranky if they don’t get enough sleep, but won’t have a tantrum like the youngest.

       Have you found a clique whose routines  and mindsets work for you?  When did you know this was the right group for you?  More posts in the future about kid mindset with regards to discipline (that seems to be a hot topic among my chat groups).


Image result for winner

Congratulations to CP for winning the family set of four tickets to Brain Candy: Live! at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts on November 25.  The tickets will be sent out today.  Thanks to everyone who PM’ed and commented to enter the contest.  Stay tuned for more upcoming giveaways.



   Hungry for science-based action?  Want to see if those crazy curiousities can be satisfied?  Join Adam Savage and Michael Stevens for an event that will surely blow your mind!  They will tease you with epic demonstrations that integrate imagination, humour, and surprise.  This highly interactive event will zip by because as we know, time flies when you’re having FUN!  See Savage of Mythbusters fame and Stevens of Vsauce on YouTube as they explore the world of tools, toys, and demonstrations that will surely make you go, “What?!”

     Hip Teacher Mama is proud to present a ticket giveaway for this phenomenal show.  Produced by MagicSpace Entertainment and directed by Michael Weber, who has been called a “walking Swiss Army knife”, this show will be explorative and guaranteed fun.  Weber has worked with such talent as Jack Nicholson, Edward Norton, Hugh Jackson, Julia Roberts, Tom Hanks, Wes Craven, and more!

     This is the first time two ingenious minds will meld together for one extraordinary evening and you NEED to be there!   By popular demand, more shows have been added across North America, and The Sony Centre of the Performing Arts has them!


contest chalkboard

           To enter for a set of four tickets for Saturday, November 25, 2017 for 7:30 p.m.

  1. Follow Hip Teacher Mama on Facebook, Instagram or WordPress.
  2. Like and comment on this post.  “Mythbusters or VSauce?”
  3. Tag two friends in this post.
  4.  Contest runs from Nov. 2 to 12.  Please make sure to check out the video draw on Nov 12.  Contestants please make sure I can PM you on social media.

good luck



World Teachers’ Day 2017

    Created by UNESCO in 1994, over 100 countries celebrate this global event.  Although not a holiday, it is a special day to recognize teachers for the hard work that they do.  We thank teachers for their countless hours of hard work.  Be sure to thank all the teachers in your life today.

        Did you know that many teachers are at school for eight hours a day?  Work will still go home at night and on weekends. There are notebooks to prep in primary and tons of crafts to prepare.  Marking may seem never ending for those in higher grades who have thirty or more students. Teachers do it for the love of improvement.

       Did you know that teachers volunteer their time before and after school to coach teams or run clubs?  Meetings for staff and events for younger students are often run during lunch time because it would be hard for students to stay after school.  Staff devour their lunch in twenty minutes so students can have a special club of interest just for them.  Teachers do it for love of creative interest.

      Did you know that students with IEPs (individual education plan) have special needs so the teacher will put in place unique accommodations or modifications to their program so the student is successful?  On-going conversation between the homeroom teacher, special education teacher, and principal essures the student is being served effectively.  Continuous communication with parents are also important.  Parents should not be concerned about a “label”.  Instead, take this extra recognition for what it is and allow your child to opportunity to do his or her best.  Teachers do this for student success.

    Did you know that Educational Assistants and Early Childhood Educators are important teachers working inside classrooms to make sure these IEPs are fulfilled?  Students who require extra assistance and care are the focus of these special educators.  They are the ones that know your child inside out for the homeroom teacher may have twenty to thirty other students to look out for.  EA’s and ECE’s help to program and create activities to make your child’s experience as beneficial and equitable as everyone else in the class.  They do this because they want all children to enjoy school and to maximize every learning opportunity.

      Did you know that French and Music teachers are bringing a new love to the classroom everyday?  They inspire students to dive into an unfamiliar world and help them develop a passion for a language they may have never known or a rhythm they couldn’t otherwise identify.  They help them explore their unique talents and gifts.  Students grasp a new skill and may be able to pursue a whole new career because of this.  Teachers do all this because of their love to inspire.

       Did you know that a lot of items in the class may be purchased by the teacher?  Craft supplies, stickers, decor, classroom library books and so much more come out of pocket for the teacher.  The classroom is a second home to most teachers so they want to make it as comfortable for the kids and themselves.  They buy games for recess and science kits for exploration.  They purchase inspirational posters and toys for the prize boxes.  Teachers do this for the love of engaging their students and keeping school fun.

      Finally, did you know that when your child comes to school, his or her teacher is ready to give it 100%?  Teachers do this because they chose this special profession.  They do it because they truly care for our world’s future.

     Teachers: thank you for all that you do.  As a mom of a fourth-grader, second-grader, and preschooler, I see all that you do and I truly appreciate it.  I’m lucky enough to work with a wonderful staff who do everything I mentioned and more.  Happy World Teachers’ Day!

CONTEST: Markham Fair 2017

     markham fair

     Can you smell it?  Whatever “it” may be for you, it is coming and it’s in the air!  For me, it is the blooming onion!  For my girls, it’s the furry little farm animals and for Hip Teacher Dada, it’s the pies and other delectable treats!

     The Markham Fair is just around the corner and if you were ever curious about this annual local event, satisfy your curiousity!  Get your fill of delicious fair food, student crafts, local talent, and much more!

       Hip Teacher Mama is proud to host another ticket giveaway for her loyal followers.

To enter:

  1. Follow Hip Teacher Mama on Facebook AND Instagram.
  2. Comment with your favourite fair food.
  3. Winners will be selected at random by Sept. 26 and notified by personal message (please make sure your settings allow for PMs).
  4. For more entries, share the post and tag your friends.  You get one extra entry for every three friends you tag.  You also get a bonus entry if you follow me on WordPress.
  5. Contest runs from September 18 to September 25, 2017.  ONE winner will receive a family pass for 4 to be picked up at the Markham Fair.

Good luck and I hope to see you at the fair!