Another use of the Chinese word cards

I’m so happy that the word cards that I made from recycled old name cards, have a new use again! We used it for our Hanyu Pinyin revision.

Because The girl had problems recognizing and differentiating the 2nd and 3rd sounds (i.e. á ă), so I came out with this simple “pinyin” game for her to practice. I gave her a stack of the word cards and she is supposed to sort them out according to the 4 tones. For example, if she had the “一” or “我” cards, she had to place them into the 1st tone box and 3rd tone box respectively. Once she completes the whole exercise (usually about 10-20cards), she is allowed to have a small treat like a piece of chocolate or a candy. As she sees this drilling exercise as a game, she learns faster and enjoys the pinyin lesson more.

After playing the game for 2 weeks now (I try to have pinyin lesson with her once a week), she is able to recognize and differentiate the pinyin tones much better now. 🙂

the girl is attending Chinese school now!

We have just enrolled the girl in a Chinese school last Sunday! Actually, I’ve never expected to enroll the girl so soon because we went there just to check the school out. The more surprising thing is that the girl would be attending their 1st grade program, instead of the kindergarten one. I was told by the administrator that there is no more vacancy left for their kindergarten classes, so I requested to sit in one of their 1st Grade class (with the girl of course!) to have a feel of how the class was conducted and the quality of the teacher.

As we were there just to observe the class, I did not prepare any paper nor pencil for the girl but the teacher was kind enough to give her a pencil and a paper so that she could learn the words with the class. When the teacher started giving a new lesson, the girl sat there and listened very attentively and practice her writing along with the other students. Frankly speaking, I was quite surprised to see how focus she was when the teacher was giving a lesson and I also didn’t expect to see her participating so actively in the class. This girl sometimes amazes me.

As the boy and DH were outside the classroom waiting for us and I thought I had observed enough, I asked the girl to come along with me to go home. Guess what? She said she want to stay in the class! Oh wow… how can I refuse, right? So, we stayed. Then during the 10mins break from the class, I asked her if she really want to learn Chinese in this school. She nodded her head and said that she likes this school. That’s exactly what I need to know to make the decision of enrolling her in this school. But before I could register her, I needed the confirmation from the teacher if it is ok for the girl to join her class because the girl is actually younger than most of her classmates (almost 5yo vs 6-7yo). The teacher assessed the girl and said she will do fine in 1st Grade. 🙂 So from this week onwards, my the girl will attend the Sunday Chinese school officially! Yay! 🙂

Other related posts:
Sunday Chinese School

Mid-Autumn Festival crafts

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!

This week marks the start of a new school year, and I wanted to make our first Chinese lesson more interesting for The girl and so I used the Mid-Autumn Festival, which is also known as Mooncake or Lantern festival, as our subject of study. First, we read a Chinese book (中秋节) about the festival and then we discussed about the things we do (like admiring the moon, carry the lantern etc) and the special food we eat during the festival. Then, I also told her about the legend about Chang-E who lived alone on the moon with her only companion – the jade rabbit.

For our first craft, we decided to make our very own jade rabbit… I mean, origami rabbit. :p We learned to make an inflatable origami rabbit from this youtube video, demonstrated by a 8yo boy…

As this was The girl’s first try at origami, she doesn’t quite understand the concept of folding and unfolding yet. I had to help her many times to complete this origami. To be fair, this wasn’t an easy origami to start with, but she said she enjoyed it a lot. So, I think I should let her learn some basic origami patterns first if she is really keen in the origami arts. Anyway, here’s our end products. Quite cute, right?

Talking about the jade rabbit, do you know why it was allowed to stay with Chang-E? Here’s an interesting story, abstracted from this site.

One day, three immortals who were living in the heaven came to the earth. They asked a fox, a monkey and a rabbit to find some food for them respectively. The fox and the monkey both found something for the three immortals while the rabbit got nothing. The rabbit felt very sorry for the three immortals. Finally, he jumped into the fire and said to the three immortals “eat me, please!” the three immortal were deep moved by the rabbit. They decided to entitle the rabbit a reputation of “Jade Rabbit” and let him accompany Chang’e in the Moon Palace.

What is Lantern festival without lanterns?
So, for our next craft, we just had to make paper lanterns! Here’s what we made with recycled gift wrap papers and some scrap construction papers.

The girl was really pleased with her lanterns and chain. She asked me to hang them on her door because they made her room looks “princessy”! Hmm… I really wonder when will she grow out of this princess phase?

After the crafts, I asked The girl to draw a picture about the mid-autumn festival and here’s what she drew.

Very beautiful, right?

Other interesting sites:
A unit study about the Mid-Autumn Festival – Highly recommended
Origami For Kids – Bunny!
Paper Lanterns craft instructions
Our Everyday Things – Very cute homemade lanterns! Maybe I will try making it with The girl one day. 🙂
Related Posts:
Mid Autumn Festival Crafts 2008
Lantern craft
Mid Autumn Festival crafts 2006
Mid Autumn Festival 2005

hanyu pinyin #2

特别声母: y w


ya ye yi yu and their 4 tones

wa wo wu and their 4 tones

声母: b p


ba bo bi bu and their 4 tones

pa po bi bu and their 4 tones

hanyu pinyin lesson 1 : 韵母

What is Pinyin?
Pinyin is mama (声母)+ baby(韵母) + 4 tones (声调).

“妈妈(声母)在前面, 孩子(韵母)在后面, 声调在孩子的头上”

Learn 韵母 :
a o e
i u ü

Learn 4 tones:
ā á ă à

(practice for o, e, i ,u ,ü)

Sing the pinyin song in the tune of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” :

b p m f d t n l
g k h j q x
zh ch sh r z c s
a o e i u ü
I can read it easily.

hanyu pinyin

Armed with an instructional video CD, some Chinese textbooks and activities books, I’ve started teaching the girl Hanyu Pinyin. Actually, it’s more like learning hanyu pinyin with her since all I do is to run the Hanyu Pinyin instructional VCD on TV/computer, let the instructor in the VCD do the teaching and learn the pinyin together with her. Then, after each lesson, we will either do some activity worksheets together or revise the 4 tones of the pinyin together.

I find this is a much better way of teaching Pinyin to the little girl since I won’t feel stress out while trying to plan the curriculum or risk teaching my girl the wrong way of pronouncing the pinyin. Even though I have learned Hanyu Pinyin before, I cannot teach her myself since I tend to confuse over some pronunciations like sh with s, zh with z etc. But with the help of the instructional VCD, I feel more confident in coaching her the right pinyin pronunciations.

Anyway, I’m starting to feel a little drained by the Chinese HS program and so,in hope of keeping myself motivated, I think I am going use this space to keep track of our hanyu pinyin learning progress.

what’s up for homeschool 2008

We have already started our 2008 CHS. This year I am trying a different approach. It will be more structured using a combination of Singapore kindergarten and P1 syllabus as guidelines.

This year’s objectives may seem to be more aggressive, but there is nothing to worry about. We are pretty flexible with what we want to do for our CHS and it is still very much child-driven. If The girl enjoys, we will do it. If she is not, I can always teach her some other time. :)


This year’s objectives (tentative):-

1. Writing

– I want to start The girl on writing. She already writes reasonably well for her numbers and alphabets, so I don’t see there is any problem with learning to write Chinese characters.

-Basic Chinese strokes : 丿,捺, 竖, 横, 点 etc

– Simple Chinese characters – such as å±±, 土, 木 (words with radicals focus).

2. Reading

– The girl loves reading, so I hope to read more books with her this year.

– We have also started reading some hand-me-down easy reader books. So far she is making good progress in reading these books by herself. I’m trying to make it a daily routine for her to read these books to me, and hopefully she will pick up new words through repetitive reading.

3. Introduction of “句子重组”.

4. Simple hanyu pinyin intonation – the 4 sounds.

5. New word lists – (To be decided later.)

6. Learning Chinese through music appreciation.

– The children love songs and I am running out of Chinese children songs. So this year I may have to start teaching them some oldies or even pop songs. The girl has already picked up the “月亮代表我的心” song and she learnt some new expressions from this song too. 🙂

This year’s objectives may seem a little more aggressive, but there is nothing to worry about. We are pretty flexible with what we want to do for our CHS and it is still very much child-driven. If The girl enjoys, we will do it. If she is not, I can always teach her some other time. :)

(Shanice, if you are reading this, may have to ask u to recommend some nice and meaningful songs to me la. Best if you can introduce those that can be downloaded from web or can be found in youtube. Thanks in advance!)

2007 “report card”

2007 was a very eventful year for my family and me – a new house, a new baby and a new job. Because of these welcoming changes, we had a lot of breaks in between and hence we didn’t do as much as I initially planned to achieve for our Chinese HS. Anyway, I am still happy with our progress simply because The girl is still very much interested in learning the language and enjoy the activities we did together.

Anyway, for my own record purpose, I am reviewing what we had done in our 2007 CHS.

Objectives (2007)

Understanding of :

  1. Shapes – 心形, 星形, 菱形.tick.gif

  1. People – 姑姑, 表姐/妹/弟/哥, 王子, 公主, 司机, 消防员, 收银员, 警察, 护士, 医生, 清洁工人tick.gif

  1. Opposites – 薄/厚, 完整/不完整, 空/满, 多/少, 大/中/小, 前/后, 左/右tick.gif

  1. Colors – 彩色, 五颜六色tick.gif

  1. School – 写, 听, 做作业, 吃茶点, 学校, 校园, 同学tick.gif

  1. Objects – 电动火车, 木积tick.gif

  1. Numbers – 1 to 30, 双.

Remarks : 已经会数1-100, 可是还没教“双”.

  1. Transportation – 交通讯号灯,行人, 班马线, 列车tick.gif

  1. Self – 名字, 生日.tick.gif

Able to read :

  1. Body parts – 耳, 脚, 脸, 发, 眼, 指, 鼻, 心.

Remarks : 还没教脸, 发, 指.

  1. Numbers – 七, 八, 九,十, 两, 双

Remarks : 还没教“双”.

  1. People – 叔叔, 伯伯, 阿姨, 老爷爷, 他, 你,

Remarks : 还没教“叔叔, 伯伯, 阿姨”

  1. Opposites – 高, 低, 快, 慢, 中, 男, 女,

Remarks : 还没教“高, 低, 快, 慢, 男”

  1. Vehicle – 车tick.gif

  1. Nature – 早, 晚, 白天, 黑夜, 今, 叶, 果, 草, 林, 森, 地

Remarks : 还没教 “晚, 黑夜, 林, 森”

  1. Animals – 鱼儿, 鸭, 鹅, 老鼠, 猴子, 大象

Remarks : 还没教 “猴子”.

  1. Movements/Emotions – 笑, 哭, 坐, 站, 飞, 游, 跑

Remarks : 只教了“飞”.

  1. Objects – 书, 桌, 笔, 床, 画tick.gif

Other words that she learnt along the way:

雨, 起, 熊, 在, 学, 校, 的, 今, 和, 子, 的, 说, 来, 啊, 狐狸, 也, 王, 中, 吃, 了, 亮, 早, 好, 要, 是, 儿, ,鹅.

PS: See 2006 “progress report” here.

our way of making revision fun

Even though I didn’t really do a lot of Chinese homeschool stuff with the girl during the last 2 months (because of the baby and confinement, work etc), I would still make sure that we go through our Chinese words list at least once a week so that she has *no chance* to forget. 😛

Of course, plain revision can be really boring. Not only for her, but for me too! *yawn* So, to make revision fun, I came up with an interactive story-telling game. First, we will line up all the word cards (those that she knows) on the floor together. Then, we will brainstorm a bit to come up with a topic for us (or me actually) to create a silly/magical/scary story together.

Since I’m the one who make up the story (so it is never the same each time we do it), I get to choose the words I want to use in my story. Being a kiasu mother, of course I would try to cover all the words on the floor as I go along with my story. 🙂 Anyway, this is how I do it…

For example, if I want to use the ”牛, 飞, 树” cards, I will try to make my story go something like this:

”牛被弟弟的尖叫声吓坏了, 竟然飞上了树!!”

Then I would pause whenever I mention a word that is on the floor and she will have to pick the right card to pass to me before I can continue with my story. By the time I finish my story, we would have revised over 100+ words in one session.

Well, I must say this method of revision is not really that simple and can be quite time consuming, but it works for the girl. The best part about this method is that it is a “stress-free” kind of revision. And because the girl sees this as a “story-telling game” and not a revision, she totally enjoys it.

creating a calendar

It all started when she kept asking me questions about how long his daddy would be home from his biz trip. My initial intention of creating a calendar with her was to stop her from asking those repetitive questions. But after making the first one, I realized that this is a very good activity to do with her, so we continue making it together until today.

So, what can a child learn from creating a calendar? Well, she gets to:
1. Learn to count (1-30/31)
2. Practice her writing – numbers (and alphabets too if she is ready)
3. Know the days (Monday – Sunday)
4. Know the months (January – December)
5. Know the holidays (like Thanksgiving, Christmas etc)
6. Learn to count down to an event

What I like most about this activity is that we can do this in Chinese too! So, the girl gets to learn both languages at the same time. 🙂