kirchara: Kirchara orchid by me (Kirchara)
Even though they're 4.5 years apart, I have been teaching J and M Mandarin at the same time. Ideally, I should have had M learn Mandarin the moment he turned four, but I started teaching him reading (in English) instead.

We use Better Chinese's My First Chinese Words because they are targeted to non-Mandarin speakers. In contrast, SageBooks (Hong Kong publisher) require the students to be Mandarin/Chinese speakers. (SageBooks are like BOB books in that they teach children how to read).

I try to do Mandarin two, three times a week. I read one sentence and each child repeat after me. We do two 8-page picture books each session. M usually has the attention span for one picture book but not two.

So far we have done six sessions. In between sessions, I have J independently listen and repeat after the included CD.

M often acts silly and intentionally gives the wrong answers (e.g. "This is my grandfather" instead of "This is my father.") Usually I end up focusing on J when M has the sillies.

As expected, M's pronunciation is just beautiful. Being older, J has a harder time with pronunciation. (When J was four, his Mandarin accent was practically perfect too. Once he started kindergarten, we got busy with reading/writing/spelling/poetry/etc. and stopped doing Mandarin).

I was afraid that J, who just turned nine, would find the books boring because they’re a bit childish, but he has been motivated so far. Earlier today, he asked me to do Mandarin.


06/50 learning moment ☆ 06/100 moments in multiples of 50 words



There are 36 books in total; the following is my tentative lesson plan (also on Excel). If we do this three times a week, we should be done in a year; two times a week, a year and a half.

Read more... )

kirchara: Fingers on page (Fingers on page)
Last week M sang the vowels "a" and "o" in the middle of a reading lesson. "They're vowels," he said. "Can we sing 't'? T - t - t. No, 't' is not a vowel. It's a consonant," he concluded.

We have been going through Denise Eide's Foundations Level A since M turned four last December. Almost every day we do read aloud time and then a reading/writing lesson for 6-10 minutes, or more. Nearly three months later, we are on lesson 17 and he has learned 9 phonograms.

Unlike 100 Easy Lessons, Foundations spend a long time laying down the foundation (pun intended) before tackling reading words. Students learn the "magic C" alphabets/phonograms first, because those are the easiest to write (a, c, d, g, o, qu). Compare this to learning 'm, s, p, a' first, where students will be able to read 'am, map, Pam, Sam' immediately.

In this program, reading words come at level 21 (after Review #4), and it is reading through spelling/writing. Foundations is more daunting compared to 100 EL and All About Reading. Then again, three months ago I would never imagine M sorting vowels and consonants by applying the singing test on them.



P.S. 'How to Develop Phonological Awareness' at All About Learning.

05/50 learning moment ☆ 05/100 moments in multiples of 50 words
kirchara: Kirchara orchid by me (Kirchara)
I told J that in Shakespeare, comedies mean happy endings, and therefore there’s always a wedding in Act V. I gave him the example of Theseus and Hippolyta's wedding in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Me: "How about Twelfth Night? Who do you think get married in Act V?"

J: "Olivia and Cesario."

Olivia/Cesario's Willow Cabin speech must have made quite an impact on him ;-)

I have been using Ken Ludwig’s How To Teach Your Children Shakespeare with J since summer 2015 (he was seven). He has learned passages from MND and Twelfth Night (Orsino's "If music be the food of love," Viola's "Conceal me what I am," and the willow cabin speech.) The book also provides summarized plot of the plays for context.

J did memorize several poems before we dove into Shakespeare. Both of us knew that he was perfectly capable of memorizing entire poems, including long ones.



04/50 learning moment ☆ 04/100 moments in multiples of 50 words
kirchara: Fingers on page (Fingers on page)
J is eight years old and have started third grade. His daily homework includes reading for 20-30 minutes and answering "What did you read about?"

I'm taking the opportunity to have him write mini book reports (2-3 sentences).

To help him organize his thoughts, we're using the story sequence chart from IEW*'s Teaching Writing: Structure and Style Unit III: Summarizing Narrative Stories.
I. Who?
When?
Where?


II. What do they need or want?
What do they think?
What do they say and do?

(Why?)

III. How is the need resolved?

I ask him the questions and write down his answers. He has learned the “-ly” adverbs and the who-which clause dress-ups.

J just finished Roald Dahl's Matilda; his first mini book-report is about the book’s ending. We're taking a break from the Hobbit and picked up Narnia again with Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

* Institute of Excellence in Writing



03/50 learning moment ☆ 03/100 moments in multiples of 50 words
kirchara: An orange peeling. "I'm burlesque." (Burlesque orange)
I came across June Oberlander’s Slow and Steady Get Me Ready in a blog post about making room time CDs for little ones. We had the opportunity to try out one of the activities* earlier today.

Instead of making a cardboard egg puzzle, we simply used colorful plastic Easter eggs. I set one egg on a "wall" (a heavy book standing on its side), then made the egg fall and come apart while singing this rhyme:
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Could not put Humpty together again.


My two-year-old M quickly took over, making the eggs fall and "break" and putting them together again. When the eggs fall, he would exclaim "Oop!" because M is one dramatic toddler.

For extra verisimilitude, you/your kid can decorate the plastic egg with goggly eyes/sticker eyes and mouth.



ETA 04/13/15: M put playdoh in one end of the plastic egg to make it a wobbly egg. After Humpty fell and broke, he said "egg!," and gave it to me to "eat." X-D

* Age 2 - Week 1

02/50 learning moment ☆ 02/100 moments in multiples of 50 words
kirchara: Fingers on page (Fingers on page)
I've been using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons with my five-year-old. We started when he was four (and in preschool), and we're currently on lesson 52.

I felt uncomfortable relying on his kindergarten teacher to teach him reading, and I was right. The reading abilities of the 26 kindergarteners are all over the place—the six-year-olds understandably being a lot more advanced. (My kindergartner has a summer birthday.)

Most of 100 EL's example sentences are nonsensical, so I come up with sentences/passages for him to read. We will keep on with the book until lesson 70ish.



01/50 learning moment ☆ 01/100 moments in multiples of 50 words
kirchara: An orange peeling. "I'm burlesque." (Burlesque orange)



{Take the 100 Things challenge!}


This is to motivate me posting =)

All the lunchboxes posts and most of the learning moments posts will be public.
I'm willing to add non-empty journals.

I'm still undecided on whether the lunchboxes will be posted on DW, Tumblr or SnapDish or what.

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