Category Archives: Chinese

Learning Chinese Characters at Preschool

3 part cards izzy

The preschool class is learning to read and write Chinese characters.   We’re beginning with numbers and then will progress to other simple characters.  A variety of methods are being used to facilitate learning.

The Montessori 3 part card method is being use to introduce the characters. Children are shown a whole card with a picture and the Chinese character beneath the picture. The whole cards are placed on the table and then matched with the corresponding pictures and characters.

3 part cards elijah

 

 

 

 

 

The iPad is being used as a tactile method to facilitate writing. Our Chinese teacher shows children the correct order in which to write the characters. Children then practice writing and can do the activity as many times as they want since the sheet can be erased and reused. Children’s work can then be shared with parents through email.

ipad 4 marcus

ipad 4 chase

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After completing the Montessori 3 part cards and the iPad exercises children are ready to write the characters on paper worksheets.

worksheet max

worksheet bella

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Pandas Preschool

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A Whale of a Tale

Finished Bella

During January the children learned about cold climates and worked with the story “A Whale of a Tale” from Twenty Tellable Tales compiled by Margaret Read MacDonald.  This story originates from the Eskimos.  At the beginning of the month children looked at the globe to see where Eskimos live and then where they live.  Our class talked about weather and animals found in arctic climates.

Teachers told the story using flannelboard figures copied from prints in the book.  Children also learned Chinese vocabulary related to the story.

Flannel Board Figures

A winter painting was created to go along with the story.  Children were given a canvas on which to squirt dots of acrylic paint in cool colors to create a winter background.   

Paint Dots Group

Paint dots Marcus

The paints were then mixed to produce the background for the story figures to be printed onto.

Paint SpotsPainting 2

Misty-Jade and I made stamps from the story figures.  We traced the prints onto foam sheets, drew in the details, and then traced the details with an Exacto knife.

Story Figures 2Story Figures 3

 

 

Stamp pads were made using two layers of fabric interfacing cut into circles to fit inside a plastic picnic plate.  The fabric was soaked with water and then white acrylic paint was poured on top and spread out.

Stamp Pad

Set Up

Children stamped the figures onto their winter paintings.  After the paint dried the children applied a coat of Mod Podge diluted with water to the pictures.  Some irridescent glitter was sprinkled over the Mod Podge for snow.

Stamping

Last week the children retold the story during circle time using their pictures as a guide.   They were all able to include the Chinese vocabulary they had learned.

Finished MaxFinished IzzyFinished Elijah

Here is M’s rendition of the “Whale of a Tale!”

Little Pandas Preschool

December Activities

sensory tub

December has just begun and we’re all very busy!  The children have completed many activities already and there are so many more to do before Christmas vacation begins.

sensory group 2

 

 

 

 

 

The winter sensory tub (inspired by Teach Preschool) has been a big hit with all the children.  Even the adults can’t keep their hands out of it!  A tub was filled with plastic frosty snow.  Penguins and an iceberg from a game we have were added to the snow along with clear and blue acrylic ice cubes.  Some wood scoops and a couple wire Christmas ornaments were added.  The blue confetti snowflakes add some cool color to the tub.  We’ve had a couple incidents where the children have thrown the snow up to watch it fall, but who wouldn’t be tempted to do that?

pompom elijah 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The children continue to learn Chinese with Gao Laoshi and are beginning to learn to count to 20.  A couple felt Christmas trees were attached to the wall and velcroed pom poms  were set out in a dish.  This activity helps children to practice counting as well as learn Chinese color vocabulary.

chinese writing elijah 1

 

 

 

 

 

Gao Laoshi has started introducing some simple Chinese characters to the children.  They’re beginning to write numbers.

counting marcus 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas shaped erasers have been set out at the math center for children to work on one-to-one correspondence.

popsicles max 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colored craft sticks were also set out at the math table.  Velcro dots were attached to the ends on both sides so that the children can build geometric shapes  with them.

stones group 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A basket of clear and different shades of blue stones have been set out at the light table for children to build with.

fingerpaint groupfingerpaint seneca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finger painting on foil was a new experience for all the kids.  They enjoyed seeing the shiny foil through the paint.

Little Pandas Preschool

Chinese Thanksgiving Vocabulary

During November the preschoolers  have been learning food related vocabulary with Gao, Laoshi.  Today they made a movie to show their parents.  The children were absolutely thrilled seeing themselves on video tape.

Here are some of the words the class learned this past month:

  • ji dan – eggs
  • ji tui – chicken drumstick
  • mian bao – bread
  • xiang jiao – banana
  • yu – fish
  • niu pai – beef
  • niu nai – milk
  • bing gan – crackers

Enjoy the video!

Little Pandas Preschool

Preschoolers Create an iPad Book!

The preschool class is creating an iPad book which will be an ongoing project throughout the school year.   The book will include info from all the different topics the children will explore.

In September family pictures were added to the book.  Teachers ask children questions about the pictures in both English and Chinese.  These questions are typed onto the page and then the audio is recorded by the teachers.  Next the children’s recorded and type written responses are placed on the page.   The children can read the book during center time by touching the audio buttons.  It will also be shared with the group at circle time.

The iPad book can help children develop language skills as well as other concepts.      The audio buttons are placed next to the text, so the children will begin to understand that written words are related to spoken language.  They are also using the book to learn Chinese and I suspect the vocabulary retention rate will increase.

The possibilities for using the iPad book are endless!  This week pictures of the Halloween flannel board bats were added to the book.  The teachers and children then made recordings counting the bats in Chinese.   This helps to reinforce the concepts learned at circle time.  Pictures of classroom projects will be added to the book which will allow children to review previously learned material.  Children can also share important events in their lives such as birthdays, family vacations, and other events.

Another benefit the book offers is the one on one experience each child will receive while working with teachers.  This will allow the children to create closer bonds with teachers and at the same time may help teachers to understand where each child is developmentally and which skills may need extra practice.  It also has the potential of letting parents become more involved in their child’s classroom experience as they help their child choose pictures from home to share in the book.

We’re using Book Creator to write our book.  I’m sure as the year progresses we will find many creative ideas for our book.  I would love to see how other preschools are using the iPad in their classrooms.

Little Pandas Preschool

The iPad at Preschool

I purchased an iPad for the preschool class a few weeks ago, and we’re just beginning to explore how we will use it with our kids.  About 10 or 12 years ago we did have a computer in the preschool class, but at that time it was not as successful a tool as I had hoped it would be.  In the past few years we have again used computers in the preschool, but they’re always used with teacher supervision, so the children don’t really get a hands on experience with them.  I think the iPad will prove to be a more versatile tool for preschoolers than a computer is.

The greatest advantage of the iPad is the tactile experience it provides children who do most of their learning through sensory means.  The frustration with using a keyboard or mouse no longer exists permitting children to engage in meaningful learning.

Since we’ve only had the iPad for a few weeks we only have a small number of applications.  I’m am looking for good quality applications for the kids that teach preschool concepts, support our curriculum goals and teach Chinese.   A few of the applications we are using include Montessori CrosswordsTracing ABC, and Lingu Pingu which teaches Mandarin Chinese.  I did another search today and found some others that I’m going to let the kids try next week including some interactive books and a drawing pad.

Children learn to write letters with Tracing ABC.

Tracing ABC allows the teachers to set the pages to either lower or upper case letters. Our children are learning lower case letters which compliments the Zoo Phonics program.

It is also interesting to see how the children are using the iPad in the classroom.  One of my major concerns was that the kids would choose only to use the iPad and not choose to work at other learning centers.  When the iPad was originally introduced all the children wanted to gather around it.  Each morning after music circle time a teacher shows the children all of the centers and any new activities that have been set up.  The children are then given the opportunity to choose which center they want to work at.  This week I noticed that the iPad was not the first choice of most of the kids.  Other learning experiences were still appealing to them.

This is the opening screen of Lingu Pingu.

This is the opening screen of Lingu Pingu. From here children choose which page they want to play at.

Lingu Pingu's kitchen vocabulary page.

Since we only have one iPad in the classroom I was interested in how children would take turns.  A kitchen timer was introduced in the iPad center to help regulate turn taking.  As children want a turn with the iPad their names are written on the blackboard.  At this point each child gets 10 minutes and when the timer rings the next child gets his turn.  This has worked beautifully.  The children are free to engage in other learning centers knowing they will get their turn.  All of the children have been successful at leaving the iPad when their turn is complete.

I spent several months thinking about how the iPad would be used in our classroom including how preschoolers could safely handle it.  My first inclination was to find a way to lock the iPad down at a table specifically for its use.  However doing that would take away part of the experience the iPad can provide due to its mobility.  I found a Big Grips case that is designed for preschoolers.  It has worked really well and enables the children to use the iPad anywhere in our classroom.  The iPad can be placed vertically or horizontally in its stand or used without the stand.  

The Big Grips case and stand.

Overall I’m pleased with our iPad experience so far.  It is only used during morning center time, so children are still engaged in other activities throughout the day.  Teachers have the freedom to use it at anytime with the group as it supports other learning experiences.

During my research over the past few months I came across this link and Youtube video.      Weblogg-ed » Kids and the iPad      I have several ideas I want to try with the kids and I’m sure over time we will think of more creative uses for our iPad.

Music & Chinese Circle Time

I upgraded my blog to include video and just had to share a few clips of our kids during circle time.  Amber sent pics of Spooky Loo to me last week (above), but it’s much better on video.  I keep writing that the kids are learning Chinese while participating in other activities, but seeing what Gloria has accomplished is even more impressive.  She has changed the words to the song that lets the kids know it’s  circle time.

Amber is very passionate about music and enjoys singing with the kids.  She’s holding one of our new children so you don’t see her in this video, but she and Gloria both taught the kids Spooky Loo.   Even with a few mishaps the kids are having a great time.

This is the kids favorite Halloween song.

I hope everyone enjoys the videos.

Little Pandas Preschool

Graphing our Ball Collection

The children began bringing balls from home to add to our collection.  Each morning during circle time the children get to tell the class all about their ball. This is a great opportunity for the kids to develop language, speaking, and listening skills.

After circle time the children gathered all the red balls in the gym and talked about their characteristics.  

The children counted an equal amount of red squares to glue onto the color graph which they helped make the day before.

The process was repeated for the blue balls.

The preschoolers will continue to work on this graph for the rest of the week along with other planned activities.  In addition to the math and science skills being developed the children are also learning to count and recognize colors in Chinese!

Little Pandas Preschool

Autumn Moon Festival

The children are celebrating Autumn Moon Festival at preschool this week! Yesterday began with Gloria telling the Chinese story about Chang er, the Moon Lady, and the Jade Rabbit.  

After circle time the kids made lanterns to hang in the gym and the toddler classrooms.  

During free time the children chose from a variety of centers to work at including the language arts center.  The language arts center offers six activities to promote language development.  Today pictures depicting the Autumn Moon Festival were available for the children to color.  The pictures are inserted into plexiglass sign holders and then the children color them with washable Crayola window markers.  Children colored pictures of the Moon Lady, the Jade Rabbit, and moon cakes.

The children feasted on moon cakes at afternoon snack.  After snack they had a fabulous time dancing with kite spinners to music.  

Be sure to take your kids outside to look at the moon and see if they can find the Moon Lady and the Jade Rabbit!

Little Pandas Preschool

Our New Chinese Teacher

Yiwen, our temporary Chinese teacher, is going back to school, so Gloria has joined our staff permanently.  Gloria is absolutely fabulous!  I had the opportunity to work with her twice this week, and she is amazing.  She is wonderful with the kids and interacts playfully with them keeping them engaged in her lessons.  Our goal is to provide as close to an immersion environment as is possible for the children.  To make this goal attainable Gloria speaks primarily to the children in Chinese throughout their daily activities.  

After everyone arrives we begin our day with music circle time and sing both Chinese and English songs.  During circle time Gloria taught the children transportation vocabulary with flannelboard figures.  After circle time we showed the children all the centers in our classroom and the activities in each.  The children then chose the centers they wanted to work in.  Gloria rotated through the centers working with each individual child reinforcing the concept being worked on as well as introducing Chinese vocabulary.  Today the children chose to work at the math, science, language arts, sensory, and art centers.

This week the children are learning about measurement.  The children took out the yardsticks to measure the classroom carpet.   They also wanted to explore with the rulers that are set out at the science table.  After laying out the yardsticks and rulers Gloria counted them with the children.   Next Gloria extended the activity by having the children jump across the yardsticks and pretend to be rabbits, kangaroos, and frogs.  All of this was done in Chinese!

Little Pandas Preschool