Monday, September 29, 2014

Dressed for the Weather Mandarin Language Game

We're starting a new unit on weather, which could be a really boring topic to a kid...But we're having lots of fun with it, and I can't wait to share what we've been up to.
Last week,  I introduced 4 new weather-related vocab and related hand motions--we use hand motions as a memory tool.

After going over the new vocab and hand motions, we ran outside to practice (listening comprehension) the weather words with a twist on a dress-up relay race, which I call "Dressed for the Weather."  Here's how to play this game at your house.

What you will need:
index cards with weather vocab written on it. Click here to download.

* basket/laundry basket filled with weather-related apparel (umbrellas, sunglasses, flip flops, snow boots, hats, scarves, etc...).

1. Fill a large box/laundry basket with clothing items for each type of weather listed on the index cards (umbrellas, sunglasses, flip flops, snow boots, hats, scarves, etc..). Think creatively--the sillier the choice, the more giggles when the game is played!

2. Place the basket at one end of the room/yard. Players line up opposite the basket (you choose the distance). 

3. Read one of the weather vocab cards in Mandarin. If your kids don't recall the English meaning of the vocab, show them the related hand motion. 

4. Players race to the basket and get "dressed for the weather."  If you have a few players and lots of clothing, you can specify that each child must put on 2-3 items. 

5. Once they are dressed, players race back to the starting point, and announce "Hǎole!" (好了), which means "I'm done!"

6. First one back--dressed appropriately for that weather condition--wins that round. 

  • This game can be played with 2 + people. If you have a group, divide into teams. 
  • Play as many rounds as you like.
  • Offer incentives for the winners of each round such as letting the winner choose the next weather card.
  • Get silly! Combine two different weather conditions. such as cold and rainy (see photo), hot and snowy. This elicited lots of giggles and silly dress-up combinations--which they loved.

What types of activities do you use to reinforce new vocabulary?

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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Mid-Autumn Festival Moon Craft DIY

Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节, Zhōngqiū jié) is tomorrow--Monday, Sept. 8th!  

We like to celebrate this Chinese holiday by reading stories about Chang E and Hou Yi (The kids like the version in Moonbeams, Dumplings, & Dragon Boats best=), nibbling on mooncakes or mooncake cookies, and staying up a little later than usual to gaze at the moon.

This year, I shared about the holiday with Monkey #1's 4th grade class. They listened to a story, nibbled on moon cakes, and learned how to write the character for "moon" (月,yuè).
Click here to download this printable. 

Before sharing with her class, I scoured Pinterest and Google, looking for creative ways for the kids to practice writing this character. 

The criteria were: 
  • must be simple (5 or fewer steps; 5 or fewer minutes to complete)
  • must use few materials and not be messy 
  • and most important of all--must be interesting enough to a 4th grader that it will help them remember how to write the character and what it means. 
And...with 60 minutes left on the clock...this is what I came up with:

tracing paper
bright card stock or construction paper
magic tape
big sharpie
star stickers (optional)
Step 1
Cut a piece of tracing paper in half or quarters (depending on how large you would like your "window"). My tracing paper was 8X11 so I cut it in quarters to get the most "bang for my buck."

Step 2: 
With a thick sharpie, write the Chinese character for moon on it (see above printable for instructions). It can be as large or small as you want.

Step 3:
Cut a brightly-colored piece of construction paper or card stock to the same size as your tracing paper. 

Step 4: 
Tape the tracing paper to the top of the card stock, using a piece of magic tape.

Step 5:
Noting the location of the character, draw a moon with a sharpie on the colored card stock. Your moon can appear behind the entire character (like the one below, left), or just appear in the top half of the character, as if seen through a window (below, right). 
And done!

Simple?  Yes!
Easy to remember?  Yes!
Fun for a 4th grader? Let's just say, the neon paper helped=)

Wishing you a very Happy Mid-Autumn Festival! 中秋节快乐!

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