Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Learning Mandarin with Dry Erase Tape Magnets: DIY

Happy (a few days late) Mid-Autumn Festival! 中秋节快乐!Zhōngqiū jié kuàilè!

Did you see the Supermoon eclipse? I hope so! Unfortunately, we were clouded over and did not see one bit of that beautiful moon. No moon cakes for us either (my kids refuse to eat them). 

But we did learn how to write "moon" (月亮, yuèliàng) and say:

"Mid-Autumn Festival is on Sunday"  
中秋节是星期天。Zhōngqiū jié shì xīngqítiān.


"Mid-Autumn Festival is September 27." 
中秋节是九月二十七号。Zhōngqiūjié shì jiǔyuè èrshíqīhào.

I noticed that my daughter and her friend were struggling a little with sentence order as they translated these English sentences into Mandarin. I remember going through this as a beginning Mandarin student -- knowing which words to say but struggling with putting them together in the right order in Mandarin. 

Then, yesterday I saw dry erase tape at our local hardware store and thought, "How cool is that! What project could I make to justify buying that super cool office supply?"  

A few hours later, Eureka! I was making dry erase magnets on which I wrote Mandarin phrases and words that the girls could then rearrange to make sentence construction just a little easier. 


Here's the DIY:

  • Scotch Dry Erase Tape
  • magnets (I used the many freebies we receive in the mail from doctors, dentists, etc...)
  • cookie sheet (I bought mine at the Dollar Store)
  • dry erase markers

Steps  This is so easy peasy. Just 3 simple steps.
  1. Stick dry erase tape onto magnets. It removes very easily as well.
  2. Cut to size. The cheapo freebie magnets are thin and easy to trim down.
  3. Write your Mandarin words and phrases on the magnets with dry erase markers and stick them to the pan.  And done!

Now,here's how we used the magnets 
  • I spoke sentences in Mandarin which the girls, then, had to piece together using magnets on the cookie tray.
  • I built a question out of magnets on the tray, and they had to answer it by swapping out the question word/phrase (i.e. 星期几? Xīngqí jǐ 几月几号? Jǐyuè jǐhào) for the correct answer magnet or by writing the answer on a blank magnet. 
  • I asked a question out loud that the girls then had to answer by: 1st--forming their answer with magnets on the tray, 2nd--reading their Mandarin sentence out loud, and 3rd--translating the sentence into English.
  • I used the magnets to form a sentence that had an error (i.e. Mid-Autumn Festival is on Friday. 中秋节是星期五。Zhōngqiū jié shì xīngqíwǔ), and then asked them to correct the error. 
So that's what we did in a nutshell. I'm excited to explore other ways we can use this learning tool in our Mandarin lessons. 

If you make dry erase magnets for your Mandarin learning, leave a comment below. I'd love to know how you used them!

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