Archive for June 2014
This week, was a bit of miserable: shocked, upset, disappointed, learning about the ugly side of some people around me – selfish, unethical, …
And these quotes come to me:
“Please give me the serenity, to accept things I cannot change;
please give me the courage, to change things that I can change;
and please give me wisdom, to understand the difference between these two.”
These are the books I spotted, which match my requirement.
For a start, it has one sample essay on the left, and the next page another one but with some fill-in-the-blank exercises. I like the vocabs used. For example, instead of saying ‘My dad wears spec’, the author used ‘a pair of specs hang on his bridge of nose’. And in second page below, I showed my girls, instead of saying ‘妈妈皮肤很白，很高’, there is a better vocabs introduced by this book: ‘皮肤白皙，身材高挑’.
Another thing I did with them during last holiday, kind of like spelling. Now, the rationale behind, unlike other languages where words are made up of combination of the fix 26 alphabets; Chinese, every characters is different. A lot of time, even if you can come up with ideas of what to write, in that language, but you might have forgotten how to write the characters. This is what I did: I recited the essay, and they wrote it down. My reading-out-loud is just like ideas in their mind, things they want to write; but then it goes down to ‘do they know how to write it out?’. That is another challenge. Also another reason why need to have more writing exercises when learning Chinese.
Here’s Ying’s result. She told me, she roughly know the image/shape of the characters, but couldn’t remember exactly.
I read a while back from FB where a non-Chinese-speaking mom shared how her daughter is doing well in Chinese, her daughter read out the paragraph and then practise writing out herself. It’s similar here.
Here is another essay I like from the book.
Now, lastly, it all depends on my girls’ willingness to learn. I can get the best books, prepare the best worksheets and exercises, but if they themselves are not willing to learn, nothing much I can do.
Sharing what I find here, with genuine intention that, who knows, some parents, or some good tutors or teachers find this sharing useful, and my works help some other children out there. Another good deed also.
Though I don’t have track record in training a child to be good in writing/composition, I always believe the starting point is by reading and being exposed to proper way of using the language (another reason why I didn’t give a supportive nod when during discussion of the importance of reading in helping writing, a friend said, “Yes, my boy read a lot of comics.”); and also being exposed to the beautiful way of using the language (especially Chinese).
So, to prepare my girls for writing (ya, they are going to be upper primary soon), I plan to start letting them ‘expose’ to nice essays. Now, another things, should I ask them to memorize those? Then, that will be rote-learning, isn’t it? Then it will kill their creativity, isn’t it? Certainly a ‘No No’ to ask a kid to memorize an essay. It will make everything very stressful for the child as well.
Now, how about ‘letting them know of how to describe things in a more proper/beautiful way’? How about ‘making them remember those beautiful words they can use’ ? Is it consider rote-learning as well? I have been struggling with these thoughts for quite some times as well. (You know me, may be I read too many sharing about education from different experts, parents ).
But I think I come to this conclusion. It’s not wrong at all to teach them how to describe things in more beautiful way, and help them to remember it. Just like if I am to learn new language, let say Deutsch. I still need to memorize, “Good day” is “Guten Tag” and “Good morning” is “Guten Morgen”. Now wait. Does this “have to memorize” way of learning consider ‘rote learning’ and will kill my creativity, and should be condemned?
Ok, back to what I intend to share today. Last year, Ling was lucky as her teacher (a retiree) was very good in Chinese language. And Ling shared with me that on top of encouraging them to read newspaper (her teacher asked them and discussed in the class, whenever there was free slot of course, about what was in the newspaper yesterday). Her teacher also taught them to circle those beautiful words or phrases they came across in their books. Isn’t that a way to teach a child to appreciate a language ?
Now, so coincidently?! the last teacher-parent meeting I had with Ling’s teacher in Lorna Whiston, on English writing, same advice given: we should start letting her read newspaper to enrich her vocabs, which will help to boost her writing.
So, I start with these two: newspaper reading + circling beautiful words/phrases.
Got this wonderful book《孩子，要相信自己：先别急着当傻瓜（儿童版）》 from Popular @ Main Place, with 30% discount. Another pleasant surprise.
This book “Victor, the Fool: SpreadYour Wings” (for the children) was written by Joachim de Posada, best known for his bestseller “Don’t Eat the Marshmallow Yet.”. The book was first launched in Korea in 2011 and hit the bestseller board.
Below is the brief description of the book.
“Victor, the Fool” is based on the real story of Victor Serebriakoff, the late honorary president of Mensa International, who lived as a fool for 17 years and overcame his limits and finally became an influential figure in the world. The book revolves around a shy, stuttering boy named Victor who is ostracised by his classmates and eventually is forced to quit school. Victor accepts his destiny as a fool, as it seems to be hard for him to escape his destiny.Meanwhile, Laura, Victor’s schoolmate, has a complex about her appearance because of her “ugly” face and dreams of under going plastic surgery. The book traces the process of how the two characters find what is truly precious in life. It portrays courage and confidence found against all odds, and how people have the power to change today’s agony into tomorrow’s hope, talents and potential.”
And for me, it’s a book I would like to give it as presents to children, as it teaches them to believe in oneself. Just like what I always tell my girls, ““If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” – Henry Ford. I find the book is trying to tell the same thing. All depends on what you believe.
If you ask me which part I like the most about the book, which keep on lingering in my mind after reading, here is the one. It’s a story shared to Laura by her teacher.
Here is the translation of the story:
In a village in Russia, there lived a girl who dreamt to become a ballerina. She worked hard and this made her quite outstanding among her peers. As things went on, the skills she needed to learn were getting tougher and tougher, and she failed more and more frequent. After a while, her determination wavered.
“Can I really make it to be ballerina?” she started to question herself.
One day, a famous dancer was invited to perform in her village. To affirm her capability, the girl went on to meet and beg the dancer for advice. Luck was on her side and she was given a chance to dance in front of the famous dancer.
Trying not to be nervous, the girl started to dance. BUT, the famous dancer, not in the least concerned, called for the girl to stop in less than a minute, “Stop! I’ve never seen such a stiff child in my life. You don’t have the talent.”
The words were like thunder strike to the girl. Though she was reluctant to admit, but the comment was from the world famous dancer, and she chose to submit. At the end, the girl chose to believe she didn’t have the talent, and gave up on dancing. There after, she became an ordinary housewife.
Time flew, and one day, the village invited the same famous dancer again for some event. The girl, now a woman, saw this now-retired dancer again, and she decided to ask her an old unanswered question in her heart. She approached the dancer,
“Long time ago, you’ve told me that I am not talented. But recently, I keep on thinking, even though you are the world best dancer, how can you tell in a minute that a girl has or has no talent?”
“Certainly I can’t tell. I am not God.” the dancer replied in her indifferent attitude just like last time .
The woman was stunned. How could a person who caused her to drop her dream gave such an irresponsible answer? The woman condemned the dancer, but the dancer yelled back, “If you choose to believe in others’ word and give up your dream, then you have already lost the qualification to succeed.”
This book is going to be in my recommendation list to my daughters, when they are old enough, and understand what does IQ measurement mean (in the book, Victor was teased as someone with IQ 73 only); and also what is Mensa organization (where later Victor was elected as the president of the organization).
p.s. I am still trying to find the English version…
This morning my girls ‘discovered’ that NTV7 is showing this cartoon “Lilly the Witch” @9.30am,
which is kind of based on the famous German story book “Hexe Lilli”《魔法女孩》. I wrote about this series two years ago (click here to go to the old post). Got them by luck.
Good read for primary students. Here is the intro page: