Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wan sheng jie kuai le !

Thank you to all that helped make our party a huge success! Thank you especially Brandy Seaman, who planned and coordinated the whole event. Have a great weekend!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Zhe li you ma?

Today's new concept was "Here there is/are____"  "Here there are no_____" in preparation for the reader we're working with in class (which will be coming home next week).

In Chinese, you say "Zhe li you______" to tell someone what is there.  "Zhe li" means here, "you" means there are/there have.

So to say "There are six people here", you would say "Zhe li you liu ge ren" (ren means people).
To say "There are no people here.", you would say "Zhe li mei you ren" (literally "Here no have people").

So to ask someone if anyone's there, you say "Zhe li you ren ma?"
The response is either "you" or "mei you"

The coin of the week is the Penny. So ask your child to tell you about a Penny, to pick out all the Pennies in a pile, or tell you how many Pennies it takes to get the same value as a Nickel or dime.

Today you should have seen a couple of important things:
         Flash cards of numbers and colors with a master list (Thank you to Kim Black for her work on that)
A note about the behavior chart and notes.
If you didn't see/receive either of these, let me know.

Wednesday look for their "Halloween homework" ---- a worksheet where they get to sort and tally their Halloween loot and then bring back the record to share with the class.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

More than pennies

We did an activity with money today, and it became very clear that many are still not very clear which coin is which or how much they are worth. Everyone is very clear what a penny is and how much it is worth. But we will definitely be working on recognition of coins and correct names and values.  At home let your child play with a handful of coins. Ask them to sort them by size, value, tell you all they know about each one, or make a particular amount for you. The more practice the better.

We learned more of the clapping song, which is now available for your listening pleasure on the lingt site.

And now for just a slice of the humor that is my day as a first grade teacher. Today I was in front of the class teaching when a little girl came hurrying back from the bathroom and breathlessly up to me to tug on my shirt. Normally when I'm in front they know they can't just walk up to me and talk; I make them go back, sit down, and raise their hand. But she looked so distressed and urgent I let her speak.

"Mrs. Chipman!" she whispered. "There were boys in the girl's bathroom!" Oh no I thought, and asked "Who was it?", to which she replied " I don't know. I didn't see them. But there were three of them!" "How do you know?" " I walked in every stall and the seat was up in all three!"

The bathrooms had just been cleaned. But know your children do pick up on the way the world is.

There were two pages of homework sent home today. I hope they are pretty self explanatory. The chinese one is for practice writing characters. On the back of one, have your child get some coins and draw and label them, including the value of each.

News from the state dual immersion people.... Workbooks have been ordered for every child. They should be here by Friday.

I also thought it might be helpful for you to know what we are learning in Math for the month of October. (From the state core). We are doing this all in class, so don't feel like you need to teach your child all of this, it is just so you are aware.

Number sense: Model, count, read numbers up to 40. Matching numbers to numerals.
Estimation: Estimate quantities up to 10
Addition and Subtraction: Model, act out, write +/-
Sorting: One attribute sort
Patterning: repeating patterns
Money: Penny, Nickel, Dime- Introduce name, value, attributes
Measurement: Length, non-standard units
Graphing: Horizontal bar graph, how to make/read

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pai Pai shou= Clap your hands!

We learned part of a new song today which you might have already had the pleasure of hearing your child sing to you.

It reviews the location words we've been learning by clapping hands in the different positions.
It goes:

Pai pai shou (clap clap hands)
Pai pai shou (clap clap hands)
Shang mian pai (clap up)
Xia mian pai (clap down)
Zuo bian pai ( clap left)
You bian pai( clap right)
Qian mian pai (clap front)
Hou mian pai (clap behind)

It has multiple verses which we'll be finishing tomorrow, so ask your child to sing you their new song when you see them tomorrow. I'll also put it on the link to language website tomorrow so you can hear it.

Today we made a horizontal graph to see who has birthdays in which month, practiced asking "How old are you?", and worked with writing numbers in expanded form. 

A few were able to understand taking numbers and writing them in expanded form (where, for example, 432 is 400+30+2), but most struggled. We're going to focus now on just making sure all are able to say which number is in the hundred's spot, ten's spot, and one's spot. Later on in the year we'll come back to expanded form. 

We also read together the "Where are you from?" book. (Afternoon class, your child should have this reader and be practicing reading and listening to it. Books should be brought back on Friday so the morning class can have their turn next week.) We looked at a map and found where the countries are. Nikolas was excited to tell us about Russia and Masaki knew right where Japan was. 

All this week and next we'll be talking more about different countries and diversity, so if you want to look at a globe with your child, talk to them about a different country, or have them bring in something to show and tell from another country, that would be great.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Trains and shapes

Last Friday we worked with coins and putting numbers into expanded form.

In one of the games students could "buy" different objects on cards if they gave the correct amount in coins. We noticed that most feel comfortable using pennies, and no matter how large the amount, they would rather count out 47 pennies than try and use combinations of other coins. So you can help you child by letting them see different ways to add up to the same amount using different coins.

As far as putting numbers in expanded form (Where 473 is 4 hundreds, 7 tens, 3 ones, or 400+70+3), it's still a little hard for many to grasp fully.  If you remember, driving home or eating dinner or whenever you have a minute with your child, play a game of breaking apart numbers (one says "31" the other "three tens and one one") or adding and taking away ten.  It should help them become more familiar with the idea.

Today we did a lot with combining shapes to make new shapes, matching shapes to their outline, and breaking bigger shapes and objects into smaller shapes.

I know this may be repetitive, but if you haven't gone to our "link to language" classroom yet and listened to/recorded vocabulary, please take a look. I know it will really help:)

Your children are great! And brilliant.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Up, down, all around

We learned directions. On Wednesday. 

They are:

on top of/above   = shang mian 上面
below/underneath= xia mian下面
inside= li mian 里面
left= zuo bian左边
right= you bian 右边

Can you see the character for above and below are almost mirror images?

That same xia also has a meaning of coming down, while shang means to go up. (xia yu= raining, xia xue=snowing) 

You can add either to the front of the word "qu" (to go) and it tells you exactly how to go.
xia qu=go down, get down (Like telling someone to come down from a tree, or go down a hill)
shang qu= get up there/go on up (Like going up a mountain or stairs)

I'll put these all on out linktolanguage (right) site so you can hear and practice them.

And today we learned about "What's in the school bag?" Shu bao li you shenme?
I'll be sending home vocabulary flash cards with the homework on Monday.

We also learned how to play and say rock paper scissors in Chinese. Ask them to teach you.

They're starting more and more to use the vocab they know in Chinglish sentences with each other. It's pretty impressive. Even things I've never explicitly taught them but they've just heard me or Patty say and picked it up from context. Kids are amazing. I'm so happy for them that Chinese is now a part of the way their brains are wired.

Monday, October 12, 2009

New seats

You may have heard your child is sitting in a new spot as of today. Perhaps not a huge deal, but there will hopefully be some new friends and names you'll be hearing about as a result. We talk about "Women dou shi peng you men" (We are all friends) almost every day, but being first grade there are still some problems with tattling, hurt feelings, little cliques etc. We're trying to get over that.

We  played a game about a disappearing train (addition and subtraction) as a whole group and had small group work again today. 

New math vocab words are
Jia= add
Jian= subtract

They worked with the hundred's chart, listened and read along to their little readers, made their "Blue horse blue horse" page, and played a partner version of disappearing train. 

Likely the favorite part of the day was P.E., where we ran laps, learned some dodging skills as we played a game called "Spiders and flies", and stretched.

They are getting the names of the shapes more and more every day. We're going to be working a lot more with money, so helping your child be familiar with names, attributes, and values of the coins would be great.

Last thing. If you do get a chance, go to the link on the right and have your child listen to the vocab, then record themselves saying it. This will help me hear them each individually and have a better idea of how they're doing with the tones and pronunciation.  It's a great tool that I would really like to better utilize.

That's it I believe. Great day, and looking forward to another one tomorrow:)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Red bird, Red bird

Wow we had a lot of volunteers today! It was great. We were able to do most the work in small groups, which really helps them focus and engage more in learning. 

I'm not sure how many of you know, but I do have a wonderful part time aid now. She just moved from Taiwan this year, and is thinking about becoming a teacher. So if you've heard about Patty, that's who they're talking about. We also have a Chinese major from the U doing an internship with us. She comes in three afternoons a week to help out. Her name is Tina, and you may have heard about her as well.

Today we worked on the Brown Bear book, reviewed and played games with characters, listened to a native speaker read and  then read along with readers (They are starting to really read on their own!), more work with shapes, and alien math (adding groups of aliens).

We also took a benchmark test for math in the computer lab. I look at these scores to see where we are as a class and individually and know where to focus. They will be taking these tests regularly, so we will be able to see their progress and monitor where they are in their understanding.

Other things of note-- In the morning class, we had a special treat all the way from Taiwan! We got to taste traditional pineapple cakes! I say taste, because I wanted them all to at least try--- but many found they weren't privy to the foreign flavor, made an array of amusing faces, and spit the remains in the garbage. It is definitely and experience they won't forget. That, and seeing what the book Harry Potter looks like in Chinese. Way cool. (Thanks to Andrew's dad for bringing those back to share)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

And we're back.

Sort of. I'm sure everyone had a wonderful fall break.  It's just apparently a little hard for six year olds to remember how you're supposed to act in school after that long away:)

I was gone yesterday at a conference, but thanks to wonderful Brenda Beckstead, the kids still learned some Chinese. Yesterday they began work on their Brown Bear books, reviewed shapes, learned how to ask "How old are you?"  Ni ji sui?,  and answer "I'm____ years old."  Wo __ sui. , as well as "What is your name?" Ni jiao shenme mingzi.  (Literally, You called what name).

* For help on how to pronounce this and to have your child record themselves saying it, click on the lingt link to the right

Math was practicing ways to add up to and break up the number ten.

And now for today.

It was so good to see all of them again! Today, however, was somewhat like the first day of school all over again, as far as following rules goes. But we'll get it back.

We worked on the Brown Bear book, making a bear out of circles. 

In small groups we worked on number sense, playing games to help them work with greater than and less than and adding numbers, and Chinese literacy.

Thank you for all the snacks that are being brought in, and to all the people that help so much.

I know there are some of you with small children or other circumstances that want to volunteer but cant. I have some things I can send home for you to do (cutting, putting things in folders etc) if you are interested in helping that way. Let me know if you're interested.