Powered By Blog Gadgets

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I Love My Bái Qiú Xié!

     This week at Language Stars, I was introduced to the wonderful book "Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes"by Eric Litwin.  If you haven't read it yet, you need to.  It's like a new "Brown Bear, Brown Bear."  It's very simple, focusing on colors.  Perfect for ages birth to four.
     When I found out the theme for this week was based on the book, my first thought was, "Wow, how up-to-date of them!"  I teach preschool and kindergarten and have 3 little ones (HOW have I missed this book?), and I hadn't even read it yet!  Then we went to class and my son LOVED it!  
(That looks just like me in the morning!)
     We sang a Mandarin version of Pete the Cat's song, substituting different colors just like in the book.  It was catchy and great, one of those can't-get-it-out-of-my-adult-brain tunes.  Then, when it came time for the strawberries and blueberries in the book, the teacher threw red and  blue pom poms around the room.  Needless to say, my son thought that was just the best!

(Insert gleeful preschool laughter here.

       One thing that really struck me this week is that you don't need Chinese books to teach Chinese.  While I'm trying to work on some characters with my daughter, the easier-to-find versions work just as well for reinforcing new vocabulary.  Now, I certainly can't pick up Pete the Cat and "read" it in Mandarin.  But what I can do is point to the fruits and say their names, the names of the colors, AND sing the song in Mandarin that I learned this week.  Thank you, Language Stars!

And thank you for reading,
Teacher Tam

Here's my new freebie in Mandarin, English, and Pinyin to go with "Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes!"  Click on the picture to take a look and download it.

Pin It!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Another Great Giveaway!

Terri over at "Terri's Teaching Treasures" is doing an awesome giveaway to celebrate her birthday.  The winners will receive products from her TPT store.  Getting gifts for someone else's birthday?  Now that's how it should work!  Pay her a visit and join the birthday fun by clicking on the picture above.  Hurry because it ends on Monday, September 26th!

Teacher Tam
Pin It!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The "Great Stuff" Giveaway Winner!

And the winner is . . .

Comment #19 by . . .

Klinger Cafe!!!!

I'm sending Tammy (yes, another Tammy) an email right after I post this, telling her that she's the winner!  When you get a chance, congratulate her by paying a visit to her blog, Klinger Cafe!  

Thanks for reading and entering the contest!
Teacher Tam

Pin It!

Friday, September 16, 2011


We could all use some new "stuff" for the school year, so I'm doing a giveaway to help make that possible.  I'm giving away a $25 Teachers Pay Teachers gift certificate to 1 lucky winner.  If you win, you can use it to pick out anything on the site!  Get some math stuff or reading stuff or lots of other great stuff for your classroom!

You can have up to 4 chances to win.  Comment once for each chance.  Include your email in at least one of your comments.  You can also email your address to teacher tam 2 (at) gmail (dot) com [close the gaps and insert @ and .], but don't forget to still leave your comment!

Comment one time for each of the following:

1)  Be or become a follower of my blog by joining my follower list on the right hand side.

2)  Be or become a follower of my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

3)  Add my Teachers Notebook page to your favorites.  Click on "Add to Favorite Shops" at the top of the page.

4) Blog, Tweet, etc. about this giveaway.

This giveaway will end at 10:00pm CST on Wednesday, September 21st.  The winner will be chosen using random.org shortly after that.

Thanks for participating!  Good luck!
Teacher Tam
Pin It!

Monday, September 12, 2011

New Products Linky Party!

Mrs. J. over at the ESOL Odyssey is hosting a new Teachers Pay Teachers products linky party!
Please pay a visit to her page, check out the new stuff, and join her ranks if you've got a minute! 
Pin It!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Developing the Mandarin Habit

"It's more important for preschoolers to develop habits than to learn material."  
         --Teacher Ling from Language Stars

When I first heard Ling say this to one of the other parents a couple of weeks ago, it was like a light bulb went on in my head.  This was what I was trying to do!  I hadn't known how to put it into words, but I had realized that pushing my children to learn specific vocabulary each week didn't work very well.  Sure, I could decide that we were working on "colors" or "animals," but beyond that, there was a point at which they would stop being interested.  And here's why:

Children learn language differently than adults.  We all know this from the research.  So, in order to learn a second language, it has to be presented to them in a manner unlike what adults need.  For example, I love the Little Pim DVDs.  My children don't.  The videos show people performing actions or using objects while the name for the action or object is repeated.  What a great visual way to teach vocabulary--to adults.  I still play them in the car so they can hear the words from a native speaker.  But, unless I learn the word first (from the tapes or otherwise) and then use it daily with them, they CANNOT learn it!  Even after watching a DVD several times, when I ask them how to say a word or even point to an object that was presented in the video and ask in Chinese, "What is this?" they give me a blank stare.  

At first, this made my heart sink.  I had tried so hard.  I had invested time and money.  Then, I stepped back and realized that they had to learn Mandarin by someone using the word in everyday conversation. Sure, I can decide to work on "animals" or "colors," but it has to be presented as a game or I have to put related objects out to play with, or I have to ask about the color of a new or favorite toy.  While, as an adult learner, I would love to sit down and memorize all the colors at once, compare their names and repeat them until I learned them, my preschoolers simply cannot do this.  It's not the way they learn language.  

Here's where the "habits" come in.  The way Ling presented the concept to me was sheer genius.  The idea is simple:  Don't push vocabulary, push a schedule.  So that's what we do.  Projects that the kids bring home from LA are reviewed, shown to grandma and anyone else who might vaguely be interested, and posted on the fridge.  They remind the children of their last class and that there will be another one soon.  While they play, we listen to Chinese songs from Language Stars  or other CDs that we have.  We purchased some preschool games for the computer, so they can choose to play these during computer time.  We do coloring sheets, cut out the pictures and play games with them.  We watch Chinese DVDs in the car.  We play some games with the Little Pim cards and I'm starting to make some on my own (see the end of this post).  And, we read (or I attempt to read) at least 1 book in Chinese every night before going to bed.
Our favorite is Brown Bear, Brown Bear:

(If you purchase the book, there are 2 or 3 videos
of people reading it in Chinese on YouTube.)

Developing the habit of learning Mandarin is a lot easier and less stressful than pushing vocabulary.  This way, there's a lot less pressure on Mom to present material and more emphasis on simply using the words we have learned in daily conversations.  Getting into the routine of having Mandarin sprinkled throughout our daily lives is still a challenge, requiring forethought and effort on my part.  But, I have to say that hearing Ling say those words was like lifting a burden off of my shoulders.  I can just relax a bit now and try to enjoy learning Mandarin with my little ones.  Well, right after I look up a few more animal names . . .

Teacher Tam
If you are learning Mandarin with your child(ren) or
would like a fun activity for Chinese New Year (usually in February),
here's a new game I made.  Just click on the picture and visit 
my TPT store to get your FREE copy.

*I get 50% off tuition at Language Stars for blogging about our classes.  
Pin It!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Don't Miss This Blogging Event!

Don't miss the "Blogging 101" LIVE event on Saturday, September 17th from 11 to 6 EST!  Writers from some amazing blogs are going to provide some tricks of the trade.  And, there is a goodie bag worth a lot more than the price of admission!  Click on the picture below to read more about this can't-miss event and to check out some of the items in the goodie bag!

Pin It!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Some Top 10 Blogs!

Thanks to Teaching Blog Addict for coming up with the idea to give awards to our favorite blogs.  I love it!  I don't have time to award several at once, so I hope one or two at a time is okay.  Here's #1:

I want to nominate "Pocketful of Centers" for a Top 10 Blog award!  I simply love Pam's materials!  Be sure to pay her a visit when you get a chance!  


#2 is "The Moffatt Girls"   You must go check out Annie's wonderful materials for beginning readers.  I love it that she's developing materials while homeschooling her children!

Pin It!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Top 10

     Thank you so much, Crayons & Curls, for the top 10 rating!  I am thrilled and honored that my blog made your top 10 list.
     I hope you all pay her a visit when you get a chance!
     My own list of top 10 blogs is coming soon . . .

Teacher Tam
Pin It!