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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Wonderful, Winter-Themed Week!

    This week in our Parents & Tots class at Language Stars*, the winter theme continued.  We focused on counting objects and our activities were based on the story "The Mitten."  

    When we first started at Language Stars, I was surprised that the books we read are not in Chinese.  From the beginning, I purchased some at home and thought that this would be very important.  Don't get me wrong, I still think it's important.  I would like for my children to at least be able to read Chinese, even if they are not able to recall the details of the characters enough to write it.   But, I have seen how the teachers use books that are more readily available here to still teach Chinese.  And I have come to understand that the popularity of a book serves to keep their attention (like the week we did "Pete the Cat").  Plus, most of the time, the teacher is not actually "reading" the book, but doing more of a "picture walk," pointing out key vocabulary from the lesson.  

     Reading a book was just one of the many activities we did in class this week.   Even snack time is learning time!  Students practiced counting and number recognition while they ate.  Counting was also done several times during class with various objects, such as the maracas students use to sing with at the beginning of class.   Often, the teacher uses laminated sheets with pictures during snack time instead of objects.  It became clear to me exactly why she does this the week one little boy knocked over a whole pitcher of water!  

Counting and recognizing numbers during snack

Coloring sheets with mittens!

After snack, students complete a coloring page related to the theme of the day.   This is great for 2 reasons:  1) My son is really into coloring right now (maybe because his big sister is), so he likes coloring in class and gets another chance to hear/practice the new words, and 2)  He has a "reminder" from class to take home and hang on the fridge, allowing us to practice the words again and again.  

     But what I really like is something new that Language Stars is doing.   They are adding Chinese nursery rhymes to the curriculum.  I LOVE it!  You can hear the tones of the language better than in songs and it's a great way to learn new vocabulary!  Plus, my son LOVES performing the latest rhyme for anyone who will listen!   I'm excited to see his teacher's reaction this week when he says it for her!  

As always,
Thanks for reading!

*We get 50% off our tuition for blogging about our Language Stars progress.

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