Thursday, December 29, 2011

四季树 - 4 seasons tree

This is definitely a first for me; a new post daily (here's last evening's post).  The joy of being on leave and having the time to share more. :)

After this post, I will try and share more on Science and Math. Math is definitely an interesting journey for Dumpling and I as she is bored with any form of rote learning which makes it challenging at times.

The beauty of homeschooling is that you are able to change course, speed and even the "subjects" if your child is not ready or when you wake up suddenly one morning and have what you think is a great idea! :)

That's sort of what happened to me last week when I woke up having suddenly remember a post I read on My Playschool and, decided to introduce "seasons" to Dumpling but in Chinese using "craft". Though she understands the concept and can read the words in English, it was another story altogether trying to expose her to and have her recognise " 春、夏、秋、冬". Even as I am typing this, we are still working on the words "季节".

What I used for this activity are:
1) Craft using 四季树: 4 seasons tree
2) 梅花与小鹿
3) A sticker activity book: 玛蒂娜的四季

Basically the 四季树: 4 seasons tree has 4 panels where each panel shows a different season using a tree. You can then embelish the tree and work through how each panel is different from the next with the change in season.

I first saw this tree in a post from My Playschool where Pauline shared her experience working on it with both English and Chinese resources. Like her, I worked on this with Dumpling using a literature based approach. In Pauline's post, she also shared her lesson plan with a mindmap / diagram of the various disciplines - Geography, Social Studies, etc included in her sessions. I found the post informational and most definitely useful.

In the same post, Pauline has also listed a link to download the template for the tree. I did not attempt to do the trunk hence my tree looks a bit different as compared to hers. (Maybe that also explains why my tree is not standing properly now. :p). Pauline also uses a different storybook from me and it is definitely worth your while to borrow that book too. I am definitely going to reserve my copy from the library.

To start off, I used an old cardboard box to prep for the tree and cut out some leaves with construction paper and added some flower punch outs with punchers from Daiso. I then read the chinese book with Dumpling (item 2 above where the 4 various seasons were very briefly mentioned) and discussed how the pictures / 梅花树 (tree) look different  from  one  season to another. I also paid attention to the adjectives used to expose and build up Dumpling's vocabulary.

Dumpling then helped to draw some veins on the leaves and stick on to the correct "colour" for the tree cut-out for Spring (we used Blue for winter, Green for Spring, Yellow for Summer and Brown for Autumn).

Thereafter, I worked with her on word recognition as well as adding on more words to the tree by asking her simple questions such as: "冬季是冷还是热?", "在冬季时,那 些白色的东西是什么? 是雪花", etc.  

I complemented the lessons with a sticker book (item 3 above). I find this series fairly useful as Dumpling is at an age where she still likes stickers and the series seems to have a book for everything - home, school, park, beach, etc. In addition, the stories in the book are kept very short and it also introduces us to new words and reinforces some vocabulary.

What I also found useful was to explain the formation of words. For e.g. for the word 秋, we printed the leaves using our thumbs with red and orange poster colours to show the changing colour of leaves. I specifically used these colours as they are the colour of 火 (fire). As Dumpling recognises the word 木, it was easy for me to draw the connection between the 木 and 火 and how in Autumn, the colour of the leaves are liken to fire hence the word 秋. I further elaborated that the top stroke above the 木 in 秋 resembles falling leaves. This is what I did for the rest of the "seasons" words too.

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