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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends

Which little boy does not like Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends? My little boy certainly does. He has a fine collection of Thomas the Tank Engine Story Books, Activity book, Stationary, VCDs, Toys and clothing.

Pictured above is Bill and Ben, the Twin Engines. There's no end to collecting the books and toys featuring Thomas and Friends. If I were to collect them all, I would go broke! Fortunately, there is YouTube.

So, after reading the book, just like his sister who gets to see her little Miss Magic come alive like magic on YouTube, the boy gets to see his Thomas the Tank Engine and friends storybooks come alive on YouTube.

You can catch more Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends on YouTube from my YouTube playlist.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mr Men and Little Miss Series

I love the Mr Men and Little Miss series of books and cartoons. The cartoon is really adorable and there is usually a little moral behind the stories with titles like Little Miss Fickle, Little Miss Shy, Little Miss Chatterbox, Little Miss Late, Little Miss Stubborn, Mr Messy, Mr Happy, etc.

Its simple and easy to relate to for kids. Its also easy for parents to try to tell the child something by reading a story to them. Telling them they are fickle won't get you anywhere. However, reading to them a Little Miss Fickle storybook and pointing out about how fickle they can be sometimes gets the message across with lots of giggles and laughter in the process.

Little Miss Magic is my kids favourite. The kids love any stories that tell them about how they can "magic" things.

After reading the stories to them at bedtime, I make their stories "come alive" like "magic" by letting them watch the same story on YouTube.

You can watch more Mr Men and Little Miss videos on my YouTube Channel Playlist.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Alliance Bank’s You:nique Credit Card “Sweet Family Moments” Photo Contest Results

Remember the Alliance Bank You:nique Credit Card I was writing about in this post called "The Power to Choose Your Own Credit Card Terms." In it I briefly mentioned the "Sweet Family Moments" Photo contest.

The contest is over and the winners have been announced.Here are some of the winner's design on their credit card which caught the judge's eye. Large families or small families. Malay, Chinese or Indian, everyone is a winner! J

I love all of them. That is because family moments are really precious and it’s truly wonderful to be able to catch these moments by the camera lenses and capture them in time forever. The kids, they grow up so fast.

There is another photo contest coming up soon. This photo contest has a wedding theme called the "Perfect Picture Love" Photo Contest. Just right for newly weds and those who are not so newly wed as well. ;)

Just apply for the You:nique Credit Card, upload your best wedding photo, fill up your personal details online and you're in the running for the contest. You:nique Credit Picture Card on Facebook will have more details about the new contest.

You can design your own credit card just like how the winners of the first contest did. You may personalise and design your own image on the face of your credit card and keep it in your purse. Have you seen any of your friends carrying a credit card with their image on it?

If you haven't, it is because this is Malaysia's first personalised picture credit card. Cool? Well, yes, but that is not the only cool thing about it. You:nique Credit Card carries the personalisation one step further and allows you to customize your credit card terms as well. Now, that is truly cool and a very useful tool for those of you who are very savvy in your financial planning.

If you do decide to enter the “Perfect Picture Love” photo contest, do post up a few of your wedding pictures on your blog and let other bloggers help you to choose which one to pick for your card. Then leave a comment here and we’ll hop right over to help you select a picture. I am sure everyone will be more than eager to help you choose a photo. I just love to look at wedding pictures, don’t you?

ABRSM Grade 1 Piano Test Results

Coincidentally, after I wrote the piano post on my own blog, my girl's teacher gave her the results for her first ABRSM Grade 1 Piano Test Results. So now we have even more reason to be happy over the piano.

The girl passed with a Distinction with 137 out of 150 marks. The examiner wrote very good comments for her in all the areas ie 3 exam pieces, Scales and Arpeggios, Sight Reading and Aural Tests. The examiner used words like "sprightly performance", "expressive", "played with conviction", "pleasing shape", "confident, fluent, accurate" and "excellent response" while noting some "stumbles with quick recovery", "coordination laspes but playing was assured" and "need for care in synchronisation but a confident approach".

As an overall comment, the examiner wrote "A wonderful start with your supporting tests of a very high standard."

We are very happy for the girl. I sat down with her and explained to her what all those "big big words" used by the examiner meant.

What I am happiest about is the fact that this is another good opportunity for us to boost her confidence.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Little Miss Reward Chart Pack

Someone asked me to post up pictures of the Reward Chart I am using for the kids. Here it is.

This is the Little Miss Reward Chart Pack.

It comes with the Reward Chart, stickers and tokens plus it is an activity book too. There are two sides to the chart and the stickers are reusable.

This is my girl's side of the chart.

This is my boy's side of the chart.

These are the stickers and tokens

Another close up look at the stickers.

There is a boy's version of this Reward Chart Pack as well. Instead of the Little Miss series (which incidentally I love because its so cute), it has Thomas the Tank Engine Chart, stickers, tokens and activity book.

The kids love it. Each night, we would sit down together and decide whether they have met their goals and earned a sticker. At the end of the week we do a tally to see if they can collect a token. They get to remove all the stickers and decorate their stuff with them.

This week they will get a lucky dip if they earn enough tokens. The rewards are things like "play tic tac toe with mummy" , "play hangman with mummy", "extra story at bedtime". Those rewards are for the girl's lucky dip box.

As for the boy, this morning he asked me how to spell certain words and then he wrote them on little pieces of paper to be folded and included in the lucky dip box. He wrote "mummy can I hug hug" (can we hug), "Mummy can I play car" (with mummy) as rewards. He also included one "mummy, can you find my car" as a reward. :P He had been asking me to search for his matchbox car for a few days now but I still have not done it because I have been too busy or lazy.

By the way, they will soon do a chart for mummy with the goal of "not scolding" because they "want to give something to mummy too". Alamak. Sure to fail.

If you prefer, you can make your own chart too instead of buying.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Teaching the Kids English Grammar

I never learned grammar in school because I was not taught grammar in school. So I do not know my nouns and verbs and adjectives. I didn't even know what these words meant until recently!

My girl who is now in Primary One is studying in a Chinese school now. I can see that they really teach them the use of the Chinese language in great detail. Even the Malay language is being taught in detail. They teach them Malay grammar but not English grammar in school. They are taught Kata Nama Am (which are nouns), Kata Kerja (Verbs) etc but not the English equivalent.

I wonder why not. It would be so simple to include those in the syllabus and it would even help in the learning of Malay since there would by synergy then.

Anyway, I use the Longman Esensi (Panduan Revisi untuk Sukses) to teach my girl BM. In it, under "Pemahaman", I find

Kata Nama Am (Nouns)
Kata Nama Khas (Proper Nouns)
Kata Ganti Nama Diri (Pronouns)
Kata Ganti Nama Tunjuk (Demonstrative Pronouns)
Kata Kerja Transitif (Transitive Verbs)
Kata Kerja Tak Transitif (Intransitive Verbs)
Kata Hubung (Conjuctions)
Kata Arah (Prepositions)
Kata Adjektif (Adjectives)
Simpulan Bahasa (Idiom/Set Phrase)

..... and others. I had to use my trusted Besta electronic dictionary to translate those.

When I teach my kids English, I have to tell her... that is a "Kata nama Am" when explaining to her that names, animals, things and places are nouns.

So I was delighted when I found this set of books.

It is the Beginner's Grammar Guide for Preschoolers series. In the preface it is mentioned that the books are for kids aged from 5-6. (At age 43, I find it quite interesting too since I have never learned English grammar. lol.) It is a set of 5 books. Hubby missed out one book on "Articles and Connectors" because he did not see it thats why I have only 4. I bought it at Popular Book Store at RM5.00 each.

We are now using it to teach our 5 and 7 year old. I think it is great to give the kids a good foundation in English grammar. The schools do not teach it so we must do it ourselves.

I will be using this set of books plus the grammar videos on My YouTube Channel Educational Series Playlist to teach the kids English Grammar.

Thumbs up given my MG for this set of books. :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

How to make an origami box

After I told the kids that I was going to let them pick out goodies from a box like in a lucky dip when they have accumulated enough tokens or stickers from their challenges using the reward chart, the girl started to pester me to make a box.

So, we went to google "How to make a box" and found this instructional video. We followed it and it turned out very nice. Its easy enough for my 7 year old girl to follow. We made several boxes for her and her brother. You can also have a box with a lid if you fold two boxes and use one as the box and another as a lid.

We always have lots of colored construction papers in their "craft cupboard" filled with knick knacks and recyclables. So we made several colors. The boxes are really useful. We use them to keep knick knacks like keys and handphones. We use them as little rubbish bins to collect pencil shavings and eraser droppings. We even devised two games with it.

Game #1 - We arranged the boxes in a straight line and threw plastic coins/tokens into them. Whoever can throw the tokens into the box that is the most far away wins a big prize etc. Everyone gets 5 tries each and must stand behind a line to throw. The "prizes" are their own toys and books, nothing new at all. They just like winning and receiving prizes. :) I make a big deal out of giving out the prizes like calling out the names of the winners and shaking their hands etc. They love this.

Game #1 - The boxes are arranged upside down and someone gets to hide stuff under the boxes. He/She will ask the others to find an item under the box. 3 chances are given. The one who finds the item will get to hide items next. Of course "prizes" are again handed out to the winners. :)

The kids love the two games and want to play them over and over again especially the first one. Its good and cheap fun!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Challenge

The kids are still excited and being good about the challenges they have been given to earn stickers and tokens as reward.

Some of their challenges include:

  • Do things fast
  • Eat yourself
  • Do things yourself including homework, pack school bag, get ready for school, get ready for bed (brush teeth, change clothes and hang in proper places etc)
  • Be Helpful (help mummy make beds, pick up toys etc)
  • Be Quiet during naptime or bedtime
  • No Pestering (for the older one)
  • No Pinching mummy's face (for the younger one)
After a week and a half of doing the rewards chart for various challenges, the kids gave me a challenge.

"Mummy, your challenge is not scolding. If you don't scold us for 5 days, you get a sticker. If you don't scold us for 7 days, you get a token."

Here is the reward chart and how the kids are doing in meeting their goals.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Motivation from within

We bought a book for the girl which included a reward chart and stickers. I decided to put it to use. There are 5 items on the challenge list. And if the kids rise to the challenge they get a sticker. At the end of the week, if they get at least 5 stickers, they receive a sticker and if they get 7 stickers, they get to exchange it for a token. I attached a monetary value to the tokens. Yeah. I'm a real bad mommy. I figured that we like to buy things for them anyway so might as well have a reason to. :P

Some of the challenges include doing things themselves, being helpful, doing things fast etc.

So for the whole of last week, I had a very good pair of kids who helped me tidy up the bed in the morning, who wakes up on their own and gets ready for school on their own, who hangs clothing at the right places on their own, who eats fast and on their own, who gets ready for bed on their own, who does everything else fast, who does their homework and pack their school bags on their own and quickly too.

Ah...... wonderful..... I wonder how long it will last. They have said that they want to accumulate more $$ so they want to carry on for longer. After they save enough money, they want to go to the shop and pick something they like. That will give me a chance to teach them the value of money too. They will receive only a small amount so they will realise they can't buy very much with it. :P

I feel really guilty about attaching a monetary value to the reward for being good but I just couldn't think of anything else. I have decided that after this new novelty has worn off, I will give them a box of surprises to pick from. I will write on pieces of paper things which they like very much, like "playing tic tac toe with mommy" or "another story at bedtime" or "going to the park" etc, then fold up those pieces of paper and let them pick one once they have accumulated their tokens. Yes, that will be much better but then it requires more effort from me.

Still, I think its worth it as the kids have been really good, really, really good.

Here's a picture of the rewards chart and the challenge my kids gave me.

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