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Friday, August 30, 2013

How To Help Young Kids With Their School Projects For The First Time

If your child is doing a school project for the first time and you are not sure how to help them, I hope this mini post on how to help young kids with their school projects for the first time will be useful.

When I first had to help my children with their school projects, they had no idea what to do  and I did not know where to start. It had been years since I had done any school projects myself and I had forgotten how. These days they also do a lot more projects then we did years ago.

For a young child just doing a school project for the first time, they will not be sure what to do. The school may have told them to do a project on a subject matter but may not have told them HOW to do it. This was the case with my children. The first few times they did projects, they did not have any plan. The process was really slow and tedious. They had to find information from newspapers, magazines, the internet and include them in their projects but they had no idea where to start.

Finally, I found a method that helped them see the project from beginning to end. It helped a lot. I drew them the following project plan. I think it is very useful for young kids to be able to picture what they are supposed to do.

With this plan, I was able to explain to them that they need the following for their projects:
  1. The project must have a cover. On its cover, they had to include the following information: title, name, class, date and name of teacher.
  2. The project needs a content page or index. This index must be prepared last of all after numbering the pages. Write the page number beside the heading to prepare the index page when all the pages have been completed.
  3. Then they must have a rough plan on how many pages they want the project to be. Each page can have a heading and these can be grouped together with a separate cover for each.
  4. They can prepare sub-covers for sub-topics along if they want, sort of like different chapters of a book.
  5. Finally, a summary of the whole project and what they feel about it brings the project to an end.
  6. Last but not least is the very important part on attributions by citing their sources of information.
I find that many teachers do not emphasize the importance of citing sources. Many children end up copying and pasting whole pages of information from the internet  without even reading or understanding them amounting to plagiarizing content. I tell my daughter she MUST cite sources and not copy content in bulk. She tells me that her friends who copies content and comes up with beautiful pages of copied content gets more marks for their projects than she who writes most of them in her own words. That is really very sad but I insist that she does it and that she reads and understands the content. Otherwise the purpose of doing the project in the first place, the process of learning is lost.

Here is a simple way to help explain to children why they must cite sources when doing school projects and respect copyright. Check out the Interactive Tool from Cyberbee.com to teach kids about copyright.

For the young child doing projects for the first time, you may find that they enjoy designing the cover most of all, so let them have fun with it. Get colored pens, glitter pens etc so they can get creative while learning.

Another tip for parents helping kids with project. Don't do it for them! Show them the way so they will be independant in the future. It will help them and you too.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Free Animal Printables For Kids

Recently my son was looking for some information on the Amazing Animals of the World for his Grade school project. We were delighted to find many wonderful sites that offer free animal printables for kids. I will share some of those we loved the most.

1. Free Animal Printables from National Geographic Kids - You can find one of the best free animal printables for kids here. First, you can do a quick search for the animals you want to discuss or read more about with your child. Animals are displayed in easy to find picture thumbnails. You click on the picture to find our more about the animal. Once you are there you can click on the tabs which include facts and photos of the animals, videos and sounds, a location map on where you can find the animal. You can even send an e-card with a picture of the animal and of course the best is the free animal printables for kids. All you need to do is click on the tab that says "Print This Creature". Each printable comes with a picture in the form of a foldable collector's card, a map and facts about the animal. They are comprehensive but also very interesting for kids. Five stars rating for this site.

2. Free Printable Animal Fact Sheet From World Animal Foundation - You can also get free printable animal fact sheets from this site. Animals are listed alphabetically so you will have no problem browsing and finding the animal you wish to know more about. The animal printables are in pdf file format and comes with pictures and interesting facts about the animals including the animal description, lifespan, food, habitat, behaviour, offspring, threats and how to protect the animals. Very nice. Four star rating from this blogger.

3. Fun Animal Facts For Kids - Not exactly a printable, this site offers fun animal facts for kids. I like that the facts are in point form and are kept interesting for kids. The animal facts come with a picture of the animals and the fun facts in point form all in one page, so you can printscreen if you prefer to read them off screen. You will find the more common animals listed with pictured thumbnails but if you scroll down the screen you will find more fun animal facts for kids. As the title suggests, the facts are kept fun and amazing. Kids will enjoy reading the fun facts. They are not boring at all.

4. Animal Profiles From ThinkQuest.org - The first thing that greets you on this site is a world map. Click on the map to find different animal profiles from different parts of the world. This will lead you to links to the animals from that part of the world. Click on the link to find the animal profiles. It comes with a picture of the animal plus its profile including its size, habitat and habits, food and feeding plus some cool facts. You will also need to printscreen to read offline if you prefer.

5. Free Animal Printable Sets And Worksheets from Anglomaniacy.pl - Although intended for those learning English as a second language, these free printable animal worksheets are excellent for all kids. There are 26 printable animal sets organized from A-Z here. The printables are in pdf format and are extremely fun for young children. You can choose to print either the animal facts or the animal activities or both. The animal fact sheet includes a cute rhyme or poem about the animal at the end of the facts. The animal worksheets and activities include animal wordsearch and word scramble game. They come with answers and cute cartoons images of the animals. Great for younger kids.

I hope you enjoy this compilation of where to find free animal printables for kids online. These amazing animals of the world printables can be used by older kids for school projects or can be read together and discussed with younger kids. Older kids can read on their own but it is always more fun to read together with a parent.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Constellation For Kids

My girl is studying constellations at the moment so I'm collecting interesting resources from the web that teaches kids about constellations. Here are a few resources for teaching constellation to kids that I found.

  1. Firstly, I found a nice introductory video from Videojug on What Is A Constellation? (embedded above)
  2. Next, I found interesting Constellation Stories or Constellation Legends from http://www.tcoe.org/ The constellation stories from the Greek Mythology will really interest children learning about constellation. What better way to remember a constellation than by reading the story behind it.
  3. Finally, there is this really interesting blog that offers a lot of useful Constellation Printables including Constellation Flashcards and Constellation Sky Maps.
  4. As a bonus, I also like the Constellation Word Search and Constellation Crossword from here. http://www.science-teachers.com/constellations.htm
With an introduction to constellations in the form of a video, follow up by interesting constellation stories and finally free constellation printables and constellation games. These are excellent resources homeschooling parents can use to teach their kids about constellations.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Selamat Hari Raya 2013

Selamat Hari Raya 2013
Selamat Hari Raya 2013 and Happy Holidays everyone. Remember to drive safely when you balik kampung.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Banana Mom Helps Her Child With Homework

This is how a banana mom helps her child with KSSR Homework. The std 3 boy takes out his Chinese homework and says "Mom, I have to go on the internet and search for P.Ramlee and then write something about him."

Great! No website was given. So what do we do now? If you search for "P.Ramlee" you will be rendered search results in English and Malay. Very good. Very good, indeed.

Here are the steps we have to take to complete that homework.

1. We check P.Ramlee in Chinese. It is "Bi Nan Li" Wonderful!
2. So use an online Chinese Character to find each of the characters "bi", "nan" and "li"
3. Then we put them all together (by copy and pasting one by one) and do a google search for "Bi Nan Li" (比南利) in Chinese.
4. Aha! We're getting somewhere. We get search results in Chinese BUT we have no idea what it says.
5. We take a random paragraph and do a google translate and some were talking about unpaid taxes, some were about some fruit whatever!
6. Finally we found one that talked about his career. Excellent!
7. The boy settles down to copy and says "Mom, that is in traditional Chinese"
8. So we get a Traditional Chinese to Simplified Chinese converter and converts the paragraph.
9. Homework is completed at last and mom pulls out her hair!

Feeling annoyed. What a waste of time!

Friday, August 02, 2013

Every Child Should Have A Book


I believe that every child should have a book because books opens doorways. Books are exciting. They take us to another world instantly. Some children have the privilege of having books, as many books as they like but there are many underprivileged children who do not have that chance.

Last Christmas, we went to MPH and we bought two books for two children. We were allowed to choose from names and homes to decide who and where we wish to give the books to. We got the children to choose and write on the card. The kids chose their favorite Enid Blyton books, then they wrote "We like this book very much. We hope you like it too." Then the books were wrapped up and sent to the home for that boy for Christmas. The kids and I imagined the boy opening his gift and we hoped that he would like it.

Today, I wish to tell you about a children's book publisher which will give away one book for every one book that is sold. Magicbird Publishing has set up the One for One Initiative. So far they have donated 1359 books to various beneficiaries. You can read more about that initiative here.

Here's how you can help. Buy a book. It is as simple as that. For every book bought, one will be donated to the underprivileged. If you love books, love your children to read books and believe that every child should have a book, you can help by buying a book for your child. So hop on to the site and have your child choose a book and remember to tell your child about the initiative. Tell them that a book will be donated when they buy a book. If your child is not a reader, perhaps that may be the catalyst to drive him to read. If he is a reader, he can just enjoy the book like the many others he probably has and he may be happy with the idea that another child will have the opportunity to read a book too.

Simply by buying a book, you get to do many things all at once. Your child can enjoy the book. You can teach your child about the joy of giving and an underprivileged child will receive a book. Isn't that wonderful? And you don't have to wait for Christmas to do it.

The books can also be purchased at the Borders bookshop.

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