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Friday, January 30, 2015

Free Printable February 2015 Calendar With Chinese New Year Theme

February is a busy busy month for us because Chinese New Year is approaching. For us that means, spring cleaning, shopping for new clothes, decorating the house. All this while still trying to settle in for the new school year and the start of extra school activities and adjusting our schedules.

Then the Chinese New Year will arrive on February 19 and 20 this year, 2015 and that means travelling, visiting relatives, eating...

Almost immediately after that, then the kids will have to start preparing for the first term exams. Phew! A very busy time indeed for everyone in the family.

So, I've done my printable calendar for February 2015 with a Chinese New Year theme this time for us to plan our schedules in a fun way. Feel free to print this out for your child or even for yourself. Stick it on the wall and mark your schedule. Have fun with it.

We like calendars because it helps the kids countdown and look forward to festivities with some excitement and anticipation.

Here's the download link for this Free Printable February 2015 Calendar With Chinese New Year Theme. Enjoy!
Free Printable February 2015 Calendar With Chinese New Year Theme

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Toilet Training For Primary School Kids

Yesterday my std 5 boy told me that when he went to toilet, he saw a small boy hiding in the toilet stall. The small boy then told my son and his friend to help him call the teacher because he had pooed into his pants. Poor kid. I do not know whether it is a result of holding it in but for the little ones, I think we really need to teach, remind and perhaps even nag to remind them to go to the toilet when they need to. 

In another incident, last year my std 6 girl told me that a boy in her class was greatly embarrassed because he pooed into his trousers. Why? Because he wanted to hold on just a little longer to finish the lesson. That may be an extreme example but it did happen.

Here are some things we should teach our little ones before they enter primary school or "big school". These are the things that must be taught as part of their transition from kindergarten to primary school. We often prepare them academically but these living skills should be taught above everything else.
  1. Train them to go to the toilet every morning at home before they go to school so they won't have tummy ache at different times of the day
  2. Remind them to go to the toilet before school starts and during recess
  3. Train them to eat fast during breaks so that they have time to go to the toilet
  4. Tell them that it is ok and they should not be afraid to inform teacher bravely that they need to go during an emergency. If you need to go, you need to go. Remind them that they have to do this no matter how fierce the teacher is
  5. Explain to them why it is unhealthy to hold their urine
Lastly, if an issue should arise, see the teacher to find out what happened, not in a finger pointing angry type of manner but matter of factly to discuss and come up with a working solution for all, parent, child and teacher. If you find that the teacher is being unreasonable, then bring it up to the next level and write a letter if you need to. Hopefully, it won't have to lead to that and can be resolved amicably.

For those who wish to plan ahead, during school orientation or first week of school, ask the teacher or school what are the school rules or regulations they practice for toilet going. Do the children have to take a pass? How many times are they allowed to go? When are they allowed to go? etc. Find out and inform your child. You should also check the conditions of the school toilet and pack some toilet tissues for them if there are none in school.

Both my kids are in SJKC but thankfully they have not complained about this issue before. The only problem is they tend not to drink from their tumblers sometimes almost leaving it untouched but thats another story....

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Chinese Pictographic Character List

My daughter is studying Mandarin in Secondary school. Recently she came across some pictographic characters which she could not identify. I didn't realize that one has to continue studying pictographic Chinese characters in secondary school (the origin and construction of Chinese characters), only they are much harder than the usual words like rain, river, fire etc that you come across in primary school.

It took me some time to search for the Chinese pictographic Character List or Chinese Pictograms on the internet but I found a comprehensive one at last. I'm going to bookmark them here for future reference. I found them on two sites. They look identical but I'm including both of the links here just in case one closes down. You never know online when a page will shut down and disappear.

1. From blog cntv.cn - A comprehensive list of the origin of Chinese Mandarin Character list, the pictograph and the current Chinese character beside it or if the page is translated it reads "Oracle Character Chart - Collector's Edition." (reprint)

2. From yyfcs.cn - The same "Oracle Reading Table" which shows the Chinese Pictographic Character List

Monday, January 26, 2015

Whatever Has Happened To Our 10 Year olds?

My 10 year old boy was promoted to a new class this year. Only 8 of them joined this new class so apart from this 8, he has to get to know the others in his new class.

Recently he was chosen as a group leader for a moral project. They were given 2 weeks to present their project using the power point. There are 11 in his group. They are all from his new class. We gave him some tips on how to work as a team, how to cooperate with the others and how to lead.

We told him to find out the names of his group members so he could type it out on the cover. We also advised him to collect information from everyone so he could put it together.

However, the next day he said that a couple of the team members have started working on the power point project and they did not want to let him do it. We told him that is not the right thing to do. It is not right to work as a team and not contribute anything. So we told him to get a copy of the work so far and include his part. We gave him a pen drive to copy the information.

The next day he came home with a damaged pen drive. It looked like it had been pried apart. However, we weren't sure. It could also mean that the kids who took it did not know how to use it and that's why it was pried and damaged.

We gave him a new pen drive the next day and this time he was able to copy the information. However he was told that there was no need for him to do the work. When he protested saying he had to contribute something, they said "but you are, you are the group leader." To me, that sounded like mocking but we gave it the benefit of doubt.

The next day, he told them again that he should do some work and then they would do some too and he will try to put everyone's contribution together. They finally agreed but they also told him that his power point look "weird" and that he should not present since he "spoke with a bad Chinese slang". However, he maintained that he should contribute, so they said he could but he is to read out only. Explanation will be done by someone else. They also agree to let him put everything together.

However the next day, they refused to lend him the pen drive giving all sorts of excuses, from forgetting to bring it to someone else needs it etc and finally they said if he wanted it, he had to pay 10 cents for it.

Before this, my son who was also unsure of whether they were trying to be funny, finally decided that they were indeed trying to give him a hard time. Not all 11 were like that. I suspect from what he has told me so far, that this came from a couple of them, a girl and a boy. The rest remain silent or were not very much involved in the project.

I've asked him whether he wanted me to step in to help him sort it out by informing teacher but he says to let him try to resolve it on his own. He said he would try to ask for the pen drive once again and if this fails, he may let teacher know.

Since this is just the start of the year in a new class, I think it is important that he stands up for himself.

Sigh. Only 10 year olds and the above sounds like some crazy power struggle in a competitive corporate environment.

Pendidikan Seni Visual Tingkatan Satu - Garisan

Recently my Form One girl came to me for help in her "Art" homework. She was learning about "Garisan" (Lines) and thought it extremely boring to have to learn and memorize about the different types of lines, all in Malay.

Strange that she did not come to me for other homework help, except Moral so far (because according to her the Moral teacher is fierce and she dare not make a mistake).

I found some of these sites useful. Going to use these as a source of reference or as my lesson plan. You can use them too. They are all available online but I've just put them together so that it is easier to find later on.

  • Jenis- Jenis Garisan (Types of Lines) - Includes useful pictures from a blog
  • Asas Seni Reka - includes some other topics as well but has a few good charts about Garisan (Lines)
  • A slideshow on Garisan as shown below

Garisan from Norsaliza Zainal

Finally, some Malay to English translation for some of these line related terms

Garisan = Lines
Berlingkar = Coil
Kerawang = Filigree (delicate or intricate design usually on gold/silver)
Bersilang = Cross
Menjalar = Spread
Berpintal = Twisted
Berjalin = Intertwined
Jalinan = Wickerwork
Arca = 3-D Artwork
Melintang = Transverse/horizontal, slanted, diagonal, cross
Beralun = Heave
Bergetar = Vibrate

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Back To School 2015

I have been neglecting my blogs. It is like this every year. Around November and December, I usually don't blog so that I can spend more time with the kids who are home for the school holidays. After that I lose my momentum and it is hard to get back on track.

As usual, so much has happened and so much to write about but they're all in my head at the moment.

For now, just a quick update.

This year 2015 sees a change for us with one kid attending afternoon session school and another in the morning session. There is a lot more coordinating and scheduling involved. They haven't started their school extra curricular activities yet. Once that starts there will be even more scheduling as one has to go to school early for activities while the other has to stay back in school.

The boy is lucky to have a proactive teacher this year. However, he appears to be having a small problem getting everyone to cooperate in a project he is leading. This is his first time leading a project in a class which he has just recently joined. The others know each other from a few years so I think that is the problem. He has to learn a lot of things all at once, leadership skills, how to get everyone to submit research work to him on the pen drive and how to put everything together in powerpoint and later to present it with his group of 11 members. A real challenge for him.

The girl did not get off to a good start. According to her she was the first person to be scolded in front of the whole class on the first day of secondary school. However, everyday when she gets home she excitedly tells me about different things they are doing in school. Secondary school is a whole new experience for her, learning new ways of learning, taking more responsibilities and getting more involved in various things, not only studying as what she had been doing in primary school.

Its only been 1 1/2 weeks to the school new year. I hope they both have a good school year in 2015.

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