Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Old School Games - Animal Chess

SG50 theme this year had us reminiscing many old school games. I think one forgotten game is the Dou Shou Qi. We only thought about this game when we wanted to introduce the Chinese chess to the boys. We went around many shops but we didn't have any luck. Y suggested going to the school bookshop to ask. It was a great idea. He got this at $1.

The kids had fun playing with it. This makes a great family game and it is simple enough for the kids to play on their own. The kids learnt how to strategize their moves and the consequences of each move.  

Literature Study - Pippi Longstocking

We started reading Pippi Longstocking with the boys and I enjoy the book very much. The boys had different views about the book. Y can't stop laughing at the funny things Pippi does and K doesn't like her unusual behaviour. We did 2 activities this week.

Activity 1 - Illustrate Pippi

I love how the author described Pippi's physical appearance.

"Her hair, the color of a carrot, was braided in two tight braids that stuck straight out. Her nose was the shape of a very small potato and was dotted all over with freckles. It must be admitted that the mouth under this nose was a very wide one, with strong white teeth. Her dress was rather unusual. Pippi herself had made it. She had meant it to be blue, but there wasn't quite enough blue cloth, so Pippi had sewed little red pieces on it here and there. On her long thin legs she wore a pair of long stockings, one brown and the other black, and she had on a pair of black shoes that were exactly twice as long as her feet. These shoes her father had bought for her in South America so that Pippi would have something to grow into, and she never wanted to wear any others." 

They didn't see any other illiustrations of Pippi and I asked the boys to draw their own version of Pippi with the description. I drew my version too and this is what we had.

I liked how this activity shows how differently one can illustrate with a same description. 

Activity 2 - Create your own character. Illustrate and describe.

Further to this, I wanted them to create their own character. They can choose to draw or describe first. I wanted it to be a person but the boys are very into fantasy books now and K did this. For a start, he is just using colors to describe the features of his character. I will be introducing some new adjectives to him that he can use for his character features.

He was inspired by Beast Quest to do his character fact card. (check out my pretty Japanese paper doll magnet at the side... hehe)

We will be continuing with more literature study activities as we continue reading the book together.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Learning Multiplication

It's the start of Term 4 and I know the school will be covering the topic of Multiplication soon. The boys had grasped the concept of Multiplication during preschool but I never made them memorise the times table. I don't see the point of making them memorise so early when there's no need for them to use it at preschool level. They could do simple 2 -3 times tables though. And I had been going through the times tables every now and then but it was never a priority.

Y came home one day very grouchy and cranky. I later found out it could be because he brought home the syllabus and test schedules for Term 4 and he was feeling stressed out. He told me he is going to fail the test for sure as his teacher told the class that she won't be going teaching the times table and they should all know it by now.

I comforted him and told him that he knows the table from 1-5 though not very well. He just need to work on memorising some of them. And I will be helping them with times table 6-9. He felt so stressed up as he felt inadequate that he doesn't know something that all should know. And some of his friends who attended Math enrichment classes all knew by heart.

**edited on 6 Oct to add.
I went through his worksheets on multiplication done in school and they were just very simple multiplication concepts! All the drama for nothing. This is my kiasu kiasi boy... lol... He got his diagnostic test result home yesterday and was bragging over how easy multiplication topic is. haha. From this incident, I realized he needs more confidence in tackling new topics in school. Something to think about as I don't prep the boys for school syllabus. I expect them to learn in school and I will help them along. But they told me they want me to teach them first so they can raise up their hands to answer questions in class. Hmm.. **

Anyway, to help him gain some confidence, we continued our multiplication learning activities.

I used a few resources for our learning activities:

- Multiplication Chart 
They skip count and list out the times table, making their own chart.

- Times Table Worksheet
I printed the 6 times table worksheet from worksheetfun.com. It helped to do the times table worksheet in sequence first.

- 6 Times Table Chart
I cut pieces of paper for them to do their own flip board for the 6 times table. I had a very happy boy here doing his own lift the flaps.

- 6 Times Table Snake
Fold a paper strip to let them write the 6 times table on it.

- Bingo Game
This was the highlight of the whole session. I randomly wrote some numbers from the 6 times table on a paper. They started with 1 dice. A player roll a dice and multiply the number on the dice by 6. They will circle the answer and try to form a row. A horizontal line earns them 1 point and a vertical (longer) line earns them 2 points. After a few rounds, we added another dice. The add the number of the 2 dices together to multiply by 6. I would say they picked up the 6 times table quite well with this game. It was effortless remembering at work. They even did division unknowingly, trying to see figure out what number they need to get to form a row.

It was a fruitful session and we are continuing our multiplication learning with 7, 8 and 9.

Japanese Paper Doll with Kids

I found a pack of pretty Japanese paper from Daiso while I was spring cleaning the boys' study room. Through this spring cleaning, I realised they have lots of construction paper, origami paper, coloured paper of all sorts that is more than enough to last them a lifetime. I'm the guilty one, of course. I often can't resist purchasing craft supplies and thought we should always keep a good supply for our crafts. However, I didn't know the daily crafts and activities we used to do is not possible once they enter formal school. The mornings before school were spent on school related work and revision. Any time that's left is their precious free time. I'm usually beat after I go through their work with them too.

Rewind... back to the Japanese paper. I don't know what to do with these beautiful paper and googled for "Japanese Paper Craft". Images of pretty Japanese paper dolls were all over the screen. I wasn't sure if my boys will be interested to do that with me as they are at this "Eeee... it's so girl girl..." stage. So, I decided to give it a try myself. To my surprise, the boys were excited to see the paper and wanted to have a part.

I found a few website that gives a good tutorial and I followed the one on Omiyage. Being bad at following instructions, I didn't cut out the measurements as indicated in the tutorial. I just estimated the size and thickness and went with what I thought is ok. And it was easy!

The boys chose the paper they want to use for the collar, the dress, the band, etc. They were the designer while I'm the "seamstress", doing the cutting and folding. We have one thing in common, we love pretty clothes.

We came to the head part and though most of the pictures we saw had no facial features, they wanted to draw. Y even wanted to draw the hair. So these are the 2 versions. I was laughing at K's potato nose (we started reading Pippi Longstocking.. lol) on his doll. Y wanted it to be a puppet and we attached a straw behind it and they had fun playing with it. I agree with them that it's nicer to have facial features and made another 2 myself.

Here's some basic steps to making your own Japanese paper doll. There are lots of detailed tutorial online like the one at Omiyage.

I really liked how these dolls turn out. And I liked that my boys love them too. They can be bookmarks, stick a magnet piece to the back and turn it into a magnet or attach a stick or straw like my boys to have a puppet. I think they make great gifts too.

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