More jump with Joey – guest post

E.’s new  Helen Doron course started in September 2017. I’ve been planning to write an in-depth post about our experiences, but I was struggling with. I’m not at the lessons, E. is not very chatty about what’s going on the lessons, only if she’s crazy about it, which happens every now and then but not on a regular basis.

So I had an idea. I asked E.’s teacher, Zs., to write a guest post about the present course, and the group. So here comes the very first guest post on nonnativemommy.com.

E.’s been visiting the Helen Doron course called More Jump with Joey. This is a continuation of the course Jump with Joey, where the basic knowledge had been learnt. In these courses we get to know the alphabet a bit better, by following the adventures of Kangi, Joey, Milli and Paul in Storyville. Each adventure is connected to a letter of the alphabet. This is also where students start to read and write, the course has a workbook as well beside the activity books. Starting here, the activity books have all the pages filled with written words, getting more and more complicated according to the age group, not only the usual stickers and coloring pages.

We also use the augmented reality apps, which can be downloaded to smartphones or tablets, and function as magic wands – putting the device above certain pages of the book, the characters start speaking, moving, singing, dancing. Usually we use it every second lesson or so for a few minutes, and all the students are mesmerized and just love it. If they do well during the lesson, it is a little gift for them.

The Jump with Joey material supports the school system’s usual vocab, learning about school items, colors, animals, numbers, household items, lots of adjectives and grammar, but of course many-many more. In More Jump with Joey there is a large variety of vocab.

 

 

20180321_172232.jpg
Once E. begged Zs. to let L. in a bit

E. enjoys it a lot – learning about different types of insects, arachnids, naming 6-8 different spiders, also apes, marsupials, pets, flowers, birds, also using grammar a bit more deliberately (e.g. past forms) and so on. This is a perfect course for her, as it is not only about learning the basics in English, which she knows already pretty well, but experiencing the diversity of life, and using our knowledge in different real-life situations. Also using the language with others properly is a great skill for her to improve – asking politely, working in a team, improving our social skills, sharing our ideas with others, speaking up. If it was up to her, she would probably just observe everything with great interest. But, of course, the aim of the course is to get that knowledge out and to use the language, to speak as much as we can. As the students already have a certain level of English by now, we can put the focus on the details, and have more fun by challenging ourselves with new, more complicated games and activities.

32089356_10212153101531548_1118276898237972480_n
watching an episode

There are seven students in the group, three boys and four girls – quite luckily equal. This group is totally an advanced group, most of them have been learning English for 4-5-6 years (and they are only first graders!), and there are two other students who are basically bilingual, too. Spontaneous speaking and discussions are usual with them, they are very motivated and enthusiastic about English. E. is the youngest, still perfectly keeps up with the others. Not every member of the group started writing so far, but every one of them can already read or at least is trying to read the written lines all the time.

E. is brilliant in reading and writing, her speed of working improved a lot in the past year, and she barely makes mistakes. Usually she does not even need help with the spelling, she just knows it by heart. However, asking for help if she is stuck is still something we are practising, but we still have half of the course ahead, and every member of the group has improved amazingly so far. Can’t wait to go on! 

More about the school we attend and the course material, click on the link.

 

Advertisements

Everybody sing the planting song

Every year we plant flowers on our balcony with E. who loves spring and the revival of nature (and her coming birthday too).

Usually I buy some plants at the flower market and we plant them together, like last year or the year before. Last year we also tried to plant carrots, tomatoes, and ruccola. Well, apart from the tomato it wasn’t a successful year (we had 8-10 cherry tomatoes in September), but we’d started plating really late, at the beginning of May.

To attune the girls to the revival of nature and planting I collected some youtube videos for them, mainly songs. Here are their favourite ones (that they learnt by heart within 2 days):

The Planting Song

Parts of a plant

One seed

How plants grow

Peppa pig-Gardening

However, this year I was all prepared. I bought these cute plant nurseries at the Flying Tiger Shop and some seeds in one of the big supermarkets. (We collected some seeds from our balcony flowers, too, 2 years ago and I accidentally found the envelopes.) One of the ladies at the market who I get on really well with gave some spring onion bulbs to E. to plant.

We had a 4-day long weekend due to our national holiday, 15 March and we used one of the days to do the planting.

DSC01413

I put down and old wax table cloth on the floor and fixed it with painter’s tape. Then prepared all the necessary ingredients:

  • dirt (in another word soil)
  • seeds (this year we planted radishes, gurkins*, carrots, basil, tomato, poppies, and snapdragons.)
  • spoons (next year a really need to purchase some kid-size gardening tools)
  • plant nursery

Before starting the planting procedure I showed them the parts of a flower cards and they put them in the right order: root, stem, leaves and flower. E. placed the word cards next to them. (The link above will take you to the site where you can download your own copy if you wish.)

The girls scooped the dirt in the little holes. L. was making the sound of a digger while doing it. And for her that was it all. She lost interest in planting very quickly. She went to her little kitchen and cooked some food for Daddy.

DSC01420

But E. was really enthusiastic about it. She told me which seed to plant first , she opened the packets and envelopes that hid the seeds. She observed the seeds carefully noticing their different shapes, sizes and colours. (It was quite fascinating to see that the tomato seeds were blue and the poppy seeds were really tiny.)

She also wrote the name of the plants on a wooden stick so we’ll know later on which sprout is which plant.

DSC01422

E. made holes in the dirt with her index finger and dropped the seeds, next covered them with some more dirt. When we finished with all of them she watered them lightly.

DSC01454

E. enjoyed it some much and was so excited about the planting that she was staring at the plant nursery nearly all afternoon. She was talking to them and wanted to water them more. This gave us an opportunity to talk about that giving the plant too much water or sunshine does no good.

The next day our radish and gurkin sprouted and E. saw a gurkin loop in the dirt. She started to call them Loopy and ran to find her Ikea plush gurkin/cucumber.

After a few days I offered her to draw what happens to the plant in a plant diary. She wanted to draw only the radish and the gurkin although every seed had started to sprout by this time. She measured them and drew how they changed size and colour, how they grew.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The next phase was to put them into bigger pots. Unfortunately we waited too long and planted the seeds too close to each other so we had a hard time to separate them. It might happen that they won’t survive as both the roots and the stems were rather weak. The radishes went to the balcony in a long pot, the gurkins were planted into bigger round pots with 2 wooden sticks and a string between them to provide support for the future vines.

Still E. is talking to them kindly and taking care of them with great care. Whoever comes to us has to have a look at the plants. Her plant diary is coming along really nicely. Soon we need to replace the other plants into bigger pots (we ran out of soil).

Stay tuned, there’s more to come, hopefully you can see beautiful flowers and tasty veggies.

*I found 2 ways of writing gurkin/gherkin. The latter is more common but I used the first version in this post. When I asked E. if she could spell it, she spellt it gurkin 🙂

Easter egg suncatcher

There hasn’t been much sunlight to catch this Easter but I’m hopeful that soon we can enjoy a little bit of sunshine after this long, gloomy and really cold winter.

DSC01649
The green is Little L’s and the orange is E.’s egg suncatcher

What you need:

  • contact paper (here in Hungary the best is the self-adhesive cover for school books)
  • colour paper of your choice
  • small items like paper strips, flower petals, paper cut-outs etc (I used tiny bunnies, flowers, hearts etc. having bought from Flying Tiger Shop)

Preparation:

  • cut out an egg-shaped frame and make frames out of your coloured paper
  • cut out a piece of contact paper and peel off its cover
  • place it in front of you sticky side up and put the egg-shaped frame on it. Cut it along the frame
  • place the tiny decorative elements on a tray or in little cups in front of your child together with the sticky egg

Your child will make patterns and decoration on the sticky egg.

When the artwork is finished you place another layer of contact paper on it (sticky side down) to seal it off.

Fix it in the window and wait for the sun to shine. Enjoy the beautiful colours and shapes.

DSC01655_

We did this activity with E.&L.’s Godparents and their kids. They all loved it and made fantastically decorative eggs.

DSC01657

This activity can be done not only with egg shapes but flower shaped frame too. Even if you are not very talented at drawing the easiest way to make a flower frame is to draw it. Have fun and enjoy the sunshine.

Happy Easter!

 

Which part of the plant do we eat?

As E. got pretty excited about planting not only flowers but veggies (carrots, radishes, tomatoes this year) I though I would challenge her with something interesting.

She’s been eating her veggies more willingly, and enjoying it actually, so I prepared an activity for her about which part of plants we could eat. She also made salad for the whole family out of home-grown spring onion, lettuce and cherry tomatoes. (Mind you, only the spring onion was home-grown 😉 )

You can download your free copy at the end of the post.

DSC01490.JPG

She had no difficulty grouping the vegetables except for the ones we do not really consume like artichokes and celery stems. (In Hungary we make foods mainly out of the celery root – and E.’s familiar with it -, or at least in my family)

DSC01494

At the end of the sorting activity she made up a card game you can play alone or with other players too:
You turn up 2 cards: one picture and one name card and place it the middle of the table. Then you shuffle the rest and share it evenly with the players. You place your cards face down and each player one by one  turn a card up. If you see either the picture or the name of the vegetable in the middle you have to say: …. and you can keep the pair, if not the next player turns up their next card. The winner is… well I would rather say the aim of the game is to collect as many matches as the players can. It’s not really a competition, but it can be if you’re child is competitive. Mine is not 🙂

Here you can download your copy of Which part of the plant we eat. Some more game ideas can be found on the link. Have fun!

The Mitten by Jan Brett – activities

Last year I bought this classic story The Mitten by Jan Brett but I realised in the spring that this winter book had sunk into oblivion. However, this year, when winter is really harsh with quite a lot of snowing, I managed to prepare some activities on the basis of the story.

At the very beginning, we were looking at flashcards of winter and summer clothes and put them into 2 groups: what we wear and don’t wear in cold winter.

2ac9e-clothes1

Before reading the story with the girls I prepared an extra-large mitten out of felt. As time was an issue I cut out 2 mitten-shaped pieces of  felt and used a hot glue gun to stick them together. (There’s a snow-white mitten in the story but unfortunately I didn’t have white felt at home so I used a light beige and a gray piece.)

 

I downloaded and shrank the animals’ pictures from Jan Brett’s site. I made two-sided stick animals out of them so the kids can put the animals in the felt mitten one by one as the story goes along. (Lucky there are 8 animals in the story and we could share the animals equally.)

After the story, they matched and compare mittens that I’d found around the house.

They told me which ones are too small or too big for them.

DSC01278
Too big, Mommy

Then came the mitten craft. Out of white and light blue construction paper I cut out mitten shapes and provided the girls with all kinds of decorative elements: hearts, cotton balls, buttons, glittery star and flower shaped stickers etc.

DSC01258

They decorated their mittens as they wished. E. decorated her 2-3 mittens heavily and accurately. Little L. used the stickers mostly as she found the glue too sticky.

DSC01288

DSC01292

I also made two mitten-related, age-appropriate activities for them:

E. had the rhyming mittens. Each mitten has a picture on them and they rhyme like cat-hat or pig-wig. She matched them in no time.
DSC01303.JPG

L. got a Which mitten is different? activity. As she wasn’t interested at all E. did this one too. She placed a button on the mitten that was the odd one out of the four.

DSC01308
Mommy, this one was the most difficult. It’s not for a 2-year-old. 🙂 It’s for me.

We spent 2 and a half hours together reading, playing with the mittens, matching and comparing mittens, decorating mittens. I’m not saying that my 2-year old’s attention didn’t flag but apart from the odd-one out activity, with a little help she could keep pace with my 5-and-a-half year old big girl. Whenever she couldn’t focus anymore I gave her something new to redirect her with success. (The story time and the mitten matching were really fascinating for her, but the mitten decorating was too long, so when she wanted to finish it half way I gave her new stickers or she could try using the glue stick or could squeeze out some glue on her paper mitten.)

All the way through we were discussing  winter topics, like clothing, what animals do/eat in the winter, what patterns our mittens have , what colour the decoration on their mittens is or I was describing what we were doing.