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!

 

Books we read in March

This months the books came randomly. Neither girls has any special interest (except for bird in E’s case) so we just picked books from the big book box.

2018march books

2018book collage

Colour coding: E.’s favourite, L.’s favourite, Both loved it

E (5y 10m)

Travels of Dr. Dolittle

515MQHXRJEL._SX355_BO1,204,203,200_

Is there anyone who doesn’t like the vet who speaks the language of animals? We read it about 5 times. E loves animals in general, but sh always have a favourite group. In this book her favourite one was pushmi pullyu, the two-headed lama-like creature that was presented to Dr Dolittle for healing the monkeys. A fascinating classis.

The smartest giant in town by Julia Donaldson

the-smartest-giant-in-town-book-asda-good-living__default

 

This book about kindness and selflessness. The giant on his way home gives away his smart new clothes to animals who need them more. Another message: be yourself, don’t try to be someone who you’re not.

George’s marvellous medicine by Raold Dahl

georcover2

This was E.’s very favourite book this months. The story is about a boy who makes new medication for his unbearably overbearing and pompous grandmother. The medicine has a funny result, which makes George’s father really excited. We started a wow words! notebook with E. Whenever we come across a word, which was unfamilar for her (and, to be honest, for me too sometimes) we jot it down in this notebook witha synonym or a drawing.

Tyrannosaurus Drip by Julia Donaldson

3761667

Another book about what if you don’t fit in. I’m afraid the illustrations are not the best, still the story is great. A duckbill (vegeterian) dino was accidentally born into a t-rex family, where he is criticised a lot with great disappointment. But when he realises that he can swim, he runs away from them (kind of a strange and scary solution, not a very good message for kid as for problem-solving –  my opionion only) and joins a herd of duckbill dinos. What’s more, he becomes a hero, but you need to read it to know why. My kids enjoyed it but weren’t crazy about it. I guess it’s the illustrations.

Wash Scrub Brush by Mick Manning and Brita Granström

1907167

Now this one was read out 20 times… minimum. Children are getting ready for a birthday party and need to clean themselves: cut finger nails, wash hair, clean ears, go to the toilet and wash hands. L. was fascinated by the baby with her “poopy nappy”. E liked the idea that animals clean themselves like bird preen (!new word!), special birds clean the wax out of zebras, or big fish let little fish clean their teeth without eating them. I could read it in 2 versions: a shorter version for L without the extra info about the animals, and a longer version for E. with the extras. At the end of the book there’s a glossary of useful words explained.

L. (2y 3 m)

Little Red Riding Hood by Tony Mitton

letöltés

A classic story in a new way. There are very few words in this story, you can decide how much more you say through the story-telling. At the end the wolf just closes up grandma and doesn’t eat her. When Little Red Riding Hood comes, she is not eaten up by the wolf either as the lumberjack stops him. They eat a pretty cakes at the very end. It’s kind of strange for me but for Little L. it was more soothing since she was scared of the wolf. E. knew the story doesn’t end like this. Anyway, in this way we had a chance to talk about it in more details.

Come on Everybody, time to play! By Nigel Gray

come-on-everybody-time-to-play-

A picture book for little children. A little girl is searching for others to play with on Sunday morning. She is looking everywhere (bathroom, kitchen, playroom etc) and finds dogs and cats and brothers. In the end they all end up in the parents’ bed. There are some flaps to flip but not on all pages. it’s a cute book but my kids weren’t so impressed.

Teddy hunt (Marks&Spencer)

letöltés (1)

Again a book for the really young. A little boy wants to go for a picnic and is looking for his Teddy. The child can lift the flaps as the rhyming story goes on and on, as the boy is looking everywhere. Finally he finds his Teddy in the picnic basket. The touchy-feely last page adds an extra on the last page. (My kids started to fight over who should open the picnic basket and pat the teddy.)

Where’s my egg? by Tony Mitton

9780763606916

A cute little story about Mother Hen who can’t find her egg. She is checking everywhere, at the farm animals. Finally she finds the egg, more presicely her hatched chick. Little L. loved the story, the animals and the feelings (mother Hen is really sad through the story, so much she starts to cry, but she cheers up when she meets her little chick)

Red Fire Engine

s-l300

I thought it would be a bigger hit, but Little L is not a baby any more. She still likes pushing buttons, but she is more interested in stories and clearly this book doesn’t have much of a story. This is more for kids under 2.

Look what I’ve found by Nick Sharrat

51NG2Q3168L._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_

We love this series of A Flip-flap book, by Walker Books. In this one a little girl is exploring the beach with her Dad and finds interesting things. My kids’ favourite part is when she finds the ice-cream place.

The girls also asked to read some older books like Noah’s Ark by Lucy Cousins, Pooh! Is that you Birtie? by David Roberts, or Chocolate Moose for greedy Goose by Julia Donaldson. (You can read a short review and my kids’ opinion about the books on the links)

We also read some Easter books but I’ll write about them in a seperate post.

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!