Archive for July, 2006


This blog is to write down some creative ways that I’ve learned/come up with to teach Alexander, so that I’ll have something to refer to when it comes to teaching Ethan when the time comes. I’d like to share these teaching techniques with all you parents out there and hope it helps you teaching your little ones at home. My teaching media is Mandarin so you might want to modify some techniques to suit your situation. Feel free to leave any comments if you have some tips to share as well.

Teaching Math:

  • Teach numbers and counting at the same time– after counting the objects point at the co-responding number. Try to use the same object or it may confuse little mind. If introducing 1-10 is too much for little kids to absorb, break down the numbers into 2 groups: 1-5 and 6-10. First introducing counting 1-5 then when your kid is more comfortable then move the group 6-10.
  • Draw a "pool of numbers" and ask Alexander to find a particular number, then circle them all and then count how many of the same number in the pool.
  • Draw several groups of objects (objects in each group being different) and write two numbers– one is the co-responding number to the object in the group and the other is not. Then have Alexander count the objects in each group and circle the correct number to the objects.
  • Draw several groups of objects on one side of the paper and the co-responding numbers on the other side of the paper, then ask Alexander to draw a line to connect the groups to the numbers.
  • Use materials in daily life as counting objects– cheerios, grapes, olives, chairs, pillows, crackers, Thomas wooden trains, books etc.
  • Use magnetic color numbers– stick them on the fridge and ask Alexander to find a certain number (1, 2 or 3 digits); can also ask him the color of the numbers. If he has problem find the number, give him a hint by telling him the relative location (eg. at the left, right, top, bottom of some other numbers or the fridge). On a advanced level, can pose a daily math problem on the fridge and ask Alexander to solve the problem (once he learns addition/ subtraction/ multiplication/ division).
  • Use interesting stampers– write down a number and ask Alexander to stamp to co-respond to that number, or I stamp and ask Alexander to count how many stamping there are. Interesting stickers will do the same.
  • _0 reprents tenth, _00 represents __ hundred(s), _000 represents ___ thousand(s)– example: 60 is sixty, 600 is six hundreds, 6000 is six thousands.
  • If Alexander is not quite interested in writing numbers, use Thomas engine as a trick (example: let’s write 1 for Thomas, 5 for James etc).

Teaching Chinese— my efforts is mostly emphasized on speaking and character recognizing, writing and stroke learning required lots of time and efforts and I might need to let the school teachers do that part…

  • Repeat, repeat, repeat– at early stage, point at an object and tell Alexander what it is in Chinese (and also in English), repeat several times. Once he knows to talk, ask him to traslate the word (example: grape is "pu tao").
  • Associate the character to the picture. If the character is a verb, perform the action (can do it together) so Alexander will have a deeper impression.
  • Write down the character on a index card and put it next to the object that represent the character (example: write down "door" on an index card and place it on the door). Once Alexander under the relative direction (left, right, top, bottom, middle etc ), can also ask him questions about direction (example: is the word "door" on the top or bottom of the door?).
  • Use stickers/stampers– with pictures of the stickers/stamps on one side of the paper, write the characters representing the pictures on the other side of the paper. Then ask Alexander to draw a line to connect the pictures and the characters. Or write the character and ask Alexander to find the sticker/stamp picture that associate with the character.
  • Read chinese stories together and have Alexander find out the characters that he already knows.
  • To test if Alexander really knows a particular character without hint from the pictures, cover up the picture and ask him what is that character.
  • Once Alexander knows some characters (without looking at the pictures), point at the characters randomly and ask him (eventually at a faster speed).
  • Use magnetic picture puzzles– write several characters and stick them on the fridge, then ask Alexander to find the puzzle and put it next to the character.

Teaching Letters:

  • Use letter blocks, puzzles, magnetic letters, books, ABC songs, toys to introducing the letters at early stage.
  • Introduce only upper case letters first if all is too much for little brain to absorb. Do the lower case letters later.
  • Ask Alexander to draw a line to connect upper and lower case letters (example: A — a, B — b etc).
  • Ask Alexander to spell out the word, can use Thomas train and other train characters as teaching tool to get him interested.
  • Draw a "pool of letters" and ask Alexander to find a particular letter, then circle them all and then count how many of the same letter in the pool.

Wow… this is a pretty long list… hopefully you don’t fall asleep reading it. I will post if I have some new ideas. Thanks for checking!

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