Monday, February 18, 2013

春 Character

Spring is coming!  It's time to take down all the paper snowflakes filling your windows and replace them with some simple paper-cutting decorations!

A fairly simple one is the character (chūn, spring).  First, print the file below.


You'll notice that half the character is missing.  That's ok, the idea of this handout is to have your Learner engaged in the making of this character.  This will help him/her remember the strokes that make up the character better.

There are several ways to use this worksheet:
1)  The easiest thing to do is to fold the paper in half so that the blank half of the character is hidden.  Then ask your Learner to hold the paper up to a mirror and look at the character.  What do they see?  Why did this work?  (Hint: this character is symmetrical.)

2)  Have your Learner draw, color, or decorate the character in order to fill-in the missing side.  They can use crayons, paint, play-dough, pipe-cleaners, glue and glitter, stamps, invisible ink, whatever you can think of!  Be creative!

3)  Have your Learner fold the paper in half so that the blank half is hidden.  Then cut out the outline.  When done, unfold the paper and see your beautiful 春 character!  NOTE:  You will see this character written in a couple of ways.  If you cut out the printout, you will see the right "leg" of the character (not printed) will begin on the middle horizontal line.  Sometimes, this character is written with the same leg extending from the bottom horizontal line instead.

An additional resource that I would recommend for very young Learners is the Lacing activities below.
I found this idea from "".

Friday, February 15, 2013

Friday, February 1, 2013

BrainPop- Chinese

BrainPop- 中國

If you've ever seen BrainPop, you know how great it is and it needs no more introduction.

But if you are new to the experience, this is what you should know.  BrainPop presents topics on Math, Science, Social Studies, English, Technology, Arts & Music, and Health in 5 minute videos.  The movies give an overview of a topic and can be used in the classroom as a starting point for more in-depth discussion.  In fact, thousands of schools all over the world subscribe to BrainPop and use the videos in the classroom.  BrainPop is aimed to teach kids in grades 3 and up (or about 8 years old and up)

Now, BrainPop is available in Mandarin!  This is a great resource to students learning Chinese, at any level.  The first reason why I would recommend using this app is that it gives the Chinese language student a chance to listen to nonfiction material.  Often textbooks provide stories to engage young readers.  Here is your opportunity to expand a learner's abilities with comprehending nonfiction.  This is a valuable tool if your learner is planning on using Chinese to read a newspaper, listen to the news, or study immersed in the Chinese language.  BrainPop includes a quiz that you can use to asses a learner's comprehension.

To help you navigate:  BrainPop is color-coded.  Green represents Science, Red is for Social Studies, Yellow is Literature/English, Purple is for Math, Blue contains Engineering & Technology videos, Orange teaches about Health topics, and Brown is for Arts & Music.

There are several free videos available which you can browse whenever you like.  However, if you like you can subscribe to BrainPop (there are several different BrainPops such as BrainPop, BrainPop ESL, BrainPop, Jr., and BrianPop- 中國 so be sure to subscribe to the correct one).  Subscribing will allow you to access all the videos and the accompanying materials.

Ideas for how to use BrainPop-中國
Beginners- Teach target vocabulary before viewing the movie.  When watching the movie, ask learners to raise their hand whenever they hear the target vocabulary.  For example, teach the word (qì'é, penguin), then watch the Science movie about penguins and each time a learner hears the word 企鵝, then s/he should raise his/her hand.
Intermediate- Preview the quiz questions in English, then watch the movie in Chinese.  Take the quiz in Chinese.  This helps students know what information to listen for.
Advanced- Have a discussion (in Chinese) about the topic before watching the movie.  Preview the quiz questions in Chinese and then watch the movie in Chinese.  Answer the questions in the quiz to assess comprehension and facilitate discussion.

Contact BrainPop
If you are interested in this program, but are finding it difficult to navigate a website only in Chinese, I encourage you to leave a message for the creators on their Facebook page (  This is a wonderful resource and it would be wonderful if the website could be translated in order to be more accessible to English speakers interested in learning Chinese.