Zhuyin Class Week 3

The zhuyin class is starting to flow by.

Week 3 seems to be a magical week, just like our summer zhuyin class, where the beginning sounds, the blending, are all starting to gel.  I think I was just slightly worried by the end of week 2, feeling like I’m not teaching well.  But seeing Astroboy is blending like mad reminds me I need to be patient when it comes to phonics.  It really doesn’t happen overnight.

For Astroboy, he’s reached a new stage where he’s compulsively spelling everything during the day.  “Mama, 請你給我 ㄉ ㄢ 蛋.” And he’s progressed to 3 zhuyin blends.   He’ll spend 30 minutes painstakingly reading through his favorite 小雞 books.  We finished Series 1 of Sagebooks two weeks ago and those extra characters are making it a bit easier for him to read through those books.  The same thing would not work on Thumper.  Or rather, she would get discouraged having to read that slowly and the general feeling of “not knowing”.   I’m not complaining about Thumper.  Just that it still manages to surprise me seeing how two kids could learn so different.

Anyways, this week we’re learning ㄌㄑㄗㄩㄜㄢㄤㄥ.

I’m changing our lesson focus a bit and teaching stroke order of the zhuyin characters, in addition to constantly popping up with “I know! 報紙 starts with ㄅ!”  Like the last zhuyin class, after a few times of this the kids really caught up to beginning sound idea and had a lot of fun randomly coming up with words.

 zhuyin week 3

Anyways, we folded up a paper into 16 squares, for each one, we drew a picture, wrote down how to spell it in the next 2 squares, and then finished by re-writing that zhuyin one more time.  By doing this, Astroboy works on his spelling.  On a side note, I’ve noticed because he’s spelling (and therefore hearing individual sounds), he’s picking up learning English phonics fairly quickly.

Because we’re progressing a bit faster, I really wanted to make sure that the zhuyin symbol itself is remembered.  So we played zhuyin bingo.

For the second class, for review I had Astroboy come up with a word and then try to spell it.  I was surprised that it adds a level of difficulty.  Sometimes I think Astroboy can spell something, but it turns out maybe he knows just how to spell one particular word, and not necessarily can hear the sound to spell every word.

 zhuyin week 3
Because he wanted to make the volcano in the classroom erupt this Friday, another exercise we did was to make a little recipe booklet.  We folded a piece of paper into 4.  For each square we drew the ingredient we needed to make a volcano erupt and then tried to spell it.  I worked on having him hear
the ending sound of the word instead of having them come up with just beginning sound and providing the ending sound.  It was heartingly to me that
he didn’t have too much trouble with it.

For the third class, we rewrote this recipe again and then Astroboy had a lot of fun pouring different colored vinegar volcano down the volcano and watching it erupt.

Eh?  Volcano?  In a Zhuyin class?

That was my response when I first saw this type of activity in summer zhuyin class.  After watching it a few times, I realized it works in a class format because

  • the kids need to learn vocabulary in Chinese.  They may know it in English, but not necessarily Chinese.
  • having concrete experience to tie with a zhuyin helps them remember it.  For sure the folding of airplanes a week ago was a hit and it is now something they tend to want to spell and do spell correctly.
  • a variety of experiences ala How We Learn makes learning more stimulating and fun.  I wish I’d known I could have done it other ways when I was teaching Thumper.

We’re now 1/3 way through the class.   Sometimes I get antsy and feel like we’re not progressing fast enough.  But looking back, we’ve only learned 1/3 of the 57 sounds in zhuyin, we’ve still got a ways to go…..


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