Astroboy started his second iteration of zhuyin class this past week, and this one it is me teaching it all the way. I need to document what we’re doing. I realized as I was prepping for week 1 that I already did not remember all the tips and tricks I learned in our summer zhuyin class in regards to teaching. Obviously my brain doesn’t work without a lot of caffeine, which I’m weaning myself off of.
Since I’m the one teaching, I’m trying to add some Montessori-eqsue phonics exercise into the lessons. It’s really the way I’m most comfortable with teaching the children. I’m going to bypass all the theory for now in this post…it’ll make it way too long. I did do a bunch of research again last week on teaching phonics since I’m doing English phonics right now and it helped clarified some things and introduced new questions for me when it comes to teaching zhuyin.
Where we were at in regards to zhuyin
I feel like Astroboy’s zhuyin journey is kind of funky. Even though he only learned his zhuyin through Ciqo Hu and me doing some classic Montessori presentations last year, this year he was able to pick up the zhuyin symbols pretty fast, and pick up the blending pretty fast. Lots of kids can blend, but it’s the way he’s blending. It’s clear that he’s on the younger side when he sounds things out, because he’s very slow and methodical. Yet at the same time, he was able to sound out himself many of the words, even the ending sounds, after 6 weeks of zhuyin class. Because ending sounds are hard for a lot of kids. For me, either it means that the way I taught him to blend worked last year, or zhuyin class 3 days a week made the difference.
Anyways, after 6 weeks, that is where we’re at. Writing-wise, Astroboy can sound things out pretty easy if it’s 2 zhuyin word, he has a harder time with 3 because we didn’t cover all of them. And lastly he has problems with tones. Reading-wise, at the end of our summer class, he was able to read words (2 Chinese characters) well, but got tired easily when he read sentences.
First week of Class
This session we’re going to cover the same textbook, at the rate of 1 chapter per week, same as before. But since it will run for 15 weeks, we should be able to actually cover all 10 chapters.
The first week, ㄅㄆㄇㄉㄧㄠ are officially introduced. This ㄈ is sometimes added by the tutor as well and she also likes to throw in other characters into the mix as they’re shown in the flashcards we use. After the last class, one thing I thought I would try is to introduce the vowels first, then tones, then consonants. Because the hardest part children have is always the tones, which is typically taught with the vowels. Like, ㄠ, ㄠˇ, ㄅㄠˇ. However, this is counter-intuitive when you’re teaching beginning sounds first as well. So I’m not quite clear which way works better.
The first class is really about setting the tone of the class, the routines, the teacher expectations of behaviors such as raising your hand, sitting well, etc. I forgot all about that until the zhuyin tutor showed me again. After all of that is done, the 6 zhuyin characters are introduced.