Sagebook Companion Resources

Finally, after months of feeling uninspired to prep (I know, so bad!), I spent some time this past weekend finishing my Chutes and Ladders set for Sagebooks.  It’s about time because Astroboy is now on Set 4 of Sagebooks and he really needs to work with the characters in some other ways to spice things up.

For awhile I was worried that he was forgetting characters left and right, because he couldn’t remember them when I reviewed with Anki.  However, this week I put all of Set 1, 2, 3’s treasure boxes in the car and he read them while we ran around time.  I was very surprised he really had no problem with set 1 or set 2, even though he couldn’t remember many characters in set 2 with Anki.

In any case, below are some free, and not so free, items I’ve created as companions to Sagebook.

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Sagebooks Character Writing Practice Sheets

sage practice sheetsI’m sure you’ve come across New Taipei City Educational Dept’s 生字簿 user-generated character practice sheets website.

Well, that website doesn’t work on Macs.

Threw a wrench into my plan to finish generating these writing practice worksheets for Astroboy.  The Great O had posted a work around before of using Lumin PDF, but that doesn’t work now for some reason.

I was very stubborn last night and figured out all the ins and outs of how they generate those practice sheets.  But it didn’t really help me until I got Mandarin Mama to open Sets 3-5 on her Windows machine and just send it back to me in PDF.

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Skritter Sagebook Lists

skritter
Two months ago, while I was researching Anki, I re-tried Skritter and Chinese Writer for the writing characters part.  Unfortunately Skritter required a subscription.  So I dropped it till this week, when I subscribed through a group order (so much cheaper!)

My first impression of Skritter, 2 months ago, was that it was very powerful, and that it was more suited for Thumper (8) than Astroboy (5).  Playing with it again today, my second impression is that the more English you know, the better suited it is for you.  It also doesn’t have zhuyin support on iOS, which is our primary OS at home.

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If you’re going to use Sagebooks, buy everything

I’ve had some people ask me for opinions on what books to buy from 基礎漢字500  Sagebooks recently.  I usually try to be balanced and take people’s needs and desires into account and say things like, “Well, if you don’t really need it, then don’t get it.”   However, I realized recently that I actually have some very strong opinions.

If you’re going to use Sagebooks to teach your child to read, don’t do it half ass and just order the readers or the treasure boxes, get everything!

I’m going to assume that you want to use Sagebooks.  Because I don’t think I can convince someone that doesn’t want to be convinced.  Mandarin Mama has a good post about what Sagebooks is.  I personally think, if your child speaks Chinese fluently, and you want them to learn to read in 1 year, then this is the best option out there.

“But…..but…!” you say.

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Sagebooks Chinese Writer Character packs

trainchineseFinally, I’m starting on compiling the resources I use to go with my Sagebooks.  Getting off my behind because Astroboy consistently cannot remember 10-15 characters from the second set, despite our reviews.  So it it time to whip out the other materials to help him remember.

We’ve been using Anki to make sure he remembers some of the old characters from Set 1 (we’re in Set 3).  Next up is Train Chinese’s Chinese Writer character packs.  The app itself is available for iTunes and Android.  This is a program which allows children to practice Chinese writing with a game app.  I don’t love the program because the font it uses for its writing is bad.  (My pet peeve, people who don’t notice these details.)   This is not a writing font, and for me it is unconsciously telling kids who use the app how they should write these characters, but it’s wrong.  For example, look at the character for 四, 回.  It should be (mostly) a box on the outside.

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Back on the horse with Sagebooks 基礎漢字 500

One of my goals this year for Astroboy is learning 500 characters.  Last year, I wasn’t consistent and we only went through 40 characters.  This year, at least for now, I’m feeling gong ho.  Especially when I’ve been telling everyone who is on the fence about using Sage that it only takes 15 minutes a day.  I can do 15 minutes a day myself can’t it?  We started about 3 weeks ago and we’re now on book 5 of first series, yay!

Okay, you can definitely do just 15 minutes a day.  But I probably spend closer to 30 minutes with Astroboy.   I recently remembered once again that Chinese characters are whole words and that I ought to try and use some whole words approach when teaching reading.   Whereas Thumper wheezed through the books due to her age and foundation from preschool, Astroboy is doing it pretty much step by step.  So I’m now developing a new routine:

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Characters #501-#510

蛇It is indeed a lot of work to try to write sentences with just 500 characters under your belt and making sure that you reuse characters you just learned, while also making sure you introduce new vocabulary that uses the same character later on. Plus, it has to follow your theme. I came up with the first 3 characters on Monday, then changed the order completely on Tuesday when I had to add new words.  As of now, I’m heavy on first grade characters, and low on verbs and adjectives.  Often, I come up with a sentence, only to realize I need to introduce this OTHER character first, and then 3 characters later, I see it’s all nouns. All this to say, it took me a few hours……and I have 10.  I’m having lot of fun though. Sadly, it took Thumper all of 3 minutes to go through the 3 characters on Monday.  She said she knew them.   I wonder just how many characters she actually knows. On my word doc, I color-coded the characters to highlight current character and review character.  I also made a list of words introduced.   Too lazy to do color-code here.  So here they are.

#601 蛇
這是一條蛇。
這條蛇住在我家。
我的蛇喜歡吃老鼠,
也喜歡曬太陽,因為蛇是冷血動物。
平常沒太陽時, 蛇在暖的燈下。

#602 錢
我在地上找到一塊錢。
昨天沒錢,今天有錢了!
我要把它放進我的錢包。
用他來買下一條魚。 
一塊錢可以買什麼魚呢?

#603 借
一條魚要十塊錢。
我沒有十塊錢, 想跟媽媽借。
媽媽問:「你想要借多少?」
我說:「我要借用九塊錢。」
她說:「記得,有借有還,再借不難!」

#604 但
我用十塊錢買了一條魚。
我現在不但有蛇,還有一條魚。
蛇沒有腳,所以用身子爬。
魚也沒有腳,他在水中遊。
蛇爬得慢,但是魚游得快。

#605 食
老鼠,蛋,小鳥 是蛇的食物,
因為他是肉食動物,
他只會吃別的動物,
有些蛇還會吃豬!
還好我們家的蛇只吃老鼠。

#606 第
我是第一個出生的,我是老大。
弟弟是第二個,所以是老二。
我們喜歡比跑步。
當我跑得快,我是第一名。
有時我跑得慢,變最後一名。

#607 龜
弟弟想要買一隻烏龜。
他第一眼看到烏龜就愛上了。
但是有些烏龜是肉食動物。
我們的蛇會吃烏龜嗎?
還是烏龜會吃蛇? 

#608 躲
弟弟也跟媽媽借錢,
買了一隻小烏龜。
烏龜喜歡玩躲貓貓,
如果你要抓它,他會躲進水裡 。
但是給他食物時他就不躲了!

#609洲
地球有七大洲。
洲是一塊很大的地。
有一些洲很大,
但是有一個洲很小。
非洲是最大的洲。

#610 洋
非常大的海叫大洋。
地球有五大洋。
太平洋是地球最大的海洋。
大西洋是第二大洋。
他在非洲和美洲的中間。