Sunday, January 29, 2017

Using Minecraft to bribe our kids into learning Chinese

Yes, we bribe our kids, and we're not ashamed of it. Although this isn't really a parenting blog, I guess a lot of teaching your kids Chinese comes down to how you parent. There are lots of resources on this site to help you teach your kids Chinese, but what good are resources if you don't implement them? We have found a lot of success recently, and we just wanted to share. If you parent in a different way, I hope that sharing our experience will be helpful in one way or another to you.

We tried many times in the past to have a rewards system to help our kids make good choices. We tried sticker charts and point systems, but they always seemed to fizzle out. One day, I realized it was because there wasn't an adequate reward that the kids could work for. Our oldest is 6 years old, and all of his friends are starting to talk about Minecraft. That was a light bulb moment!

Here is how we implemented it.

We downloaded a simple star reward system for our phone:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.starspointskids
(White stars are 1 point, gold stars 2 points, red stars -1 point, black stars -2 points)


We established a few basic rules to establish law and order in our house:
  • Hitting = black star
  • Using bad language = red star
  • Getting up on time for breakfast in the morning = white star
  • Miss the bus = black star
  • Do homework as soon as get home = White star
  • Practice piano = White star
  • Don't practice piano = Black star
  • Pick up dog poop = Gold star
  • etc etc etc

What are the consequences of points?
  • Have negative points by dinner time = Go straight to bed
  • Have 10 points = 1 hour of Minecraft

It sounds simple and cheesy, but this has really helped our 3, 5, and 6 year old boys. It has been very effective. They love earning white and gold stars, and getting red and black stars allows us to keep our calm and let the stars be the enemies. We are not the bad guys and we don't have to yell, they simply broke the rules and suffer the consequences. And, of course, they love love love minecraft and will often do anything it takes to earn more points.

Which leads us to.... getting white stars for practicing Chinese!

One way that we do this is offering a white star for writing a page of Chinese characters in the little workbooks that we have. Our kids have happily written page after page of Chines characters, all in the quest to play Minecraft:






These little books are great for learning Chinese characters. They have the pinyin to help you pronounce and look up the word if you don't know it, pictures, tracing, stoke order, and then empty boxes to write it on your own. Books are way more convenient than printing out pages from the internet. Kids love having their own little workbook.

Where to get them?

We carry them at my store, Sharon's Dynasty!



The books we sell are slightly different than the ones pictured above, with all the same features:

As far as we know, our store has the best prices on the internet! Each book is only $3.99. Check it out if you're interested!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

给我糖果 (Give me Candy)

We just had fun making a new video. Watch it and see if it doesn't make you smile a little bit and maybe help some kids learn a bit of Chinese!


Monday, June 27, 2016

Sharon's Dynasty 苗苗王朝

I started an online store, selling Chinese Educational Media. It's called Sharon's Dynasty, 苗苗王朝. You will be able to find the website at sharonsdynasty.com. So far my inventory is currently, limited, but I have a shipment in transit from China with over 100 different books, music CDs, and DVDs. In late July my inventory of different products will expand drastically!




Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Happy Sunshine Friends

We were emailed by the creator of "Happy Sunshine Friends" with some short educational Chinese videos they made. They are pretty well made and we're always glad when people are creating more Chinese content. Check them out!








Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Chinese Story Time 1 Planning

I've started a chinese story time at my home for families that are interested in keeping up their chinese during summer time. Not sure if this will extend to school year but for now, we aim at the couple months while kids are out of school. I will be writing my story time plans here, will update with photos at the events later.

Hello everybody, welcome to Chinese Story Time.
大家好!欢迎来到中文讲故事时间。

Let's Start by singing "Twinkle twinkle little stars" in English and Chinese.
让我们开始来用英语和汉语唱“一闪一闪亮晶晶”。

First we will start with English:
我们先用英语来唱。




Let's Sing in Chinese:
让我们用汉语来唱





Now we will listen to the song in both chinese and English one more time;
现在让我们再分别用汉语和英语来唱一遍。

Give a shout out to my husband Sam who made the audio track and then recorded my kids' sing along. He did a great job with it. You can also find our original blog with lyrics here .




Let's read our first book today!
让我们来念今天的第一本书。


Dear Zoo
亲爱的动物园


Let's stand up for some music time!





Let's play the music in Chinese:





Time for our second book today:

 Wheels on the go
我最喜欢的车子


Music Time again!









Let's Learn some body parts in Chinese:







Are you ready to sing the song in Chinese? Let's do it!






Time for our last book today:

 The Very Hungry Caterpillar
好饿的毛毛虫


Goodbye Song






We have a little craft today for everybody. We are going to make a little dragon mask!


Here are the print out that I will print and give to each kid at my story time.

Hello everybody, welcome to Chinese Story Time.
大家好!欢迎来到中文讲故事时间。

Let's Start by singing "Twinkle twinkle little stars" in English and Chinese.
让我们开始来用英语和汉语唱一闪一闪亮晶晶

First we will start with English:
我们先用英语来唱
Now Lets sing it in Chinese.
现在我们来用汉语唱。

小星星
Xiao3xing1xing1
Twinkle twinkle little star

一闪一闪亮晶晶
Yi4 shan3 yi4 shan3 liang4 jing1 jing1
One twinkle, one twinkle, shine so bright;
满天都是小星星
Man3 tian1 dou1 shi4 xiao3 xing1 xing1
All the sky is full of stars;
挂在天空放光芒
Gua4 zai4 tian1 shang4 fang4 guang1 mang2
Hanging in the sky shine the brightness;
好像许多小眼睛
Hao3 xiang4 xu3 duo1 xiao3 yan3 jing1
Look like many little eyes;
一闪一闪亮晶晶
Yi4 shan3 yi4 shan3 liang4 jing1 jing1
One twinkle, one twinkle, shine so bright;
满天都是小星星
Man3 tian1 dou1 shi4 xiao3 xing1 xing1
All the sky is full of stars;



幸福拍手歌
Xìng fú pā shǒu gē


如果感到幸福你就拍拍手
guǒ gǎn dào xìng fú nǐ jiù pāi pāi shǒu
如果感到幸福你就拍拍手
guǒ gǎn dào xìng fú nǐ jiù pāi pāi shǒu
如果感到幸福你就快快拍拍手呦
guǒ gǎn dào xìng fú nǐ jiù kuài kuài pāi pāi shǒu yǒu
看那大家都一齐拍拍手
kàn nà dà jiā dōu yì qǐ pāi pāi shǒu

如果感到幸福你就跺跺脚
guǒ gǎn dào xìng fú nǐ jiù duò duò jiǎo
如果感到幸福你就跺跺脚
guǒ gǎn dào xìng fú nǐ jiù duò duò jiǎo
如果感到幸福你就快快跺跺脚呦
guǒ gǎn dào xìng fú nǐ jiù kuài kuài duò duò jiǎo yǒu
看到大家都一齐跺跺脚
kàn nà dà jiā dōu yì qǐ duò duò jiǎo



如果感到幸福你就拍拍肩
guǒ gǎn dào xìng fú nǐ jiù pāi pāi jiān
如果感到幸福你就拍拍肩
guǒ gǎn dào xìng fú nǐ jiù pāi pāi jiān
如果感到幸福你就快快拍拍肩呦
guǒ gǎn dào xìng fú nǐ jiù kuài kuài pāi pāi jiān yǒu

看到大家都一齐拍拍肩
kàn nà dà jiā dōu yìqǐ pāi pāi jiān


头肩膀膝盖脚趾歌
Tou2 jian1 bang3 xi1 gai4 jiao3 zhi3 ge1
Head Shoulder knees and toes

Head-Tou2
Shoulder-jian1 bang3 肩膀
Knees- xi1 gai4 膝盖
Toes- jiao3 zhi3 脚趾

Eyes- yan3 jing1 眼睛
Ears- er3 duo1 耳朵
Mouth-zui3 ba1 嘴巴

Nose-bi2 zi 鼻子