谁拉的便便? Who did the poo?

Well the kids seem to love poo so much, so our next story time our book is all about 谁拉的便便?(shéi lā de biàn biàn?) or ‘Who did the poo?’


Kids will get to guess ‘who did it’ and we will also add a few words about what happens before a poo…(eating!) and what we do after our poo (this language is great to hear over and over in the wiping bottom song)!

An interesting note for parents….in Chinese they don’t ‘do’ a poo, they ‘pull’ a poo.  The verb is 拉 (lā) , and can mean to pull, or drag etc.  We might think the verb ‘to push’ might make more sense!  But I think it is used more in the sense ‘to draw’ something out…the verb is also used when playing musical instruments that involve a bow being ‘dragged or drawn’ across a string:  拉小提琴 (lā xiǎo tí qín) or ‘play a violin’.

Here is the transcript to the book:

谁拉的便便? 我拉的。shéi lā de biàn biàn? wǒ lā de.  Who did the poo?  I did!

怎么没有人? zěn me méi yǒu rén.  What, no one is there?

我正在冲便便呢!wǒ zhèng zài chōng biàn biàn ne.  I was just flushing!

拉完了便便还应该做什么呢? lā wán le biàn biàn hái yīng gāi zuò shén me ne ?When you’ve done your poo what should you do?

擦屁股,穿裤子,冲马桶,洗洗手 cā pì gu,chuān kù zi ,chōng mǎ tǒng ,xǐ xǐ shǒu.  Wipe bottom, pull up pants, flush, wash hands.

我们每天都要吃东西。wǒ men měi tiān dōu yāo chī dōng xi 。We eat stuff everyday.

我们每天都要上厕所。wǒ men měi tiān dōu yāo shàng cè suǒ 。We go to the toilet everyday.

I think our story ending might be a good springboard to learn about being hungry and eating things….so we will enjoy Groovi Pauli’s song ‘I’m Hungry!’  Food and poos…kiddy heaven!

Lyrics to song:

What sound is that?  什么声音? shén me shēng yīn?
Are you hungry? 你饿吗? nǐ è ma?

I’m hungry 我饿了wǒ è le
I want to eat something 想吃东西 xiǎng chī dōng xī
So hungry.

Ah-ya. I’m so hungry. 哎呀。我好饿。āi yā  wǒ hǎo è
My stomach is rumbling. 我肚子咕噜咕噜叫。wǒ dù zi gū lū gū lū jiào
I want to eat eat eat eat something. 我要吃吃吃吃东西。wǒ yào chī chī chī chī dōng xī
I want to eat til I’m full. 我要吃到饱。wǒ yào chī dào bǎo

I’m hungry 我饿了wǒ è le
I want to eat something 想吃东西 xiǎng chī dōng xī
So hungry.


两只老虎 Two tigers

While the big kids have fun with Chinese names, little kids will enjoy Henre Tullet’s ’10 times 10′, and look at some strange faces whilst doing some maths!  Tullet’s books are an awesome fun read in any language!


And learn a song with another strange situation, the very popular Chinese song 两只老虎 (liǎng zhǐ lǎo hǔ) ‘Two Tigers’.  Both the book and the song reinforce measure words, the change of èr to liǎng when counting things, body parts, and the song also reinforces the concept of 没有 méi yǒu(none, or doesn’t have any!) and the complement of degree structure 得 (de).  But you don’t need to worry about these grammar rules, just listen and sing and they will come naturally!!!


Lyrics are:

一只没有 尾巴

liǎng zhī lǎo hǔ, liǎng zhī lǎo hǔ
pǎo dé kuài, pǎo dé kuài
yī zhī méi yǒu ěr duǒ
yī zhī méi yǒu wěi bā
zhēn qí guài, zhēn qí guài

Two Tigers, Two Tigers
Running very fast, Running very fast
One has no ears, One has no tail,
How strange! How strange!

Mandarin Motion Song and Story Time Wed 28th Sept 2016

We may ‘Pull the Turnip’ with the littlies this week!  Here is a pik of my kids (at front and back!) pulling the turnip in a story time class many years ago…can you recognise them?!


Here is a video of the song, but we will just substitute the animals names with the children’s names to come and help ‘Pull’!  Lyrics are also below.

拔萝卜    拔萝卜

嘿哟   嘿哟   拔萝卜

嘿哟   嘿哟   拔不动

小花猫    快快来


Bá luóbo bá luóbo
Hēi yō hēi yō bá luóbo
Hēi yō hēi yō bá bù dòng
Xiǎohuā māo kuài kuài lái
Kuài lái bāng wǒmen bá luóbo

Pull the turnip, pull the turnip
Hey yo hey ​​yo pull the turnip
Hey yo hey ​​yo it won’t move!
Little Kitten, come quickly
Come quickly and help us pull the turnip


Mandarin Motion Song and Story Time Wednesday 21st September

We will read this book this week…拉㞎㞎 (lā bǎ ba), or ‘Doing a Poo’!

doing a poo book

We will weave what we have been learning up to now with some new stuff! So keep practicing the songs from the last two sessions!

For older kids this week we will be working out how to ask ‘Where is the toilet?’ 厕所在哪里?cè suǒ zài nǎ lǐ?or 洗手间在哪里?xǐ shǒu jiān zài nǎ lǐ? by substituting words from the song ‘Where is the teacher?’ with our new words from our book!

We will also be introducing the tones of Mandarin through some funny parts of our story, for more info on tones you can see an old blog post on tones and poo!

They will also get to learn how to ask and answer questions about colour…as our main character in the story has to try many toilets with different coloured doors! 这是什么颜色? zhè shì shén me yán sè? What colour is this? A strategy to remember the colour names to answer the questions will be going through our colour songs.

Older kids will also be introduced to a technique of remembering our words called ‘kinesthetic music review’ which involves saying the words with a hand gesture to the beat of an instrumental song!

Little kids will enjoy the songs they are getting to know, enjoy our ‘Doing a Poo’ book, and keeping with the theme, get to dance and sing to this cool ‘Wiping Bottom’ song! Older kids can have a laugh at this song too! For the full transcript and lyrics of this video, you can visit an old blog post on ‘Wiping Bottoms’.



一整天没有电力! A whole day without Electricity!



一整天没有电力吗? 什么?真的吗? (yī zhěng tiān méi yǒu diàn lì ma? shén me? zhēn de ma?) A whole day without electricity? What? Really!?

NB. For link to learning about the Global Goals leading to this project click here Heroes for Change (Global Goals link to Solar Buddy Project)  

For link to promoting the Energy Poverty / Solar Buddy awareness and fundraising event click here  Sending Light

On Sunday the 18th September, we are going to spend 一整天没有电力 (yī zhěng tiān méi yǒu diàn lì) or in English spend ‘A whole day with NO ELECTRICITY!’

Here are our rules for our day without electricity…as brainstormed by me and the kids

  • Fridge/Freezer  can remain plugged in for the day {to avoid food spoilage} , but we are not allowed to use any perishable / frozen foods, or the ice machine etc. Fridge and freezer will be taped shut!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • no other electrical devices can be used
  • devices that need to be charged eg. mobile phone, iPads, computers,  power tools, blower brush etc. even if  they are charged they cannot be used
  • no electric lights cannot be used even at night
  • we cannot  shop at a store using electricity, or go to a place using electricity eg. cinema
  • we cannot go to a coffee shop / restaurant for coffee or meals!
  • only cold water can be used in shower /washing up bowls etc.
  • we can use our camping Trangia cooker (runs on methylated spirits) to cook
  • we can walk to the markets and buy fresh fruit and veg for the day, and use food items in the pantry cupboard
  • Electricity will be turned off at the meter box (leaving only the fridge connected)

How did we get to this challenge?

One of our recent projects is the ‘Solar Buddy’ project.   It is an initiative by a Qld guy Simon Doble to eradicate energy poverty.  It involves kids making a solar light to send to kids in parts of the world that have no electricity.

This video taken from the ‘World’s Largest Lesson’ resources, has helped the kids to understand the impacts of energy poverty.  From there they have researched more into the problems, and other initiatives and actions people are taking to help achieve the goal of ‘Affordable and clean energy’ for everyone.

Whenever we do a project now, we talk about whether we are working towards achieving the UN’s global goals for sustainable development.  It is obvious that by sending a solar light to an energy impoverished family we are helping achieve the goal of ‘Affordable and Clean Energy’.  But when we started to learn more about energy poverty, how energy poverty prevents people from earning a living,  developing their community, learning, and how using fuels such as kerosene for power actually causes more deaths than malaria, we realised that by taking part in this initiative, we are actually helping to achieve many other global goals too, including ‘No Poverty’, ‘Quality Education’ ‘Good Health and Well Being’, ‘Climate Action’ and ‘Reduced Inequalities’.

One little activity the kids have done, is to brainstorm everything they do in a typical day, like eating breakfast, taking a bath, keyboard lessons, researching for projects, baking, having dinner, watching TV, reading in bed etc.  Nearly everything we do, relies on electricity we take for granted!  A big connection the kids have made since watching the video on energy poverty and doing this daily routine exercise, is how much electricity we need for  our ‘learning’.  We now understand how much children’s ‘learning’ is affected in energy impoverished areas of the world.  Most of our learning involves Ipads, Computers, TV (to display stuff in our classroom), even their piano lessons includes electricity for the keyboard, Ipad, the Internet and the TV!  This made the kids want to help even more with reducing energy poverty.

The kids put together their solar lights that they are going to send to other kids (country to be advised yet).  Their next project is to come up with a creative way to share their learning of energy poverty to the community, and raise some money to send the lights, which we will share when they have completed.

In the meantime, they suggested that we go without electricity for a whole day, to try and get a feel for what it is like!   From the daily routine brainstorming, they came up with a list of electrical devices that we use.  They translated them all into Chinese.


Fridge 冰箱 bīng xiāng Toaster 烤面包机 kǎo miàn bāo jī
Cooker 炉子 lú zi Microwave 微波炉 wēi bō lú
Lights dēng Hot Water System 热水器 rè shuǐ qì
Kettle 水壶 shuǐ hú Television 电视 diàn shì
Computers 电脑 diàn nǎo Ipads /tablets 平板 píng bǎn
Mobile Phone 手机 shǒu jī Fans 电扇 diàn shàn
Washing machine 洗衣机 xǐ yī jī Piano keyboard 电子琴


diàn zǐ qín
Internet WiFi 无线网络 wú xiàn wǎng luò Coffee Machine 咖啡机 kā fēi jī
Power tools 电工具 diàn gōng jù DVD Player DVD播放机 DVD bō fàng jī

We will be turning them all off on Sunday, so we will be singing Groovi Pauli’s 关掉 ‘Turn it Off’  (for details how to access this song and a powerpoint of the lyrics to this song click on this old blog post) all day and substituting every device into the lyrics!

I don’t know how I am going to go the whole day without a decent coffee or check Facebook…but the kids seem pretty excited to have nothing but the solar buddy light to find their way to bed!

Mandarin Motion Song and Story Time 7th Sept 2016

green monster

Hi all, in today’s session we will read and sing about face parts, colours, numbers, class instructions, do a fitness routine and how to ask ‘Where?’ something is!  Sound like a lot for a first session?  Don’t worry, its all about fun and moving…these songs and more are repeated over and over in our sessions…a couple of sessions and kids will be singing along in no time at all…and making their own connections to piecing a second language together!  Remember we don’t go away with vocabulary lists in this class!  We just learn through motion!!

Some links to some of the songs we will sing in this first session are below, so that you can continue learning at home!

Our Hello and Goodbye song is here!  NB. this needs Flash so won’t work on Apple devices.  When the window opens just click on the big green arrow button to start!!

Our face song, this is a little video of Aurora singing this for you! Plus the lyrics to sing along to!

Our colour song, also here with Aurora singing for you, plus lyrics!

Our number rap is here, courtesy of YOYO Chinese!

Our potato face song is here.  Courtesy of Jingle Bilingual.

Our ‘Where’s the teacher?’ song is here, courtesy of Basho and Friends.

Our exercise song (I will probably use this one for the littlies group – courtesy of Groovi Pauli)

Our exercise song (I will probably use this one for the older group)

Where is my Friend? – We don’t actually play this song in class, we will use the basic lyrics though to ‘substitute’ the word ‘Friend’ for whatever we are looking for in class when we play a game…but here is the link to the very original and well known song in Chinese if you want to become familiar with the tune and basic lyrics!

The story we will be reading is: ‘Go Away Big Green Monster’ by Ed Emberley.  You can get the English version of the book if you want to, library will have it, and just replace the face parts in Mandarin as a start to reading to your kids!  Then when you are confident with the face parts, add the colours etc.  We will read this book a few times over the coming weeks, and tell the story ourselves using the Big Green Monster Puppet! You can easily make versions of the puppet to continue the learning at home if you don’t have the book!  As well as having fun with face parts and colours, this story also exposes students to the grammatical concepts of possession (的), measure words and changing 二 to 两 when counting – connections for the future!

big green monster.htm



父亲节快乐! Happy Father’s Day!

Well it’s Father’s Day this weekend in Australia!  But in China it is not celebrated on the same day.  In China ‘Dad’ is 爸爸(Bà ba) which sounds like exactly the same word for the number  ‘Eight’ in Chinese 八(bā). So it makes sense to make Father’s Day on 八月八号(bā yuè bā hào) The Eight Month Eight Day! 八八=爸爸! A more formal word for father is 父亲(fù qīn), so Father’s Day in China is often referred to as 父亲节(fù qīn jié, literally father festival).  To say Happy Fathers Day we just add a ‘Happy’ onto the end 父亲节快乐!(fù qīn jié kuài lè!).

In Australia though it is this weekend (4th Sept), so here is a great song to sing along to, to your 爸爸 on Father’s Day!  Groovi Pauli has lots of other cool songs, so check out all his albums on iTunes and you can listen to them in the car! Words to the song are below.

爸爸(bà ba), 你带我去打球 (nǐ dài wǒ qù dǎ qiú). X2
(Daddy, you take me to play ball.)

爸爸(bà ba), 你陪我看书 (nǐ péi wǒ kàn shū). X2
(Daddy, you read books with me.)

爸爸(bà ba), 我和你在一起 (wǒ hé nǐ zài yì qǐ).X2
(Daddy, I am with you together.)

爸爸(bà ba),你给我鼓励 (nǐ gěi wǒ gǔ lì).X2
(Daddy, you give me encouragement.)

爸爸(bà ba), 爸爸(bà ba), 父亲节快乐! (fù qīn jié kuài lè)!
(Daddy, Daddy, happy father’s day!)

爸爸(bà ba),你带我去游泳. (nǐ dài wǒ qù yóu yǒng). X2
(Daddy, you take me swimming.)

爸爸(bà ba), 你陪我看电影.(nǐ péi wǒ kàn diàn yǐng). X2
(Daddy, you watch movies with me.)

爸爸(bà ba),你陪我玩躲猫猫. (nǐ péi wǒ wán duǒ māo māo). x2
(Daddy, you play hide and seek with me.)

爸爸(bà ba), 爸爸(bà ba), 父亲节快乐! (fù qīn jié kuài lè)! x2
(Daddy, Daddy, happy father’s day!)

大便便和水 Poos and Water!

We’ve been enjoying watching ‘Absolute Genius’, my kids especially loved this episode about Bazalgette’s genius sewer network idea in London at the time of ‘The Great Stink’. (The show is available on iView till 3rd May 2016).  It’s a cool show that has two seemingly not so genius dudes, Dick and Dom that take genius ideas and look at them from scientific, technological, sociological and artistic perspectives. The genius idea springboards their own crazy idea, and they then seek help from modern day geniuses on how to get their idea to fruition.  Each episode has spring boarded my kids into lots of research and their own experiments too.  Kids find poo funny and intriguing, and watching crazy explosion poo experiments have enabled us to make lots of connections, eg. why are we putting an exhaust fan in our new downstairs toilet?  If you want some Mandarin connections to ‘poo’ check out previous posts Primary School Toilet Humour and Tones and Doing a Poo   guaranteed to get kids learning Mandarin!

But it’s actually 水 (shuǐ) WATER that all this has led us to…the curiosity of where our poo goes has led us to booking on an educational tour of our local sewerage treatment facility  next week.  And our research is leading us to understanding that it’s not just what we do in the toilet that goes through our sewers…it’s water from everything we do at home and industry.  Water isn’t ‘made’, we only have what is on our planet.  Our natural water cycle ensured we always had clean water…till populations and industry grew…then it needed some help so we didn’t all die of dirty polluted water!

Connections to personal experiences make learning so much deeper, and all this new learning has reminded us of a special place we used to visit when we stayed in Kunming, China a few years ago, called Haigeng Park on the edge of  滇池, Diānchí (Lake Dian).   It was quite a surreal experience every time we visited, because on the one hand it is a place for locals and tourists to take in the beautiful vistas of the mountains and lake, on the other hand we were looking at one of the most polluted lakes in the world. Before 1990, 90 percent of Kunming’s wastewater was pumped untreated into the lake. The lake water is now undrinkable despite several billion dollars having been spent trying to clean it up. Some experts predict that over 55% of the lake’s fish population has been killed off by this disease ridden type of pollution. The water in the lake is rated grade V (the worst grade) which makes the water unfit for agricultural or industrial uses.  We remember locals fishing there, and being told that the fish would end up at markets, and seeing workers in small boats their full time job to constantly pull out blue green algae .  This experience has enabled us to have many discussions together and comparisons to how both China and Australia deal with water pollution. This new layer of experiences and knowledge is all part of a journey to understanding this problem of water pollution, which can be deceivingly, cleverly, often purposefully hidden from our view, but that we all need to understand and act on for our future sustainability. For more piks of our visits to Lake Dian you can check out the blog post Our Living The Chinese Way of Life Project

More Mandarin water connections…  The kids made the posters at the top of this post to hang over our sinks to remind us about our precious water.  They were inspired after learning Groovi Pauli’s song ‘Conserve Water’, which you can watch below! (see iTunes for his other great songs off his Green Album!). Lyrics to the song are underneath, just copy and paste them into word to enlarge if you want to do any art or write them on your own water awareness poster.  A great technique used in the song and posters, are to write in ‘Chinglish’, and rhyme Chinese and English words together, helps the brain to remember vocab, in this case ‘没有水 NOT OK’ (shui rhymes with OK).  Or you can download this  Conserve Water Poster  that we made to go with the song.

The character for water in Chinese is 水, and another great idea is to create visual art works around Chinese characters like the works above that my son and daughter did, to help visualise meaning of Chinese characters. If you would like to do this, copy the character and enlarge to print nice and big to draw your own imaginative water picture around it, or try and draw the character yourself as part of your picture.

All these poo and water connections because of an absolute genius called Bazalgette!

水,节约用水 shuǐ, jié yuē yòng shuǐ Water, conserve water.
水,节约用水 shuǐ, jié yuē yòng shuǐ Water, conserve water.

人人需要水 rén rén xū yào shuǐ Everyone needs water.
没有水not OK méi yǒu shuǐ Not OK Without water, it’s not OK
不要浪费水 bú yào làng fèi shuǐ Don’t waste water.
人人节约用水 rén rén jié yuē yòng shuǐ Everyone conserve water.

水,节约用水 shuǐ, jié yuē yòng shuǐ Water, conserve water.
水,节约用水 shuǐ, jié yuē yòng shuǐ Water, conserve water.

很多人没有水 hěn duō rén méi yǒu shu Many people don’t have water.
找水走很远 zhǎo shuǐ zǒu hěn yuǎn They walk far to find water.
有的水不干净 yǒu de shuǐ bù gān jìng Some water is not clean.
喝了会生病 hē le huì shēng bìng Drink it and become sick.

水,节约用水 shuǐ, jié yuē yòng shuǐ Water, conserve water.
水,节约用水 shuǐ, jié yuē yòng shuǐ Water, conserve water.


功夫熊猫 Kung Fu Panda!

The long awaited Kung Fu Panda 3 is about to hit our screens!  The theme tune is a cool bilingual song called ‘Try’ by Patrick Brasca and Jay Chou.  Why not learn the Chinese part to sing along? Even if you are new to Chinese, singing along will help your brain network the sounds of those unfamiliar pinyin syllables!  And you can impress your friends with Kung Fu awesomeness in Chinese!

Lyrics to the Chinese part, with pinyin transliteration and English translation see below the video link.

我说几华里我送别了过去                 I say, I waved goodbye to the past at a place a few miles away
他们说人生的结局非常的戏剧        They say, the ending of life is very dramatic
塞外羌笛孤城马蹄                              Beyond the Great Wall, there is a lonely castle, with Qiang (an ethic group) flutes singing and  horses trit-trotting.
在武侠的世界里谁与谁来为敌          Who is whose enemy in the world of Kongfu masters?
黄沙里用竹笔写下的字叫勇气          Yellow sand rises. “Courage” is written down with Bamboo stick

这世界有些事有些人凭感觉               Follow your feeling to understand people and the world
别管他旌旗密布遍野狼烟霜雪            though banners waving, smoke signals rising, frost and snow covering the wild
那故事在穿越而我也在翻页               That story is travelling across time, and I am turning to a new page
一行行做好准备敏锐而直接               Be prepared, word by word, abruptly and directly

爱不灭真实的一切废话全收回            Love never destroys truth, so stop chattering nonsense.


Wǒ shuō jǐ huálǐ wǒ sòngbiéle guòqù
tāmen shuō rénshēng de jiéjú fēicháng de xìjù
sàiwài qiāngdí gūchéng mǎtí
zài wǔxiá de shìjiè lǐ shuí yǔ shuí lái wèi dI

Hé:La la la la la la la la la
huáng shā lǐ yòng zhú bǐ xiě xià de zì jiào yǒngqì

Zhè shìjiè yǒuxiē shì yǒuxiē rén píng gǎnjué
biéguǎn tā jīngqí mìbù biànyě lángyān shuāng xuě
nà gùshì zài chuānyuè ér wǒ yě zài fān yè
yī háng háng zuò hǎo zhǔnbèi mǐnruì ér zhíjiē

hé:La la la la la la la la la
ài bù miè zhēnshí de yīqiè fèihuà quán shōuhuí

博客作业 Blog assignment

The middle school have set up their blogs, all with personalized cool designs, and posted their first Mandarin welcome post!

Now for the first blog assignment:

music kinesthetic2

We have been practicing fast recall of Vocab through musical and kinesthetic review.   Talk about this in a blog post!

Things to include:

Describe to your reader what we actually do in a kinesthetic music review.

Do you think music and movement help the brain to remember things? Discuss your thoughts.

What kind of music is best?  Suggest a piece of music you like that would be a good to use for a kinesthetic music review of vocabulary.

List the words that are we recalling at the moment.  Type them in pinyin with tone marks. Typing in pinyin with tone marks is a new skill, see this ‘typing pinyin’ post for a reminder of how we did this in class) What do these words mean? Explain how you typed in pinyin.

The bold words above are MYP commands, think about them, they are useful terms in all of your subjects.

I look forward to seeing your assignments!  You will see other students’ assignment posts on your dashboard post feeder.  Comment, discuss and help each other with corrections.

For some inspiration, I have found a version of Coldplay’s ‘Clocks’ performed by the ‘Twelve Girls Band’ using traditional Chinese instruments.  Together with a backdrop of China, I think it’s a good instrumental piece to do our kinesthetic musical vocabulary review! Enjoy!