Our Mandarin Hokey Pokey video :-)

The Hokey Pokey song in Mandarin is called 唱歌跳舞  (chàng gē tiào wǔ) which is literally  ‘sing songs and dance’ in English!

This is just full of grammar learning opportunities, and also gets the kids up and dancing like they are at a party!

It has position/location sentence structure (inside, outside), left and right, and body parts.

But it is the repeated 把 construction that is the winner for me!   The 把 sentence pattern in Chinese is tricky for older students to get their heads around, yet little kids get to hear this sentence pattern in this song, and so many other songs and classroom instructions, so many times that they will never have a problem with understanding the grammar of it when they get older!


Here is a video of us singing the song at our Mandarin Song and Story Time, with the words below.

Here are the lyrics:





Chorus: 唱歌跳舞, 转个圆圈, 大家笑哈哈




摇摇你的手 (Chorus)




摇摇你的脚 (Chorus)




摇摇你的脚 (Chorus)




摇摇你自己 (Chorus)

bǎ yòu shǒu fàng miàn

bǎ yòu shǒu fàng wài miàn

bǎ yòu shǒu fàng miàn

yáo yáo nǐ de shǒu

(Chorus) chàng gē tiào wǔ zhuǎn gè yuán quān

dà jiā xiào hā hā

bǎ zuǒ shǒu fàng miàn

bǎ zuǒ shǒu fàng wài miàn

bǎ zuǒ shǒu fàng lí miàn

yáo yáo nǐ de shǒu (Chorus)

bǎ yòu jiǎo fang miàn

bǎ yòu jiǎo fàng wài miàn

bǎ yòu jiǎo fàng miàn

yáo yáo nǐ de jiǎo (Chorus)

bǎ zuǒ jiǎo fàng miàn

bǎ zuǒ jiǎo fàng wài miàn

bǎ zuǒ jiǎo fàng miàn

yáo yáo nǐ de jiǎo (Chorus)

bǎ zì jǐ fàng miàn

bǎ zì jǐ fàng wài miàn

bǎ zì jǐ fàng miàn

yáo yáo nǐ zì jǐ (Chorus)

Translation is much the same as English with a few changes: You put your right hand in, you put your right hand out, You put your right hand in, and you shake it all about, sing and dance and you turn around, everybody laugh.  Repeat with left hand, right foot, left foot and whole body, and add your ‘bottom’ (pigu) for a fun one at the end 🙂

This particular translaton was taken from ‘Sing and Learn’ by Trio Jan Jeng and Selina Yoon.  You can purchase the whole CD on iTunes.

Getting fit- Kondalilla and Mt Ngungun

We are doing really well exercising every day, but Sundays are our day to do something longer or more challenging. Didn’t wanna drive too far today, and some of our favorite walks that aren’t too far away we’ve done so many times that they are not that challenging to us anymore.  So we decided to do the Kondalilla Circuit, 4.7 KMs down to the waterfall and back up, have a bit of brunch, and then climb Mt Ngungun on the way home.

Kondallilla circuit was an easy but lovely shady rainforest walk to start our Sunday morning. Kondallilla is an Aboriginal word meaning ‘rushing water’, and the falls were really flowing today!

It’s mango season, so mango and bananas were our fueling refreshments along the way.

After a bbq brunch, and a coffee for us and iceblock for kids in Montville, off to Mt Ngungun for our climb.  At a peak of 235m, when Kathmandu will start us at 1300m, it’s not exactly altitude training…but the closest we are going to get to it here 🙂 It’s only 2.7km up and down, but a good climb, and in midday 33 degree heat it’s a good cardio workout. More cool refreshing mangos when we got back down to the bottom.  Its geography and Aboriginal links can be explored at the visitor center at the start of the Glasshouse Mountains in Beerburrum. The info on the leaflets though seemed to be very ‘white male explorers historic notes’ oriented…so our plan is to try and find some indigenous perspectives of the area, as this climb will feature a few times over next few months I think it would be good to learn a little more about the mountain’s history.

But for today, nice views of the Glasshouse Mountains, good exercise, and a lovely outdoors in nature way to spend a Sunday with the family 🙂

Australian Curriculum Outcomes

As we explore the history of Ngungun, a few outcomes from the HASS curriculum:

Pose questions to investigate people, events, places and issues
The diversity of Australia’s first peoples and the long and continuous co nnection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to Country / Place (land, sea, waterways and skies)

year 5/6 Health outcome:

discussing the importance of social support and a sense of belonging in promoting mental health and wellbeing

Yeah we do this yr 5/6 outcome all the time…

Participate in physical activities designed to enhance fitness, and discuss the impact regular participation can have on health and wellbeing

As we are getting into the routine of daily fitness, kids will be working on a program for us, so we are building up to this yr 7/8 outcome :

designing and monitoring a personal fitness plan that proposes realistic strategies for maintaining fitness, health and wellbeing

Getting Fit…Mt Cooroora

It’s been great for us to read together the fitness preparations of (then) kids like Jordan Romero and Alyssa Azar achieving their goals.  Hearing their accounts of appreciating the amounts of training they did, helps the kids to stay motivated when they have to get up early on a Sunday to beat the heat climbing a mountain 🙂

Which is what we did this Sunday to climb Mt Cooroora, in Pomona.  Only 439m, but straight up, so a very steep climb. It’s one of our favorite climbs, requiring full concentration whether going up or down to scramble over big rocks, and the chains to help balance and hoist give you an upper body workout too! The views are spectacular the whole way up, and especially at the summit 🙂

We will probably include Cooroora many times over the next few months as we crank up our training.  Kathmandu sits at 1400m, Basi Sahar where our Annapurna trek starts is around 760m. So living at sea level and climbing to 439m doesn’t even come near to where we start our trek, so can’t help us with our altitude training…but the plan is to at least improve our cardio and physical fitness…it took us (well me…the kids were way ahead constantly waiting for me) 56 mins from bottom to summit.  So the goal is to try and do it faster next time.

Australian Curriculum Links

I love the Health and Physical Ed Curriculum, it is soooo good covering so many ways to help kids have a sense of well-being.  Unfortunately, often there is no time in school to cover these…the little time HPE receives is often competition based and can really put off so many kids from enjoying physical activity for the sake of well being.

Our training over the next 5 months will encompass so many of the HPE outcomes. One thing that really stood out to me climbing this mountain is the support we give each other as a family and team, we encourage the slow one (me!), knowing it’s the trying and finishing, no matter how fast or slow, and each one of us can feel comfortable in our team knowing we are always doing our personal best, and that ‘best’ is encouraged with a ‘well done’ by all team members, but here’s the year 5/6 outcome for this anyway:

discussing the importance of social support and a sense of belonging in promoting mental health and wellbeing

Yeah we do this yr 5/6 outcome all the time…

Participate in physical activities designed to enhance fitness, and discuss the impact regular participation can have on health and wellbeing

Lee, the coach of the family is initially setting our training activities, but the kids will be ticking off this yr 7/8 outcome as they become more involved in setting their weekly activities to build up to their trek fitness goal :

designing and monitoring a personal fitness plan that proposes realistic strategies for maintaining fitness, health and wellbeing

I reckon we will have covered every HPE outcome as we prepare for our adventure by the end of the 5 months 🙂

Dashain Festival

We are learning the Nepali Language through various means…(more to come on that soon!), but one of the ways we will be learning is through Nepali rhymes.  The first few years of our first language input is through hearing the sounds around us, and often through story and rhymes.  When learning a second language, whether you are a kid or an adult, I feel it is so important to listen to and sing along to songs, even if you don’t know the meaning of every word or understand the grammar!  It’s the best ‘input’ to get a feel of the sounds, and you get to naturally learn the patterns of word order and grammar, so when you do finally get to learning about a particular grammar point, you have plenty of ready made memorised examples to connect meaning of that grammar point to! YouTube has oodles of songs in many languages…just search your target language 🙂

It is currently the ‘Dashain Festival’ in Nepal, one of their longest and most important, it’s 15 days long, the main day for 2018 being tomorrow, the 19th October.  So we are learning a rhyme that apparently every Nepali kid knows about this festival. Here is a version that we really like and are learning:

The basic Nepali lyrics to the original rhyme are as follows, but I think the version in the video is a little different (the challenges of learning a new language from scratch!!!!).  I contacted the makers of the video to see if I could get a transcript of the actual Nepali lyrics in their song….they said they are working on putting the lyrics on the video…so I guess we’ll just have to wait 🙂

Dashain aayo,
Khaula Piula,
Kaha jaula,
Chori lyaula,
Dhatta papi,
Ma ta chuttai basula

The English translation to the original rhyme are as follows:

Dashain has come
We shall eat and drink
Where will we get drink and food?
We shall go and steal
Oh damn, I shall stay away from you sinner.

A main message of Dashain is ‘good overcoming evil’, Nepali kids being passed this message on through this rhyme 🙂

On researching things about the Dashain festival, the kids found that playing cards and kite flying is popular during this time.  But the thing they found really exciting, was the 20 foot bamboo pole swings that are made for the kids….they’ve loved watching lots of YouTube videos….here is one:

Our neighbours have lots of bamboo in their back garden….I think the kids are going to plan an engineering feat with the neighbour’s kids pretty soon….they have found a few videos if these swings being constructed…lots of tech/design/math outcomes to integrate with that project 🙂 possible videos of that to come soon….

Australian Curriculum Links

By searching key words from such activities in the ACARA website, you will find plenty of outcomes for many year levels in many learning areas that this activity could springboard.

Each language for Languages Other Than English (LOTE) in the Australian Curriculum have their own curriculum to follow.  Nepali is not included, but as it shares the same script with Hindi, the Hindi curriculum could be used to map outcomes.  The general scope and sequence of the Hindi Curriculum is on the ACARA website (there are two, one for primary level entry, and one for yr 7-10 entry)…but the year level stuff doesn’t seem to be completed yet.

It’s sequenced as Socialising, Informing, Creating, Translating, Reflecting.  This activity of learning a song for the pure fun of it would include ‘Informing’ outcomes.  Hopefully over the next 5 months as we learn more, we will be able to link all parts of such a scope and sequence to our learning.  We will continue to learn from our hearts and with the resources we have…not from the scope and sequence….we will journal our learning of the language, then work out what we have covered in the sequence for reporting purpose only 🙂

罗尔德达尔日 Roald Dahl Day

Celebrate Roald Dahl Day on 13th September (his birthday 🙂 ) in Chinese with your kids or students.

Roald Dahl’s Chinese name is 罗尔德。达尔 ( Luóěrdé 。Dáěr). 

All of Roald Dahl’s books have been translated into Chinese. Using translated versions of books that kids are familiar with and love, are great for kids to practice their second language reading. Older students (including senior students and adults) will enjoy the nostalgia and challenge of trying to read their fave Roald Dahl book in Chinese!!!!! We’ve picked up a few of Roald Dahl’s books on our trips to China, but you can order them online for delivery to Oz… pick your favourite one and get it in time for Roald Dahl Day!

If a full chapter book like this in Chinese is too difficult for your students, use Roald Dahl Day to springboard memorable ways to visualise some Chinese vocab.  For example, you could do a  mind map of all the different products a chocolate factory could produce…at the centre of your mind map would be 威利旺卡先生的巧克力工厂 (Wēilì Wàngkǎ Xiānsheng de Qiǎokèlì Gōngchǎng)’Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory’.  You can take examples from the book to start your mind map, then the kids brainstorm all the different products and flavours they would like…with flavours like roast beef and gravy bubblegum, blueberry pie lollipops, and whatever kids’ imaginations think of, there are some great opportunities for food vocab to come alive!

Or, if you are following a strict curriculum with just no room to budge for your students, then you could just pick a few paragraphs, or key sentences from a Roald Dahl book that are really exciting, but also have grammar points that you are working on at the moment…so you can have some fun with Roald Dahl but still tick the boxes you need to as a teacher 🙂

Such books are also really good to spark conversation about translation…are there some things that have been translated literally that have ambiguous meanings in the first language, but just don’t work in the second language? (Roald Dahl plays with language so much!!!). The books were written for western children, immersed in western ‘culture’…are there things in the books that Chinese children (growing up in China) would find difficult to ‘get’ the point of?  These questions can really help kids with literary analysis in their first language too 🙂

Below I have typed out chapter 5 of the ‘BFG’, to give an idea of the level of language typically required for a Roald Dahl book in Chinese.  In this chapter, Sophie is having her first conversation with the giant, which is all about what the giants think children from different countries in the world taste like.  Giants like to eat kids from Turkey because they taste like turkey, they don’t like to eat kids from Greece because they taste greasy, kids from Denmark (Danes) taste like Great Danes, kids from Wellington in New Zealand taste like Wellington boots, kids from Jersey taste like jumpers, and kids from Panama taste like Panama hats.  The Giant is not very good at English grammar, which also allows for Dahl to play on words some more, he call human beings ‘Human Beans’.

This chapter is really interesting for kids to read, and full of grammar points just waiting to be highlighted 🙂 BUT, what is really interesting for kids, parents and teachers to discuss, is how the translator has managed to keep the same play on words using Chinese like Dahl intended using English. It contains Chinese idioms that the translator has carefully picked to maintain Dahl’s humour the best way possible in Chinese, eg. when Sophie tries to correct the giant’s grammar he says not to ‘咬文嚼字’ (yǎo wén jiáo zì) literally to bite words and chew characters (meaning don’t be punctilious about the finer details of wording!).  This is within a conversation about Bone Crunching Giants biting and chewing kids’ bones, so a cool idiom to use 🙂

How does a translator translate ‘Greek kids taste greasy’ in Chinese?? It just wouldn’t have the same effect if translated literally.  So the translator has used a Chinese idiom to describe children from Greece (Greece= 希腊Xīlà) have a taste described as 味同嚼蜡(wèi tóng jiáo là) which means to taste as if one is chewing wax.  The character 腊(là) in the country name of Greece is not only pronounced the same as the character 蜡(là) which means ‘wax’, but also shares some of the same character components.  This way the translator has been able to keep the same play on words that Dahl intended using English.

Where the translator has not been able to change this play on words in Chinese, they have kept the same literal translation, but added a foot note to explain the intended meaning, for example a foot note explaining what a Wellington Boot is in England, how they were named after the soldier ‘Wellington’ and how the capital of New Zealand ‘Wellington’ shares the same name etc.  The foot note explaining that the Panama hat is a straw hat from Panama is a good one to discuss, because it can lead to a discussion as to whether the Panama hat actually does come from Panama…so translating the text from Chinese can actually lead to students delving deeper into analysis of the text in English 🙂

Read the full chapter to find out how the translator has translated the other kiddie tasting comparisons 🙂  Hope you and your students can have fun with Roald Dahl in Chinese in some capacity on Roald Dahl Day this year 🙂

好心眼儿巨人   Chapter 5 



巨人坐下来,狠狠地盯住索菲看。 他的耳朵真大。每一只耳朵有车轮那么大,他好像可以随意把它们转来转去。


‘请…请不要吃我。’ 索菲结结巴巴地说。

巨人哈哈大笑。‘只因为我是一个巨人,你就以为我是一个吃人生番!’他叫道,‘你说得也对!巨人全是生番,要杀人豆子!他们当真吃人豆子! 我们如今是在巨人国!四面八方都是巨人! 在外面我们就有个赫赫有名的嘎吱嘎吱嚼骨头巨人!嘎吱嘎吱嚼骨头巨人每天晚上要嚼上两个肥肥胖胖不值钱的人豆子做晚饭!他吃饭的声音会把你耳朵震聋!他嘎吱嘎吱嚼骨头的声音会传得非常远!’










可这些是笑话吗? 也许这凶恶的巨人谈吃只是要引起他的食欲。














‘丹麦人豆子有很 强烈的面粉味道。’巨人说下去。‘当然,’索菲接上他的话,‘面粉是麦子磨出来的。你说话是不是有点混?’索菲说。‘我是一个非常混的巨人,’巨人说,‘不过我已经尽力不这样。我一点儿没有其他巨人混。  我认为这么个巨人,他一直跑到惠灵顿去吃他的晚饭。’










(2)英国有长统靴  惠灵顿高帮靴,其实它们的名称源自英国陆军元帅惠灵顿1769-1852,跟新西兰的首都惠灵顿根本不搭界。




非洲的地缝 African rift!

非洲的地缝 (Fēizhōu de dìféng). We learned today that Kenya all of a sudden started to split…

Here is a picture Lucas made for our big world map…

The text reads:   这里的土地慢慢裂成了两半,一天这一大片地会变成两快。

(Zhèlǐ tǔdì mànmàn lièchéng le liǎng bàn , yī tiān zhè yī dàpiàn dì huì biànchéng liǎng kuài).

‘Here the land is slowly splitting in half, one day this big continent could become two!’

Thanks to Randall Munroe’s Chinese version of the book ‘Thing Explainer’ for sparking our curiosity to learn more about this!

Here are some videos to explain what is happening 🙂



巧克力‘木制芝士板’! Chocolate Cheese Board!

Kids made a Cheese Board with a twist for their birthday afternoon tea 🙂 Here is a video they made showing some of the steps in Mandarin 🙂


将软糖   杏仁糖   干果坚果    棉花糖  撒在巧克力上。
添加更多 巧克力!
乳酪   饼干  草莓  放在巧克力‘木制芝士板’上。

shì mùzhì zhīshì bǎn ma
kànqǐlái xiàng mùzhì zhīshì bǎn

lín bái
hēi niúnǎi qiǎokèlì zài kǎopán shàng xiàng mùwén yī yàng
jiāng ruǎntáng
xìngréntáng gānguǒ jiānguǒ miánhuātáng sā zài qiǎokèlì shàng 
tiānjiā gēngduō 
sì gōngjīn qiǎokèlì 

fàng zài bīngxiāng lǐ ràng qiǎokèlì biànyìng

mócā zhídào guānghuá
xiàng mùbǎn yī yàng
  bǐnggān  cǎoméi fáng zài qiǎokèlì ‘ mùzhì zhīshì bǎn ’ shàng
gēn péngyou yīqǐ chī

Is this a wooden cheeseboard?
It looks like one…
Drizzle white, dark and milk chocolate on the tray, like wood grain.
Scatter jelly beans, marzipan, fruit and nuts, and marshmallows on the chocolate.
Add more chocolate!
4 kgs of chocolate
Put in the fridge to set.
Grate and rub till smooth like wood.
Put  cheeses, crackers and strawberries on the chocolate ‘wooden’ cheeseboard

Share with friends!

This is the video that the kids followed to make their Chocolate Cheeseboard if you want to try making your own!

Hinchinbrook Island 5 Day Hike 五天在欣钦布鲁克岛徒步旅行

Hiking is one of our other passions in the Mandarin Motion family!  We recently did a 5 day hike on Hinchinbrook Island, and of course hiking is a great opportunity to integrate some math (weighing each item in our packs, totalling, spatial awareness, spreadsheet of  distances between towns on our long drive etc), Science (ecosystems, micro-organisms, water purification etc), Health (training, safety etc), and of course Mandarin!  Kids created a video diary in Mandarin of some of the fun and challenges of our hike 🙂 The transcript, with pinyin and translation is below 🙂 

To see our hike in Tiger Leaping Gorge in China earlier this year you can click on the link 🙂 To see our Mandarin Diary Video of our Wilson’s Prom Hike in Victoria last year you can click on the link 🙂

We will post about all the things that need to be packed on a hike soon, in English and Mandarin 🙂


我们坐船穿过红树林来到欣钦布鲁克岛上。 很快,受大风!

(Wǒmen zuò chuán chuānguò hóngshùlín lái dào Xīnqīnbùlǔkè dǎo shàng 。 hěn kuài , shòu dà fēng !)

We took a boat through mangroves to Hinchinbrook Island. Fast ride, very windy!


(Wǒmen shùnzhe chéngsè de jiàntóu , zhè yàng wǒmen bù mílù)

We followed the orange arrows, so we didn’t get lost.


(Wǒmen shèguò xīliú)

We tramped through creeks.


(Měi tiān dā zhàngpeng)

Every day we set up camp.


(Měi tiān zhǎo liúshuǐ , shōují shuǐ)

Every day we found flowing water to collect.


(Shuǐ zài yǐnyòng qián yāo jìnghuà)

We had to treat the water first before we could drink it.


(Wǒmen zákāi le yēzi , hē yē zhī , wǒmen gēn yēzi wán yóuxì , chī lǐmiàn de yēzi ròu)

We cracked open coconuts, drank the juice, played games with the coconuts, and ate the coconut flesh.


(Wǒmen yòng bèiké hé xiǎo shùzhī zài hǎitān dǎ jǐngzì yóuxì)

We used shells and sticks to play tic tac toe on the beach.


(Wǒmen zài dà pùbù tán yóuyǒng)

We swam in big water fall pools.

土生土长夜行的老鼠会咬破徒步旅行者的背包和帐篷吃他们的食物!  所以没晚上我们把食物放在金属盒子里面。

(Tǔshēngtǔzhǎng yèxíng de lǎoshǔ huì yǎopò túbùlǚxíngzhě de bēibāo hé zhàngpeng chī tā men de shíwù ! Suǒyǐ méi wǎnshang wǒmen bǎ shíwù fàng zài jīnshǔ hézi lǐmiàn)

Native nocturnal rats chew through hikers’ backpacks and tents to eat their food! So we put our food in the food boxes at night.

各种地势  :海滩、红树林、沼泽、热带雨林 和崎岖的海岸线。

(Gèzhǒng dìshì : hǎitān 、 hóngshùlín 、 zhǎozé 、 rèdàiyǔlín hé qíqū de hǎiànxiàn)

All kinds of terrain:  beach, mangroves, swamp, tropical rainforest and rugged coastline.


(Wǒmen chénggōng le !)

We did it!

再见!  欣钦布鲁克!

(Zài jiàn ! Xīnqīnbùlǔkè !)

Goodbye Hinchinbrook!

WAM Videos

We need your feedback 🙂

We are making WAM videos!

No not Wham videos!

Although our technology at the moment seems very 80’s 🙂

WAM stands for ‘Words Action Music’.  WORDS ACTIONS and MUSIC together use Multiple Intelligences and create a more complex representation of a word, making recalling second language vocab easier.  Plus putting it all together like this to rhythm feels fun for both body and mind.

These are our very first ones (learning fruit vocab), and even though we had a microphone we know we have to work on the sound more…and framing, and lighting…we are amateurs learning LOL. But we will work on it for our future videos, but only if you think they might be useful for you! So please give us your feedback so we know 🙂

We hope to use a better platform to share these videos with our families soon, together with story videos so that we can incorporate vocab, sentence patterns and grammar in our WAM videos…but we need to know if you think they would help you!

In the meantime here are our pilot videos and the instructions on what to do. Let us know if you think they will be good for learning Mandarin vocab and practicing your Auslan signs in the bargain 🙂 (***See Auslan note at end of post***)

There will be a sequence of 4 WAM Videos, to help you practice, then try and recall all by yourself 🙂

1. An example video that has a student, showing you what you have to do…ie be the echo to the beat, repeat the WORD and do the ACTION 🙂

2. A video that leaves a space in the beat that you do the echo, repeat the WORD and do the ACTION. This is the video to keep watching and echoing to practice 🙂

3. A video that just does the ACTION, and you have to say out loud the WORD all by yourself! If you miss a WORD, just let the video play and try and get the next WORD. If you find this tricky, then watch video 2 some more and practice before trying again 🙂

4. A video with the WORD only, and you have to do the ACTION. Again if you miss an ACTION just carry on and try and get the next ACTION. If you find it tricky, watch video 2 some more to practice, and then try again 🙂

We will work on the sound and adding text to these videos for you etc….but first we need to know if you think WAM videos will help families at home learn some vocab 🙂

The words in our video are as follows:

苹果 píng guǒ Apple
香蕉 xiāng jiāo Banana
葡萄 pú tao Grapes
橘子 jú zi Orange
草莓 cǎo méi Strawberries
西瓜 xī guā Watermelon
柚子 yòu zi Grapefruit
营养 yíng yǎng Nutritious
好吃 hǎo chī Tasty / Yummy

****AUSLAN note***
Our actions to accompany our Mandarin are to get the Multiple Intelligences working and help recall Mandarin vocab.  We use Auslan signs, as we feel that children may as well be learning Auslan sign vocab and learning vocab for two languages at once 🙂  AUSLAN is a language, with its own grammar, word order and culture, just like any other language.  When we learn another language we have to learn a new set of grammar rules, and often a word order that is different to our first language.  But in doing so we actually get to understand our first language better!  Mandarin has a different word order to English at times, and some grammatical particles that just don’t exist in English.  But as we learn the language, we get used to these differences.  Auslan too has a different word order to English! So it is important to know, that if you want to learn Auslan, I would really recommend enrolling in a course, like the ones Lisa Mills Online has.  That way you can become a multi lingual and communicate in Auslan too!  You will already know a few signs 🙂

Music in videos : “Street Party” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

了解世界 Learning about the World

Visitors to our classroom have probably seen some snippets of information being added to our big world map!

Lucas has been having fun picking random places in the world and finding out a little more about them 🙂 As he does it he writes some things he found interesting in English and some things in Mandarin.  This way he can write what he feels comfy in Mandarin, and the other things in English.  It makes for a nice colourful knowledge of the world journey around our big world map 🙂

We have used Randall Munroe’s  万物解释者 (Mandarin version of his book ‘Thing Explainer’) to springboard these little journeys of knowledge.  It is great, as Munroe has only used vocab from the most common 1000 words, making reading about things in a second language (for an intermediate reader) less tedious! Another thing that has been great about it, is that the little bit of writing to each place is really nothing more than a curious tidbit…inviting you to find out a little more about that particular part of the world!

So Lucas chooses a place, reads what Munroe has written about it in Mandarin, then tries to find more information about the place in English.  He has learned all about Victoria Falls today in Zambia/Zimbabwe, and now wants to visit the Devil’s Pool 🙂 Up to now we have learned about New Zealand being much bigger than it looks above the sea!  How Iceland is fire! How Alaska had the biggest ever recorded wave! And how they dug a tunnel through Panama so that ships didn’t have to go all the way around South America 🙂

I highly recommend Munroe’s book translated into your target language for LOTE learners!!!  It has been really cool to be reading about countries on a world map in Chinese!  Then delving into more research to find out what Munroe is talking about! A different way to find out about a different place each week 🙂

For more info about Munroe’s book read on about the other things kids can ‘springboard’ off  🙂

Randall Munroe’s  ‘Thing Explainer’) in your target language is perfect for the LOTE learner! The author who works for NASA, claims to be able to explain complicated stuff in simple words, using a vocab of no more than 1000 words. Things like how the Mars Buggy lands and works.

How bathroom pipes work.

Lots of other random stuff, how washing machines work, how car engines work, how a biro works, how a cell in the body works…to the control panel of a space rocket….

What I really liked about it, is the appeal to an older student (diagrams look like they would contain pretty scientifically difficult captions to explain)…but the language is quite simple, so if you are reading in a second language the content is interesting but not too out of reach for an intermediate learner 🙂 Readers can find out about stuff in a second language, and if it rocks their boat, then delve deeper into the science, technology, or maths.

The book has been published in many languages…so just search for the language you are learning and learn the language and a little science at the same time 🙂