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Monday, December 27, 2010

Cooking the Stone Soup

We cooked the stone soup some time in August, 2010.  Why did I bring it up now?  Because I've always wanted to talk about it but somehow the internet connection back then was bad. 

I did this in conjunction with the Merdeka celebrations.  This is a very good story about working together for the benefit of all.  In this story, the villagers were wary of strangers and selfish.  They kept to themselves and never shared anything.  They did not mingle, led lonely lives and did not care about each other.  Along came three monks, asking for some food.  All the villagers closed  their doors on them.  One of the monk took a big pot of water, boiled it and put some stones into the pot.  A curious girl asked him what this was all about.  The monk explained that he was cooking stone soup, but it would taste better if someone could add some vegetables in it.  The girl brought a cabbage.  Slowly, one by one the villagers contributed something to the pot of boiling water - carrots, corns, chicken, potatoes, celery, onions, etc.  The soup was delicious because everyone contributed something to make it better, tastier.  The villagers shared the soup and understood the meaning of sharing and working as a team.  They led happier lives from that day onwards.

I wanted to use the story to illustrate the importance of respecting each other and to work as a team.  We are a country rich in cultural diversity and we should embrace the differences positively.  The children may not understand the importance yet. It is rather unfortunate that Little Beans is predominantly Chinese but we will continue to put this message across.

Having said this, we had a great time preparing and cooking the stone soup (minus the stones, of course!)  It was the first time some of them were cutting, smelling and tasting celery and onions and they didn't really appreciate the smell.  Ha! Ha!  We had a big pot of soup that everyone shared.

The ingredients for the soup - waiting to be cut!

Cutting the celery

The celery has a strong smell!

Be careful, don't cut the hands!

Ahh.... the carrots are hard!

Onions - the smell is too strong for my liking!

Easy does it!

Our bubbling pot of "stone soup"!   Delicious!

Good-Bye Navy Beans 2010!

So long, farewell!
   I bade farewell to the Navy Beans in November.  The children are very close to my heart, as some of them have been with me for 4 years!  I see them grow before my eyes.  I wiped their tears when they cried, reprimanded them when they were mischievous and shared in their joys when they were happy, and of course was very proud of their achievement through the years.  I love them all, they are my daughters and sons.

No matter how heavy my heart is, I know that they are ready for the world ahead of them.  They are confident, competent and will strive to do their very best!

Before we ended the term, we did a unit on Eric Carle's books .  One of the books was A House for Hermit Crab.  This book represents the journey that the children have taken in Little Beans and the new possibilities that they will face as they continue on their journey into primary school.

"Hermit Crab, having outgrown his old shell, sets out to find a new one.  He's a bit frightened at first, but over the course of the next year acquires not only a shell, but also an array of sea creatures to decorate, clean, and protect his new home.  The story ends with him once again outgrowing his shell.  He finds a new tenant to look after his friends and sets off on a new adventure - a big empty shell with "so many possibilities".  This simply-told fable is replete with gentle messages about growing, moving on, accepting new challenges, interpendence and building self confidence."  - by Luanna Toth, School Library Journal, June/July 1998.

The posted video will give you an idea on the richness of this book!

Just like the hermit crab, I wish all of you the best!  It has been great being your teacher.  I hope that you'll love me as your teacher as much as I love all of you as my learners.  Good Luck, Good Health, God Bless You!

I'll like to dedicate the following to you.  Come back to visit.

I'm a little like that hermit crab, I'm growing in my shell;
Soon enough I'll move along saying goodbye to preschool's bell.
I'm a little like that hermit crab, I need the safety of my shell.
Yet every month I'm bigger, the length of my clothes will tell.
I'm a little like that hermit crab, this school is my ocean floor.
There are endless possibilities, so much world to be explored.
I'm a little like that hermit crab, I'm stepping out real soon.
Please applaud my courage, even small bells ring a tune.
I'm a little like that hermit crab, and though it's sad to be parted;
I know the world awaits me - and I can't wait to get started!

Go Green, Little Scientists (2)

Besides the solar toys, we also made a few toys powered by rubber band and air.

My flipping butterfly.

Making my flipping butterfly - powered by rubber band

The power of boomerangs

Letting the birds flap and fly in the air!

Birds that can flap their wings and fly - powered by rubber band.

Get set, ready, aim and shoot!  One of their favourite.

Compressed air in the air canon - shoot the enemy down!

Toy car that runs on air!

Blowing air into the balloon to power the toy car.

Jet powered by balloon.

Go Green, Little Scientists!

We had a five-day camp during the last week of November.  The objective of the camp was to educate the children on the need to preserve energy and not to waste it.  We talked about different energy such as electricity, batteries as well as solar-powered and mechanically powered energy.

6-in-1 Educational Solar Kit to make a windmill, revolving plane, airboat, plane, car and puppy.

The camp was fun, interactive and enlightening, even to us teachers because we made many toys that can move and work using mostly mechanical energy.  The highlight of this camp is a 6-in-1 solar energy toy that can move when it is powered by the sun.  This toy is something like those car toys where you need to tear out the pieces and construct them to form the car. Needs lots of patience but most of the children can do it by the third day!  Wonderful toy to develop concentration and fine motor skills as well.

Excerpts of children in the midst of building their toys:-

catching the sun rays .... to power the windmills

I love these two videos!

Look at her gleeful face as she sees the plane revolving!

It was fun!

The Mighty Flying Machines

We went on a field trip to TUDM in mid-November.  TUDM stands for Tentera Udara DiRaja Malaysia or The Royal Malaysia Air Force.   There were about 50 children together with some parents, teachers and a tour guide.

As soon as we reached TUDM, we were awestruck to see so many mighty flying machines around us.  There were airplanes, fighter jets and helicopters.  The children could take photos around and in some of the aircraft.  Many, if not all of them, were excited to go from one plane to another, taking pictures.  They even took turns going into one of the cockpits.

The tour guide led us from one flying aircraft to another, giving us the names of the machines amidst the din and noise.  It was rather noisy with excited children's voices from other schools as well.  Not much information was given about the planes.

We also visited a museum showing us the history of the Malaysian Air Force plus replicas of planes, jets and helicopters.  We spent about half an hour making a paper plane inside the museum.

The awesome jet at the entrance
Eager to go in for the trip

The objective of this trip was met - showing and exposing the children to the various air crafts.

Driving the helicopter

Look at the mighty plane behind us!

Inside one of the planes

At the cockpit

Making paper plane inside the museum

Looking at the model airplanes

Lunch at McDonalds.

Coming back from the trip, I asked the children if they enjoyed themselves.  Most answered yes as they were excited to see so many planes in one place.  However, Joshua was quiet and I asked him why.   

He answered , "I don't like this trip.  I don't like it because I cannot hear what she (the tour guide) is saying.  I want to hear so that I can learn more.  I cannot learn new things.  I just see the planes and take photos.  Huijie and Cheryl also feel the same.  She must speak louder so that we can hear.  I like Vitagen better because we get to learn new things!"

I asked again,"You like Vitagen because you have a lot of food to eat, right?"

Joshua replied, "No, I like Vitagen because I learn that good bacteria is good for tummy ache and can help us to be healthy always.  I like Vitagen because the lady spoke loudly and clearly.  We can hear and learn new things!"

His remarks struck a chord!   Children are competent and can construct their own learning.  The children, especially from Navy Beans, have always been encouraged to ask, query and investigate in order to learn new things.  They are curious and depend on the teachers and adults to facilitate their learning.  I felt that I have let them down that day.

The younger ones were excited and contented to just see  the planes.  The older ones wanted to learn more, but the tour guide did not give much explanation and spoke in a barely audible voice.  Looking back, I remember seeing Joshua and Huijie trying their best to listen to her. Besides telling the names of the planes, there was not much explanation and the children were also rushed through the exhibits in the museum.

As Joshua said, they did not learn much compared to the field trip to Vitagen.  The staff at Vitagen spoke and explained to the children clearly and with respect.  Even the 4-year olds were engrossed in the explanation about good vs bad bacteria.   One of the five -year olds remembered what she  learnt and asked her Mum to get Vitagen for her brother who was having tummy ache.  Such deep impression from the field visit!

After today's incident, I am reminded never to take the children's learning for granted! 

Deepavali Celebration

We celebrated Deepavali with a fashion show by some teachers and children.  We made a KOLAM and wished everybody a peaceful and happy Festival Of Lights, plus enjoyed a sumptuous meal of Indian delicacies.

Part time models.
It was fun, showing off the beautiful Indian costume.
Thorn among the roses
Happy Deepavali, may you be blessed with good health and happiness always.
Making the kolam.
The completed kolam
Helping ourselves to the Indian sweets

The Indian food that we had.

Nice and sweet - for a sweet year ahead!

Rapunzel Came to Visit

Rapunzel came just before our school concert.  Actually, this was brought to us by the event organisers representing Disney and Auntie Audrey and her team are no stranger to our children.  They have been here quite a number of times introducing us to Disney movies like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and the Princess and the Frog last year.

They came to show us the movie preview, prizes for everyone as as well many fun-filled activities.  I'm glad that the children were not shy and in fact, were eager to participate.  Shannon and Huijie read a short story in English and Bahasa Malaysia respectively,clearly and  confidently.  I was very proud of them.  The children and teachers had a great time.

Telling the children the story of Rapunzel - the princess with very loooooooong hair.

Perfect answering a question about the story.
Watching the movie preview.
Anson really enjoyed himself during the session.

Shannon reading the story in English.

Huijie read the Bahasa Malaysia version.

Prizes for a job well-done!