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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Solid, Liquid and Gas

The Navy Beans (6 year olds) did a unit on water last week. We discussed the various forms of water as well as the water cycle. As an extension, I also explained hurricane and tornado. Never knew much about the differences until I checked the info from the web.

Ying asked me how I know so much. I replied that I didn't know everything, but can find out through reading as well as searching for the information from the web, which Josh asked "from Google Search?"

It was quite funny as children as young as 6 know about Google Search. I promptly assigned them to go home and ask Mum or Dad to help them look up for info on hurricanes and tornadoes. Hmmmm... I wonder how many will come back with the task tomorrow???

Back to our science lesson, I showed them the difference between solid and liquid. Most things such as stones or spoons are solids and will not change shape over time. Compare this with ice cubes (water in solid form) which will melt and change its shape into that of its container.

We also looked at the different 'shape' of water in liquid form when contained in different beakers, containers, plates. There is liquidity and no definite shape.

I've filled up a balloon with water and placed it in the freezer. Passing the frozen balloon around, we have a great time feeling the cold, smooth, wet balloon.

We next peeled of the balloon, and viola, we have a solid ice in the shape of the balloon. We placed it inside a ziplock bag and leave the ice there for several hours.

Wanted the children to observe the shape of the balloon ice after a few hours. Of course, they predicted that the ice will melt and take on the shape of the bag.

Also showed them hot steam arising from hot water - that's water in gas form when it gets very hot.

Can't really see the vapour from the picture, but visible to the children and now they know the terms solid, liquid and gas (vapour) well - thanks to the hands-on experiments under our Junior Scientist Programme.

My Green Beans 2

Green Beans 2 also did a water relay. Easy at first, with no obstacles but they have to carefully fill up the bottles with water from the jug.

Later on, their teacher added some hoops as obstacles for them to pass through before finally reaching the bottles.

This activity requires a lot of concentration, good hand-eye coordination as well as patience.

Good teamwork too and notice how the children atthe back were waiting for their turn? Another test of their patience.

My Soya Beanies (2)

The children have been learning about merdeka, Jalur Gemilang, bunga raya or hibiscus, the people of Malaysia, etc as part of our theme on National Day.

Some of the 3 year olds can proudly tell you that the name of our national flag is Jalur Gemilang.
Below is one of the many flags that we have done - too bad the picture is not clear as the background is too bright.

Basically, the children coloured the crescent and star with oil pastel before colouring over with tempera paint. Next, they glued red and white crepe paper to represent the stripes.

In the meantime, another group of three-year olds were making penguins - an activity associated with the letter P. They proudly came to my office and asked me to marvel at their work and to take pictures! (They saw me taking pictures of the Jalur Gemilang and did not want to be left out!)

After some hard work ... it's time to tuck in for a well-deserved meal. Note that all the children are highly independent and can eat by themselves. Even the younger ones aged 2.5 can feed themselves, occasionally needing help. Love to see them enjoying their meals.

Even Perfect, our friend from Nigeria, has no problems eating our 'nasi lemak' - pandan-flavoured rice (no santan though) with saffron carrot-potato-chicken cubes, eggs and cucumber!


My Soya Beanies (1)

There are many of them now - in fact close to 20! Fortunately, I have 4 committed and passionate teachers to guide and take care of them.

Below are just some of the activities that they have been up to lately ... I was not always around to take snapshots of their activities and there are many more that are not captured!!!

WATER GAMES - scoop a ball and put it in the correct pail, according to the colours. Great for colour recognition and matching.

The balls in the pool, up close.

The children have to scoop up a ball and put in the correct pail with the corresponding label.

Very gently, and carefully scoping up the ball and dropping it into the pail.

These are the pails with the colour labels. Most children of 2 and 3 understand the game well!

Yellow ball to yellow-labeled pail.

Aaaahhhhh.... if only I can go inside the pool!!

Let me scoop first ... I want the red ball!

But, somehow got the yellow one!

Yeah!!! We are the winners! Eh, how come some children are in the pool?

Another game which they played was pouring coloured water into coloured pails - another good matching game as well as enhancing hand-eye coordination.

Listening to Teacher Vicky as she gives out the instruction.

Yeah!!! We are ready. Let's start now, OK?

Slowly, gently... don't spill the water.

Faster .... I'm waiting for my turn!

Ko Ko, can you help me afterwards?

The Kissing Hand

I've been searching for many books online recently and this is one of the great books for children. However, nothing beats having the book physically, for the child or adult to flip through, to discuss as well as to admire. Also, to smell.... the smell of fresh books is always exciting!

I personally have all the three books which I've shared online, and I've read them to children of Little Beans too. Most, if not all, loved the books. There are many more... Green Eggs and Ham, Are You My Mother?, the Little Princess series, We are Going on a Bear Hunt, A Colour of My Own, Fish is Fish etc ... and of course, the Eric Carle books.

The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn, is an excellent book to ease away separation anxiety and to comfort a child who is leaving home for school for the first time. There are two other books by Penn, the Kiss Goodbye and a Pocket Full of Kisses. Enjoy the story!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Goodnight Moon

Another children's classic - Goodnight Moon. I read this to Joshua when he was a baby and he loved it then. He still remembers the book now - that's the wonders of literacy and story-telling!

This book is beautiful as it sets a very subtle, calming tone to wind down for the night. Notice how the pictures gets darker and darker as the little bunny is dozing off to sleepland ...... zzzzzz.

The Very Hungry Caterpiller

I want to share this video I found in You Tube - The Very Hungry Caterpillar. It's a children's classic by Eric Carle, and we will be doing a theme on his books in September. I've always loved his books and want our children to get to know them too. This will be the second time we are doing this theme in four years.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


The above art was done by my eldest son when he was 12. I've asked him to help me come up with a banner for the school, and this is what he has done. It was done in acrylic, and was not easy as the paint dries very fast. Although it was meant to be for our theme on occupation, it is also apt for Colours of the World, as our world consists of many diverse cultures and races, and we should love and respect each other. Only then will we achieve harmony and greater beauty for all.

Art has always been an integral part of our curriculum. That is why we have two experts in this field to teach, guide and lead our children. Creative arts such as music and movement, story-telling and drawing/painting/craft are all ways of self-expression, instilling discipline as well as encouraging the children to see out of the box (cliche though it may sound!) so that they do not excel only academically.

The following are some of the work that we have done in relation to Colours of the World.

LOLLIPOPS - the whirls of the lollipop depicts the world in motion. The lollipop carries the message of my world as a sweet, colourful and beautiful one. Children love the colours and the candy-sweetness of lollipops. (Fortunately, they know that too much lolli is no good for teeth!)
This 3D craft gives the children opportunity to scrunch the cellophane paper and glue them onto the art block. Great for fine motor skill, hand-eye coordination and developing patience and concentration.

Printing using okra or ladies fingers. Somehow the children have the patience to meticulously print each okra beautifully onto the art block.

Non-objective art - arts that is not representational. It eliminates the idea of depth and instead focus on composing a harmonious arrangement of grids, shapes and colours. Beautiful creation from the children. Most use their intuition to come up with the masterpieces as they were all given a free hand to compose their own piece.

The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Manus Pinkwater is a marvellous book about not conforming to standard norms and living up to our individuality. It tells the story of Mr Plumbean who dared to change his house according to his personality, despite objections from his neighbours. "My house is me and I am it. My house is where I like to be and it looks like all my dreams."

After telling them the story, I encouraged the Navy Beans to draw me their dream house. This is what they have!

Everyone's is different, although there were many castles from the girls. All wanted a lovely house, filled with warmth and love.

Rachel's house is a colourful, checked house.

Gavin's is a submarine!

Shannon's is a candy-sweet and every thing nice! Notice the little girl at the bottom right.

Another book that we discussed was Color Dance by Ann Jonas. This is a very good book that introduces colour-mixing as well as names of different shades of green, purple and orange. I want the children to learn names of colours beyond the common ones such as vermilion, chartreuse and magenta.

My next project is to let the children mix their own colours to form the above palette of blue, aquamarine, green, chartreuse, yellow, marigold, orange, vermilion, red, magenta, purple and violet.