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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Review–Tell Me More Chinese (& Giveaway)

TELL ME MORE Chinese  Language Software
I am always on the look out for Chinese Language Programs for my kids and I stumbled upon this company.  I asked around about Tell Me More and heard good things…so I decided to try for myself.
The Tell Me More programs are geared towards older children (about age 11) through adults.  The programs deal with grammar/verb conjugation and writing, which could prove above the learning level of younger kids.
The disc based program must be operated on a Windows OS, it comes with the program discs, an instruction manual and a microphone headset. 
The headset may need an adapter for newer computers (my newer laptop only has one plug in for the microphone/headphones and you need one with two plugs, but adapters are available for a decent price).  You NEED the headset/microphone to use this program.  I tried it without it, but because it has speech recognition, it would pick up every little back ground noise.  So the headset is a MUST.
After I got the headset situation working (I just used my older laptop).  I still had some difficulty with the voice recognition….so I decided to look around the software a bit more and discovered you can adjust the sensitivity of the software which helped out GREATLY!  At first it only recognized a few words I repeated which was VERY FRUSTRATING.  After adjusting it, I was on a roll!
My husband (who is a linguist by profession) was impressed that the software used sound graphics (not sure what the technical term is) that showed you your voice tones when you speak in comparison to how they should be (what they are when the computer speaks).  This is very important, in Chinese especially because it is a language of tones, having the wrong tone can change the meaning of the word.
When it comes to a program like this, you must remember, you get out of it what you put into it!  I have not been very disciplined about using it on a normal basis, obviously if I want to really learn the language I need to be more disciplined. 
As far as language learning programs go, I really like how this program has the voice recognition.  Your typical DVD’s or CD programs are nice, but you don’t ever really know if you are pronouncing back correctly what you have heard.  That is a major selling point for me.
This program is also reasonably priced, with other similar programs going for over $400, this one is a bargain at a fraction of the cost!
I previously studied Arabic, and really feel that I could have benefited from a program such as this while learning the language. 
I recommend this program to anyone that is willing to put in the time and effort it takes to learn a language!
Tell Me More has graciously offered another program to one lucky reader!  Winner gets to pick the language of their choice (from the many languages TELL ME MORE has to offer).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Getting out in Nature

I hope that these weekly posts are encouraging you to get out and explore the world around you with your kiddos!   That’s why I started this post – to encourage myself to get out with the kids as well.  Of course, we shouldn’t need a reason to get outdoors, but it doesn’t help to have something pushing you a tad.  (The best part about blogging for me, it keeps me accountable!)

So this week we went Ocean Fishing in Haliewa.  I wish we would have stopped for shave ice afterwards (my fav shave ice place is there), but we had to get dinner first.  Maybe next time.  We only caught one small fish, but the kids had a blast as always exploring….we found sea urchins, snails, crabs and honu (sea turtles). 

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Weekly Workboxes - Week 12

Most of this weeks printables came from 2 Teaching Mommies Spider Unit (unless otherwise indicated), Thanks for providing such amazing printables for FREE!  I reordered our First Grade Science (Pandia Press Life Science) so that we were on Spiders this week for Halloween!  (and also to work around a few field trips that are planned for next month).  Our weekly preschool boxes corresponds with my First Graders Science lessons.

Our Spider themed books (we also have a bin of Halloween themed books with some Halloween Beanie Babies to play with).

Halloween themed sensory bin (orange rice and dried black beans with lots of Halloween paraphernalia thrown in.  The Education Cube  has different Halloween movements, and Halloween themed color book.  (I printed these both last year, and can't seem to find where I got them from....sorry).

Pom-Pom transfer

Spider Game

Magnet Page

Spiders and Webs - I have tweezers for transfer, and the webs I just did a google image search and printed out a few different ones.

Spider Color Match - I just drew the webs myself to match the colors of the spiders.

Ss Tray

Variety of Art activities - we have cutting strips FREE from Montessori Print Shop, some do-a-dot pages from 3 Dinosaurs, some Halloween stamps, and we will also do some painting with spiders, and making playdough spiders.

Spider Counting Clip Cards

Spider Size Sort

Swat that Spider

These ideas and MORE are pinned on my Preschool pinboard, check it out!

Come back on Saturday to check out our weekly wrap up and Sunday to see what we did in First Grade!!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

First Grade -Week 11

 Here is what we did FUN this week for First Grade!!

Worm Nomenclature Book; Part of the Zoological Nomenclature Books Bundle from Montessori Print Shop (Review and Giveaway coming in December)

Annelida Family 3 part cards; Part of the Animal Kindgom Bundle from Montessori Print Shop

I also joined Enchanted Learning website (again), They have lots of great worksheets, copywork, projects, printable books, etc on their site.  We did this page from the Animal Groups Printable Book.

Our worms - we could not find ANY worms in our yard, it's rather dry where we live, and with volcanic ground, not too many worms...so we ended up buying a bunch of compost worms from a guy on Craigslist.  They also came with a small starter compost bin, so we were able to add that into our experiments!  

Observing Worms - Layered Jar, an experiment from our Pandia Press Life Science curriculum!

More worm experiments from Pandia Press

Filling out the lab sheet (Pandia Press)

Our compost bin, our worms are under all that food and newspaper

C found a new friend as well.....now worms are hard to come by, but Lizards and Geckos are NOT!
We did manage to find ONE earthworm when we went to the Botanical Gardens Windward Side on Friday....(after the unit had technically ended, we added him to our layered jar experiment pictured above).

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

 This was an experiment that turned out so well I wanted to share!  I tend to mix and match recipe ingredients all the time for meals, but this was the first I did while baking.  These are SOOO Good!

Last year I made some peppermint choc chip cookies using Candy Cane Jello Pudding, so when I saw Pumpkin Spice on the shelf, I got an IDEA to try them in pumpkin cookies (I have made pumpkin cookies before, but I didn't feel they were pumpkin enough, maybe this would do the trick....)

Wet Ingredients
Mix all the Wet ingredients together in a large bowl
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 c brown sugar
1/3 c granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 t rum flavored extract (or you could use vanilla, almond, etc...  you choose)
1 15oz can of pumpkin (not pie filling)

Dry Ingredients
Mix dry ingredients together in a smaller bowl
1 box of Pumpkin Spice Jello Pudding
2 1/4 c flour
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
2 t pumpkin pie spice

Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, then add 2c chocolate chips

Put in teaspoon size balls onto a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20min


Now I need to go buy more can pumpkin and pudding!!

Field Trip #58 Friday Blog Hop

Field Trip Friday!

A Blog Hop designed to share 'FIELD TRIP' related Blog Posts

(does not have to be a 'home school field trip', can be any trip to any place with your children!)
To finish off our Human Body Study we went to the Hawaii Children’s Discovery Center, they have a really neat Human Body interactive display. Of course while there, we checked out the other displays, including a new temporary Dinosaur display, and a new Rainforest Display. 

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**NOTE:  Before linking up please review guidelines HERE

    Friday, October 26, 2012

    Preschool Wrap-up (week 11)


    Building with the linking cubes and Mega Blocks

    Dirt Cake with Gummy Worms!

    little c took it upon himself to practice one to one correspondence with this game (left)

    Sorting by color

    Playdough worms

    And little c, whose almost 2 and thinks he is too big for naps!  If I can keep him still for any amount of time in the afternoon he always passes out!  But this was too cute NOT to post! 

    Our worm experiments will be posted with the First Grade Post on Sunday!  

    For the our Weekly Workbox post for this unit just click HERE

    You can track my planning and preschool topics outline on PINTEREST


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