Monday, June 22, 2009

Preschool Methods Of Discipline That Promote Self-Worth

1. Show that you recognize and accept the reason the child is doing what, in your judgment, is the wrong thing:
"You want to play with the truck but..."
"You want me to stay with you but..."
This validates the legitimacy of the child's desires and illustrates that you are an understanding person. It also is honest from the outset: The adult is wiser, in charge, not afraid to be the leader, and occasionally has priorities other than those of the child.

2. State the "but":
"You want to play with the truck, but Jerisa is using it right now."
"You want me to stay with you, but right now I need to (go out, help Jill, serve lunch, etc.)."
This lets the child know that others have needs, too. It teaches perspective taking, and may lead the child to develop the ability to put himself in other people's shoes. It will also gain you the child's respect, for it shows you are fair. And it will make the child feel safe; you are able to keep him safe.

3. Offer a solution:
"Soon you can play with the truck."
One-year-olds can begin to understand "just a minute" and will wait patiently if we always follow through 60 seconds later. Two- and three-year-olds can learn to understand, "I'll tell you when it's your turn," if we always follow through within two or three minutes. This helps children learn how to delay gratification but does not thwart their short-term understanding of time.

4. Often, it's helpful to say something indicating your confidence in the child's ability and willingness to learn:
"When you get older I know you will (whatever it is you expect)."
"Next time you can (restate what is expected in a positive manner)."
This affirms your faith in the child, lets her know that you assume she has the capacity to grow and mature, and transmits your belief in her good intentions.

5. In some situations, after firmly stating what is not to be done, you can demonstrate how we do it, or a better way:
"We don't hit. Pat my face gently." (Gently stroke).
"Puzzle pieces are not for throwing. Let's put them in their places together." (Offer help).
This sets firm limits, yet helps the child feel that you two are a team, not enemies.

6. Toddlers are not easy to distract, but frequently they can be redirected to something that is similar but OK. Carry or lead the child by the hand, saying,
"That's the gerbil's paper. Here's your paper."
"Peter needs that toy. Here's a toy for you."
This endorses the child's right to choose what she will do, yet begins to teach that others have rights, too.

7. Avoid accusation. Even with babies, communicate in respectful tones and words. This prevents a lowering of the child's self-image and promotes his tendency to cooperate.

8. For every no, offer two acceptable choices:
"No! Rosie cannot bite Esther. Rosie can bite the rubber duck or the cracker."
"No, Jackie. That book is for teachers. You can have this book or this book."
This encourages the child's independence and emerging decision-making skills, but sets boundaries. Children should never be allowed to hurt each other. It's bad for the self-image of the one who hurts and the one who is hurt.

9. If children have enough language, help them express their feelings, including anger, and their wishes. Help them think about alternatives and solutions to problems. Adults should never fear children's anger:
"You're mad at me because you're so tired. It's hard to feel loving when you need to sleep. When you wake up, I think you'll feel more friendly."
"You feel angry because I won't let you have candy. I will let you choose a banana or an apple. Which do you want?"
This encourages characteristics we want to see emerge in children, such as awareness of feelings and reasonable assertiveness, and gives children tools for solving problems without unpleasant scenes.

10. Establish firm limits and standards as needed. Until a child is 1 1/2 or almost 2 years old, adults are completely responsible for his safety and comfort, and for creating the conditions that encourage good behavior. After this age, while adults are still responsible for the child's safety, they increasingly, though extremely gradually, begin to transfer responsibility for behaving acceptably to the child. They start expecting the child to become aware of others' feelings. They begin to expect the child to think simple cause/effect thoughts (provided the child is guided quietly through the thinking process). This is teaching the rudiments of self-discipline.

11. To avoid confusion when talking to very young children, give clear, simple directions in a firm, friendly voice. This will ensure that children are not overwhelmed with a blizzard of words and refuse to comply as a result.

12. Remember that the job of a toddler, and to some extent the job of all young children, is to taste, touch, smell, squeeze, tote, poke, pour, sort, explore, and test. At times toddlers are greedy, at times grandiose. They do not share well; they need time to experience ownership before they are expected to share. They need to assert themselves ("No," "I can't," "I won't," and "Do it myself"). They need to separate to a degree from their parents, that is, to individuate. One way they do this is to say no and not to do what is asked; another is to do what is not wanted.
If adults understand children in this age range, they will create circumstances and develop attitudes that permit and promote development. Self discipline is better learned through guidance than through punishment. It's better learned through a "We are a team, I am the leader, it's my job to help you grow up" approach than through a "me against you" approach.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Classroom

Monday, June 15, 2009

Number Songs for Little Kids

Yep. I'm still cleaning out the old EFL closet. These songs could actually be good for native English speaking kids as well.

I taught them to some really little Taiwanese kids (3-5 years old), and they loved them--though I doubt they really understood what they were singing.

It helps if you use them in conjunction with flash cards or something visual.

I stole them from a book, so sue me.

Sung to: "Mary had a little lamb"

Number one is o-n-e, o-n-e, o-n-e
Number one is o-n-e
And that spells number one

Sung to: "Mary had a little lamb"

Number two is t-w-o, t-w-o, t-w-o
Number two is t-w-o
And that spells number two

Sung to: "Skip To My Lou"

That spells number three

Sung to: "Skip To My Lou"

That spells number four

Sung to: "Skip To My Lou"

That spells number five

Sung to: "Jingle Bells"

That spells number six
Insects all have six legs
One, two, three, four, five, six

Sung to: "Farmer In The Dell"

That spells number seven

Sung to: "Farmer In The Dell"

And that spells number eight

Sung to: "Skip To My Lou"

And That spells number nine

Sung to: "Mary had a little lamb"

Number ten is t-e-n
T-e-n, T-e-n
Number ten is t-e-n that spells number ten

Sung to: "Row, Row, Row your boat"

Eleven is after ten
All you do is go straight down
And do it once again

Sung to: "Ten little Indian"

Twelve eggs make a dozen

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Driver's Morals and Knowledge of Traffic Safety [Multiple choice questions]

In case any of my devoted readers plans to try to get a motorcycle driver's license in Taiwan, I'm going to put some of the questions from the "Rider's Manual" here and in following posts.

The main problem with the "Rider's Manual" is that it isn't actually a manual--in fact, it doesn't contain any actual laws or regulations regarding how to drive in Taiwan. Instead, it is a long list of multiple choice and true/false questions. Since it never tells you what the actual rules are (nor are there explanations for any of the correct answers to the questions), all you can really get from the "manual" is what the rules aren't.

Nevertheless, some of the questions are amusing.

To make it more interesting, I will not provide the correct answers. Interested readers may post their answers as comments.

  1. When encountering police cars, you can
    a. break into a motorcade.
    b. speed up.
    c. not break into a motorcade.

    [The nice thing about that question is that it really makes it clear what a driver's responsibility is when he or she encounters police cars.]

  2. When riding, if you see an accident you should
    a. leave right now.
    b. stay and help the injured and be a witness.
    c. lie if the police inquire.

    [Note the distinction--this is what you SHOULD do if you SEE and accident, not what you actually WOULD do if you CAUSE an accident, in which case the answer is reversed.]

  3. The most important thing for a motorcyclist is
    a. the moral concept of paying attention to public traffic safety.
    b. slow down.
    c. to pay attention to road construction.

    [This one left me wishing for a fourth option.]

I think three questions is enough for now. I'll include some more at a later date.

Don't forget to submit your answers (these first three are pretty easy, but just wait! They get a lot more difficult).

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

I can't help quoting Einstein!

This guy was a laugh riot.

"If A is a success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut."

A pretty good take on life, in my humble opinion.

Monday, June 08, 2009

EFL Games Continued

Telephone Game:
This is an old game, but there are many versions I like to play with my children, and they really love it. The easiest variation of this game is to have all your children sit in a circle and whisper a word to the student sitting next to you, who in turn whispers it to the next child. The last person to receive the message says it out loud and it is usually completely backwards to what it was to begin with. Another version of this game (which I prefer to play, because I teach ESL classes) is to have the class separated into two or more teams. Have the students sit front to back in chairs in 2 rows (everyone should be facing the board at the front, which needs to be a board they can draw on.) Whisper a word, or show the last child in each row a picture and have them in turn whisper it to the person in front of them the last child to receive the message then draws it on the board. The child who draws the correct object on the board wins a point for his/her team. I like to show each team a different picture, so that they aren’t able to copy each other, or cheat by listening in.

There Is/There Are:
To practice ‘there is’ and ‘there are’, give your children a list of questions. For the younger students it is better to keep the questions limited to about the classroom. The older children, if allowed, could run around the school, or even the schoolyard to answer the questions you give them. The questions could be:
How many windows are there in the classroom (or school)?
How many doors are there in the school?
How many teachers are there in the school?
How many classes are there in the school?
How many students are there in the class?
How many chairs are there in the classroom?

Time bomb:
For this game you need a timer (such as an egg timer or an alarm clock.) Set the timer and pass it to a student, ask him/her a question, once answered, have the child pass the timer to the next student, in turn does the same. The student left holding the timer when it goes off loses a life, or is out for the game (for my younger children, I have them write their names in the air with their bum, which they think is hysterical)

Have a supply of flashcards made (question or picture on one side, numbers or letters on the other), ‘Tornado cards’ (flashcards with numbers or letters on one side and a tornado picture on the other). Split the class into teams of two or more. Have the pile of cards at the front, picture (or question) facing down. Have a student come to the front and choose a card. If the card has a picture or question on the card, the child then tells you what the picture is of, or answers the question. If the child answers correctly, then he/she draws a line to draw a house, if the child picks a tornado card, then they blows down their opposing team’s house. The first team to complete their house wins.

What’s Missing? :
Have a series of flashcards (depicting just about anything you are reviewing) made and stick them on the board. Give the children a few moments to memorize what is on the board, turn the board around or cover it, and remove one of them. Ask the students “what’s missing?” if you are playing in teams you can play that the first student to guess what is missing wins a point for his/her team. There are many different ways I like to display the items, I have used a big fruit bowl and filled it with fruit, or, a closet filled with clothes… the options are unlimited.

Word chain:
Have the children sit in a circle. Say a word and have the child sitting next to you repeat that word as well as say their own word. This becomes a long chain of words and becomes quite confusing at the end. This game is great for learning the months of the year, the days of the week, or even each other’s names.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Digital Watch Operation Instructions

This is going to seem kind of weird, but I've posted the operating instructions for my digital watch here. The reason I did this is that I've had this watch for over ten years and never learned how to set the date or time or anything. Every time I've had to change anything (like when I've moved to a different time zone), I've had to dig out the owner's manual and look up the instructions. The manual is on a little strip of paper that came with the watch. The strip of paper is falling apart, and is very easy to misplace. Recently the battery in the watch died (the first time in ten years!), and I had to reset the time, but I couldn't find the manual at first. I finally found it, and now I'm posting it here so if I lose the paper copy again, it will still exist online.

Armitron Instalite



  • Normal time mode displays hour, minutes, seconds, day of week, month, and date
  • Water resistant to 165 feet
  • 12/24 hour (military) time
  • 24 hour alarm
  • Hourly chime
  • Chronograph with lap time to 1/100th of a second
  • US/European calendar
  • Instalite – night vision display

There are four buttons: A= upper left, B = lower left, C = upper right, D = lower right

Selecting features

  1. Normal time mode displays hour, minutes, seconds, and day of week

  1. Press A once. Chronograph mode appears. Press A again to return to normal time mode.

  1. Press and hold D. Alarm time mode appears. Release D to return to normal time mode.

  2. Press and hold C. Month and date appear. Release C to return to normal time mode.

  3. Press B (in any mode) to activate instalite – night vision display feature (electro-luminescent light). Display will remain lit for two seconds.

Setting Time/Calendar

  1. From normal time mode, press and hold A for two seconds. Press A again. Normal time seconds flash. Press D to zero out seconds. NOTE: zeroing out 30 or seconds will automatically add one minute to time.

  2. Press C. Minutes flash. Press D to advance minutes.

  3. Press C again. Hours flash. Press D to advance hours.

  4. Press C Again. Month flashes. Press D to advance month.

  5. Press C again. Date flashes. Press D to advance date.

  6. Press C again. Day of week flashes. Pres D to advance day of week.

  7. Press A to return to normal time mode.

US/European Calendar

  1. Press and hold C. Month and date appear.

  2. While pressing C, press D once to select European (date, month) calendar.

  3. Press D again to return to US (month, date) calendar.

  4. Press C to return to normal time mode.

12/24 Hour (military) Time

  1. Press and hold D. Alarm time mode appears.

  2. While pressing D, press A once to select 24 hour time.

  3. Press A again to return to normal 12 hour format.

  4. Release C to return to normal time mode.

Setting 24 Hour Alarm

  1. From normal time mode, press and hold A for two seconds. Alarm mode appears and hours flash. Press D to advance hours.

  2. Press C once. Alarm minutes flash. Press D to advance minutes.

  3. Press A to return to normal time mode.

Activating/Deactivating Alarm and Hourly Chime

  1. From normal time mode, press and hold D, then press C. The word ‘CHIME’ appears to indicate the hourly chime is now activated.

  2. Press C again. The alarm symbol appears to indicate the 24 hour alarm is now activated and will sound at preset alarm time for 20 seconds or until any button is pressed.

  3. Press C again to deactivate hourly chime.

  4. Press C again to deactivate 24 hour alarm.

  5. Release D to return to normal time mode.


  1. From normal time mode, press A to obtain chronograph mode.

  2. Press C to start chronograph timer.

  3. Press C again to stop timer.

  4. Press D to reset to zero.

Lap Time

  1. To calculate a competitor’s lap time, press C to begin timing.

  2. Press D to freeze competitor’s lap time. Internal stopwatch is still counting.

  3. Press C to freeze competitor’s final time.

  4. Press D to reveal competitor’s final time.

  5. Press D again to reset to zero.

  6. Press A to return to Normal Time Mode.

Instalite – Night Vision Display Feature

Press B to activate light. Display will remain lit for two seconds. NOTE: excessive use of light will shorten battery life.

Battery type: CR2025

Friday, June 05, 2009

Confucius on injuries and kindness

Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Einstein on travel

I love to travel, but hate to arrive.

Monday, June 01, 2009

EFL Games: The Quickening

Pin the Tail on The Animal:
Have a laminated picture of an animal on the board. The animal should be missing a tail (or a nose, ears, whatever you like.) I use Velcro to stick on the missing body part. One by one have the blindfolded and dizzy children try and correctly stick the tail on to the animal (I give the children a good couple spins to disorient them first). This game is good for learning the parts of the human body, face, or just about anything and the children love it.

Separate the class into two or more teams. Put the entire alphabet on the board in a scramble of letters here and there. Have one child from each team come up to the board, when ready yell out a letter. The first person to find and circle the correct letter wins a point for their team. This game also works for numbers, words, or even pictures.

I play this game with my youngest class. They really respond to it even though it is really simple. This game can be used with a wide variety of objects or pictures of objects (plastic fruit and toys work well). One by one, I ask a student “What do you want?” (Or depending on their levels of English “What do you like?” or, “What would you like?”) The students then choose from the objects shown, and should in turn reply (e.g. “I want a banana:” or “A banana, please”) I then say “Here you are” and hand them the item they have asked for. This game is great for teaching “please” and “thank you” as well as reviewing objects. When all the objects are gone, you can then play the “May I have” or ‘Give me “ game.

Simon says:
This is an old game, but always a good one. I use this game to review body parts (e.g. “Simon says touch your knees”). You can change ‘Simon’ to your name to avoid confusion, or have the children each have a turn at being ‘Simon’ and change it to their names. When you give directions without saying “Simon says” then the children are not to do it, they are only to follow your directions if Simon says to do so. I play this game with objects in the classroom too. (I tell the children to touch he door, to lie on the floor etc…)

You should have these snowballs pre-made before class with wet tissues (if wet tissues are too messy, anything heavy enough to fly that far will work, even paper airplanes). Have a series of flashcards on the board. Split the class into two or more teams. Have one child from each team stand up behind a line. Yell out an object shown on one of the flashcards at the front. Whoever gets closest to hitting the correct object, scores a point for his/her team.