Exploring Minds is an organization for education. Its primary focus is on play based curriculum. It’s aim is to create awareness about process oriented learning. On Explorimind.com website you will find information about kindergarten readiness, creative writing and bilingual learning. Though the site focuses on Hindi English bilingual resources, the tips here are useful for any second language learning. We are also adding some French learning resources.
Madhavi Sudarsana is the founder of Exploring Minds. She is a lecturer who specializes in multi-cultural and bilingual education. She has created her own multi-sensory program for teaching Hindi as a second language to children and adults. She currently teaches early childhood education at an undergraduate level in California Community colleges. She also works as Parent Educator, and PITC (Program for Infants and Toddler Caregivers) trainer. She has masters in psychology and a certificate in Educational Therapy.
She along with Shruti Piduri also teaches creative writing to upper elementary school children. Shruti is a highschool senior who has also written a few sight word books. She is the contributor for French part of this website.
You can get ideas from your daily life. You can turn your common experiences into appealing stories. The ideas can come from;
Daily experiences at home/ school
Special events like birthdays/ holidays
Something that you do in your family like a family tradition. It can be anything like a traditional holiday or a simple game night.
Special places like vacations
This class is designed for children between 4th and 6th grade.
Over the course of four weeks, students will be introduced to a variety of poetry styles and techniques. Each week, students will practice writing both rhyming and free verse poems in a variety of styles including Acrostics, Haikus, Narrative Poems, Odes, List Poems, Persona/Metaphor Poems.
At the end of the course, students will share their poetry with the rest of the class, and will have the option of self-publishing the poems they wrote throughout the course.
Description: This class is designed for children between 4th and 6th grade. Over the course of four weeks, students will write and illustrate their own picture book, which they will then publish as a book for Kindle. Though the focus of this course is to write a picture book, students will also be exposed to different writing techniques, and will further develop their creative writing skills. After the fourth week, parents will receive a file from the instructors containing their child’s book, as well as instructions for publishing the book for Kindle.
Students can expect 2-3 hours of homework per week.
Class size is restricted to 4 or 5 students, maximum.
Each week student will do a variety of creative writing exercises in class and at home while working on their books.
Week 1: Brainstorming
Homework: Come up with 3 story ideas.
Week 2: Plot and Character Development
Homework: First draft and start illustrations
Week 3: Illustrations, Cover Page, and Editing
Homework: second draft
Week 4: Final Edition and Reading
Students will write and illustrate a complete picture book.
You will learn to read Hindi vowels and consonants in the next several posts. Each post will focus on one group of consonants. Listen to the sounds in the video and also practice writing those letters.Video also has pictures.
The research shows that the children who read early are the ones who were read to from early on. Reading is a source of enjoyment for both parents and children alike.
There are several benefits of reading aloud to children.
Early reading experiences are also about physical intimacy with the parent. The young child always sits in a lap while being read to. This kind of cozy interaction creates a positive emotion towards reading.
It’s a way to enrich child’s vocabulary. Reading introduces formal book language. A child comes across several words that they start using in their own conversation, even when they may not fully grasp the meaning of it. They also develop awareness of differences between similarities and differences between spoken and written language
They develop print awareness; for e.g. They understand that the letters can be grouped to form words and the words have meaning. They can identify the beginning and the end of the book or the sentence.
Choosing books to read aloud.
Do not under-estimate child’s taste. It is very likely that if you do not like some book, they may not like it too. Usually, good books are the books that adults like reading too. Children love to hear these books again and again
While choosing books for children see if they match their developmental level. The topic should be interesting and developmentally appropriate for the children
Usually younger children like the books that rhyme while older children like the books that revolve around their everyday experiences.
How to read books to children?
Point each word while reading. If possible sound out some of them. It develops phonological awareness.
Draw children’s attention to illustrations. Ask children to guess what story is about or ask them to read it to you by looking at illustrations.
Talk about the story as you read. You do not need to read just what is written. It can be more of conversation. Ask Open ended questions that involve why, where, who, what and how.
Ask children to predict what will happen next in the story.
If you want your child to read early, then it is important that you expose them to rich language and build their vocabulary. Create interest and love for language. Bathe your child in language but do not drown them. It means that you talk to your child but also allow opportunity for conversation as that is when the child can practice language. So even if the baby cannot talk to you, we should pause and encourage baby to respond. This way we are teaching infants the first rule of communication, which is taking turns.
Some of the strategies to create a variety of language experiences are;
Use rich language. Do not simplify everything. Feel free to use some complex words.
Explore new materials, books together.
Have back and forth conversations. Wait for children’s response. Do not rush them.
Have meaningful dialogue. Sometimes we need to get child’s attention back to the topic in discussion.
Use songs and rhymes as young children naturally like those.
See if the child has good expressive language. These are some of the points to consider.
Can child say all the sounds including consonants and vowels? It is important that the child can hear all the sounds. Hearing sounds is a prerequisite for rhyming. Also, when you introduce a child to phonics, they need to be able to hear the sounds. If the child mixes sounds like P and B; it may indicate learning disability like dyslexia.
Just remember that the young child may not be able to say all the sounds perfect as most children have all their sounds by age 8.
Does child show age appropriate fluency and richness of speech? This is another factor that may show language delay or disability. For e.g. a child may sound very fluent at age 4 but may have a vocabulary of just about hundred words. Since the parents understand what child says, they may think that the child speaks well but the child may actually have a very limited language.
This video explains the milestones in communication development among infants and toddlers.
In the next post we will see how reading to a child helps with learning to read.
California Learning Foundations have outlined learning standards for math in early childhood settings. This activity focuses specifically on number sense. Number sense for prekindergarten includes following standards.
Counting up to 20
Counting with correspondence
Addition and subtraction of numbers up to 5
Size of group comparison, compare visually with or without counting
Counting by 5/ 10
Identify a small group, up to 5 objects without counting, which is called subitizing.
Understand that adding one or taking away one changes the number in a small group of objects by exactly one.
With simple homemade materials you can create activities that will reinforce these standards.
You will need 20 large fish cutouts (Many dollar shops or school supply stores sell these)
Paper clips for attaching to the mouth of fish
Around 60 small fish die cuts or any tokens
Fishing pole; you can create this with attaching a magnet to any rope or dowel.
Die/ Spinner (Optional)
Possible activities using these materials
1) Fish with the magnet rod. Read the number on the big fish. Count as many small fish and put them in the basket
2) Lay all the big fish with numbers on the table. Place number of small fish corresponding the number on the big fish.
3) Catch two fish: add or subtract, use singular numbers. (You may use double digit numbers if the child has advanced skills.
4) Roll a die and pick the number of fish.
5) Place 20 small fish in plates, which are ponds. Take away after rolling a die.
6) Two children can play this game. Roll a die. Choose fish and place them in the pond. After 10 turns see who has the most.
7) Keep fish in groups of 5 or 10 and count by 5 or 10.
8) Keep two unequal groups of fish. Ask child which one is larger/ smaller.