Even More Chinese Language Facebook Groups

Alright, after a few weeks’ break, here we are again for some great Facebook groups that help support Chinese language learning for our kids. All the groups featured today are location specific, so please keep that in mind. Of course, if they inspire you to create your own group for your area, all the better!

1) Mandarin Immersion Social Adventures – A group of parents in Southern California a private & insured parent-run club for all Mandarin Immersion families in the Los Angeles area who enjoy going to places or doing stuff together! All MI-Adventurers can plan and promote any adventure as long as it is (1) FUN and (2) related to one or more of the following disciplines: STEMMM – that’s Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Music & Mandarin

YVT, a fellow member of one of the Facebook groups I’m in said her son is the founder and she’s the secretary (the heavy lifter). It started from their journey at Broadway Mandarin Immersion (LAUSD) in 2011. The majority of the members hail from their former school community but it’s open to anyone who is learning Mandarin. Adventures are science, tech, engineering, math, music and Mandarin related. Obviously, you would need to live in the area to actually attend their adventures.

Sounds super fun to me!

Seems like they are also a Google+ group and you can opt in several ways. Please see their Facebook page for more information.

Thanks to YVT for the tip!

2) EBAAP (East Bay Asian American Parents) – Originally a MeetUp group that migrated to Facebook to avoid fees, it’s not as active as it used to be since many of the founding families’ kids have aged out of the “playdate” range. However, a lot of us are still friends and in the East Bay Area and connect and offer each other resources.

While not specifically for Chinese Immersion or for Chinese people, there are quite a few Chinese/Taiwanese American families in the group and they have weekly Mandarin playgroups. I met some of my best friends in a Mandarin playgroup through this group when Cookie Monster was 15 months old. And then later, at a different Mandarin playgroup, I met some more good friends. Super grateful for this group.

Obviously, you would need to live in the area, be Asian American (or at least have some members of your family be Asian American), and have children.

3) Summer in Taipei 2015 – This group is actually for Hong Kong mothers who spend or want to spend their summers in Taipei. Each year, they change the group name to the appropriate year. I get a lot of info here for Taiwanese summer camps and sessions (as well as places to live and stay).

Again, this is more specifically for mothers in Hong Kong so the community is small, closed, and very specific in terms of the issues they address. (Eg: housing, au pairs, visas, additional schooling for mommies, etc.) (I got snuck in somehow thanks to HK Mama Bear for the add last summer. So helpful!)

However, there is enough information that is useful to non-HK mothers and just folks in general who want to send their kids to local Taipei schools in the summer. In general, I would not join this group unless you are also a mother in Hong Kong. I have been cross-posting a lot of their information in other FB groups.

And that’s it for this week! As always, if you are a member of any of these groups, please comment and let us know your opinions. Or, if there is a FB group you think I should know about, please let me know that as well!

Ma LiPing Chinese Curriculum

Today’s post focuses on Ma LiPing (马立平), a person as well as a type of Chinese language curriculum she created for the Chinese American children of Chinese immigrants from Mainland China. This type of curriculum is best for children who are already fluent in Mandarin Chinese in that it is the heritage language of their family. This is not ideal for people who have no background in Chinese and are learning as a second language.

From my cursory examination and Googling, Ma LiPing sounds awesome and I wish it were available in Traditional Chinese. Even with that in mind, I’m tempted to buy it and then “translate” into Traditional for my own sake. I wonder if I could license it from them?

Anyhow, Ma LiPing is in some ways, a total philosophy and way of life. The general idea is that students are taught the most common characters used in the Chinese language (for reading books, newspapers, etc.). There is no pinyin taught since it’s for native speakers. (Even though kids in China initially learn characters with pinyin just as kids in Taiwan learn characters with zhuyin, they drop using pinyin around the third grade so most children’s books do not have pinyin in them.)

Through Ma LiPing, students are expected to know 1,500 of the most frequent words used in general Chinese books by 4th grade. In the 5th grade, to teach students to input Chinese via computer. And by the end of 10th grade, students are exposed to 2,794 characters.

In fact, this series reminds me of the Sagebooks in the sense that it emphasizes literacy of common words over learning words based on ease of recognition and writing. Unfortunately, Sagebooks is only for 500 characters.

Even though the Ma LiPing site is all in Simplified Chinese, you can get the gist of it using Google Translate (which I did). The site is fairly robust in terms of answering questions about the founder, curriculum, philosophy, FAQs, usage, lesson pacing, teacher training, phasing in to Chinese schools, sample materials, why some schools fail at implementation, and a lot of other information. It is incredibly thorough.

Or if you are not interested in wading through a passable Google Translated version of the site, you can try the American Chinese School’s site which does a pretty good job of summing up the Ma LiPing philosophy.

As the American Chinese School states, “the target learners of MLP curriculum are those students who already understand and speak Chinese at home as heritage Chinese, not a second language.  If your child can not at least understand Chinese at home and the family can not provide a continuing language environment, learning will become increasingly difficult as grades progress.”

According to Oliver Tu, three years ago, he visited a Saturday Chinese school in NC that used Ma LiPing and sat through one fourth grade class. He spoke to the teacher afterwards and discovered that some kids do better with curriculum using pinyin first and some do better with 马立平’s curriculum. But, many kids using 马立平’s curriculum have to switch to the pinyin classes at ~ 5-6th grade since otherwise, they just couldn’t keep up.

If your family goes to a Chinese school that uses Ma LiPing, I would LOVE to hear from you about your experiences and feedback!

Ma LiPing (马立平中文教材)
Site Language:
 Simplified
Physical Locations: 475 N. Whisman Rd # 200, Mountain View, CA 94043
Products: proprietary textbooks, workbooks, CDs, flashcards, teacher training materials, some free sample materials provided on site, AP Chinese
Product Languages: Simplified, NO pinyin

Did you know I wrote a book on how to teach your kids Chinese? You can get it on Amazon (affiliate link) and it’s conveniently titled, So You Want Your Kid to Learn Chinese.

It’s full of practical advice, detailed applications, and heavy amounts of snark. Find most of the answers to your questions about how you can help your kids learn, speak, and read Chinese.

Daily Noodles

It’s funny how you can hear about a person through mutual friends for years but never actually meet them until later. I had heard about Andrea Chen and her company, Daily Noodles, off and on over the past few years because we have mutual friends, our kids have the same Chinese tutor (although Andrea’s children are older than mine), and I am always looking for good Chinese educational materials.

At the beginning of this school year, this same Chinese tutor had purchased several of the Daily Noodles’ activity books and gave me the Numbers (Amazon affiliate link) and Animals workbooks for my children. Being the cheapass that I am, I immediately tore them apart and laminated them for re-use in the future. Cookie Monster had done several of the activities already and enjoyed them – but I laminated the pages anyway. (Yes, I’m that cheap!)

Daily Noodle Numbers Workbook (my laminated version)

Daily Noodle Numbers Workbook (my laminated version)

Daily Noodle activity page 4

Daily Noodle activity page 4

Daily Noodle activity page 3

Daily Noodle activity page 3

Daily Noodle activity page 2

Daily Noodle activity page 2

Daily Noodle activity page 1

Daily Noodle activity page 1

I have also seen my kids come home a few times after doing activity sheets and crafts from these workbooks in both their preschools so the teachers clearly think the books are worthwhile for purchase and use!

I thought they were cute books and loved the crafts and graphics. But I forgot about them soon after. (This is the problem with getting free things! Sometimes, you don’t value them as much as you should.)

However, during my Mandarin Mommy and Me classes with our other preschool teacher, I noticed one of my fellow moms, JC, handing our teacher Traditional pages to proof. (The workbooks come in both Simplified and Traditional.) My curiosity was piqued, but I never really inquired. Turns out, JC worked with Andrea at Daily Noodles!

Fast forward about a year and a few months ago, I was busy adding all these Chinese resources to my site when I thought, “Hey! I should feature my friend’s company!” So, I approached JC and she introduced me to Andrea. 

I even got a sneak peek at their new launch site and product. (From what they showed me, I am making sure I sign up as soon as they release it this summer. Trust me when I say it looks awesome and my kids will LOVE it. Don’t worry. I will let you guys know all about it when it’s closer to the release date.)

My friend, Tiger Woo and I wanted to buy their version of the Spot It game in Traditional, but they are currently out. So, as a favor to me, JC gave me to sets of the same game in Simplified. The cards are high quality, cute, and fun!

Daily Noodles Know More Card Game

Daily Noodles Know More Card Game

Anyhow, I always love highlighting the amazing and talented people I know (however peripherally). I like that some of their “shine” might rub off on me in some way, too. Plus, minority women owned business providing Chinese educational materials. What’s not to like?

Andrea formed this company when she was looking for Chinese educational materials to support her two kids. Andrea didn’t speak or read Chinese so she found the search particularly frustrating since most sites that had the materials she wanted were in Chinese. Quite a scary thing to buy things in a language you don’t read for materials that you hope are good and will arrive in a timely manner! When the materials arrived, Andrea couldn’t help her kids with them because she couldn’t read Chinese.

As a result, born out of her frustration for good, fun, quality Chinese educational materials, Andrea put her Harvard MBA to good use and formed Daily Noodles. Their workbooks are all print-on-demand so they can keep down costs by not needing to store inventory. (Ingenious!)

As I mentioned earlier, they are almost ready to launch an online site that will be incredibly robust, boast over 45 graded Chinese readers (in both Traditional and Simplified), 300+ activity sheets, puzzles, and videos. The site looks fantastic (from what I saw, anyway), the “gamefication” aspect really appeals to me (and likely will appeal to your children), and I truly can’t wait!

Until then, you will just have to satisfy yourself with the “analog” version of their products. (For instance, here is their latest free FUN sheet.) You usually have to “Like” their Facebook page first to access the sheet.

Enjoy!

Daily Noodles – Full disclosure: I know several people who work at Daily Noodles. I have not personally purchased the books, Daily Noodles gave my friend and I a Simplified set of their Know More game cards (like Spot It) to check out since we wanted to by the Traditional set but they ran out.
Site Language: English
Physical Locations: No
Products: workbooks, flash cards, online learning center with streaming videos and quizzes, free downloadable PDFs
Product Languages: Simplified, Traditional, pinyin, bilingual
Additional online locations: Daily Noodles Facebook page, Daily Noodles YouTube Channel, Daily Noodles products on Amazon