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Water Cycle Worksheets

I follow many different approaches for learning. One of them being inquiry-based learning. It’s spring now in Canada. It’s a wonderful time to learn about the water cycle since children will be naturally curious about the weather and the outdoors. On one of our walks, my eldest began to wonder. Where did the puddles go? It had rained in the morning. The sun was shining in the afternoon. We went around the block twice. On our second round, many of the puddles had disappeared. After our walk, we went home and I started to look for videos that explain the water cycle and I decided to put it into a worksheet so she could refer back to it. We are still doing different experiments to learn about the water cycle. Here I am sharing the worksheet that I created and also some videos in Cantonese that explain the water cycle and some experiments. Hope you enjoy them!

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Reading Butt Detective as a Non Native Speaker and Reader

I’ll admit, I might be a crazy parent. As you may know, I’m pretty adamant on my children learning Cantonese. So determined for my kids to learn that I purchased a set of books that I CANNOT read. But if I cannot read, what will I do with them? As the crazy parent that I am, I am trying my best to learn them despite them being WAY beyond my reading level.

Back story: Back in December, I found out that my local library carries two different Butt Detective picture books, not the bridge books. At this point, I didn’t realize there was a difference between picture and bridge book. I’ve seen pictures of these books come up A LOT on Facebook and Instagram. I never looked into it because, you know, his face is in the shape as a 🍑. Yes, I totally judged a book by its cover. I didn’t think we would get into it, but I did want to see what the hype was about. Once I brought these books home, the kids were captivated by all the puzzles. They were staring at the same page for ages and kept flipping through the book throughout the day. When I attempted to read it the first time, I just stared at the first sentence. To my horror, I would have had to search up the entire sentence! I gave up immediately but the kids did not. My library loan lasted 3 weeks. During those 3 weeks, my kids kept going back to these books. They kept bringing it to me. They wanted me to READ it. And so began my journey to reading Butt Detective 屁屁偵探 as a non native speaker and reader.

The first few times we opened the book to read it, I tried to read the Chinese on the fly with my little knowledge of characters. For reference, I know about 300 characters. You can imagine, it didn’t go well. I quickly switched to English, “reading” what I could see happening in the picture. There is a lot of details on each page in each picture. Just from the pictures, I could figure out what is going on and made up my own story in English. After a few reads in English, I started to scan each page before I read to determine what I knew in Chinese. Luckily, there is a lot going on that the kids were occupied for a bit while I quickly scanned the pages. If I knew the characters I would read it. If I knew most of the words but missed out on key ones, I looked for clues in the picture and said the English word. A lot of it was decoding the book and words from the pictures. When the kids kept bringing me the Butt Detective book to read throughout the day, I knew these books were a keeper and I decided I was going to purchase them and learn how to read them.

I spent three nights going through one entire book, searching for words and characters I did not know. I made it into a list on my phone. I use the handwriting feature which converts it to regular text. For unknown characters, I would write it down together with the preceding and following characters. Since characters are not always words, I wanted to make sure I would be able to get the correct word so I could make meaning of the sentences. I transferred the list to my computer. To my horror again, my list was 4 pages long even when I put them into two columns per page (about 240 words in total of unknown words). This was definitely discouraging. I have a few friends who continue to encourage me on and told me it would get easier. From there, I also plugged those words into Pleco (translating app). I wrote the jyutping and the definitions down. Then I found out, there was repetition of some key words. And since I wasn’t familiar with those characters, I thought they were new words each time. So after cutting out all the repeats on the list, my list became 2.5 pages. There’s still two column of words on each page (about 150 words total) but honestly, this made me feel so much better than the original 4 page list I had.

With my long list of words, I tried to read the story to the kids in written form. First time around, we got through the first 2 pages before I called a quits for the day. Second time, we added on another page or two. And with each read, we add on more pages and it does get better with each time. To be clear tho, I am still referring back to my list of words often. I have the memory of a goldfish. But, I am able to get through at least half the book in Cantonese before I switch to English. This amount of Cantonese is a big feat for me as a non native speaker. There is a lot of text in these books. A video of these books told by a native speaker are often at least 20 minutes, without kids interrupting and stopping to look through the puzzles and mazes. The time it would take me to read the entire book to my kids would probably be an hour or longer if I wanted to read in Cantonese the entire time. I do what’s best for us for that day. If the kids have patience, I will try to read as much of the book in Cantonese as possible. If the kids are restless, I do what I feel they can sit through for the page and switch back and forth between English and Cantonese.

This post was probably a little bit long winded than it had to. I applaud you if you read this far! My main point was that it does really get better the more you read. The second Butt Detective book I went to translate, my vocabulary list was 2 pages long (~120 words). And the third book was 1.5 pages (~100 words). A lot of words are repeated throughout the series such as maze, clue, suspicious, investigate, etc. Each book starts off with a phone call that prompts Butt Detective to leave. Then he starts with his introduction which is the SAME in every book (“我是屁屁偵探。我的工作就是解決各種各樣的難題,來者不拒。” – I am Butt Detective. My work is to solve all kinds of difficult cases, I refuse no one.) That one sentence is a mouthful, so once you get through it the first time, it gets easier for all the books. He also ends the second page with the same saying “嗯哼,有案件的氣味喔。” – Uh huh, it smells like a new case.)

In the printables section, I have made a vocabulary list and flashcards to hopefully get you started if you really want to read this series. I have included yale romanization with tonal numbers for the words (my preference over jyutping). Please note, I don’t use the flashcards or vocabulary list with my kids. I made these resources more for myself to learn. This book is way beyond their level to read independently. I am using it as an intrinsic motivation to learn more and exposing them to new language. They listen to me read it. It is possible there are errors in the vocabulary list. Remember I am not a native and I am enlisting the help of Pleco to the best of my ability. I welcome anyone to offer corrections. 😊 If you are looking for a Butt Detective audio, Cantonese Kids! on YouTube has uploaded the Bento Mystery one. Rhythm N Rhyme has uploaded the 2 Butt Detective one. I will not link the video directly because I fear of copyright issues and I don’t want the videos to be taken down. Cantonese Kids! should be easy to find. Rhythm N Rhyme video can be found in Little Kozzi Reading Club on Facebook.

Is this a good method for learning how to read? Maybe or maybe not. This method works if you are very interested in the book that you are motivated to learn to read it. I think ideally though, you want to be able to read a book naturally. If you need to stop to look up several words it does take away from the flow of the story. If there are more than 5 words per page that you need to look up, the book is probably too difficult. But who am I to stop anyone from reading? If you love it, go read it! If you’re kid is willing to sit for hours on the same book, find audio to listen to, find someone else who can read it or learn to read it at your own pace with or without your kids. As long as the journey is enjoyable for both parent and child, I don’t think it should stop anyone from reading a book.

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Cantonese Storybooks on YouTube

Here’s a list of YouTube channels that has storybooks with Cantonese Audio. Let me know if there is any channels that I missed. Thank you to these generous parents and educators for uploading these! These are a great way to increase exposure and learn Cantonese in a fun way. The first six is our top six channels that my kids and I refer to often. The remaining channels on the list is in random order.

Cantonese Mommy, Michelle, has over 170 videos of stories of various topics. She reads in written and colloquial Cantonese which is great if you are trying to learning characters.
Rhythm ‘N” Rhyme, Eveline, has 20 video of stories on her channel among many more songs, reviews, art and helpful guides. She reads in both written and colloquial Cantonese. She also hosts live story times on “Little Kozzi Reading Club” facebook group.
Koko has over 70 videos of stories on her channel. Most of the videos are in Cantonese. She reads only in colloquial Cantonese.
Fely 姐姐 is one of the youngest readers on YouTube. She has over 240 videos of her reading in Cantonese. This is great exposure to see other children speaking and reading Cantonese. She reads in colloquial Cantonese.
Books for the Little Soul has 60 videos of Cantonese, English or bilingual Cantonese and English book readings on her channel. She reads Chinese books and also translates English books. She reads in colloquial Cantonese.
Michigan Cantonese Storytime has almost 300 videos on their channel including stories, music and activities. Grace reads Chinese books, translates English books to Cantonese and also creates her own stories. Her channel is great if you are looking for Cantonese version of your favourite English stories like Elephant & Piggie and Peppa Pig. Her kids are also involved with the story readings. She reads in colloquial Cantonese.
There is about 40 videos on this channel (no English name for this channel). She reads in colloquial Cantonese. What’s nice is that she uploads the colloquial Cantonese translation into the video, meaning what she says is also written in the video so you can read along.
Janice has about 8 videos of stories among songs on her channel. She reads in written and colloquial Cantonese. Janice also conducts circle time in Cantonese on Markham Public Library Facebook page. You can visit the Facebook page to find the circle time videos.
Daudingism, Cindy, has more than 30 videos on her channel including stories, songs, and her self-published books. She is very animated and my kids enjoyed her reading. If you sign up to her website, you can view more books that are not available on YouTube directly.
Cantonese Kids currently has about 20 videos including stories, songs and activities. She reads in colloquial Cantonese and written and colloquial Cantonese together in a single video. Check description for timing of your preferred reading. There is one Butt Detective video on this channel!
JokSingJai, Samantha, has created her own books. She has illustrated and wrote these books herself which is amazing! Books available on Amazon. She also has vocabulary videos that teach many Cantonese words. I love her instagram account.
Hey Mommio, Kaiyan, is a fun channel, She has a few stories and vocabulary video with her son. She reads in colloquial Cantonese.
This channel has stories among other things. If you scroll through their videos you will find some stories. The stories are read in written Cantonese. There are more than 20 stories on this channel.
Like Cantonese Mommy, Little Piggies Storytime records herself reading with her child so you will hear their conversations throughout the story. She has 12 videos. She reads in colloquial Cantonese.
Hambaanglaan Cantonese Graded Readers is a very interesting channel. These stories are teaching kids to read Cantonese in the colloquial way (not written Chinese format). There is jyutping and a tonal representation of the words. It’s very interesting! They have about 80 videos on their channel now.
Storybear has 13 videos including Mr. Panda books. She reads in Colloquial Cantonese. She has subtitles of what she is saying, these are in written Chinese format.
Sleepy Pig Stories has over 40 stories on their channel. There is only a still image in the video so there is no moving video for the kids to watch which I prefer so that the kids can practice listening. You can also hear there stories on spotify and podcast if you want a no video option.
This is another channel with stories with a still image so there is no video to watch. Also, the storyteller is a male. Most channels are female reading so this may attract young boys.
Cantonese Fun Playgroup is a new channel with 4 videos at the moment. There are some fun sound effects. Stories read in colloquial Cantonese.
This channel has more than 20 videos of stories that are read in colloquial Cantonese.
Lillian has over 50 videos of her storytelling. It looks like she has created the images and video herself. My kids haven’t watched her videos yet but am sharing if someone else finds it interesting.
On this channel, there are only two videos of Peppa Pig stories. I’m not sure what the other videos are about but my kids are into Peppa Pig so they like to listen to these two stories. Stories read in colloquial Cantonese.
Little Donut only has 3 videos on her channel. Hopefully she will upload more. I really like the Good Egg story. Stories read in colloquial Cantonese.
Cantostories has only 3 videos. Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus is a great book. She reads in English and Cantonese.
Another male reader! His channel has over 50 videos of stories and art. He reads in colloquial Cantonese.
This is a new channel. Tess is reading books for older kids, ages 7 to 10 years old. She reads in colloquial Cantonese. She currently has 4 videos on her channel.
This father has 30 videos of stories read in colloquial Cantonese from baby books to picture books. This user is no longer active but his videos are still accessible.
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Valentine’s Day Heart Messages

Here are some sweet messages that you can deliver to your child for Valentine’s Day or really any time of the year. These messages are specific to Cantonese and may not work for Mandarin speakers. I know growing up, it was rare to hear words like “I am so proud of you” and “You make me happy.” It’s not really in the Chinese culture to say those words. Our parents and grandparents showed us love in different ways like through food. “Have you eaten yet?” was the equivalent to “I love you.” Hopefully our generation can make the change and make it a habit to say more praises and kind messages to our children and friends. Feel free to let me know, are there any messages I missed? What did your parents say to you? What would you have liked your parents to say?

Different ways to use these messages: (There are so many ways that you can use them. Don’t feel limited to these suggestions.)

  1. You can fold them in half and make them into cards.
  2. You can stick them on your child’s door or wall so that they can read them right when they wake up in the morning. Chalk Academy idea here. She inspired this post.
  3. Feel free to set them aside and save them for a special occasion.
  4. Hang them using a string (single or multiple) and let them dangle from the ceiling or wall. Similar idea here.
  5. Fold in half and glue 3 or 4 of them together to make a 3D heart that you can hang from the ceiling or wall. Similar idea here.

You can download this in printable section. Or just click this link. Free for personal use only.

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Chinese New Year Activity Book

I’m so excited to announce that this Chinese New Year Activity Book is now live at Little Kozzi online book store. Link here. It’s so crazy to see my product available on a real store! I am so thankful for the ladies who run Little Kozzi. They are so encouraging and have helped me out so much in the past year from helping my kids learn Cantonese to also challenging myself in the materials and content I create. I am forever thankful for them.

So I have been working on this book for the past two or so months. All late night preparations after my kids go to sleep. I wanted to make sure the activties would be fun, engaging and also informative. There are so many traditions to learn about for Chinese New Year (CNY)! Even then, there are variants depending on dialect and region of China so I tried to choose the ones that were more universal or geared towards a Cantonese speaking family. There are 20 activities in the book that have been approved by my children. Please note that this is not a CNY theme activity book. We are not learning counting and shapes with CNY objects. It’s an activity book about learning the culture and the traditions, although there are some activities that require counting so feel free to reinforce or teach counting in Chinese then. You can view the preview of the book on Little Kozzi website or down below. I know when I go into stores to buy books, I skim through the pages to see what I’m getting before I buy which isn’t possible sometimes with digital products.

I am an certified elementary school teacher in Ontario. I have tried to create activities that would be inclusive for all ages and also not too demanding on the parents. I really want parents and children to do these activities together. Children will learn the traditions not only through dialogue but with actions. A common tradition is to do spring cleaning before the New Year. Have your child help find cleaning supplies through the scavenger hunt and have them help clean the house. In here there are flashcards with the cleaning verbs to help reinforce the language. As they are wiping the mirrors or sweeping, say the action words. If you’re musical (or you don’t have to be really) you can make a song out of it. I often make random songs out of nursery rhyme tunes like row row row your boat and frere jacques. There are tidbit of information throughout the book to help guide parents who may not be familiar with the traditions. I am really trying to help you out with all the preparations and information so that you can focus your time and energy with your child creating beautiful memories!

Also included for your convenience is a pre-recorded class conducted in Cantonese by Janice Chan. We have planned this class with songs and some of the CNY traditions. To access this class, there is a QR code on the second page of the book that you can scan and watch from any device.

For a limited time, until January 28, 2021, this Chinese New Year Activity Book will be on sale for $8.88 CDN. Did you see what I did there? Lucky numbers for the New Year. And what’s great about a digital product is that there are no shipping fees! That means it is available internationally since there is no shipping and it will be delivered very conveniently to your home, your device. You will be supporting a very small business, Sweet Note Learning. Did I mention this is my first product ever? I would love to create more if there is a demand for it. So please show me that you are interested in these! Link here to buy at Kozzi website: click here. Feel free to send me any feedback and questions at or on instagram!

UPDATE: If you purchased the CNY activity book within the first week, a second edition should have been emailed to you. There were a few simplified characters in the book. The second edition has corrected the errors.

If you have the jyutping version, the jyutping for mop is incorrect in the scavenger hunt. It should read to1 bou3 and not dei to that is in the book. I apologize for the error and will be more diligent in editing next time!

Thank you to those who have sent in questions and feedback. I am listening. Some of you had difficulty finding the class link. It’s actually on the second page in the QR code. I will definitely have to make this more clear the next time or will find an alternative method to share. I also had some request subtitles for the class because it is full immersion with Emma sweet English every now and then. I have included some subtitles for the key words in the video. Turn on subtitles in YouTube to view them. I included English, Chinese and jyutping. Hope that helps! This is Janice. She is an amazing friend of mine that offered to host these class alongside my book. She also has Cantonese immersion and bilingual classes online through zoom. You can find her in her Facebook group “Pop Up Cantonese Circle Time.”