A while back I posted about a set of Shichida Flashcards from China that you can purchase from taobao. Since then I’ve had a couple of emails asking me to share my classification, and I kinda sat on them for a while..I apologise for all the super late emails!
You can download the long long list of categories here- shichida flashcard categories.
(Even if you didn’t decide to splurge the $700+ on this set, this list will still be beneficial for you to construct your own flashcard sets!)
Here’s a bit of an elaboration on how to use this with the set from China:
– Some big categories (eg. animals, flowers, fish) need to be subdivided. For example, ‘animals’ becomes ‘animals 1’, ‘animals 2’, etc. Not all can fit into 10 cards per set so some sets had +1 or -1 cards.
– There were some cards that did not fall neatly into a set. Those need to be creatively inserted into one.
– Some cards made no sense at all!!! (For example, the monday – sunday cards, the pictures make no sense.) For those, I looked at the picture and gave them a new name, and wrote the words on the back of the cards, then inserted them into a suitable category.
– As for the verbs, give up sorting them. I grouped them into ‘verbs 1’, ‘verbs 2’ etc..in shichida class they have flashcard sets like ‘words ending with ‘p”, for example. You could try that of you have plenty of time (and patience!).
I hope this post clarifies some of the questions out there!
I mentioned in my previous post that Shichida class has started giving out worksheets as homework for the toddlers in the 1-2 year old class. Here are more details…
About 15 worksheets are given out every month, and the child is supposed to do not more than one worksheet a day.
The first 3 months of worksheets have been rather simple, and involve:
- drawing lines to connect things
- drawing dots on lines on various pictures
- drawing dots into objects
- colouring objects
As the worksheets all have a copyright symbol at the bottom ((c) Shichida Educational Institute, Japan), it would not be possible to release them fully on my blog. However, with the defense of fair comment, I have an picture of what the worksheets look like.
I have also, drawn a series of similar worksheets (forgive me, I had to use Microsoft clipart), for blog readers who do not have access to Shichida classes in their country. I’m quite sure you can replicate these quite easily, once you get the general concept.
Personally, I have yet to get Samantha started on any of the worksheets. In my opinion, she is not ready to hold any writing instrument as of now (16 months of age). The rare crayon or pen I have placed into her hand has ended up in her mouth..Also, since right brain training is all about creativity I really don’t understand why we have worksheets for children with instructions to draw lines or to join dots. Okay, I have to admit, I’ve not been a fan of worksheets…
Looking at my blog statistics, I realised that a lot of parents come here to find out about Shichida lessons. I haven’t posted in a while about Shichida class, and thought that it it might be nice to do so.
Samantha entered Shichida class when she a little over 6 months. Now at 16 months, she has completed 9 months of weekly Shichida lessons.
The first 6 months went along pretty well, with lots of repetition of activities (please see my previous post for the lesson structure).
The third term of lessons had three new changes to the lesson plan.
- Firstly, there was new homework! Every month the teachers will hand out a stack of about 15 worksheets for the toddlers to do. They are pretty simple worksheets that require the children to draw lines connecting one item to another, or draw dots on the paper. I don’t think I will be allowed to post the worksheets here, but I will blog again next week with some similar worksheets drawn by myself.
- The linking memory exercise now has one more card to remember (Total of 6 item cards now).
- There is also a block-arranging exercise during every lesson. The toddlers are given a set of 4 blocks and tasked to arrange them in a specific pattern, like the Nikitin block game. You can read more about it here on this blog entry.
The rest of the Shichida lessons for term 3 remain unchanged (eg. the speed reading, photo memory, etc).
So now I am left to answer the biggest question – was there any discernible benefit from enrolling in Shichida class?The answer is quite simple – I don’t know. There are simply too many confounding factors involved that I cannot attribute Samantha’s current standard to purely the result of a weekly Shichida class. I am sometimes tempted, however, to blame the rapid flashcard sessions and the 1 minute long activities for Samantha’s impatient and easily-bored character, but I know that that’s also an unfair assumption.
Ultimately, we parents all want the best for our children, and will try whatever is out there, even if there is no scientific basis behind the educational method right? Welcome to the era of Parentocracy
A regular activity in Shichida class is something they call the ‘Shichida Musical’. In this activity the teacher plays a song with a theme (for example colours, or going to the zoo), and flashes flashcards to represent some key words of the song.
It’s quite interesting and as Samantha seems to enjoy it quite a lot in class, I decided to incorporate it into my home practice. There’s no way I can ever compose a song, so I made flashcards for a few nursery rhymes, children’s songs and Disney songs. I used YouTube to play the music in the background while I sing along and flash the cards as the words are sung. Here’s some examples (minus my singing)..
Incy Wincy Spider
Three Blind Mice
Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
I think this is a refreshing alternative to the usual flashcard routine. Showing her flashcards instead of the YouTube clip also helps to reduce the amount of computer/television screen time Samantha is exposed to. Currently, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends avoiding screen time in children under the age of two years old.
The company on taobao.com that I bought my flashcards from has recently introduced this new product, and I decided to give it a try.
It comes in a nice box, with foam padding on the insides.
There are three packs of 50 cards each. Each set of 10 cards follows a general theme (for example, colours, shapes, animals, body parts). The cards are made of durable paper that is slightly water resistant, so I did not consider laminating the cards to lengthen their lifespan.
I think the cards are quite well made, the pictures are nice and unambiguous, and there are no distracting background images. These cards can be used for linking memory games and even clairvoyance/telepathy games. There is an instruction booklet within the box that gives you a few suggestions on how to use these cards.
The cards cost me $28.50 inclusive of shipping. An ok buy if you want to introduce some variety into your Shichida home practice materials. If you are on a tight budget, you may want to consider buying playing cards like ‘donkey’, ‘snap’, ‘happy family’ and ‘old maid’ from old neighbourhood shops that can serve the same purpose as well (each pack costs less than a dollar).