Thursday, February 5, 2009

A lousy day and Tao Nyeu stories**

Today is a day I'd rather have crossed the road and whistled to the shop shutters to avoid. Tiny little things pile up, nag innocently. Little jars of paint brought as a reward (not bought - they came with the jam), their promised session still awaiting the completion of a new apron. The apron and sundry other clothes to be repaired overflowing from the stuffy bag I hid them once in. The bag all but hidden in three days worth of partially folded laundry. Piles of ironed clothes awaiting entry into the dhobi book, so they can make space for folding the rest of these... plus more of these endless chores. And then, because I stayed up so late at night, a splitting headache. I wish I could borrow some optimism from this Coffee-stained clarity -

"I’m learning that all you can do with a day so determined to be a failure is to let it. Roll around in its messiness and stupidity like a pile of fall leaves and have a blast scattering them to the wind... Once I get over my unreasonable expectations, such as productivity and basic hygiene, failure days can be kind of fun. And the best news? Hours away is a brand new day that, chances are, has already learned to behave itself."

What a lovely way of looking at a failure day!

Talking of looking, you may have seen Tao Nyeu's book Wonder Bear featured in a few blogs by now. If you don't have it, and are not likely to get it soon either, at least you can look at it online at her site, simply titled tao nyeu. The site is designed to be a portfolio site, but it is amazingly generous in sharing the entire book rather than giving mere glimpses of it. That may change in the future thought, which is why I am featuring this site today instead of a 'gamey' one.

The menu on the left has her stories - Missing Moustache, Balloon Journey, The Street of Crocodiles -

Wonder Bear -

Laundry -

and single illustrations. A site worth going to if only for one's own visual pleasure rather than a child's! I especially liked the cute bunnies getting cleaned in the washing machine. It is the sort of story that children like best - whimsical, just this side of unbelievabale, and allowing and encouraging endless innovations to embellish at bedtime. Do check it out!

The url -

P.S. This has to be one of the lowest of lows - I have no post script to add today! So, here is a real pj that I got smsed recently, for those who can understand: What is the opposite of achaar? You know, the spicy pickle stuff we love to eat aloo parathas with? Yes, yes, the very same, now come on! - - - - - -

Ok, since you give up, it is onions. The reasoning will be in hidden in a comment so you have to make some effort to read it :)

Questions! And Crickweb****

How much difference a little child's minor illness can make to an entire family's daily life, even if it is just a bit of viral cold! All schedules disrupted, planned activities abandoned, 'me' time gone, blog posts missed... Let us therefore move back to track, with apologies assumed to be stated and accepted, shall we?

When I started this blog, I had expected that as I cataloged and classified my site collection, I would be using them more efficiently and frequently. But I find that the reverse is true. Our computer time has gone down; many meal times are accompanied by movie cds or books, and definitely the sites I showcase are not being utilized to the full. It may be coincidental, or it may be due to the fact that I invariably have other tabs open to 'follow' other blogs, and so wish to avoid heavy flash usage which might crash the laptop. But there has to be some other more satisfactory explanation. What do you think?

In keeping with this theme of underutilization, therefore I am today talking about a site which we have probably never opened a second time after its discovery. Crickweb is a lovely site developed by V2V Training Ltd. of UK, a joint venture of Dan and David Bunker. A tip right in the beginning - if you are using IE 7, you may have some trouble with their pages: check out the FAQ section for advice. Also the ads on the left are pretty prominent, and can't be left alone with children even though they seem to be content appropriate :)

Crickweb was designed to be an educational aid for teachers and parents in UK, and has interactive activities for foundation stage, key stages 1 and 2 according to the British system, covering "Maths, English, Science, History, Geography, R.E., D.T., I.C.T, French and Spanish." The one area I have explored is early years (screenshot above), which is for primary school kids. The index page gives a brief description as well as instructions to play. Clicking on the thumbnail or name causes the game to open in a new tab/window.

The game window size is satisfactorily large, but the height could be reduced just a wee bit to avoid having to scroll up and down on a smaller screen (mine is 17 inch - I think! Too late at night to go measuring it up now!). The games are well conceived, so even if the cartoon quality is not quite Antzy, or even Tom and Jerryish, they are still capable of holding your child's attention. Some games, such as counting the number of balloons (shown here), are fairly simple, while others, like the number game below this one, which is about matching the number names to numerals, are for slightly older children.

Some games are self correcting. For instance, a correct answer is highlighted in green above. Others are open ended, such as the simple weighing game below -

There are, of course, other games, and even some of the older group activities can be used for young ones with due modifications. But that is for you to personalize. As a teaching resource, it is a truly excellent site.

There are also some games which are not educational in content - click on the games section in the top menu for more fun games like this parachuting baby below :) As it involves simple mouse movement, it is excellent for toddlers just beginning to handle the mouse. The tiny little cough when clouds get in the way is too cute for kids to want to avoid though!

Normally I skip mentioning the links pages, because dedicated site surfers would find it themselves anyway, and for the others, it is simply too much information. But you must take a look at the link section here, for there are games with thumbnails, same as the rest of the site, so it is so easy to decide on which link to click. Some of these linked sites we have already covered (BBC, Uptoten, Spot) while others will be covered in due course of time. In the meantime, explore and have fun!

The url -

P.S. I have been wondering about who said that it was easy to love the world - it was your neighbour that was the problem? Why should it be so? Why are our souls moved by adversity at a distance, but when it is the neighbour, the colleague, the relative, the employee, there are sundry other considerations which prevent us from being as compassionate as we may be? Why do we judge those near us; judge and are judged, for why else would we blog away about our deepest feelings, yet shirk from using our real names lest those we know read it?

I know no answers yet, nor have I given sufficient thought to tease and analyze this, so I leave you with two links to the reason why I asked them instead - Nino's mum at The Nino Effect talking of the the sisterhood of the traveling word, and Mercedes at Desert Candy talking about her mom's recently diagnosed brain cancer. I wish I could talk about these posts, but I can't. You will just have to read them yourself.

P.P.S. Thanks to Desert Candy, I now know how to put up an index of all sites covered - in another blog of course! Someday soon, I will do it!