Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Special Christmas - Christmas Special

It is time for presents. No, we are not talking about grammar. Not the present tense but the gift ones. The ones that you get at Christmas.



Being based in Asia does not mean that we want to miss out on all the Christmas fun. Christmas is special. So we have made a Christmas Special.

We love to give things away. Our Christmas special is $5 off a one year membership of Pumkin Online English. Go here to get the special $5 off!

He-Man and She-Ra



The Simpsons



Charlie Brown



The Office




What company we are in!

Enjoy the Christmas Special.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Yellow Pencil and Orange Pumkin

While looking for other fun English teaching websites I came across this great one, The Yellow Pencil.



I asked the Yellow Pencil to tell me a bit about their site;

"The yellow pencil is a non profit site to teach Spanish speaking children English.
All the activities are made up of very simple grammar and easy vocab to introduce the students to the English language in an enjoyable way.
The grammar is explained in Spanish and the exercises are mainly translation worksheets to print or to do on line.

There are short videos to help with pronunciation and a karaoke pages with nursery rhymes to sing along.

I made The yellow pencil to use with my students and now is visited by Spanish speaking children all over the world Thanks to the magic of the Internet
."



Many of our users are from Spanish Speaking areas so I wanted to let them see this great site and all the goodies that it has to offer.

Grammar Page
Videos

Thanks again to the Yellow Pencil.
Gracias al lápiz amarillo

Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

1/2 a Million



Yes, 500,000 is half a million. We don't teach maths at pumkin.com but we can still do some. That is the amount of views our YouTube channel has had so far. That is a big number. As well as that we have about 450 subscribers to our channel. You too can subscribe here to free English teaching videos.

What makes our videos a little different from most other English teaching videos on YouTube is that our videos are all part of a course. Not just random videos to teach certain things but a collection of videos in lesson format (11 videos per lesson). Each lesson teaches specific vocab and grammar points. We have 10 full lessons up there already and we are half way through teaching lesson 11. Lots of people from all over the world enjoy our videos and find great teaching value from them. This makes us happy.

Tell your friends about us and have a look for yourself.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Music Videos

Music is and will always be a fantastic way to learn a language. For younger learners in particular. Kids love to sing a long to songs. It can achieve the ideal situation where children are learning with out realising that that they are 'studying'. It is true that music is an international language that all people can understand. That is the beauty of music.

We try as hard as we can to bring our education to kids through music. We have recorded more than 50 songs that teach different grammar, sentence patters and vocabulary. These songs are yet to be released on the world! However, plans are afoot to start making some new animated music videos for our tracks. Watch this space.

Here are a few of my favorites from our current 'album'.

Enjoy.

Can you Fly?



First person Funk!



Third Person Groove

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Halloween Survival

Halloween is a very dangerous time for Pumkins, however, we do celebrate it.

While most find it amusing or even creative to carve the living bodies out of our friends the pumPkins we find this time of the year is best spent indoors within the safety of our own homes.

Some of our unfortunate cousins!

Trick or treating for Pumkins is a little tough too. Our large bodies make it hard to disguises ourselves. Trick or treating on Halloween night is also dangerous for Pumkins for we may become the target for some small child's 'creativity'.

All in all though, Halloween was a fun time in Pumkin World. We have made some fun and ambitious plans for the future, Pumkin World needs to keep moving and evolving. Plans are in the pipeline for new activities and a new 'foundation' to bring our online education to those who can not afford it. We will be working with charities to bring Pumkin learning into the houses of children all over the world who would not normally have the opportunity to have access to online English teaching.

Another year and we have survived another Halloween.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pumkin Pies!

I just found this great post on Classroom Book of the Week.

http://katenarita.blogspot.com/2010/10/perfect-pumpkin-pie.html

As it is fast approaching Halloween, Pumkins are everywhere. This is a great review about a book called, 'The Perfect Pumpkin (sic) Pie'.



There is a great rhyme in there too.

FIVE LITTLE PUMPKINS SITTING ON A GATE

Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate.
The first one said, “Oh my! It’s getting late.”
The second one said, “There are witches in the air.”
The third one said, “But we don’t care.”
The fourth one said, “Let’s run, run, run.”
The fifth one said, “It’s Halloween fun.”
WOOOOO went the wind, and out went the lights.
And the five little pumpkins rolled out of sight.


and another,

“Pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkin pie!
I must have one before I die.
It must be round and brown as toast,
Or I’ll haunt this house a hungry ghost.
It must be perfect or a ghost I’ll stay,
And haunt this house, and never, ever go away!


So, as Halloween approaches, remember the pumkins!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Scratching and Rapping

At Pumkin we are always looking for ways to improve out teaching content. Staying fresh and exciting for kids is essential. One of the areas we are working on is the presentation of our phonics activities.

At the moment we are using the same activities for vocabulary and sentence presentation. This is not fair or fun. So, we have hired a Band and a DJ to do the job for us.


Our DJ is from New Zealand and has a very impressive resume. Having played with 'mango and the fruit bats' on their last world tour, DJ Kiwi has great experience. He is a specialist in Phonics scratching.

"You know some DJ's play that club music and get the dance floor moving, I prefer edutainment. I educate and entertain at the same time. Ya feel me?" - DJ Kiwi

The band are legends in 'the game'. The Vegetaband have played the Pumkin theme tune to all the Pumkin shows. They are also behind the songs on http://pumkin.com


"Bringing our funky style to the phonics teaching will bring fun and wild excitement to the kids, we have worked for a long time on this phonics set and we really hope it rocks" - Lenny The Lemon, Drummer for The Vegetaband.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Getting Started with pumkin.com

So you have made the choice to sign up to pumkin.com. Now what?

Here is a brief guide to what to do when you start using pumkin.com.

1 - Go to http://pumkin.com/



2 - Watch the Video Introduction



The video introduction gives you a brief overview of our service. There are more in-depth tutorials on our service here.

3 - Go through the Guided Tour




The guided tour gives you an idea of how the lessons are organized on the worlds.

4 - Login



Type in the e-mail and password that you used to create the account.

We sent you your password to your e-mail address so please look in your inbox first (look in your spam folder too, just in case). If you did not receive any mail from us, please write to us at service@pumkin.com.

If you ever forget your password, you can click the 'Forgot your Password?' link on this login page and create a new one.



5 - Start Studying!



Click the "Next Lesson" button. This will be your first lesson if you have just started. This icon is on your toolbar so you can go to your next lesson whenever you like.

6 - Study hard and have fun!

If you have any other questions please write to us at service@pumkin.com.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

World Cup Final Aardvark vs Chocolate.




Sunday will see the crowning of a new World Cup winner. The South African World Cup has been full of thrills and spills (Green). It has been quite a ride for us here in Asia with many of the later stage games starting at 2.30 AM. While we will be glad to return to some more regular sleeping patterns we are sure to miss the World Cup as soon as it is over. Four years time till we do it all over again in Brazil.

So how can I make a blog post about learning English with the World Cup final? Simple, the two teams in the final have contributed many words to the English language so I will take a look at the words we have taken from Dutch and Spanish and use that information to work out who will win the final. Like Paul the Octopus. Neither the Dutch or the Spanish have won the World Cup so there will be a new name on the Cup.

Dutch



Aardvark - from both Afrikaans and Dutch, literally "earth-pig".
Beleaguer - from belegeren (="besiege, attack with an army")
Booze - from Middle Dutch busen (="to drink in excess")
Forlorn hope - from verloren hoop (literally "lost troop," figuratively "suicide mission,"
Luck - from Middle Dutch luc, shortening of gheluc
Skipper - from Middle Dutch scipper (now schipper, literally "shipper")
Split - from Middle Dutch splitten
Wiggle - from wiggelen (= "to wobble, to wiggle")

Spanish



Adiós - from Spanish "goodbye".
Barbecue - from the Chibcha word barbacoa.
Chocolate - from Spanish chocolate, from Nahuatl xocolatl meaning "hot water."
Desperado - from Spanish desesperado, desperate.
El Niño - from El Niño de la Navidad, literally, "the Christmas child" due to the warming of Pacific waters around Christmas.
Guerrilla - from Spanish "small war".
Loco - from loco, = mad, crazy.
Macho - from macho, brave, the property of being overtly masculine.
Olé - an interjection, an expression of approval or triumph, similar to the Italian bravo="capable", used by spectators of bull fights or football (soccer) matches.
Savvy - from Spanish or Portuguese sabe, "knows".

The task here is to make sentences out of the words to describe the final as you see it playing out.

Good gheluc to both teams.

Adiós

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Feedback feedback.

We have had a large amount of feedback on our site. Some of it has been good, some bad and some just strange. I think it is only fair to give this feedback some feedback.



I will begin with

The Good.

"The songs are simply great! My students love them! Congrats
on the awesome work! Lilian Marchesoni from Brazil"


- Thanks so much. We had a lot of fun making the songs and the videos for them.

"Hello,
My name is Julie Mejia. I am an American citizen who is
currently living outside of the United States. I have a 7
year old daughter whom I don't ant to forget her
English thus I am always looking online for different
websites in which she can use to practice. She thus far has
been able to keep up her speaking skills but of course do to
her studies here in Colombia being in Spanish is not yet
able to read or write in English. I am also an English
teacher at a private academy here in Colombia and I would
like to say that I think this website is simply amazing. I
do plan to sign up and hope that others like me find use of
your website.
Thanks"


- Wow. Thanks so much for that. It is always great for us to hear good feedback from teachers.

"I love it! Will do a sample lesson with my students and
recommend a site to them!"


- Great. We really hope they enjoy it!

"Yes, it is interesting and didatic."

Wonderful. Those are the two main things we are trying to achieve.

That is more than enough praise. Let's get to

The Bad



"The sound quality is not clear "

- Yes. We did have some sound quality issues in the earlier shows. The sound quality does get better though. Sorry.

"Searching ....searching ability is missing on this site "

- We have thought about introducing a search function to enable users to search by skill type, ie grammar, phonics, dialogues etc. We are still looking into how to implement this.

"I hate it because you have to pay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

- Sorry. We need to get some money for all this hard work so that we can continue. We have done lessons 1-10 there are still lessons 11-50 to do!

"I liked it. It is a pity I can not use it, since I do not
have either credit card or PayPal. "


- As is we have only these two payment methods. Perhaps you can ask someone with a credit card to pay for you (not me).

"It's in a UK accent. I need an US accent."

- In fact we use people from the UK, US, Australia, South Africa and even Canada in our content as we feel it is important to be able to understand English globally.

The Ugly



"hi there wat are u at" - Guest

- Erm...Hi there. We are at Taiwan.

"what about the french langauge"

- It is a great language that has had a large effect on English but it is still French and we are an Online English site. If we managed to finish our full course in English perhaps we will look to other languages, but I think Chinese would be before French in the line. Sorry.

"what can't we" - Guest

- Don't think like that! What can we!

"I feel funny"

- Me too. However, my friends tell me I'm not that funny at all.

"I think you are all our feature"

- OK, now you have really lost me.

"eggs milk" - Guest

- This is my favorite by far. Thanks.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New YouTube Lessons

Followers of our blog will know about our YouTube page and the videos we have posted there.

When we started adding videos our plan was to add lessons 1-10. Having added all those videos, 114 in total, we have now decided to plow on into the next set of lessons.

Lessons 1-5 are the beginning of our Online English Learning course. These lessons teach much of the English basics.

Names - He is/ she is...



Classroom Objects - It is/ They are...



Classroom Actions



Colors - It is [color].



Body Parts



3rd Person Actions



And much much more.

Lessons 6-10 will teach:

Present continuous tense.
Outdoor Actions with can and can't.
Fruit and Vegetables with like and don't like.
Adjectives and opposites.
Using adjectives in descriptive sentences.
Countable and non-countable nouns.
Questions of quantity.
Feelings and emotions.
Food with want and don't want questions.
Comparatives and superlatives.
and much more...

So look out for the new videos being posted to the channel. Lesson 6 has already started and is about actions and can/can't questions.

Come and subscribe to our channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/KidsOnlineEnglish

Friday, June 18, 2010

PayPal Payment

We have two methods of payment, credit card and PayPal.

Here is a quick explanation of how to pay with PayPal.


Step 1 - Buy Now




Step 2 - Select Pricing Plan



Step 3 - Get Started



Step 4 - Select PayPal



Step 5 - Continue to Checkout



Step 6 - Creditcard Details




Step 7 - Comfirm Payment.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Grey or gray?

We recently had an email from a user saying that our site was great but there was one small error, "The grey balloon was shown but the spelling was spelled as “gray” instead of grey (the correct spelling)". It seems to be a bit of a grey/gray area.



This is an interesting point. We are British and American educators based in Taiwan. Due to the fact that we are based in Taiwan we have chosen to use the US spelling, most of the time.



In our material we use 'color' and not 'colour'. This is the American spelling.
We also use 'dialogue' and not 'dialog'. This however, is the British spelling.

So as you can see, we are consistent with our inconsistencies. But jokes aside, English is becoming more and more globalised/globalized. Spoken as a first language by over 300 million people around the world, English is shifting and changing all the time. So most essentially, is it a doughnut or a donut? These questions and more will satisfy our mental hunger for years to come. What is most important perhaps is the awareness of the differences. I mean some people spell 'Pumkin', 'pumpkin'!!

I found this great test about the differences between the two.



Here is a great blog post about the different types of English.

There is a good guide here for the differences between British and American English.

Thanks to http://youronlinenglishclass.com
http://www.bloggingtips.com
http://www2.gsu.edu

Monday, June 14, 2010

Carrots, Sticks and Elephants

As a child I was never very fond of carrots. I soon found them to be infinitely better than sticks however. If you thought carrots are hard to eat, try eating sticks! Carrots and sticks also refer to different methods of encouragement. A donkey may be tempted to continue walking with the promise of a carrot to eat on arrival. I'm not sure how you tell the donkey but it's not my theory. Otherwise you can hit the donkey with a stick to encourage it to keep walking.



I should hasten to add that at Pumkin we do not condone the stick approach so we went with the carrot. However, carrots are not all that exciting so we chose reward games and animal cards instead.

In Pumkin's online world students explore worlds and set animals free by completing their English learning activities. On finishing an activity, students can play a reward game. This is a game where coins will move across the screen. Students will try to grab most of the coins!



All five planets have different themes to their reward games. World 2 is an underwater theme for example. World five has a bouncy theme! As you can see, coins fall in this game and bounce off the walls. Try to get the 10's and 5's, they are smaller but worth that much more.



Once the coins have all gone you will be presented with the 'Game Over' screen. It will tell you how many coins you caught and how many are still left in that game. You can do the game again to get the rest of the money (This is a great way for us to encourage reviewing past lessons).



So having made all this money what should you do? Well, you can save it if you want and just let your money build up. Or you can go shopping! As you progress through the maps on the planets you will set animals free that have been trapped in eggs. These freed animals will become available as cards in the shop.



The shop will have the animals you have set free from all the planets (See the tabs on the left). Animals are not all the same price as some are rarer than others. Ones towards the end of the planets lessons are harder to get and hence are more expensive. Remember you are collecting the cards for the animals you have set free and not the animals themselves. They have been set free to live on their planets as they wish.

When you first start there is one animal on each planet. These guys will help guide you around and don't need to be set free as they didn't get trapped in the eggs. The dog and cat are two examples of these.





The more you move through the course more rare and exciting animals will become available. If you study hard and collect the coins you will be able to get cool animals like this!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

World Cup 2010

The World Cup of football is here. Some people have been waiting for four years for this to happen. The time has come.



Countries from all over the world have qualified for the World Cup finals in South Africa. Some of the favorites; Spain, Brazil, Argentina and England have found their places in the finals. There are also some of football's smaller nations including North Korea and New Zealand. All of them will play for the title of World Champions.

Interactive Map

All the teams have been split into 8 groups of 4. All group members will play each other. The top 2 teams from each group will go through to the knockout stage.



Here is a really cool calendar for the games.

One of the best things about the World Cup is the different fans from all over the world. Fans dress in the colours of their country's football team, paint their faces, sing and play music to encourage their teams to victory.



Here are some great activities based on the World Cup to help you study English.

Vocabulary

Numbers

Teams

Bingo

A big thank you to esolcourses.com

Who do you think will win?

Monday, June 7, 2010

One, No One and One Hundred Thousand



'One, No one and One Hundred Thousand' is the title of a great book by the Italian author Luigi Pirandello. It also describes our life on YouTube. When we started our channel a few months ago we had one intention, to bring our English teaching to the interwebs. Yet, no one had viewed our videos. Now we have had one hundred thousand views of our videos. That's 100,000 for those of you who have trouble with words and prefer numbers.





Why do people love milestones so much? It is a little strange. We love to get to a new big number. Milestones are good because they give you something to aim for. However, when you achieve one milestone you seem to be looking for the next one straight away. So, what is our new milestone going to be? 1,000,000. That might take some time. I am thinking of 654,321 hits. Why? Well, because it looks cool and I always liked counting down. 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1...Lift OFF!



If we are to reach this very important milestone of 654,321 views we will need more people to subscribe to our channel. Tell your friends. Help us get to our next milestone.

Kids Online English Channel