Archive for the ‘Language Learning Resources’ Category

Mister G ABC Fiesta- Fun Bilingual Music!

Monday, October 21st, 2013

 

 

 

A celebration of music and reading is presented in Mister G’s latest release ” ABC  Fiesta”,  which is filled with a blend of Latin rhythms, funky acoustic guitar, that makes you want to dance and sing!   Music and songs are some of the best ways to expose and reinforce the Spanish language to kids, and this latest CD by Mister G is fun, upbeat, and educational.   I love that there are voices of bilingual children featured, as well as several playful interludes illustrating how certain Spanish words are used in different ways throughout Latin America.   Not only are the songs great for enhancing listening and fluency, but also to spark conversation about culture and language!  One of my favorite songs is ABC Fiesta, which is a celebration of  letters, words, and reading in both Spanish and English.  My kids love to dance and sing along to Cocodrilo, as well as the interactive Frota Tu Panza, which is a great lesson for body parts!

Mister G, is a Parents’ Choice Gold Award winning artist, whose music has been featured in People Magazine, on national television,  and is currently on the Latin Grammy ballot as a contender for Best Chidren’s Album of 2012 for his previous album Chocolala.    He has extensive  experience from being awarded a songwriting scholarship to the Berklee College of Music, earning a Master’s degree in elementary education, and a critically acclaimed career performing for adults, and now is inspired to create children’s music.  We are so happy he did!   As a bilingual educator and parent, I am always looking for fresh, upbeat music that kids and parents will love, to help foster the Spanish language development.  ABC Fiesta is a perfect combination both for enjoyment and to be used as a teaching tool!

I hope you have a chance to check Mister G out live, as he has a multi city tour going on right now.  Check out www.mistergsongs.com for dates and locations.  A few of the upcoming concerts include:

Oct 27      Academy of Music Theater     Northampton, MA

Nov. 9     Schuba’s Tavern                        Chicago, IL

Nov. 10   Musical Merry Go Round        St. Louis, MO

Mister G will be playing concerts through December 15.  Check out his site for a date and location nearest you!  If you would like to hear some samples of the newest songs, you may listen here.  Enjoy!

GIVEAWAY!

When we find great bilingual music, we love to share it with you!  Now is your chance to win a copy of Mister G ABC Fiesta for your family or classroom!  Simply leave a comment here on the Bilingual Fun blog stating why you would love to have your own copy!  We will chose a winner on  10/28.

Gracias! :)

 

* The opinions expressed in this review are those of Bilingual Fun.

Learn Spanish with Guessing Games

Monday, October 14th, 2013

Teach Children Spanish with Fun, Interactive Games

 

Kids love guessing games and they offer a great opportunity for language production.  They are so many easy, fun methods to make a guessing game fun and interactive.  Kids learn Spanish with they are playing and interacting, therefore in our Bilingual Fun lessons, we use a variety of guessing games as a successful teaching strategy.

 

By repeating the question and context vocabulary, children  are listening and comprehending new words.  When they have the turn to take a guess,  the language production is enhanced and Spanish is being taught and learned without kids even realizing it is a lesson!   Using a variety of different questions, words, voice intonations, and repetition all add to make the activity exciting and interactive.
Here are few simple ideas for different types of guessing games:

1.  Use a pocket chart with number flashcards.  Hide a small picture or flat object behind a number.  Be sure that the object pertains to the lesson topic, so that context rich conversation can be reinforced.

2.  Use colored bean bags or colored cups, hide the object or number under each color.

3.  Use felt pieces on a felt board ( shapes or colors work well), hide a felt number of felt object.

4.  Repeat the question for each child taking a guess.  Have other students take turns asking the question as well.  Continue to reinforce the vocabulary for each question.

5.   Be expressive when they find it or do not find it,  repeating expressions and phrases.  Encourage all kids to repeat along with you.

6.  Be creative and have fun!  We usually incorporate a guessing game in each lesson, merely changing the method and vocabulary.  Kids love the suspense and they especially love when they guess it correctly!

 

Make Your Next Museum Visit a Bilingual Experience

Sunday, July 21st, 2013

Beat the Heat by Visiting a Children’s Museum: Tons of Bilingual Venues!

 

The heat is on this summer and although we love the beach, pool, and sporting activities,  I also love a great, indoor educational opportunity!    One of our favorite things to do to beat the heat  is to visit Children’s museums.  There are so many amazing museums throughout the country and there is sure to be one close to where you live.

 

Many of the museums are bilingual venues, with the signs and displays in both English and Spanish.  Even if they don’t have bilingual signs, the displays and themes are a great way to let your kids practice Spanish ( point out familiar vocabulary, describe activities in Spanish, play I Spy and look for colors, count the different themes, etc).  Many of the children’s museums have thematic displays ranging from science, to weather, food, to animals, and so much more!

We recently visited one of our favorite museums:  The Children’s Museum of Houston.

This venue is amazing with all signs and audio info available in both English and Spanish.  My kids always have a great time exploring  the displays!

Some of the favorites were caring for los animales enfermos en la oficina del veterinario,

shopping en el supermercado,

playing el detective en la division de  crímen ,

taking out dinero del banco ATM,

fishing en el río,

 

and so much more!

 

Find a Children’s Museum in your community here.

Stay cool this summer and include some bilingual fun in your next museum visit!

Kids Learn Spanish with Familiar Books

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

 

Using familiar books and stories is an easy way for kids to learn Spanish.  We love to share well known stories and books with our students, as they can easily make language connections with topics they know.  All of the Eric Carle books are fantastic, and Oso Café is favorite that we use for so many different activities to teach Spanish to children.

 

Here are a few ideas that work well in our classes and at home:

 

1.  Freeze Dance:   use the animals from the book, and place them all over the floor.  ( Great templates at dltk.com).  Play music and give kids various commands.  When the music stops, have the children look for a particular animal and they must stand by it. Example:  Busquen el caballo azul.  Repeat various times.  This is a great way for kids to make color and animal identification.

2. Bean Bag toss:  See picture.  I found this awesome floor mat at Five Below ( www.fivebelow.com).  We use colored bean bags, and give kids commands to toss them on a particular animal.  Then we take turns having the kids give each other the commands.

3.  Yo Veo:   We reinforce the phrase from the book ” yo veo….”, then hand out visuals from the story.  The kids sit in a circle, and they go around the circle and say what  animal they see sitting next to them.  We exchange the visuals several times so that kids get a chance to use a variety of vocabulary.  Great production practice!

4.  Favorite Animal Drawing:   As a culminating activity, the kids choose one of the animals from the book and illustrate it.  They each take a turn showing their drawing and telling the class:  Mi animal favorito es el pato amarillo, etc.

 

These activities are simple and can be adapted for a variety of ages.  Children will learn Spanish while having fun with these simple, interactive lessons!

 

 

Learn Spanish with Kinesthetic Lessons

Friday, May 24th, 2013

 

Movement is an integral part of teaching Spanish to children and always a part of the Bilingual Fun lessons. Definitely at this time of the year, we really try to keep the kids actively learning.   Jumping games are a favorite and can easily be modified for the topic and age group.  This week as a review of colors, the Bilingual Fun kids did the “Rainbow Jump”… “El Salto del Arcoiris”.  Each child takes a turn and says the color as they jump over each one.  It is fun and active, and the kids are producing the language while using kinesthetic abilities.  We modified it in various classes by having older kids tell us if they wanted to jump on 1 or 2 feet… en un pie o en dos pies.  Also we added number flashcards and put the numbers in a reverse order, so they had jump and count backwards in Spanish.  The activity is repeated several times so that kids can continue to hear the vocabulary and each child has a few turns producing the language on their own. The kids love these activities and we add the jumping game with a variety of different topics.  Movement and repetition are so important when engaging kids and early language learning!   This a fun, easy Spanish activity that you can try at home with your own kids or in your classroom.  Outdoor options are fun too!

Teach Body Parts in Spanish – El Cuerpo

Friday, May 17th, 2013

 

All of our Bilingual Fun lessons  are structured to be interactive so that kids are learning Spanish through fun activities.  This week the classes had a great time reading the Eric Carle story De Cabeza a los Pies and acting out the motions using the body parts.  We did an extension activity that we call “Dibuja y Pasa.”  After the kids have learned and reviewed the body parts in Spanish several times and after reading the book, each child gets a piece of paper.  The teacher calls out a body part for them to draw:

“dibuja la cabeza”

Then the child passes the paper to the child on their right.  The teacher calls out:

“dibuja dos ojos”

Then the child passes the paper to the child on the right.  The teacher continues to call out body parts, and kids continue to pass their papers until the body is complete. When they eventually get their papers back, they love seeing how their drawing turned out!

We use the finished drawings for communicative activities:

“¿de qué color es la nariz?”

“¿de qué color es el pelo?”  etc.

The kids love sharing the drawings with the class and discussing the differences and creativity.  This is a great activity to teach and reinforce body parts in Spanish and to keep the lesson interactive and fun!

 

 

The Bilingual Rebellion: Tips to overcome it!

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

 

After having a great discussion and Hangout on Google + with Spanglishbaby and Jeanette Kaplum, I wanted to follow up on the idea of battling “ Bilingual Rebellion”.    It was a great event and lots of people chimed in with tips and questions.   I was bummed that my video function wasn’t compatible for some reason, but my audio worked, so I shared a bit of my two cents on the issue.

 

If you are a parent or teacher raising or teaching bilingual children, you may face ‘the rebellion’ at some point.    Here are some more tips to avoid and get through this stage:

 

  1. Remain positive:  don’t discipline or correct kids all of      the time.  Use praise and positive reinforcement.  Kids will be more      motivated to speak when they don’t feel like it is a chore.  Keep things light!

 

  1. Restate in Spanish.  We have all been there… you ask the kids something in Spanish and they respond is English. Ay Caramba!  Without making an issue, simply restate their answer in Spanish and move on.       With our own kids, we often restate their answer incorrectly or   give a choice.  This encourages them to correct us and keep the conversation going.  Here is a sample conversation with my son yesterday:   Yo:  ¿cuántos minutos leiste anoche?  Hijo:       thirty- five.  Yo: Muy bien…      treinta y cinco o cuarenta?       Hijo:  treinta y cinco.

 

  1. Focus on Fun:   motivate kids by encouraging their  communication through themes that they are interested in or relevant to their lives:

Retelling stories:  Even if you read a story in English, retell the story in Spanish.  Talk about the characters, feelings, etc.

Guessing games… Estoy pensando en un animal que….

Think Quickly:  Nombra 5 colores… Nombra 5 animales… Nombra 5  juguetes, etc.

Number games/ Math games:  Use dice and do sumas/ restas.  Practice math drills and tables in Spanish.

Board/Card games:  all games can easily be modified to play in Spanish.   Easier ones for toddlers CandyLand, Chutes and Ladder,      Go      Fish… older  kids- Pictionary, Picturecka, Uno, War/Guerra, etc.

Imaginative play w/ dolls/stuffed animals-  set up a doctor’s office or vet or restaurant.  Let the conversation flow!

Active games:  Kinesthetic activities really stimulate some many learning styles.  Play catch w/ a beach ball and count as high as you can in Spanish.  Count by 2’s, or 5’s.  Put objects on the floor, have kids jump over them and say the color, or any topic you want them to practice. Play  “What time is it Mr. Fox? “ We say ‘ ¿Qué hora es Sr. Elefante?  Kids count the steps in Spanish and practice telling time.

 

4.  Exposure:  keep talking, reading, and listening to music.  Check out your local library for the International Juvenile collection and find some different books that peak your child’s interest. Most libraries have books on CDs and this is a great way for kids to enhance their language exposure.  Music:  singing enhances pronunciation and fluency.  Practice singing songs in Spanish that the kids know,and then have a concert and video them.  They will love watching themselves on camera.  My daughter taught her friend the lyrics to Celia Cruz song recently and they made up a little salsa dance routine.  Costumes and all!  We filmed it and they had a blast, singing and dancing, and then of course rewatching themselves several times.

No matter what, if you are passionate about your kids and students speaking and learning Spanish, keep doing what you are doing!  The rebellion stage eventually will pass and someday your bilingual kids will be thanking you for your dedication and patience!

Valentine Wordsearch in Spanish

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

 

Valentine’s Day is this week and you may be looking for some quick, simple activities for your kids who are learning Spanish. Here is a simple buscapalabras for elementary age kids.  As an extension activity, have kids make una tarjeta with the Valentine themed words and give to a family member or friend.   Kids will have fun learning Spanish with this fun, easy activity!

Valentine Wordsearch in Spanish, download here. :-)

 

Kids Learn Spanish with Candy House Decorating

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

 

Kids love to decorate candy houses!  Chances are, if you have children, you will be probably be doing this activity at some point during the holiday season!  Take this opportunity to sneak some Spanish into this fun, festive activity.

  • 1. Make colored patterns with the candies as you decorate the house ( rojo, verde, rojo, verde, etc)
  • 2. Practice house vocabulary ( el techo, la pared, la ventana, la puerta, la chimenea, etc)
  • 3. Count the quantities of candy on each section.
  • 4.Create a story or description about the family that lives in the house… La familia Manriquez vive en está casa bonita que está en el bosque…

Kids learn Spanish best when they are interacting and doing hands on activities.  Decorating candy houses are a great way to keep the language learning alive this holiday season!

Spanish Halloween Activities for Kids

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

With Halloween rapidly approaching, parents and teachers can easily use the holiday as a focus for reinforcing Spanish words and teaching new ones.  Whether in a classroom or at home, we would like to share some fun Spanish Halloween activities for kids.

Numbers and Feelings

  • Cut out pumpkins/las calabazas ( or Target dollar bins and Dollar Tree have them this season).
  • Write various numbers, or for older kids math equations on one side.
  • On the other side draw emotions.
  • Spread out on the floor or table and ask kids to find various numbers and/or emotions.
  • Reinforce  feliz, triste, enojado, sorprendido, bien, mal, cansado, etc.

 

 

Guessing Game/ ¿Qué falta?

  • Use a Pumpkin/ Una Calabaza or Sr. Papa for body parts reinforcement.
  • Review and practice los ojos, la nariz, la boca, las orejas.
  • Ask kids to close their eyes and take a part away.  Kids have to guess the word in Spanish.  Then switch and let kids hide the part.
  • Guessing is a great way to illict conversation and language production!
  • Here is an example of Sr. Papa and the ¿Qué falta? game. :)

10 Fantasmas…. 10 Brujas

Do your kids like to sing?  Here is a super easy song to help kids learn Spanish.  Sung to the tune of 10 Little Indians.

Download the lyrics and activities here.

 

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