Posts Tagged ‘bilingual children’

Being Bilingual

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

This is such a beautiful poem about the gift of being bilingual. It is on the wall in my daughter’s room.

Yo x 2

por Jane Medina

Leo por dos
Escribo por dos
Pienso y sueño
y lloro por dos

Yo río por dos
Yo grito por dos
Canto, pregunto,
Intento por dos

Hago mucho más
que hacen todo ellos
Porque yo hablo por dos,
Lo doble que aquellos

Me x 2

I read times two
I write times two
I think, I dream
I cry times two.

I laugh times two
I shout times two
I sing, I ask,
I try times two

I do twice as much
As most people do,
‘Cause most speak one,
But I speak two!

El Dia de los Enamorados

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

Te quiero mucho

In honor of el Dia de San Valentín, I would like to share words, phrases, and activities you can learn with your children and express your love! A great way to reinforce Spanish with your children is to keep the learning natural and relevant. If you plan on making Valentines or decorations this year, incorporate some bilingual fun!

Expressions of love:

te quiero mucho- I love you very much
te amo- I love you
mi amor- my love
el corazón- heart
eres mio- you are mine
eres especial- you are special
el beso- kiss
bésame- kiss me

Bilingual Valentine Activities:

*Cut out little corazones in different color construction paper. Reinforce color vocabulary in Spanish.

*Make a list of family members of whom you want to send Valentines. Make homemade cards and reinforce family vocabulary in Spanish. Write ‘querida prima’ or ‘querido abuelo’.

*Count candy hearts. Sort by color and count in Spanish. Older kids can do adding/subtracting problems using the dulces. Reinforce number vocabulary by asking ‘ ¿cuántos hay?’.

From the mouths of babes

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

I love to hear the funny musings and mispronuciations from my sweet 4 year old. As a bilingual child, he had a longer silent period and but when he did speak, he was proficient in both languages. I am happy to say that all is developing as it should be and we were never concerned about delays or confusion in regards to his language skills. He is still our “tremendo”, wearing SuperHero costumes daily and harassing our sweet puppy. But my husband and I are constantly amused by some of the funny things that come out of his mouth! Here are some of our bilingual favorites:

* When talking about his excitment, he told me ” i have have cerditos in my tummy”. He knew that his sister has butterflies in her tummy and he has cerditos. Sounds logical. 🙂

*We conduct our family meals in Spanish, so he frequently tell us ‘ listo para helado’. One of the incentives we give for conversing in Spanish is dessert, so he starts the conversation by telling us he is ready for ice cream.

*The letter ‘F’still alludes my son both in English and Spanish. When using his best manners, he tell us ‘ por savor’ in place of ‘por favor’. It is hard to understand, but we know he is trying to be polite.

* After a recent visit with Abuelita, he picked up on her favorite expression of ” Ay Chihuahua”. My son adds his own twist to the expression by frequently saying ” Ay Chihuahua Captain Underpants’. Apparently this is to show extreme surprise. 🙂

*A big fan of Tom and Jerry, my son was thrilled to hear the phrase ” toro, toro, ven aqui’. He uses this phrase for just about anyone. Recently when my brother in law was over, my son wanted to show him a new toy, so he summoned his tio by calling ‘ toro, toro, ven aqui”.

Teaching Spanish to our children is a joy and at times a challenge. We are dedicated to keeping the language alive for them and offering them opportunities to foster their bilingual skills. Although my 4 year old son is ‘ contra la corriente”, he keeps us smiling and laughing, as we know he is absorbing and retaining his bilingual skills.

Feel free to share some funny quotes! i love hearing what our sweet kids have to say!

Bilingual Fun in the Community

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

Bilingual Fun had a fantastic experience at a local International Festival! More than 20 different countries were represented with booths filled with cultural items, food, performances, and of course music and dancing. Our Spanish for children program represented Latin America as well as did an interactive performance on stage.

The Bilingual Fun instructors, along with their own bilingual children led the crowd in response chants, colors songs, freeze dancing, and Merengue dance lessons! A great time was had by everyone! At the Bilingual Fun booth, we shared with the community artesania, books, posters, Spanish for children DVDs and books, and music that represented Latin America. This was an excellent time to be sharing the culture as the country is also recognizing National Hispanic Heritage Month right now.

The community members were very interested in our language program and our curriculum that teaches parent/child Spanish classes. The Bilingual Fun team enjoyed promoting our passion for language education as well as our love for the Spanish speaking culture!

Ay Caramba!

Thursday, July 17th, 2008

Our Bilingual Fun classes are always great fun and we love to see our students so engaged and having fun while learning!

Yesterday, however, was a bit chaotic for the Bilingual Fun program. We currently teach parent/child Spanish classes in 3 different locations. We have one main classroom, that we use as our ‘base’ and then we travel to the other communities. At one of our travel destinations, we were instructed to hold class outside due to scheduling conflict with the room we normally use. Being the flexible and creative instructors that we are, we thought ‘no hay problema’.

Except of course it was 92 degrees yesterday. Si hay problema! Luckily we met under a shady area, so we didn’t melt like queso. As we are singing, dancing, and playing the hands on activities planned for the day, the lawn service arrived! Yes, they decided to start their services regardless of the group of preschoolers, parents, and dancing Spanish teacher under the trees. Ay caramba! In order to keep the children engaged and learning, we always use creative techniques, such as movement and games. This was a great opportunity to swap the original plans and incorporate some activies such as :

*The Freeze Dance: kids danced to music, when music stopped I shouted a body part and they had to touch their nose, etc.
*Caliente/Frio: we hid a small toy and I child was chosen to close eyes. They tried to find it by the class shouting commands caliente/frio ( hot/ cold).
*Las Maracas: so many uses for our trusty maracas. We counted backwards from 20-1 while shaking our instruments louder than the lawn mowers.

Then, on to a different location that evening for another round of parent/child classes. Guess what? The road was under construction at each major crossroad surrounding the building we meet at! Si, tenemos otro problema! Ay caramba! We had to creatively cut through neighborhoods to arrive at our location. I had many stressed out, hot and bothered parents arrive with their little ones in tow that evening. Many spent much more time in the car than planned and arrived late. Ay caramba! It all turned out good. We extended our classes to compensate for everyone’s late arrival. I cranked up the air condition for the parents and quickly began engaging their children in a game of Dress Rosita ( our stuffed bear that we use for clothing review). We put silly clothing combinations on Rosita such as : los lentes del sol, la gorra del invierno, los pantalones cortos, la bufanda, y las sandalias. The kids got a kick out of telling me ” esta bien or esta mal la ropa”. The parents were able to relax a bit as well. We even gave some fun directions in espanol to the parents on their way so that they could take the secret short cut home.

Although we said Ay Caramba more than once yesterday, we had fun as usual interacting with our students and families. Everyone left our classes with new songs running through their heads, expressions and words to practice for the week, and
‘tarea’ to focus on for the next class.

Today is a new day…. no more construction and lawn services for Bilingual Fun, I hope.

Idea Exchange

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

Learning languages is more exciting and effective for children when games and interactive activities are incorporated. As a teacher, I have always been of the mindset that sharing and exhanging teaching tips makes things fresh and exciting. When I come up with a new lesson or game that is effective, I can’t wait to tell others about it!

In the language program that I run, I create and implement all of the lessons and activities for the students ranging in age from 18 months to adults. They cover a multitude of topics and themes, and I am always creating and searching for other fun ways to teach the language. Here are some of my favorite activities that work well in class and at home with my own children:

1. Colored Mats/Dancing: I use the mats from the CandyLand DVD game and play upbeat music. When the music stops, we all run to a colored mat. I ask ” Qué color?”. The kids all shout the color in Spanish. We do variations of dancing, marching, jumping, spinning, running, crawling,etc.

2. Duck, Duck, Goose: I choose 2 vocabulary words pertaining to our current theme. ( ex: perro/gato). The kids play the game using the Spanish vocabulary rather than the original. This is a great way to get the kids active and actually say the words aloud.

3. Latin Pop Music: this works best with tweens-adults. I choose a popular song from a popular artist ( some of my faves are Juanes, Ricky Martin, Shakira, Gloria Estefan, Elvis Crespo, etc). I make copies of the song and we listen and sing it each day. We talk about relevent grammar and vocabulary. At the end of the week, I white out specific words in the song and test the students by having them fill in the blanks. Not only is this an excellent reinforcement of pronunciation, fluency, and listening comprehension, it is a great way to infuse some culture into the lesson.

4. The Cup Game: take 5 or 6 plain white plastic cups. Depending on the vocabulary you want to reinforce, attach either a picture or word to each cup ( animals, numbers, colors, etc). Turn all cups face down and hide a small object under one. Kids then have to guess where the object is. I always make a big deal of having all of the students ask the question ” Dónde está el carro?”. Then each child takes turns and has to guess by using the correct Spanish word on each cup. I use variations of this game for all ages and levels.

These are just a few fun ideas that have been popular with the children and teens that I work with. We would love to hear your input and experiences! Do you have any games or ideas that work well with your children at home?

Bilingual Babies

Friday, October 12th, 2007
I have been in awe and wonderment as my own children have developed so naturally with both English and Spanish. When they were very little, my husband and I spoke almost exclusively Spanish with them. As they have gotten older we have instituted certain routines and rituals into our daily lives. We have meals in Spanish, bath time in Spanish, and bedtime stories in Spanish. That is not to say that throughout the day we don’t communicate in Spanish, which we do often. We have just decided to make particular times of the day Spanish only, and we encourage our children to communicate and develop their vocabulary. When we travel to Mexico or visit our relatives, my children are able to communicate effectively and effortlessly. It is amazing to watch their development, as they just absorb and retain the language. As parents however, we need to make an conscientious effort to keep the language alive, so that the children do not fall into the rut of answering in English. As a teacher, I have seen so many children that fully understand a second language, but are not able to communicate because it was never enforced that they answer in the target language. Being bilingual is such an incredible gift, and although it may take some family effort and participation, encouraging your children to speak and practice will pay off in the long run!

Raising bilingual children often comes with some triumphs and blunders. My children’s personalities are very different and their learning styles were very different. My daughter merely absorbed the Spanish language and was speaking and understanding both languages well before she was 2. She also had the unique insight to know who spoke English and who spoke Spanish. She was very precise in who she addressed and in what language. My daughter also could easily switch from one language to another with an understanding of the difference between English and Spanish. My son, whom we affectionately refer to as ‘ el tremendo’ was and is a different story. Most of his first words were in Spanish and he understood commands and discipline very well in Spanish. I was not surprised at 16 months, his babysitter asked for ‘cheat sheet” of Spanish phrases that she could post on her fridge. I was so excited that she wanted to communicate with him and thought perhaps she wanted the basic ( colors, numbers, greetings, food). But no, she was interested in how to say ” get down, no climbing, no throwing, be careful, etc”. Apparently since we had not been disciplining him in English and he just didn’t respond to her! My son also spoke to whomever he wished in Spanish, seemingly having no clue if they were Spanish speakers or not. I often had confused looks from the nursery workers in the church as I dropped him off and heard him shouting ‘ pelota!”. Just as the language develops, everything begins to fall into place. Now at age three, he clearly understands the difference between Spanish and English and will respond appropriately when asked in each language. He still does respond better to discipline when spoken to in Spanish, but maybe that is because he is ‘el tremendo’.

Why did you decide to expose your child to a second language? Are you having success? Are you having problems? Do you have any funny stories to share? Do you have any questions about bilingual development? I would love to hear stories, suggestions, feedback about your experiences.

Raising Bilingual Children and Having Fun

Saturday, July 7th, 2007

As a mom and educator, I am always looking for fun, creative ways to enhance my children’s bilingual development. I was busy planning the summer curriculum for our parent/child classes, when I fell upon a treasure. Due to the state’s educational budget cuts, many important programs have been cut in various districts. I got in touch with a teacher who had her language department eliminated due to budget cuts and was selling and getting rid of ALL of her materials, lessons, supplies, etc. I was so disappointed for her that the early language program had fallen victim to our state’s ecomony woes/budget cuts. Although it is unfortunate for that particular district to have lost a language program, it was certainly fortunate for me that she allowed me to take ownership of her materials.

I am so passionate about the advantages and benefits of early language instruction, thus the reason I started my company ( The treasure that I have been given this summer has given me a wealth of new ideas, games, toys, lessons, music, books, and supplies that I am actively using in our classes and with my own children. As a public school teacher for many years, I took for granted the ability to purchase new materials, and receive new information and supplies. As a private business owner, I do not have a budget and all materials/supplies comes out of our own pocket. It is so important to keep things fresh and exciting for children, and the games and lessons we will be doing this summer will be just that.

This week my own children and I had a parade of countries as we played one of my new songs and marched with the Latin American flags in our hands. We also have been playing various forms of Bingo, thanks to the new games I received. We have also been singing and dancing to some new CDs, and making picture dictionaries using thematic words/situations.

Raising bilingual children is not always easy, as we strive to maintain consistency with their language exposure. Anything new and fun stimulates their interest and gives us more opportunties to play and learn in Spanish. Although my own children have a strong foundation of the Spanish language, we continually need to stimulate them to stay motivated and interested in learning more. No matter what the language level or the age of the learner, having fun always makes acquiring a new language a positive experience.
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