Bringing Themes to Life Through Language

zoo

The second session of Spanish school is complete.  This time, my oldest learned more about animals.  He loves to point and name them in Spanish.  We also had a planned trip to the Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary which happened to fit in nicely with the theme. While at the zoo, we would review the names of the animals as we passed them. He seemed to be really interested in this as we went along. 

Now the zoo here is an animal sanctuary so it’s not as large as other cities’ zoos.  It’s a wonderful place where the animals are cared for nicer than they probably ever have been before. It’s a great place and a great cause that I urge you to support if you have the chance. But, back to the story, I don’t know how receptive he would have been to repeating names in a larger setting for hours on end.  This was just the right size for a little review. And we had the additional bonus of being surrounded by total cuteness.

How can we tie in a theme like we did this week in future lessons? I’m searching for new ways to make it fun just like the zoo was. And I’m hoping to be able to combine settings and activities to give them different types of exposure to themes. I think this will help him visualize the words better.  At least that is what I’m hoping.

Being able to make the connection between words using different examples or in different ways helped me learn English. I loved when I made the connection and finally got it.  That feeling of accomplishment is one of those good feelings that I want my boys to experience over and over in life.

So with all of that being said, I’m researching themes and ideas to help with this little plan.  I know a lot of you have developed your own systems to make learning fun and interactive.  I would love to hear your ideas. What do you see through your Bilingualeyes

 

(If you would like to share my blog, I would be so grateful. You can find it in Spanish at www.bilinguazo.worpress.com and on Facebook under www.facebook.com/bilinguazo. Thanks a bunch!)

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Teaching Language Through In Music My Own Way

Music has always been a part of my life. Even though I cannot play an instrument, I have always loved listening to different types of music. I also enjoy singing along to the ones I especially like and dancing in the privacy of my own home. Since both my singing and dancing leave a lot to be desired I will not subject anyone other than my husband and children to those. My husband is very sweet and never teases me on what I compare to be Elaine-esque (from Seinfeld) moves and I think my children find them funny.  At least they are good for something. 🙂

Anyways, I do believe that music is universal. You do not have to understand the words being sung to understand the tone and mood it is trying to achieve. You do not have to know the place the music comes from to accept it in your own home.  And you do not have to do anything other than listen to it and enjoy it. Sure there are certain types of music I just cannot for the life of me get into.  And there are certain singers whose voices I cannot listen to. But I respect them as artists if they created their own music, wrote their own songs, have an amazing voice or all of the above. And I appreciate the talent it takes to do so. These are all gifts I really do wish I had. Hopefully my children will have that extra passion for music so they can share it with the world one day.

As I was growing up, music was always being played in the house. And when we moved to the states, music was not only our companion for singing and dancing, but it also became our teacher. My parents would let us listen to music in English and we would sing along to it, learning what the words meant as we went along. My most vivid memory of this process is learning through ABBA. Now I know that they are not native speakers in English either, but perhaps that is what made them easier to understand. My mother has always said that she understands people who speak English with an accent better than those from the United States. And she means accents from anywhere in the world. I always found that interesting.

ABBA and all of those old records we had allowed us to pretend to be the artist. We could sing and act out the words along with them and just be one with the songs. My older sisters would help explain the words we were unsure of and we learned a lot of vocabulary through song. And my parents would make us look them up in the dictionary if we weren’t sure. (I still love looking things up to this day)  This is a memory that I love to hold on to because not only did I learn a lot, but I had fun being silly with my sisters.

I started trying to create this experience for my children as well. I have a couple of CDs with songs for kids in Spanish on them and we play them all the time. We usually have our own little dance party after our Spanish hour. Sometimes, however, we have it just because. My oldest tries to sing along with the words and is actually getting to be really good at it. My little one just yells and hums.  And sometimes, if my husband is home, he even joins in. It’s very sweet.

I have attached a little video of them singing along to “Juanito” sang by Jose-Luis Orozco. It is one of their favorite songs. I hope you enjoy it.  If you have any suggestions for music in Spanish to share, I would love to hear it. Even if you don’t speak Spanish, do you have any songs in your native language that you play for your kids? Any favorite artists or records? I would love for my babies to hear music from all around the world. Like I said, music is universal and you do not have to do anything other than listen and enjoy. And with that I hope you enjoy what I see through my bilingualeyes. 🙂

(If you would like to share my blog, I would be so grateful. You can find it in Spanish at www.bilinguazo.worpress.com and on Facebook under www.facebook.com/bilinguazo. Thanks a bunch!)

 

Offically Bilingual, or at Least Part of the Group

I have talked about finding new ways to help my children hear and learn more Spanish.  I have looked at so many sites, articles and books that I’m starting to confuse myself a little with all the advice offered.  So I decided to put myself out there and become part of a larger community.

I’ve joined a new Facebook group called Bilingual Parents Connect that I think will be great for my family.  It’s a closed group right now, but will be open soon. The main focus of the group is accountability.  Right now, the parents will help each other be accountable for reading to their children in their heritage language.  I think this is a great idea and it may actually work for our family! Fingers crossed.

I have been telling myself I need to do more, I even wrote a post about it not too long ago. I know I am not so great at motivating myself to try something new or something different on my own.  But, if you tell me people are watching or will be, well then, let’s go read! I have never liked failing, especially in front of people. (I suppose this could have something to do with my fear of public speaking 🙂 )

Of all of the things I have not done so great, this is one I can start to change.  Reading to my kids in Spanish is a great way for them to get used to hearing it and understanding it.  Plus we get to have that quiet bonding time where it is just the three of us looking at the book together.

I try to do what I call our hour of Spanish and we get excited for by chanting “es la hora de español” as often as I can.  During that time we also go over books we own or check out from the library.  (I will post some of our favorites another time.) This group makes me want to add more stories for them.  I hope we can keep each other motivated and can continue to grow as an international community together.  The diversity on the group so far is invigorating!

I shall keep you posted on our progress and hopefully work with them for a long time. For now I would like to say thank you to Olena Centeno for welcoming me and for lighting a little fire under me!

Do you have any favorite children’s books or children’s series in Spanish for little ones that you recommend?