What You Need To Know About Bilingual Language Development: FAQ

What You Need To Know About Bilingual Language Development: FAQ

Inside: FAQ on bilingual language development, on what’s normal and when to seek help from a speech pathologist. 

For today’s post, I’m welcoming Julie Perron from Speech Pathology Master’s Programs. Parents raising bilingual kids often have questions about what’s normal, and what’s not, in their kids’ speech development. Although this is a huge topic, here’s some insight into some of the top questions about bilingual language development.

 

Bilingual Language Development: Frequently Asked Questions

 

Learning two languages as a child can be helpful in many ways. Bilingualism can help children to communicate with more people in their family and community and can even lead to cognitive benefits. If you are teaching your child multiple languages or are thinking about doing so, you almost certainly have some questions about his or her language development. Here are answers to some common questions about bilingual parenting that you may have.

 

 

 

Is there a reason I shouldn’t teach my child to be bilingual?

 

Some parents worry that teaching their children multiple languages will confuse them or even lead to speech and language disorders, but this is not true! It is completely safe to teach your child multiple languages. In fact, some research even points to cognitive advantages among bilingual children, in addition to the benefit of knowing multiple languages itself! It is never too early to start teaching your child a second language- the earlier they start learning the sooner they will become proficient.

 

My child mixes his languages together at times, is this okay?

 

Using both languages in the same sentence, also known as codeswitching, is typical in bilingual language development. Codeswitching typically conforms to the grammatical structure of both of the languages being spoken and may occur into adolescence and adulthood as well. If your child is using codeswitching in a way that breaks grammatical constraints, they may have a communication disorder and you should get them evaluated by a speech-language pathologist.

 

 

Bilingual children will also mispronounce words or make other errors due to one language influencing the other. These errors are normal as long as they are mistakes and not a difficulty pronouncing a sound. If your child is having difficulty producing certain sounds, you should contact a speech pathologist.

 

I’m noticing that my child is silent during some conversations, should I be concerned?

 

When children learn a second language but are not yet confident using it, it is common for them to undergo what is called a silent period. During this period, children listen intently as others speak the second language. This is how they develop proficiency in the language at a time where they may understand it better than they can speak it. Silence is only a concern if a child is consistently not speaking in similar situations for over a month. This could be selective mutism- a condition where anxiety prevents a child from speaking. If you suspect that your child has selective mutism, you should have them evaluated.

 

How do I make sure my child continues to be able to use each of his or her learned languages?

 

To make sure that your child continues to be proficient in multiple languages, you must ensure that they have the opportunity to use each language regularly. If they stop speaking one of the languages, they will start to lose some of their ability to speak that language. Even as you are trying to get your child to proficiency in their second language, it is important to make sure you continue to use the primary language on a regular basis so they do not lose what they have learned.

SpeechPathologyMastersPrograms.com is a free resource that help students find information regarding master’s in speech pathology programs, and provides speech pathology information to families and communities. 

Welcome

Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

The Big Collection of Teaching Spanish Videos and Demos

The Big Collection of Teaching Spanish Videos and Demos

Inside: Teaching Spanish videos and demos. 

Here’s the ideal PD situation for Spanish teachers: our school pays for us to attend amazing conferences. We pack our bags, hop onto a plane or into a car, and away we go!

That’s really the best way to collaborate and grow. However…. some of us can’t make it work. Geography, family responsibilities, finances, etc., keep us from making it happen. Though there are some new creative ways around that (Comprehensible Online, for example!), maybe you’re just looking to dip your toes in.

In my own journey towards teaching to proficiency, it was helpful to read about how other teachers were delivering comprehensible input. It was really helpful to see it in action. As part of my teaching Spanish textbook-free series, this post should help you visualize what teaching can look like without that textbook. The switch can be scary, but it might be more natural than you think!

In this post, I’ve gathered videos that give us a peek into language classrooms from all over, using different techniques that deliver comprehensible input to students of all ages. If you’ve switched to teaching to proficiency, but have colleagues who aren’t sure about it, this collection may be a good place to start. 

I also have quite a few parents who are teaching their kids at home, or forming groups to learn Spanish together. If that’s you and you’re wondering where to start, this is a great place to gather ideas. 

Before we jump in, I just want to give a huge shout-out to all the amazing teachers who have created video of their classes. It’s not easy, and it makes you vulnerable to all the haters out there in the interwebs. (Not gonna happen here- only thoughtful/supportive comments allowed.) I’ve included a variety of teachers so you get a broad sense of what’s going on in everyday classrooms. Some of teachers featured here have extensive video collections on YouTube, and I encourage you to click over to their channels and blogs, to learn more. 

 

Teaching Spanish Videos and Demos

 

If I’m missing some must-see teaching Spanish videos or demos, please pass them along!

 

 

 

TPRS® and Storytelling

Storytelling, Day 1 with Adriana Ramírez

A demo of TPRS from Sarah Breckley

TPRS with a story script (from Martina Bex), from Sarah Breckley. 

TPRS demo from Martina Bex on her story “Cierra la Puerta.”

Julie from Mundo de Pepita introduces a picture book in an elementary class. 

Adriana Ramírez does a re-tell from a novel. 

Alina Filipescu demos TPRS and using student actors. 

Rocky la Roca with Alina Filipescu (an example of – I think!- spontaneous storytelling). 

Collaborative storytelling with Eric Herman, with notes on the process. 

Michele Whaley gives a full session on teaching with TPRS (in Russian). 

First video from a series on TPR gestures with Annabelle Allen, aka La Maestra Loca

Jon Cowart demonstrates TPR gestures. 

Grant Boulanger creates a collaborative story with a Spanish 1 class. 

Jason Fritze creating a story with elementary students. 

Angie Torre demonstrates TPRS using preterite/imperfect forms. (Angie asks that you please excuse the video quality that was created with a less-sophisticated camera phone!)

Storytelling from Sarah Breckley. 

From Alice Ayel’s YouTube series on French the Natural Way. 

Example of storytelling for novices from Pablo at Dreaming Spanish. 

 

Persona Especial

Demo from Erica Peplinski on special person interviews, with elementary students. 

A special person interview from Cyber Profe, with helpful notes. 

Persona especial by Courtney Johnson, as inspired by Bryce Hedstrom.

Another persona especial interview, with the student sitting in front of class. 

 

Personalized Question and Answer

Adriana Ramírez introduces the past tense through questions, working with first year students. She has a series of videos for introducing the past, and this is just the first one. 

Julie from Mundo de Pepita demonstrates a “question of the day” with third grade students. 

Alina Filipescu uses personalized questions and answers to chat with her 7th grade class. 

An example of PQA from Scott Benedict (talking about fears). 

Alina Filipescu uses personalized questions and answers to chat with her 7th grade class. 

An example of PQA from Scott Benedict (talking about fears). 

Tina Hardgaden demonstrates calendar talk with a novice class. (One of many videos!)

Calendar talk, picture talk, and special person interview from Ryan Dickison. 

Weekend talk with Cameron Taylor. 

Card talk and small talk with Cameron Taylor. 

 

MovieTalks

Sarah Breckley shares a MovieTalk based on seasons, weather, and adjectives. 

Adriana Ramírez does a MovieTalk with the clip “Alma,” working with beginners. 

A MovieTalk with Annabelle Allen (La Maestra Loca). 

MovieTalk demo from Mike Coxon, TPRS teacher.

Darren Way does a MovieTalk with novices. 

Modified MovieTalk with Julie from Mundo de Pepita with elementary students. 

Story and MovieTalk combo with Matt Hotopp. 

Modified MovieTalk with Julie from Mundo de Pepita with elementary students. 

Example of using video in class with Julie from Mundo de Pepita. 

Another video from Julie, using a nature documentary. 

 

Examples of One Word Image

One word image as demonstrated by Sarah Breckley. 

Tina Hardgaden shows her four-step process with One Word Images.

Story based on OWI from Tina Hardgaden. (Part 1 of 5 videos.)

Creating an OWI with Cameron Taylor, with notes. 

 

Classroom Management

Julie from Mundo de Pepita sets up expectations for sitting properly (top) and raising hands (bottom) with elementary students. 

More videos from Julie that show setting up classroom routines (top) and call-and-responses (bottom) with young learners.

 

Story Listening

Demo of story listening in Spanish. 

Demo with Dr. Beniko Mason. 

The Robber Bridegroom, told by Dr. Beniko Mason.

La Grulla y El Lobo, told by Alice Ayel

 

Second Language Acquisition

¿Qué es Input Comprensible?

The Role of Output in Language AcquisitIon from Bill VanPatten

Acquiring a language vs. learning it. 

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Spanish Teacher Videos and Demos

language teaching videos and demos

Welcome

Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

Raising Bilingual Children: 5 Families Share Their Stories

Raising Bilingual Children: 5 Families Share Their Stories

Inside: Insights from multilingual families in raising bilingual kids. 

Parents face hundreds of decisions as they raise their kids, along the way. Multilingual families face even more options: One parent, one language? Minority language at home? Only ever answer the kids in Spanish? Keep it casual and let them speak what they wish?

These decisions weigh on us because they affect the fabric of everyday life. We want to set them up for future success, while creating strong bonds and a happy home life. Which way is best?

As I’ve gotten to know hundreds of families through my blog, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is more than one path to multilingualism. 

That doesn’t mean every approach out there will work– most of us know of families who didn’t pass on a second language to their kids, even with two fluent parents. Raising bilingual children requires an intentionality and follow-through that isn’t always automatic.

Most families wil need to sit down and take into account all kinds of details: personalities, school options, community, extended family, and even the bond between parent and child will all affect each family’s plan. 

Because my own kids are still young, I hesitate to offer up too much advice just yet– we’re still getting started, really! So I reached out my Spanish Mama community on Facebook, and asked families with older children (or bilingual adults themselves) to share their experiences. It’s been fascinating and an absolute delight to read their stories!

For our first four interviews, I broke down their responses and am sharing them by section. The last interview, with Silvia, is in Spanish and flows so nicely I decided to keep it all together. You can get a peek into her family’s story at the end. Grab a cup of tea or coffee and settle in for this peek into growing up bilingual, or raising bilingual kids. 

 

Meet our Multilingual Families

 

Spanish Mama: Please introduce yourself and your family!

Nikki: I live in Northern Virginia with my husband and my 3 children aged 7, 5, and 2.  I began teaching HS Spanish in 2002. I am currently mostly home with my young children but I do teach one Spanish class at the local community college.  That has been interesting and it has helped to keep me current with the ever changing pedagogy!

I grew up in a bilingual home.  My father was a peace corps volunteer in Costa Rica in the early 70’s and met my mother.  Their language of communication is Spanish.  My two siblings and I grew up hearing Spanish being spoken between our parents always.  In my case (middle child), I was always very hesitant to speak Spanish to anyone.  We would travel to Costa Rica nearly every year, and most family members thought I did not speak! I was very shy and reserved, but the wheels in my head were always turning.  Once I started studying Spanish in HS, it’s like it all clicked!  I begin to want to speak more and more. 18 years of Spanish saved up in my brain all came out! 

Nikki’s Bilingual Family

Evelyn: I’m Venezuelan but my mom is Colombian. I grew up in Caracas but my mom always emphasized the importance of English at home (she and my dad were both bilingual).  I learned English formally at school but with a great support at home.  I had books, music, and eventually TV available.  My daughter was born in Caracas in 2000 and we moved to the US in 2001, she was 14 months old.  In 2002 we had a son.

María Patricia: So I was born in Chile 1972, and my mom and I left to Canada in 1976 after the political climate took a turn for the worse, I spoke Spanish at home but quickly picked up English from the environment around me (friends, school, tv, radio etc…).  My husband and his family had the same experience, born in Chile raised in Canada, although we didn’t meet until we were in our teens, both our households were Spanish only at home.

Melanie: I live in a rural area in the Northern highlands of Peru. My daughter, husband and I have been here for 4 years—where we have a medicinal plant farm. We make natural health and skin products. Along with our farm and business I homeschool my child. Since relocating to South America, I have been learning Spanish along with my 2 native languages! I have recently begun to blog on my site Adaptivore about my experiences and would be honoured if you have a look. 

I am Canadian and I grew up in a French/English billingual home. In Montreal ‘Frenglish’ is a vibrant reality! My mother’s family are francophone and my father is anglophone. I was surrounded by both languages from the start. Although we did tend to favour speaking English as a family. It wasn’t until I attended a French catholic high school that I perfected my French accent.

 

 

Language Family Rules

 

Spanish Mama: What guidelines or rules did your family have for what languages to speak at home?

Nikki: My parents encouraged me simply by modeling.  They never forced me. I think they just realized that in my own time, I would see the value in it. And I certainly did. I cannot fail to mention the financial sacrifices they made for us to travel as a family to Costa Rica nearly every year of my childhood!  This is priceless. 

Evelyn: As a parent I always spoke Spanish to my kids since they were born, since I knew they would eventually pick up English when they started school.  One fun fact: my daughter would reply in English or Spanish depending on how people pronounced her name: Isabel.  When her brother was born, she spoke Spanish to him until he started preschool.  After a couple of months she figured out he understood English and switched.  However, they remained speaking Spanish to us. I don’t remember being strict about it but always consistent.  I read books, played music, and played videos in Spanish most of the time.  Sometimes I would rephrase something to help them express themselves. Notes and now text messages are always in Spanish. 

María Patricia: My mom while vacationing in Chile passed away after finally finishing her home there. Her plan was to travel back and forth to Canada, like “snowbird” travelers, avoiding winters. After her passing, we inherited her home and we decided to try our luck in Chile as my in-laws had moved back there permanently and our three children did not know them. At this point my oldest was 12 years old, followed by my 10 and 7 year old.  They did not speak Spanish at this point, understood some of it and had the “gringo” accent if they tried to speak it.

We told them – we were going on an adventure, to move to Chile see if we like it, that since they didn’t know Spanish, we would first arrive let them “acclimatize” themselves to the culture and started a Spanish only at home campaign for 6 months, as the school year was already on its way when we arrived and with only 3 months left of the school year we decided not to enroll them right away,   There was no pressure for them to learn or else type of situation.  It was a let see what happens type of situation.  6 months later they started school and it was amazing to see how quickly they picked up the language.   Their grades were great; although speaking it took longer their understanding of it was obvious due to their grades. 

We did not have rules really set up, just based on the direction our lives took, I basically now see how I arrived to Canada not knowing the language but adapting quickly and realise how my kids did the same but with Spanish. 11 years have now gone by; we reverted back to a mostly English speaking household, as it’s just easier for us.  

Melanie: There were no rules per say in our household in regards to language, however, there were family members and later friends that only spoke/understood one of the two languages. It was important for me to be able to communicate fluently. My biggest motivator as I mentioned above was high school, I had no desire to be the odd one out with an anglophone accent. Later moving to Peru, especially in a remote area, learning Spanish was a necessity for various reasons both personal as well as for our business!

 

 

Speaking Spanish as Teens

 

Spanish Mama: As your got older (or your children grew), how did you/they feel about speaking Spanish? Did your family’s expectations or language use shift?

Nikki: In my case (middle child), I was always very hesitant to speak Spanish to anyone.  We would travel to Costa Rica nearly every year, and most family members thought I did not speak! I was very shy and reserved, but the wheels in my head were always turning.  Once I started studying Spanish in HS, it’s like it all clicked!  I begin to want to speak more and more. 18 years of Spanish saved up in my brain all came out!  As I approached adolescence and realized that I had an advantage over my peers in Spanish class, I felt proud that my language skills were something that set me apart.

Evelyn: Both of my kids like being able to speak Spanish and I never perceived any embarrassment from them.   Actually, it was almost a “secret language” for us.  Keep in mind that we lived in the Boston area and after 2007 we moved to Albany NY.  When we traveled to a Spanish speaking country they wanted to be addressed in Spanish and did not like being perceived as “Americans”.  At school they have been both successful in languages.  My daughter graduated last year and took AP exams in English, Spanish, and French with top scores in all.  She’s currently a Freshman at Fordham University and plans to major in International studies.  She loves to talk to people from other cultures and plans to take more languages (Yes, I’m a proud mama).  She received awards as a Multicultural Achiever from SUNY Albany and was recognized as a Hispanic Scholar by the College Board.  In other words, all this bragging helps me prove that being bilingual was a benefit to her education and NEVER a handicap.

Melanie: My parents (my mother especially) were certainly pleased that I chose to study in French. There is undeniable pride in our roots and language is an integral part of that. I learnt later how much being bilingual was an important representation of my heritage. It was always made clear that the quest for fluency was my own choice and not forced upon me. I went from an Immersion program to a French program. I remember that my social circle expanded much more so than had I remained in Immersion. Studying advanced literature also gave me a vocabulary that enriched my ability to express myself.

 

Tips for Raising Bilingual Kids

 

Spanish Mama: What do you feel that you/your parents did well? Any tips for other families?

Nikki: My parents were CONSISTENT! As a parent now trying to raise 3 bilingual children in a language that is not my 1st, I give my father an enormous amount of credit for speaking in his second language for 40 years!   Although he did not speak to myself and my siblings in Spanish, the constant exposure from both him AND my mother were so integral in my siblings and me becoming bilingual.  I encourage other parents (including myself) to not give up.  I have thought about giving up every day for the past 7.5 years but I keep putting one foot in front of the other because I have reaped the benefits myself. 

Evelyn: My advice is to be consistent and not discouraged by people that say two languages are confusing.  Also, be firm when talking to your kids and make it clear since they’re little that Spanish is the language spoken at home.  Music, videos, and stories are also a great resource to keep it interesting.

María Patricia: I think the best advice for other family is to not pressure them, we tried to make it fun and in our case it was all an adventure.

Melanie: I think that in our household what worked well was that there was no pressure. My brother and I both found our own motivation to become perfectly billigual. Another positive was that I was exposed to media and culture in both languages daily: television, music, theater. Not just translations but native speakers. Both strategies I would recommend to support any language learner or parent thereof!!

 

Silvia’s Story: Persistence is the Key

 

Tuve la dicha de nacer y crecer en el bello país de Guatemala. Soy secretaria oficinista por profesión, pero una apasionada maestra de corazón. A los 23 años, el 29 de septiembre del 2004 la vida me trajo a Canadá junto a mi esposo Santiago, nuestro pequeño José Andrés y nuestra bebita Verónica con solo 3 semanas de edad. 17 meses mas tarde, nuestro pequeño Eric se nació en nuestra familia. Desde entonces nos llamamos thegingerich5.

 

Silvia’s Multilingual Family

Soy guatemalteca, ¡hablo español! Mi esposo también es guatemalteco, eso hace que nuestros hijos tengan sangre chapina corriendo por sus venas. Pero, ¿porqué entonces estoy escribiendo sobre no forzar el bello idioma español en nuestros hijos?

Mi esposo tenia 2 años cuando fue adoptado por una familia canadiense. A los 12 años de edad empezó el arduo trabajo de aprender su tercer idioma. El nació en una familia Kakchiquel en las frías montañas del altiplano guatemalteco. Su primer idioma fue Kakchiquel, después inglés y su tercer, español.

Mi esposo y yo nos conocimos en Guatemala, en un pequeño pueblo en el lejano y cálido Petén.  Él dominaba muy bien el español. Yo hablaba cero inglés. Desde el principio mi esposo y yo nos hemos comunicado en español. Entre su familia la lengua dominante ha sido el inglés (aunque todos hablan español por haber vivido en países de habla hispana todas sus vidas).

Tan pronto como nuestro primer hijo nació, mi esposo automáticamente empezó a comunicarse con él en su idioma natal, el inglés. ¿Y yo? ¡En español!

José Andrés tenía 22 meses cuando nos mudamos a Canadá. Su vocabulario tanto en inglés como en español era muy limitado. Las únicas palabras que decía eran agua, bye, mama, papa, y unos sonidos intraducibles para decir gracias y expresar otras necesidades.

La presión comenzó. “Háblenle solo español”, nos aconsejaban unos. “Llévenlo al pediatra”, decían otros.

Mi esposo y yo tratamos de hacer caso omiso a los consejos no deseados de nuestros amigos y vecinos y  continuamos comunicándonos entre nosotros en español, y a ellos en nuestro idioma natal.

Desde que nuestros hijos estaban en mi vientre, tuvimos el hábito de leerles tanto en español como en inglés. Nuestros hijos crecieron rodeados de libros en ambos idiomas. Cuando venimos a Canadá nos encontramos con una escasez de libros. Pero no hubo problema, yo me inventé las historias y ellos me rogaban por un cuento mas antes de dormir.

Nuestro hogar siempre ha estado envuelto con el sonido de bellas notas musicales tanto en inglés como en español. Desde el día de su nacimiento nuestros hijos han cerrado sus ojitos al sonido de música y el alarma cada mañana ha sido la música.

Tuve la dicha de preparar académicamente a nuestros hijos en casa antes de enviarlos  a la escuela por el resto de sus vidas. Por cuatro años, les enseñé lo básico como los números del 1-10, los colores, las formas y a colorear. Esas fueron pequeñas lecciones   muy importante para nosotros pero no nuestra prioridad. Sin saberlo y sin planearlo, en nuestro ser sabíamos que había algo más de alta prioridad que como padres queríamos asegurarnos de inculcarles a nuestros pequeños antes de que hablaran dos idiomas perfectamente o que se formaran académicamente en ambos idiomas.  Esa prioridad era los buenos modales, tanto en casa como en la sociedad. Atributos como comportamientos que muestran preocupación y respeto por los demás.  Con nuestro ejemplo, les inculcamos el valor de desarrollar empatía por otros.

Les enseñamos con nuestro ejemplo la importancia  de darle la bienvenida a personas de diferente razas en sus vidas y en el hogar. Nuestro grupo de amistades esta formada tanto por canadienses con cero español, como por latinos con cero inglés. Así también por  canadienses como latinos bilingües, y por aboriginales que aseguran les estamos mintiendo cuando les decimos que no pertenecemos a una de sus tribus!

 

Photo by Jeison Higuita on Unsplash

 

En Noviembre del 2012 llevamos a nuestra familia a Guatemala por tres meses.  Desde que salimos de Guatemala en el 2004, solo habíamos regresado a visitar dos veces por tres semanas cada visita.

Quisimos hacer este viaje por varias razones,  y una de ellas era para que nuestros hijos ( a estas alturas de 10, 8 y 6) experimentaran en carne propia la cultura de mi familia,  otra forma de vida y la importancia de hablar mas de un idioma, en nuestro caso el español.

Había mucha emoción, pero también mucho temor y preocupación en nuestros pequeños. Nuestro hijo menor no entendía porqué los guatemaltecos no aprenden inglés. ¡La vida sería mucho más fácil para él, decía!

En esa visita encontramos varias respuestas a nuestras preguntas y dudas. Mi esposo estaba completamente seguro que nuestros hijos poseian una cajita en sus cerebros marcada “Guardando para más tarde”. Esa teoría resultó ser verdadera en esos tres meses. Nuestros hijos no solamente se comunicaban con sus primos y nuestros vecinos, sino también ¡vendían golosinas y peleaban como todos en la vecindad!

El día de nuestra partida nuestros hijos lloraron amargamente todo el camino al aeropuerto. Algo había sucedido en esa cajita en sus cerebros. Un hilo en sus corazones había sido para siempre conectado con la cultura y el idioma que sus padres habían tratado de enseñarles y modelarles todos estos años.

Han pasado seis años desde esa experiencia. Nuestros hijos ahora son adolescentes. Hemos continuado haciendo lo que creemos es mejor para nuestros hijos;  rodeándolos de español tanto en casa como fuera de la misma.

Por muchos años he estado dando clases de español a individuos y familias que estarán viajando a países de habla hispana. Este año tengo el privilegio de compartir  clases de español en la escuela  dónde dos de nuestros hijos asisten. Me sorprendí cuando algunos de mis estudiantes en grado octavo, de los cuales mi hija es una de ellos, sabían varios saludos y palabras que les estaba introduciendo. Descubrí un secreto de mi hija: ¡desde primer grado ha tenido un club de español con algunas de sus amigas y ella ha sido la maestra!

No es sorpresa escuchar a nuestros hijos hablando español a toda hora del día no importando en donde nos encontremos. Las palabras y las frases salen libremente y como música llegan a alegrar los oídos de esta mama latina.

Si tuviera que hacer todo de nuevo, no cambiaría nada. Las estrategias han funcionado. Persistencia es la clave.

 

 

A huge THANK YOU to our families who contributed to this post! What a treat to get a peek into your family life and stories. 

Are you raising bilingual kids, or are a multilingual adult yourself? I would love to feature you in this series! Email me at spanishmamatpt@gmail.com for more information!

Welcome

Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

2019 Printable Calendar in Spanish

2019 Printable Calendar in Spanish

Inside: Calendario para imprimir 2019 / printable 2019 calendar in Spanish, plus bilingual chore cards for kids. 

Ready or not, 2019 is here! I’ve got some fun printables to kick off the new year, and get organized. I have a few more coming, too– I didn’t manage to squeeze everything in yet, so keep an eye out for some additions to this post later in the week. 

 

Calendarios Para Imprimir 2019

 

 

Calendario verde y azul 2019 

 

Here are some weekly planning sheets to help organize your week with intention:

 

 

 

 

One of my goals this year is getting my kids (4 an 6) into a better routine with chores, and with more independence in their own daily routines. I made these little bilingual chore chards for them, and thought you might be able to use them too. I tried to stay neutral with the phrasing since these terms can vary across Spanish-speaking countries!

For parents learning Spanish along with their kids, having these cards around can also be a handy way to work Spanish into your daily routines. These cards all start with a verb, and for most of them you can simply put a key phrase in front:

Vamos a…. (Let’s… or We’re going to…)

Tienes que… (You have to…)

Necesitas… (You need too…)

For the verbs that end with “se,” you’ll need to change it to “te” when speaking to your child. To use the card that says “lavarse la boca,” for example, you would say “Tienes que lavarte la boca.”

**Please note– the chore cards have a few repetitions, for things that you might do both morning and night.**

 

 

Chore cards in Spanish

Chore cards in English 

 

 

Hope these are helpful to you as you get into a routine for 2019!

Welcome

Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

Carta a Los Reyes Magos: Free Printable and Activities

Carta a Los Reyes Magos: Free Printable and Activities

Inside: Printable Carta a Los Reyes Magos, and resources for teaching about Los Tres Reyes.

While children in the U.S. and other countries are busy writing to Santa, other children are addressing their letters to Los Reyes Magos: the three wisemen who visited baby Jesus. They’ll leave their shoes out, along with straw and water, and wake up the next morning expecting a gift. Where is this tradition from, and what does it involve?

 

Los Reyes Magos

 

The story of three kings visiting the Christ child stretches back 2,000 years. According to the gospel of Matthew, several Magi from the East made the journey to bring the newborn king three royal gifts– gold, frankincense, and myrrh– following a strange star that had appeared in the sky. 

Since then, Western Church tradition has recorded them as Balthasar (king of Arabia), Melchior (king of Persia), and Gaspar (king of India). Catholic traditions such as those in Spain use these names, though Syrian and Eastern churches record other names.

 

Reyes Magos

 

Many Christians celebrate Los Reyes Magos on Epiphany, the twelfth day of Christmas, which falls on January 6th. Many families in the Spanish-speaking world leave their Christmas tree up until Epiphany, and have the tradition of children receiving gifts that day. January 5th is a day of parades, in which the Three Kings are reenacted as the Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos, throwing sweets to people watching in the streets.

In many places, children write letters to the Tres Reyes Magos in anticipation of Epiphany. The night of January 5th, they leave their shoes by the fireplace, doors, or windows. Many families leave food for the Magi, as well as straw and water for the camels, or a box of greens. During the night, the Magi will travel the world and leave gifts. When kids wake up in the morning, they find presents (sometimes wrapped, sometimes candy or money) where they left their shoes. Sometimes they also find that the food has been nibbled at, or even disappeared!

 

Roscón de Reyes

 

In some parts of the world (including Spain and Mexico), families eat a ring-shaped cake with candied fruit on top, and sometimes cream in the middle. The fruit represents the jewels from the Reyes Magos, and inside are two hidden objects: a faba bean, and figurine (in some parts, it’s a king, or Magi, in others it’s a different figure). The person who find the figurine in their slice gets crowned king or queen of the day. The unlucky person who gets the bean has to pay for the roscón!

Roscón de Reyes

 

 

Activities for Los Reyes Magos

 

To learn more about the traditions surrounding the Reyes Magos, I’ve got a round-up of resources below, to help you teach about them in the classroom or at home.

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Books About Día de Los Reyes

 

Here are some suggestions for learning about the Reyes Magos through picture books in Spanish. Remember that if you are working with Spanish learners and the text is too advanced, you can do a “book talk”– simply narrating the text in more comprehensible language. 

Cartas
a Los Reyes Magos

 

If you’d like to write a letter to the Reyes Magos, I’ve got some fun templates for different ages and learners. They include editable versions, so you can adjust to the proficiency levels of your students. Click here or on the image to download the set!

If you have students who can learn about religion in the context of culture, but feel uncomfortable “participating” in a religious holiday with something like a letter, the set includes a more neutral reflection on the past year for older students. 

Carta a Los Reyes Magos

Crafts and Ideas

 

Preschool/Elementary:

 

Make Paper Shoes for Three Kings’ Day from Mundo de Pepita

Slideshare Presentation on Los Reyes Magos

Mini-Bundle on The Three Kings in Spanish from Monarca Language

 

Middle/High School:

 

Video and Text on Los Reyes Magos from Si Quieres Aprender

 

Intermediate Article in Spanish about Los Tres Reyes Magos from Veinte Mundos

Presentation, Games, and Activities Based on Reyes Magos Video from Elena Lopez

Cultural Activities: El Día de los Reyes Magos reading and game from the Comprehensible Classroom

Reading Activities Using Tweets about Los Reyes Magos from For the Love of Spanish

 
 
Sudoku on Día de Reyes from Comprendes Mendez SpanishShop
 

Infographs

 

Try this adorable and comprehensible infograph from Mundo de Pepita, perfect for a younger crowd, or these options:

Credit: Horacero

Credit: Notimex

Videos

 

Here are some videos that show different traditions and the story behind the Magi, for different ages and proficiency levels.

 

Cute & quick silent video showing a children leaving his shoes out:

 

Dora salva el día de los Reyes Magos:

 

Comprehensible news clip on Los Tres Reyes (heads up that one of the kings uses blackface to represent one king–this is a controversial practice that people are now bringing attention to, and I would at least discuss it):

 

News clip on Día de Los Reyes, with lots of interviews with kids:

 

Spanish family explains the differences between celebrations in the US and Spain:

 

Video showing a family’s preparations in Puerto Rico:

 

How Julie from Mundo de Pepita introduces Los Reyes Magos to her elementary students:

 

“La Otra Carta,” a sweet commercial about kids writing letters to the three kings:

 

Traditional song “Llegaron Ya Los Reyes Tres” with traditional Andean Music:

Welcome

Hey! I’m Elisabeth, a teacher and mom raising two bilingual kids in the Peruvian jungle. Read our story here. I love digging up the best Spanish resources for all you busy parents and teachers!

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