The Rewards of Raising Bilingual Toddlers

The Rewards of Raising Bilingual Toddlers

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For a long time, speaking to my baby son in Spanish felt odd. Talking to a baby is basically a monologue, except for a few coos and gurgles here and there. I knew that my son was soaking in every little word, and that all our little rhymes and descriptions and baby-talk  had their purpose. But it was pretty annoying listening to myself, talking and talking– I know how to baby-talk in English, but in Spanish? I was so aware of the monologue, which I at least wouldn’t be busy correcting had it been in English. Thank goodness most of the time no one around understood me.

 

bilingual toddler

bilingual toddlers

Now my son is 20 months old, and busy learning new words every day. He seems to say words in whichever language is easiest. We say, “Di hola,” and he says hi, or “¿Quieres ir arriba?” and he replies with up. But agua, chau, arroz, papá and others he can say as well. And he understands everything we say in both languages! It is a delightful and fascinating thing to watch a child learn to speak and understand, and even more so in multiple languages. (more…)

Español in the Jungle: Unit Two

Español in the Jungle: Unit Two

Inside: Free Spanish printables for kids.

Español in the Jungle Unit 2

And Unit Two is ready! To read more on why I decided to put together these Spanish units, read this. Each unit gets more fun to make! As the students learn more words, the games and activities can become more creative, too. Unit Two introduces:

– Asking and responding to ¿Cómo te llamas? (What’s your name?)

– Colors

– Four new verbs

Español in the Jungle Unit 2

The unit also includes puppets to print out for storytelling, ideas for games, scripts for dialogues, and a Bingo game.

Here are links for supplementing the themes from Unit Two:

Color Pronunciations from LingoHut

Color Pronunciations (for kids)

What’s Your Name? Pronunciation (for kids)

Page of Coloring Sheets, includes practice of colors – for your little one (or big one!) who loves to color

Monkey Mask – just in case your kids get into the monkey theme and want more!

Have fun learning Spanish together! Let me know if you have any links to free activities that would go with this unit.

You might be interested in my Preschool Spanish Lessons as well!

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!

Books in Spanish for kids

songs in Spanish

movies and shows in spanish

¿Yo Tengo… Quién Tiene? Classroom Game

¿Yo Tengo… Quién Tiene? Classroom Game

Classroom objects freebie 2 (1)

Tomorrow we are back at school, ready or not! What a busy week. I am really excited about the year, though, and feel much better prepared this go around. I will try to get a post together detailing my first-day ideas, but I wanted to go ahead a share a first-week freebie. I often start off the year by teaching or reviewing classroom objects so that we can be speaking in Spanish right away.

¿Yo Tengo… Quién Tiene? for Classroom Objects

¿Yo Tengo.. Quién Tiene? for Classroom Objects

To play:

¿Yo Tengo, Quién Tiene? (Groups of 18 or less)

Print, cut out,and laminate the cards. Pass out the cards to students. Any student you choose may begin. The student reads his or her card aloud, naming the object in the picture. The student who has the card asked for by the first student goes next. Simple, but effective!

I have a Classroom Object games packet available at on my TpT store as well if you are interested in more first-week resources!

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!

Books in Spanish for kids

songs in Spanish

movies and shows in spanish

10 Spanish Vocabulary Games for the Language Classroom

10 Spanish Vocabulary Games for the Language Classroom

Inside: Spanish vocabulary games for the language classroom.

 

The best way to “learn vocabulary” is in context. I use to give long lists of isolated words, until I switched to proficiency-based teaching and threw out my textbook. I realized my students were memorizing the words to pass a quiz, and then forgetting them. Our students really need to see whole language, in context, in stories,  songs or texts.

Or GAMES!

They are great for brain breaks, team building, getting everyone moving, and motivating our students. Just make sure that these vocabulary games for Spanish class are supplementing LOTS of Spanish in context. Whenever possible, give the language for these games in chunks, rather than just isolated words.

If you’re looking for more ideas, check out my Spanish learning games page, or try these:

 

10 Spanish Vocabulary Games

 

1. Four Corners

“It” counts to ten while everyone else quietly chooses a corner of the room to stand in. “It” calls out a corner (without looking), and everyone in that space is out. Last student in, wins.

To review vocabulary, tape a sketch of four vocabulary words onto each corner of the room. (Write the terms in Spanish on the board.) Student who is it counts to 10, then calls out one of the terms on the board. Everyone in the matching corner is out. 

To take this up a notch, make each corner a category (food, things to do, etc.). Write a bunch of terms on the board. “It” calls out a word from the board, and the corresponding corner is out.

 

2. Charades / Pictionary

Play charades and pictionary combined, to give the students more choice. For each term, whoever is up front has the option to act it out or draw it on the board. You can also get everyone more involved by playing reverse charades, by giving the class whiteboards. The student who is “it” guesses while his/her entire team mimes or draws the term.

 

3. Celebrities

Write the phrases on slip of paper. Students sit in a circle. Divide the class into 2 or more teams by counting 1-2. For each team’s turn, set a time (1-2 minutes).

1st round (actions): Team 1 begins as a player draws a slip. That student acts out the phrase. When the team guesses correctly, the next player on Team 1 draws another slip and the play continues until the time is up. The timer is set again for the other team, and turns continue until all the slips are gone. Count the slips and give those points to their teams.

2nd round (verbal clues): This round is the same as the first, except that the students must use clues in Spanish. If the slip says va a la casa, for example, the students could say cuatro palabras, es como camina, corre o advanca, donde vivo, etc. This will be very difficult for beginners, so you may want to let students make word webs for the phrases before playing, to brainstorm and think of related words and synonyms. This is great practice for circumlocution.

3rd round (one-word clues): This round is the same as the second, except that the students must only use one word. If the phrase is va a la casa, the student could say vivo, and the team has to guess the phrase from this one clue.

*In the original game, the actions are for the third round and that’s supposed to be the hardest round. For students learning another language, that is probably the easiest, so I made it first.

 

4. Bingo

Bingo is great because it is flexible. You can give the students blank games, and have them illustrate the terms. Then, call out the terms in the target language and no English gets used. I have an entire post on Getting More Mileage Out of Bingo!

 

5. El Marcador

This can be used for ANYTHING– new words, old words, reviewing stories, themes, or movies. Call out sentences using the vocabulary you want to review. 

 

6. Slap-it/ Flyswatter

Divide the class into groups of 4-5. Pass out only picture cards to each group. Lay the picture cards face up, in the middle of the group. Call out the terms. The first student to touch the corresponding image keeps the card. Whoever has the most cards at the end wins.

Flyswatter is similar, except that two students come up to the front and hit pictures projected onto the board with (clean) flyswatters. My La casa Slideshare would work with this.

 

7. Red Light, Green Light

Line up the students on one side of the space. Whoever is “it” calls out a specific action to perform, like dance. Everyone advances, dancing. When Red light! (in the TL) is called, everyone freezes and anyone who moves is sent back.  Often I will stand at the front and yell out what action to do (so I can control what they’re practicing) and the student who is “it” just concentrates on saying red light and catching unlucky moving friends.

 

8. No-Prep Memory

Make game cards to play Memory in groups. Pass out paper squares to the groups, and each student in the group comes up with several questions and answers, OR words and pictures.
 
Have the students check their cards with you when ready. Set a minimum, but let early finishers do extra cards. Then let them play in groups! The activity should be self-monitoring since the students themselves made the cards.

 

9. Around the World / Sparkle

This can be played in a circle or with everyone in their seats. Choose one student. He/she stands up next to the student to the right. Call out a word. The first student to give the meaning advances, and the other stays in that seat. The first students to advance all the way around the room and return to his/her original seat wins.

 

10. Storytelling

Here are some explanations of storytelling and games to go with stories:

Storytelling in the World Language Classroom – TPRS

Strip Bingo – Listening game during input

After storytelling, play Draw/Write/Pass to review the story:

 

 

 

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10 engaging vocabulary games (2)

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!

Books in Spanish for kids

songs in Spanish

movies and shows in spanish

Bilingual Baby Signing

Bilingual Baby Signing

Inside: Bilingual babies sing language.

 

We have been using baby sign language with our first son, since he was about ten months old. I meant to start earlier, and teach more signs than I did, but even the 5 or 6 signs we’ve mastered have been incredibly helpful. And it’s much more pleasant than hearing a piercing shriek every five seconds. I didn’t realize how long it is that you have a baby or toddler who knows what he wants, but can’t say it yet!

 

Signs are so helpful because they give baby something constructive to do, instead of just hearing, “no screaming” (or grunting or squealing, or insert your child’s choice communication technique). If my son wants something really badly he just starts signing “more” and “please” and whatever other sign he can think of, because he knows it’s the fastest way to get something!

 

I think signing is perfect for bilingual kids, because it connects the two languages. In this video, he’s about 16 months. I’m asking about parts of his face, etc, but it does start with several signs:

 

 

 

 

Because we live with family, Janio hears a mix of English and Spanish, especially at the dinner table. We are all fascinated by his understanding of both languages, already. We will remind him to say, “por favor,” and he’ll sign it, and my mom will prompt, “say please,” and he knows exactly what she means. Phrases like please, thank you, or all done can be very abstract, so signing has been a great way to learn them in two languages. This article from SpanglishBaby refers to baby signs as a “bridge” between languages, which is a great analogy for the role of baby signing in multilingual households.

 

After writing this, I am motivated myself to go learn some more signs! Here’s a link to basic signs with good visuals. It’s so simple to teach signs: simply use the sign every time you say that particular word, whichever language you happen to speaking. No extra time for parents or baby, except the time you take to learn the signs yourself.

 

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bilingual baby signs

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!

Books in Spanish for kids

songs in Spanish

movies and shows in spanish

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