Inspiring Passion for the World through Foreign Language Learning, Books, Music, Food, and Travel!
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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

My Clip Art Addiction... and a FREEBIE!!!

I don't know if I have ever mentioned this before, but I am an absolute clip art-aholic! April Fools jokes aside, it is true, I am addicted! Whenever I see a new set of clip art, I instantly begin dreaming of what I could create with it. And so I have stockpiles of phenomenal graphics, just waiting for their turn to be featured in a packet (like the packets you see at my Teachers Pay Teachers store).

So when one of my fave clip artists, Educlips, recently released an irresistible set of superhero graphics, I just couldn't escape. Sadly, it will be a while before I can create a whole packet around this set, so I thought it would be fun for now to use it to create a new FREEBIE: a multilingual "If I were a superhero..." coloring & drawing page.

To grab this FREEBIE, just head to my facebook page, and look for the "like to download" button. Liking my page unlocks the free download.

You'll notice that this freebie includes some new languages I don't usually create in. That's thanks to the Olga at European Mama (Polish),  Rita at Multilingual Parenting (Finnish & Swedish), Amanda at Expat Life with a Double Buggy (Dutch), and Galina at Raising a Trilingual Child (Russian), just a few of the awesome bloggers from the Multicultural Kid Blogs network. Thanks, gals!

Watch for more fan FREEBIES, coming soon...!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Does Language Precede Thought? - Gender Edition

Way back before life took a tricky turn, I was actually maintaining two blogs, because the diversity of my obsession with languages just couldn't quite fit into one. Today I am reposting an oldie but a goody from my former Speech Therapy blog, Wide World of Speech Therapy. I give you:

Does language precede thought? - Gender Edition

In 2002, Boroditsky, Schmidt, and Philipps looked at one of my favorite questions. You know I love this one:

Does language precede thought, or does thought precede language?

The research team was interested (or "were interested," if you're British) in how gender markers in various languages (think "el" vs. "la" from Spanish 101) affect the way people conceptualize the world. In other words, does their language background affect their world experience?

Subjects were native speakers of Spanish and German, but proficient in, and tested in English. The team asked the subjects to state the first 3 adjectives that came to mind for various English words. The test words were of one gender in Spanish and the opposite gender in German.

Invariably, the adjectives that subjects chose were strongly linked to the gender of their native article-noun paradigm. For example, the word for "key" is masculine in German, but feminine in Spanish. German speakers described keys as "hard, heavy, jagged, metal, serrated, useful." Spanish speakers described keys as "golden, intricate, little, lovely, shiny, tiny."

Conversely, the word for "bridge" is feminine in German and masculine in Spanish. German speakers described the English word "bridge" as "beautiful, elegant, fragile, peaceful, pretty, slender." Spanish speakers said bridges are "big, dangerous, long, strong, sturdy, towering."

A full discussion of the findings is available in the paper, but to put it simply, these findings once again indicate that people's thinking about objects is influenced by the their language.

All the more reason for SLPs to get out of bed and head to work for another day!

For some more FUN tidbits from this research team, check out The Elephant Who Ate Peanuts Around the World!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Mardi Gras FREEBIE in French & Spanish!

In my mind, I have always associated Mardi Gras with the beginning of spring. So this year, when the Midwest has been struck by a never-ending winter, Mardi Gras has kind of snuck up on me. I can't believe it's just a few days away. Yikes!

If you're feeling a little ill-prepared for the big event, like I am, swing on over to my facebook page and grab a quick Mardi Gras coloring sheet, plus word searches in French and Spanish. Just "like" my page to unlock this free mini packet.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Motivating Preschoolers to Participate in Second Language Practice: Microphones

A question that comes up often amongst multi-lingual families is how to motivate their children to speak their native language, or a second or subsequent language. It's a big topic, discussed often in multicultural circles.

The challenges may become more complicated as children grow older, but there are a few tricks of the trade that work miracles with the younger kids. I shared one of my favorite, and highly motivating, activities here. (It involves treats, making it Motivator # 1 for little ones!)

Coming in just behind treats, the second most motivating schtick we found to elicit foreign language participation when Mag was younger was a...


Click image for affiliate link.

Yep, it's a little trick we picked up from our time at Language Stars, and it's an easy $3-ish investment: the echo microphone!

If you have a toddler or preschooler who likes to be in control of anything mamá or papá is holding, then the echo microphone could be your new best friend! If you have an older sibling, or even a puppet on hand, simply model a verbal routine with a partner a few times, and wait for the little one to be grabbing for a turn. You won't have to require, or even coax participation. Almost guaranteed! (No, this is not an infomercial... but it is sounding like one, isn't it?)

Here's how it might go down with Mommy and Big Brother Johnny interacting within range of Little Sister Sally.

Mom holds the microphone and puts it to Johnny's mouth when it's his turn to respond.

Mom: Bonjour, Johnny. Comment ça va? (with the sing-songiness of "motherese")
Johnny: Ça va! (with great enthusiasm that can be coaxed beforehand)
Mommy: Ça va bien, ou ça va mal? (with exaggerated facial expressions... you know, the kind 2-3 year olds love!)
Johnny:  Ça va bien, bien, bien!

Mom repeats the routine with a few puppets or stuffed animals, using exaggerated, funny voices for the animals. In the absence of other environmental distractions, Little Sister Sally will, at the very least, want a turn holding the microphone sometime during this routine. She may or may not try to ask or respond to the target question at first, but it invariably comes.

Once you've maximized this routine, you can expand the repertoire. Include questions such as "What is your name?" and "How old are you?", questions that kids love to answer in those early years.

Of course, the microphone can be used any time, not just in formal practice time. As the family comes through the kitchen at meal time, ask each one what s/he wants to drink, "jugo o leche," and hold the microphone to them for their response (game-show style!). If you're feeling energetic, you can even repeat each person's response in a full sentence, with a little sing-songiness and a dance. A little one will not want to be left out of this exciting event that makes everyone's drink choice a big deal. You can picture it already, right?!

At your wit's end, hoping for more language participation? 
Try an echo microphone, then come back and tell us how awesome it went!

You can order echo microphones from amazon (affiliate link here), or just as easily pick one up at a party store, dollar store, or a big box discount store (usually in the party favor section).

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

El Mes de la Historia Afroamericana

With all the snow days we've had in the Midwest, January has just flown by. Somehow February is a mere 60 hours away. With February comes many fun and important events, not the least of which is:

Black History Month!

For those honoring Black History Month for the first time, it can be a little overwhelming to get started. The recent Multicultural Children's Book Day is a great place to go for books for the month. (You can see my MCCBD review of Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker here.) Multicultural Kid Blogs is getting a nice list of resources going on Pinterest, as well as a good link-up on their website.

Myself? I hoped to fill in the gap of missing resources for Spanish dual language programs, and created an introductory-level unit in Spanish for el mes de la historia afroamericana.

Students will meet 10 African Americans of historic significance in this packet, at an introductory level. The biography of each figure is 3-4 sentences long, highlighting the most salient aspects of each one's life, at a manageable level for elementary students.

This set introduces: Ruby Bridges, Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Jesse Owens, Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, and Booker T. Washington.

Included in this packet are: bulletin board display pieces (name plate, image, photograph, and bio) and timeline cards, a 3-in-a-row bingo game, writing journal pages, and a matching worksheet. It's all here and ready to go!

Of note: all writing on student pages is in Spanish; there is no English on student pages.

This packet is available in my shop at Teachers Pay Teachers
Come check it out!

Et vous? Have you found any great resources for Black History Month in other languages? I would love to see them!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Je vous présente: "Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker"

Way back somewhere in, oh, say, high school French class, it might have been, I once did a report on Josephine Baker. So I have been peripherally aware of her existence for some time. But how much one forgets in the decade (okay, 2 decades!) since high school.
Disclosure: I am an amazon affiliate. This post contains an affiliate link.

And so I was thrilled to receive an advance copy of Chronicle Books' Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker, by Patricia Hruby Powell, to review for Multicultural Children's Book Day.

The publisher sums up Josephine thus:
In exuberant verse and stirring pictures, Patricia Hruby Powell and Christian Robinson create an extraordinary portrait of the passionate performer and civil rights advocate Josephine Baker, the woman who worked her way from the slums of St. Louis to the grandest stages in the world. 
 Well said, Chronicle Books. And here's my take:

What I loved:

The Artwork of Christian Robinson
A fascinating life story is always a good start in a biography, but in the case of Josephine, it is the artwork that sets this book apart. Billed as a book for ages 7-10, and certainly appropriate for that range, the artwork actually gives Josephine the feel of an eclectic and quirky coffee table book, the likes of which one finds in the gift shops of the great art museums around the world. Josephine is just as easily a book for adults as it is for children!

Click image to see more on Scribd.

Multicultural Mentions
How fabulous that Josephine mentions more than a dozen countries (lending itself to some fun map exploration!), encourages the bridging of racial boundaries, and promotes world religions as being worthy of respect. What more could a world-focused family ask for in a book?!

The Inclusion of French
As the title of this post might attest, I am a huge fan of code mixing. I love seeing, or writing, a few contextually obvious words of another language amidst the text of the primary language. Although fewer than 10 French expressions are included, they are fun ones, easily assimilated by language savvy kids. C'est magnifique!

A caveat:

Mature Themes
As I mentioned, the artwork in Josephine allows this book to be enjoyed long past the 10-year old top margin it is billed for. On the other end of the spectrum, however, some 7 year old children may not be ready for the depth and breadth of issues mentioned in Josephine. You might want to wait on Josephine for a year or two if your 7 year old has had minimal exposure to concepts and vocabulary such as: nickel whisky shots, race riots, the term "out of wedlock", multiple marriages/divorces, the description of men in white hoods (whose name I won't mention, to avoid coming up in web searches), etc. Children will certainly face all these topics eventually, but it could be a lot all at once for some 7 year olds, so judge your audience wisely.

Thank you!

From beginning to end, I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent with Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker. Many thanks to Chronicle Books for sending it, and a heartfelt congratulations to author Patricia Hruby Powell and artist Christian Robinson on their job well done! I wish you many successes with Josephine, and your future endeavors!

Want more Josephine?

Just in time for the the release of Josephine, Chronicle Books is offering some fun FREE materials for children.

Print a beautiful poster by book illustrator Christian Robinson, 
try your hand at this fun animal drawing activity
and make a cute little banana bracelet inspired by -ahem- "the" skirt!

How about more multicultural children's book reviews? 
Check out these bloggers:
2GirlsLostInaBook · 365 Days of Motherhood · A Bilingual Baby · A Simple Life, Really? · Africa to America · After School Smarty Pants · All Done Monkey · Andi’s Kids Books · Anita Brown Bag  · Austin Gilkeson · Barbara Ann Mojica ·  Books My Kids Read · Bottom Shelf Books · Cats Eat Dogs · Chasing The Donkey · Children's Book-a-Day Almanac · Children's Books Heal · Church o Books · CitizenBeta · Crafty Moms Share · Discovering The World Through My Son's Eyes · Early Words · Flowering Minds · Franticmommy · Gathering Books · GEO Librarian · Gladys Barbieri · Going in Circles · Growing Book by Book · iGame Mom · I’m Not The Nanny · InCulture Parent · Itsy Bitsy Mom ·Just Children’s BooksKid World Citizen · Kristi’s Book Nook · Mama Lady Books · Mama Smiles · Mission Read · Mother Daughter Book Reviews · Mrs AOk · MrsTeeLoveLifeLaughter · Ms. Yingling Reads · Multicultural Kids Blog · One Sweet World · Open Wide The World · P is for Preschooler · Rapenzel Dreams · School4Boys · Sharon the Librarian · Spanish Playground · Sprout's Bookshelf · Squishable Baby · Stanley and Katrina · Teach Mama · The Art of Home Education · The Brain Lair · The Educators' Spin On It · The Family-Ship Experience · The Yellow Door Paperie · This Kid Reviews Books  · Trishap’s Books · Unconventional Librarian · Vicki Arnold · We3Three · World for Learning · Wrapped in Foil 

And of course,
Many thanks to the generous sponsors of Multicultural Children's Book Day!
Author Susan Fayad

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Multicultural Children's Book Day: Sponsor Give-Away!

Multicultural Children's Book Day is fast approaching! In honor of the event, one of the wonderful sponsors, Wisdom Tales, is hosting a give-away... of their entire set of children's books!!! Yowzers! Click the image to check it out!

And for more about Multicultural Children's Book Day, head here: