Monday, January 7, 2008

Preparation: Spanish Teaching Resources

What does it take for monolingual parents to raise their children to be bilingual?

and Consistency

How are we going to accomplish this ambitious feat?

Well, for one thing, we are doing Spanish Time again. For Spanish Time we spend 30 minutes (oftentimes more) a day watching Spanish kid shows, listening to cd's, or trying to speak in Spanish. For two of those days we will do more of an immersion program-type Spanish Time. I'll explain more on another day.

I’ve laid out a simple plan to help us speak Spanish in fun and interesting ways. And this is everyday, conversational Spanish. First I made an extensive list of sentences and phrases that we use every day and got the Spanish translations. For the translations I used my knowledge-base (limited), the Altavista Babelfish website (the results are mediocre), and whatever Spanish I picked up from all of the programs I bought.

Then I gathered up all of those Spanish resources I’ve collected over the years. The most recent purchase being the BocaBeth program.

The picture below shows everything pretty much that I’ll be using for our Spanish Time.

Here’s a breakdown of what I have here:

1) My stack of Baby's First Disney Bilingual Books. We have 25 of them. Most I got when I joined Scholastics-at-Home Book Club. A few I recently purchased from I like these books because the stories are simple. There are actually sentences to read aloud to your children. So, you not only learn Spanish vocabulary, but you and your child are learning how things are said in phrases or sentences.

2) The Spanish alphabet chart. This was the perfect chart for us because it has “ch” “ll” and “ñ” just like our Spanish alphabet song. I got this chart from Classroom Direct a while ago and as of today I see that it’s out of stock. There is a 5-chart package that it comes in as well, though.

3) My best friend, Lynn, lent me these Barron's Baby Bilingual Books: Spanish. The format is a flashcard-type format. They’re simple, colorful and are good for building Spanish vocabulary. It comes with a simple pronunciation guide.

4) Boca Beth’s Backpack Set program. What I found most attractive about this program is the variety it offers. The songs address many different topics ie. colors, opposites, animal sounds, shapes. There are music CD’s, video DVD’s, an activity book, a puppet, and simple instruments. I won't have to go on a scavenger hunt trying to find songs that will fit the story topics we'll be reading.

5) Muzzy in Spanish. I bought this when my daughter was less than a year old. I learned a good deal from it. But I wasn’t quite satisfied. With Muzzy, I found the storyline was a bit mature for my kids (the princess and the gardener are in love and run away together) That’s for kids?? Also, after watching the DVD’s for about a month or two the show got tired. I was looking for a kid-friendly program with variety (songs, and videos) and some depth and breadth to it.

6) I also have CD’s like Beth Manner's Magic Spanish and Fun Spanish for Kids cd's. I usually let it play as background music while the kids are playing.

7) Someone had recommended Professor Parrot Speaks Spanish. The DVD was entertaining for about a month. It has cute songs and dances. We liked the "Parts of the Body" song the best. Still, we needed something beyond "como se llama," numbers and colors.

8) Visual Link Spanish. The disc shown here is just one of 10 cd’s and cd-roms that come in the program. The program also comes with a mini-Spanish manual, which I found excellent. It compiles all the lessons on the cd’s in one mini-manual. Check back often because I will be taking Visual Link up on their 30-day guarantee.

9) The Cat in the Hat Beginner Dictionary in Spanish. I used to just read through this dictionary to build up my vocabulary. But Jaida knows that this is a Spanish and she'll sit down with it to look at the pictures. I'll try to use it more with her during our Spanish Times.

10) The cd with a picture of two squirrels on it is from Juguemos A Cantar, a Spanish-immersion music and preschool program in Brooklyn's Park Slope. The songs are beautifully sung and the tunes are catchy. My girls and I like to dance to this cd. The only thing is that the disc did not come with lyrics--Spanish or English. So it's hard for me to understand what she's singing sometimes. I can understand fully and sing maybe 5 (out of 19) of the songs. But that's all right because we enjoy dancing to the music.

11) We recently discovered a Spanish PBS station called V-me. We find it on Ch. 199 on Cablevision. From 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mon-Fri., they show Spanish preschool programs. Our favorites are Las Tres Mellizas Bebés (The Baby Triplets) and Jim de la luna (Lunar Jim). They also show Plaza Sésamo (Sesame Street) and Los Pies Mágicos de Franny (Franny's Feet).

12) A good source for worksheets and coloring pages written in Spanish can be found at Primera Escuela (Preschool in Spanish). The English language sister site is First-School Preschool Activities and Crafts.

13) And of course, there's always Nick Jr.'s Dora and Diego, PBS Kids Dragon Tales and Maya y Miguel, Playhouse Disney's Handy Manny. The Nick Jr. website has very helpful ideas for teaching Spanish to children. It has short video clips, coloring pages and plenty of activities.Please click around to learn more about the various Spanish programs, shows and websites that we're using to help us raise our children to be bilingual.

And in my Spanish lesson plans for children, I'll show you how I incorporate all of these resources into Spanish Times that are simple, interactive, easy-to-implement, and most of all FUN!

Let us know what you think. Also, if you have other resources to recommend, please by all means, write a comment. We'd love to check them out.

¡Hasta luego!


1 comment:

Boca Beth said...

Hola Jessica -

You and your family are set for success, and you are so right about daily and regular exposure to the new language.

There is a new book out titled "The Bilingual Edge" by two linguistic PhDs who happen to be moms, and it's such an affirmation to what you and I both are trying to accomplish - raise children in a home where neither parent is a native speaker of the targeted, new language. But guess what? These gals know and have researched with great proof that native speaker does not matter when it comes to introducing a new language to your child.

Support your efforts with great tools and interact/play with your child - that's how the second language journey begins successfully!

You go girl!

Happy Educating! ¡Sea feliz educando!

Beth Butler
Founder of The Boca Beth Program