Thursday, December 11, 2014

Spanish Sayings for Christmas // Dichos para la Navidad

Yesterday I ran across an old set of Creative Memories stickers that had some nice citas y frases (quotes and phrases) about Christmas and family.  I always scour Pinterest for images with Spanish sayings and phrases for my students to have a fun way to learn new words.  So why not make some of my own!?  What are some of your favorite sayings or words about the holidays?  Do you have any family sayings?  Share them in the comments below!  Or if you have a Pinterest board of Spanish sayings, share your link in the comments.  I am always looking for fun ways to practice Spanish for myself and my students.  I hope you enjoy these!


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

New "Spanish" Discoveries

My Christmas shopping trends have shifted this year, and I have been shopping online more than usual.  Online is a faster way to find unique, personalized gifts than window shopping all over the city.  And as I have been shopping online, I ran across a few things I just had to share with you all here!  Of course my searching included all things Spanish.  Check out some of my cool discoveries!

Pura Vida Bracelets  This company began when two college students traveled to Costa Rica and met two men peddling bracelets.  They loved the bracelets so much they bought a bulk amount to take back home with them to San Diego, and a business relationship was born.  Pura Vida Bracelets not only provides jobs to Costa Ricans, but they also have a charity line that gives to 190+ charities around the world.  Gotta love gifts with a good cause.  I am in love with the Yoga Girl Pack.
Kula Kai  One Etsy shop discovery for me is Kula Kai.  They have wonderfully simple golden jewelry designs.  My favorite is this golden bar necklace that says "besos" ("kisses" in Spanish).

Bright July Another Etsy shop find!  Bright July has the cutest hand appliqued pillows, and in English, French and Spanish.  Don't you just adore this one?  ("Te amo" means "I Love You" in Spanish.)


Daria's Little Village Store  I have known about this little store for a while.  It is a Fair Trade store and has fun gifts from around the world for your kids.  I love the little finger puppets from Peru, which I saw a lot when I traveled there.  And they are on sale right now!  You can get a set of five for only $5.95, not to mention you are supporting local artisans in Peru. 


Ciudad Azteca  I happened across this fun handmade game from Mexico called "Pirinola."  This shop on Etsy actually ships from Mexico.  I love simple little games like these, and this one would be great for learning counting in Spanish.


Bright Life Toys  Looking for some super bueno Montessori toys?  Bright Life Toys has you covered.  I love their beautiful hand made wooden toys especially.  Like this set of the Spanish alphabet.  I could spend my entire Christmas budget in this one store.

This list could go on and on, but I'll spare you!  What awesome shops or items have you found this Christmas in your shopping ventures?  I would love to hear about them.

P.S. This is not a sponsored post, just real-live honest-to-goodness things that make my heart go boom clap!
 



¡Feliz navidad!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Pulling Apart the Myths of Multilingualism

Does anyone else remember those "Choose-Your-Own-Adventure" books?  I used to think that my adventure of (trying) to raise my children to speak English and Spanish just happened to me, and that if some key choices in my life had gone another way, I would be living a different adventure than the bilingual one I am currently in.  For example, my friend just happened to see a preschool hiring for an English-Spanish interpreter, and I just happened to get the job, which just happened to make me continue using my Spanish into motherhood.  However, as I look back and think, "Well, what if I did not apply to that job.  I probably would not be blogging about Spanish, right?  I would have forgotten the language and moved on to something else, right?"  Until I sat down to write this post for the Raising Multilingual Children Blogging Carnival, I think I would have agreed, "Right."  But as I began to think about our bilingual adventure, I began to realize the answer is "Wrong."

Language is something that gets in you, ya know?  You do not just wake up one day and decide, "I am going to speak two languages now."  Language is a process, a journey, an adventure.  The more I understand this truth, the more I think I will understand how to pull apart all the bilingualism myths that exist.

So what are some of the myths I have faced in my raising-bilinguals adventure?  Truthfully, most of them have come from my own insecurities or doubt.  I will share with you my Top Five list of multilingualism myths I have believed which hold me back in this bilingual adventure, what I have observed that debunks them, and what I am doing to combat them.

1.  My children will be confused if I speak to them in two languages.
I remember the day at the park when I realized this was not true. My oldest child was around three years old and I had been really trying to use Spanish more with him since his younger brother had been born.  We were at a park one afternoon and a little girl said something that sounded like Spanish. I noticed but did not say anything, and my oldest son piped up, "Mommy she speaks Spanish like you!"  It was then I realized that he could differentiate between the two languages and tell when I was switching.  He could even label them.

2.  My children will be delayed in English if I try to teach them Spanish.
It was this myth that held me back from speaking Spanish with my first son when he was born.  I had a dear friend then that told me I should only speak Spanish to my son so that he could learn it growing up.  I thought her suggestion sounded absurd.  How would he learn English if I only spoke Spanish to him?  I regret not taking her advice.  I like what Naomi Steiner says about this subject in her book 7 Steps to Raising a Bilingual Child: "You should also know that there is a broad range of "normal" for each milestone in language development, even in monolingual children.  This spectrum can be striking.  For instance, some monolingual toddlers start talking profusely by 18 months, while others only begin putting two words together in their first shaky sentences at around 24 months." If anything, bilingual children come out ahead in the end because they know two languages rather than one.

3.  It is too late for my children to be bilingual because I did not start from birth.
Again, Naomi Steiner addresses this in her book, and it gave me much hope when I read it.  She labels the two processes of becoming bilingual as "simultaneous bilingualism" and "sequential bilingualism."  In the first, children learn two languages at once, while in the latter children learn first become fluent in one language, and then add a second language.  Steiner says, "A solid first language can actually be helpful when it comes to learning a second language, because skills from the first language can be transferred to the second."  She also points out that "a baby's brain is pre-wired to learn multiple languages," and that ability does not go away until puberty.

4.  I cannot raise bilingual children because I am not a native speaker of both languages.
After a few years into this bilingual journey, I have met and read about many monolingual parents that successfully raised bilingual children.  That is enough proof for me to keep going.  The second part of beating this myth is finding a group of other like-minded parents that can support you and encourage you in your journey of raising bilinguals.  I have found an endless amount of support, encouragement and resources from all the members of MKB, and I am starting to find people in my local community.  It helps to know you are not alone.                            

5.  Raising bilingual or multilingual children is easy.
I don't know if this is really a myth that anyone would believe, but I feel like it needs to be said.  Raising children that are fluent in more than one language takes lots of time, research, dedication, perseverance, and resolve.  It won't be easy, but it will be worth it.


Friday, October 31, 2014

Size Ordering in Spanish with Pumpkins // Ordenar por tamaño con calabazas

I have always loved Highlights magazine.  Now I love it even more after discovering that each issue has a story introducing Spanish words and vocabulary.  If you do not subscribe to Highlights, check out their website because they also have a bilingual magazine they off for 2 through 6-year-olds.  But until you get your own copy, you can probably find some to borrow at your local library.  Our library keeps all the old issues tucked under the shelf of the current month, and they allow library patrons to take the old ones home just like a library book.  Each month a new magazine is published, so the themes are seasonal and apply no matter what year it is.  Below is a fun activity we did after reading a pumpkin story from last year's October issue.


Marcos goes to the pumpkin patch with his mom and finds three pumpkins: a big one, a bigger one and the biggest one.  Although the story is written in English, Marcos uses some Spanish phrases when speaking with his mom.  This type of format works well with my boys (or any children learning Spanish) because they can follow the story line, and figure out what the Spanish means through context and by the wonderful illustrations.


Even parents who do not speak Spanish can read these stories with their kiddos.  You can see in the photo above they highlight the Spanish text in red, and then follow it up with a pronunciation and translation box.  You can learn the phrases with your child, and then find opportunities to use that phrase in your day-to-day.  Or you can practice by doing this extension activity that we did!


We did a size ordering activity.  I cut out three pumpkins to match the ones in the story.  I let my boys tear some brown paper (fine motor practice!) for the stems.  First I modeled putting the pumpkins in order.  You can use Spanish phrases like I did, or say as much as you feel comfortable. 

For example:


"Esta calabaza es grande.  Y esta calabaza es más grande.   ¡Y esta calabaza es la más grande!"

Or:  
"This pumpkin is grande.  The next pumpkin is más grande.  And the last pumpkin is la más grande."




Then hand them the pumpkins and glue and let them at it!  I wrote the size words on the pumpkins after we finished so we could point to them and say each size order name for practice.  Feliz pumpkin-ing!