It’s that time again! Time to learn about the world in our February Culture Swap!!! If you’re looking for ways to incorporate more cultural traditions this month, you’ve come to the right place. This link-up will include crafts, book recommendations, history on holiday traditions, cultural customs, food recipes- a multitude of ideas to help you teach your kids about their community, and about the wider world. The link-up below will be open for the entire month of February (with another coming in March), so check back often to see new posts!
Globally-minded parents and educators: I’d love to see some posts for some winter and spring traditions around the world- Lunar New Year, Carnaval, Purim, Ayyám-i-Há….. or just learning about any cultures! Do you have some cool gift ideas to help your kids learn about the world and global cultures?
What have you been doing this month to teach your kids about the world? Have you tried any food or done any cool art projects from other countries? Learned another language? Read books from another culture? Share your ideas here so we can all learn from you!:) If you don’t have a blog or web site, write your ideas in the comments! Everyone can benefit when we share your best ideas. Continue reading →
Are you looking for language resources of Chinese for kids? I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Manabu Nagaoka, the VP Executive Producer at Sesame Languages and Sesame Workshop. His team is working on a show called Fun Fun Elmo (乐乐Elmo), a new show with Mandarin-speaking Sesame characters that will introduce a Chinese tone, word, and stroke order of characters with animation and live action film shot in China.
Sharing a list of resources of Arabic for kids today is Christi Madrid, a Florida based blogger. Together, she and her husband strive to rear their daughter to be a globally-minded citizen; confident and empowered in her world identity. Christi blogs about step parenting and her personal passion of Learning to be the Light at ChristiMadrid.com. You can also catch her on Facebook.
In rearing our daughter to be compassionate and globally minded, it was important to my husband and me that she be protected from stereotypes and misunderstood cultures. Continue reading →
It’s that time again…… let’s learn about the world!
It’s time for the December Culture Swap!!! If you’re looking for ways to incorporate more cultural traditions in your December, you’ve come to the right place. This link-up will include crafts, book recommendations, history on holiday traditions, cultural customs, food recipes- a multitude of ideas to help you teach your kids about their community, and about the wider world. The link-up below will be open for the entire month of December, so check back often to see new posts!
Globally-minded parents and educators: I’d love to see some posts for holidays around the world- Christmas, Chanukkah or just learning about any cultures! Do you have some cool gift ideas to help your kids learn about the world and global cultures?
What have you been doing this month to teach your kids about the world? Have you tried any food or done any cool art projects from other countries? Learned another language? Read books from another culture? Share your ideas here so we can all learn from you!:) If you don’t have a blog or web site, write your ideas in the comments! Everyone can benefit when we share your best ideas.
It’s time for the September Culture Swap!!! I am sorry I was so late in posting the link-up!:) I am starting up the International Club at my children’s elementary school and we have been gearing up for a busy year.
Globally-minded parents and educators: What have you been doing this month to teach your kids about the world? Have you tried any food or done any cool art projects from other countries? Learned another language? Read books from another culture? Share your ideas here so we can all learn from you!:) Continue reading →
Watching Guangzhou traffic, and squealing “coche!!” for the first time (2008)
Much to our delight, when our son Toñito was 3.5 he said his first word in Spanish: “coche!” pointing at the cars zooming past our hotel in Guangzhou, China. That’s right, we were finishing his adoption proceedings in China. We had just met our adorable, Mandarin-only-speaking son 10 days before, and immediately began speaking to him in both English and Spanish (with a healthy sprinkling of our limited Chinese!). Continue reading →
Bazaar Sabado, Mexico City with my brother-in-law Mario
Ever since I met my husband, when he was an exchange student from Mexico at my U.S. university, he has been bragging about an amazing summer camp he went to as a child in Mexico D.F.: “There were sports and games, we would swim and have gymnastics every day, they taught us about leadership and did team-building activities.” He always said that one day, he would send his kids there. Continue reading →
This is the second in a series of articles on real families who are embracing and incorporating cultures and languages into their lives. If you you would like to be featured, send us a note. Today’s post is written by JR Hammerschmidt, US American mother of 2 adorable little girls, who is living in Belgium.
I live in Belgium with my family, which includes my husband and my two daughters, an 18 month old and a 6 year old. Belgium is a small country in western Europe, bordered by four different countries: Germany, France, Luxemburg, and the Netherlands. At the crossroads of so many different cultural and linguistic influences, Belgium is a very diverse place. Dutch, French, and German are the three official languages here. We live in the Dutch-speaking city of Ghent.
My daughter on a sunny day in Ghent
Both my husband and I are foreigners in Belgium: he is German, and I am US American. Before we came to Belgium, we already had a mix of our two different languages and cultures at home. Continue reading →
When people hear that I’m a Spanish teacher, or that we speak Spanish at home with our kids, I am immediately asked for resources that I recommend to introduce their kids to Spanish. When searching for bilingual books, you will find millions of books written- or translated into- Spanish. The huge majority of these books are at a language level that only Spanish-speakers would benefit from. How could an English-speaking parent read “Curious George” in Spanish, if neither she nor her child understands the language?
You will also find thousands of picture dictionaries… and one word per page boardbooks… and textbooks. There are also terrible translations (Azul el sombrero, verde el sombrero being my biggest pet-peeve!). What my friends are looking for are none of the above. They would like simple stories that teach a little Spanish (but are not too advanced that the parents can’t read or understand them!): here are my best recommendations.Continue reading →
Semana Santa, or Holy Week (the week preceding Easter Sunday) is celebrated by Catholics around Spain. In the 1500′s, the church was looking for a way to explain and present the story of Jesus, and his resurrection from the dead to the common people. The elaborate processions that carry religious figures through the cities to churches and basilicas have grown and now draw tourists from around the world. Here is my first “documentary,” introducing the famous and beautiful processions from Andalucía, the southern region of Spain (I have included both Granada and Sevilla). I am working on subtitles for those who do not speak Spanish- but everyone can enjoy the imagery and music:
I made this 10 years ago, and it was the first movie I had ever edited on the computer- so please excuse any messiness:).
Imagine you are teaching French, and you’d like your students to speak with kids their age who live in Paris. Or, you’re a science teacher doing a weather unit with your 3rd graders and you’d like to share your local weather with other 3rd graders. What if you’re a social studies teacher in India, and you have a great lesson about population growth that you’re excited to share with kids on the other side of the globe?
According to the Common Core State Standards, an compilation of skills and knowledge for academic success, students should be investigating the world, recognizing different perspectives, communicating ideas and taking action. Interviewing students from around the world and presenting projects to classrooms worldwide are two phenomenal examples of achieving these goals. How can teachers provide these international experiences? With the growth of the internet around the world, and developments in videoconferencing, it is now possible for educators to search a global directory of classes by student age range, language and subject- all through “Skype in the Classroom.“
There are over 20,000 teachers registered on the site, ready to connect with other schools around the world. The possibilities are endless for teachers with a little creativity, enthusiasm for bringing technology into the classroom, and a passion for global education. Here’s how to get started: Continue reading →
Mandarin Chinese is the most spoken language in the world (followed by Spanish, and then English), with over 1 billion speakers in Mainland China alone. Many experts say that China will likely be the biggest economy in the world this century, and because of this, many parents and schools are encouraging their children to learn Chinese. In fact, Mandarin language programs in US schools have increased by 100% in the last 2 years, according to “Asia Society,” a non-for-profit educational group that promotes understanding among the people and institutions of the US and Asia. The US Department of Defense has classified Mandarin as a “critical foreign language” and in 2007-2008 put about $10 million into Chinese-language programs, from grade schools through colleges (see this article in USA Today for more information). The largest Chinese program in the US, the Chicago Public Schools, started teaching Mandarin in 1999 and now has 8000 students studying the language, in 30+ schools (with 30 more schools on a waiting list to begin).
What if you are not a native speaker, and your school does not have a Mandarin program? This is the case at our house- and yet we are very interested in our children learning Chinese. Here are some ideas and resources for introducing your children to Mandarin.
When I was getting my Master’s in Teaching English as a Second Language, I was fascinated how multilingual children learned a second language. We all know that their brains are wired differently, that they are little sponges soaking up what they hear and see in their environment, and that they pick up languages faster than us adults. It was a given that I would raise my children with more than one language. I knew that while infinitely rewarding, it would also be hard work to speak my non-native, non-dominate language to them, in a pretty monolingual community. Fast-forward 4 years and my first daughter was born- now it was time to put theory into practice. Having my studies come alive (quite literally), and observing how my daughter used her 2 languages was fascinating. One time when she was a little over 2 years old, she was asking me for something that I struggled to understand:
V: “uncky” Me: “uncle?” V: “No!!! uncky!!!!” (repeat several times with me guessing: “Uncle Timo? Uncle Nico? Uncle Mario?) V: Looks up to the ceiling and thinks for a second. Then as clear as day says “mono, mommy, mono.” Me: “OH!!!! Monkey!!!!”
The smile on her face showed me her satisfaction, almost as if a lightbulb had gone on. My daughter had translated for me, her first time taking advantage that we both spoke another language to get her point across. In her mind, mono and monkey were synonyms for the same animal. I laughed out loud and started clapping- I was awe-struck that she would think of that, and I vividly remember this interaction almost 5 years later. Within a week she used her bilingualism with me again when I couldn’t understand that by “-ito” she meant “conejito” (and not pajarito) when looking out the window and point to a “bunny, mommy! BUNNY.” It was a whole new world in understanding her! Besides being able to express herself in more than one way, what are other advantages to being bilingual? Let’s look at some of the many benefits of young children learning another language, from both the research professionals and from my experiences raising 4 kids to be bilingual.
"Knowing more has never been a disadvantage when compared to knowing less" (Bialystok 2007)