Tag Archives: Music

Languages can help improve your mental health

Language Show Live

Language Show LiveIn case you have missed it (ie you live in a cave and have no access to any form of media at all, in which case, how are you reading this) It is mental health awareness week.
As a languages blogger I thought I could go one better and show how languages can help your Mental Health, so using helpful subheadings, here we go.

Languages are a great way to make friends.

I would even say, langauges are thebest way to make friends. In learning someone’s language you show your commitment to them which is a massive thing. I wrote a blog about it a while back.

I believe friendships are so fundamentally important. They can encourage you to come out of your shell in ways you could never have dreamed of before. They can help you to not only brave but embrace the world. It helps us to reconnect with a world we perhaps were at a disconnect from with a void of despondency. Friendships are so eminent to our well-being, and we need to constantly remind our friends of how much we love them (because I know I love mine).

source themighty.com why-friendships-are-fundamentally-important-to-mental-health-recovery/

Want to be a good friend to someone with mental illness?


Music is the best way to learn a language.

My favourite way to learn a language is though singing along to songs in another language.

I sing ALL the time (and sometimes drive my family mad doing so) I know that the singing has positive benefits to me. I found this actual research on it saying “After reviewing 25 trials, the researchers concluded

that music is a valid therapy to potentially reduce depression and anxiety, as well as to improve mood, self-esteem, and quality of life.”

source www.healthline.com/health-news/mental-listening-to-music-lifts-or-reinforces-mood-051713

Creativity helps language learning
You can learn languages whilst colouring with these gorgeous books. My hubby brought me them back from the Polyglot conference in Iceland.
Creativity is also good for your mental health.
I find that colouring is a great way to relax and unwind, to destress. If I feel a bit anxious it gives me something to focus on. Research has been done on this too.

“Coloring definitely has therapeutic potential to reduce anxiety, create focus or bring about more mindfulness,

Groundbreaking research in 2005 proved anxiety levels dropped when subjects colored mandalas, which are round frames with geometric patterns inside. Simply doodling, though, had no effect in reducing the other subjects’ stress levels.
Just like meditation, coloring also allows us to switch off our brains from other thoughts and focus only on the moment, helping to alleviate free-floating anxiety. It can be particularly effective for people who aren’t comfortable with more creatively expressive forms of art, says Berberian, “My experience has been that those participants who are more guarded find a lot of tranquility in coloring an image. It feels safer and it creates containment around their process,” source https://edition.cnn.com/2016/01/06/health/adult-coloring-books-popularity-mental-health/index.html

Netflix and chill
Language learning can happen anywhere. Watching your favourite film or relaxing with friends.

Chilling with a film and spending time with friends are great ways to unwind
https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/3daqaj/is-watching-tv-actually-a-good-way-to-rest-your-brain
To some extent, escapism is just human nature, and TV offers it up on a silver platter.

a bit of distraction can be rejuvenating, and that anything that lowers stress can be a good thing. “Television provides an escape, since we travel into a new world, we have the sense of being present in the imaginary world

source https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/3daqaj/is-watching-tv-actually-a-good-way-to-rest-your-brain


The code switching of changing languages can be used to manage emotions.

Personally, I have a very busy mind and concentrating on other languages keep my mind occupied and from overthinking. I can also find if I switch languages I can be calmer. Bilinguals often have different personalities in different languages. In bilingual families some feel that one language is more comfortable in a certain setting. Some feel more able to express certain emotions better in their second language.source
www.languageonthemove.com/do-bilinguals-express-different-emotions-in-different-languages/ In our family we always talk of Nikolaustag even in an English sentence as it is a German festival for us.


Discovering your real authentic self.

Languages help you to be you. I went along to the polyglot gathering in May last year. It was such a diverse, geeky and accepting community of people but our love of languages brought us together, meeting some of the people there from different countries, backgrounds and holding such different values made me think about my own values and what actually is important.

We tend to stifle our authentic selves to fit in without even realising it. And doing so suppresses our creativity, ingenuity, and self-awareness.

We’re all raised with a core set of beliefs, and many of those might conflict with what you believe today. These may deal with important issues like race, religion, sexuality, and more. Taking time to think about about these longstanding habits and worldviews to see if they’ve changed can be really helpful
According to some psychologists, authenticity can also lead to better coping strategies, a stronger sense of self-worth, more confidence, and a higher likelihood to follow through on goals. source https://lifehacker.com/how-to-discover-your-authentic-self-and-live-the-life-1698115144

Charlie’s language learning journey and Bili

This week we have an interview with an inspirational language learner Charlie and hear his project Bili.

Could you tell us about your own language learning journey, at home and school as a child.

I started learning French at primary school, and soon after began to learn Latin. I think this helped me get my head around new languages relatively quickly, and made me a bit of a life-long grammar geek.

When we had options to choose an extra language I chose German, probably mostly because of a conversation I had with my teacher who recommended German because it was ‘harder’ and I could pick up Spanish anytime… (Still working on that one)! The nature of learning a language ‘little and often’ fitted much better with my approach than more content-filled subjects, where last-minute cramming never really paid off for me!

This conversation really stuck with me, and I began to think of myself as someone who was quite good at languages. I remember this as a pivotal moment that set me on a path through GCSEs, A-levels, a degree, year abroad and into teaching and setting up Bili. As a teacher, I’d try to remind myself how much impact those little chats or passing comments can have on our students.

 

What inspired you to love languages?

Having a positive attitude set me on a good course in languages but didn’t yet make me love them. My real love for languages was really sparked by the doors it opened for me, through a combination of travelling, living abroad, and getting to know a culture and people different from my own.

For me, a love of languages comes from a love of communication, which fulfils one of the most natural and human urges to connect with other people. The more languages you learn, and the better you learn them, the more interesting and different people you can connect with on a deeper level.

 

What led you to pass on your love of languages to others through teaching?

Even as a student I understood that not everyone felt the same way about learning languages I did. For years MFL teachers have struggled against a decline in uptake of languages at a higher level, often low motivation in class and some quite strong societal pressures that English is enough. Contrasted with the economic need for languages (it’s estimated that we lose £50 billion every year through lack of language skills), and the more simple desire to learn languages (Ask any adult a skill they regret not learning- chances are they will say a musical instrument and a language!); it’s clear we have a problem.

I wanted to play a part in making sure that children were given the same chance I was, to learn and love languages.

 

Could you tell us about Bili. (What is it and why will it help our readers?)

Bili was an idea that only came about through my direct experience working as a teacher. I was becoming frustrated by the contrived nature of the dreaded controlled assessment, jumping through hoops for exams, and parroting back ‘A* phrases’ about holidays or free time activities.

I wanted to find a context where students could share with someone who was genuinely interested, and vice versa. I wanted a way to connect my students to young people abroad to regularly and purposefully communicate with one another. Since I couldn’t find one… I ended up setting it up for myself 😊

Bili enables teachers from different countries to connect their students in a structured and secure environment to complement their learning in the classroom, applying what they have learnt in a real context. Learners can share real information about their lives with Bili-pals the same age, whilst discovering another culture & language, and supporting one another on their language learning journey. Students actively want to communicate and a real-person at the other end provides a strong motivation.  Regular tasks, higher motivation and valued performance feedback coming from peers all save the teacher time and increase impact.

We’re always keen to welcome new schools to Bili, whether you simply want to trial with a class, sign up to build on an existing relationship with a partner school abroad, or find a new school to connect with through Bili!

 

https://www.bili.uk.com/

Language show silliness

This weekend we went along to language show and  had a lot of fun and silliness.

It is a highpoint in our calendar, a chance to see what is happening in the world of languages and to meet some friends we’ve been chatting to and working with online.

We met some really inspiring people this year with amazing stories behind their products. We also bumped into a few well known language bloggers and podcasters. We took some silly selfies (because that is a fun thing to do right?)

As we arrived,we were stopped by the lovely Madelena from The Alma collective.
We’d been chatting about collaboration for few weeks but had no idea we’d both be at the Language Show. She is a native German and Greek speaker so we had a lot of fun switching languages in our conversation together. Her passion with The Alma Collective is to inspire and empower parents to raise multilingual children. We look forward to working together in the future.

The first stall we visited was Glynys and her baby Spanish CD’s. Like us she is all about starting languages as early as possible and learning with the help of songs and music. She felt there was a gap in the market here so introduced her product. We’ll be reviewing it very soon.

 

 

 

On a French book stand, Librarie la page.
We came across some awesome trilingual chilidren’s picture books, produced by Vincent from
Jarvin Crew The books are in French, English and Spanish. They were produced as all three languages are spoken in his household. It means that many family members are able to read the same story to the children.

I

I was so excited to discover BCC Mandarin. They produce some beautiful cards to learn to read Mandarin Characters by playing. They are beautifully illustrated and suggest a simple story to memorise the shape of the character. I have studied basic Mandarin a little but was far to nervous to try anything other than pin yin. These cards make reading characters accessible. They are such a brilliant idea.

The British council had some brilliant resources for bringing Polish and Mandarin into the classroom. A great way to learn together and integrate cultures.

 

 

 

 

We had a look at the Lingotot stand. I figure anyone who is passionate about teaching children languages is a friend of mine. The weirdest thing happened. When giving the lady on the stand my business card, she commented “That is my name!” How odd is that. We’d both kept our maiden names when we married our, non British husbands. We’ll be sharing Sarah’s language learning story in a the next few months.

At the ALL stand we met the lovely Victoria who had invited us to contribute to the magazine last Month. She told us a little of what ALL does to support Primary Languages. Find out more for yourself here.

We met some inspiring teacher’s whose classroom experience has led them to create something for all teachers to benefit….. Bili setting up free online language exchange and ALL-IN Octopus with their grammar teaching software. https://school.all-in.org.uk/

We were really happy to meet Gareth from How to Get Fluent and Kris from Actual Fluency, fellow language obsessives and bloggers.

We ended the very busy day learning some Esperanto with the inspirational Tim Morley. It was such fun!

 

So, as you can see we had a brilliant time and met some awesome people. Many will be features on our blog in the near future. The next day our girls came along. It was a real eyeopener for us keep an eye out for that blog!

Hey Diddle Diddle- the fiddly business of song translation.

Twenty days ago, we were asked if we would translate 36 English Nursery Rhymes and Songs into German. We said, “Yes of course!”.

We started to translate songs when we first met 21 years ago, as it was a fun thing to do. For our last album “Mostly German”, we translated some traditional German nursery rhymes into singable English versions
As we looked more into the English nursery rhymes, we realised that many were hundreds of years old and did not have a good German translation. As we wrestled with them to match meaning, rhyme and rhythm we realised why! Songs like “Hey Diddle Diddle” and “Mary Mary Quite Contrary” make no sense at all in English, so where do you start with translating them into German? Many of the songs could be political commentary I have heard, but this does not make translation any easier.

Here’s an example from “Three Blind Mice”:
“They all ran after the farmer’s wife
Who cut off their tails with a carving knife
Did you ever see such a thing in your life,
As three blind mice”
It has four consecutive rhymes to be translated and still rhyme, as well as the words being sung at the speed of a tongue twister. Absolute nightmare!

We started off by plugging the text into google translate to start ideas flowing. Some of these first translations are hilarious.
Once I caught a fish alive became
Eins zwei drei vier fünf
Einmal habe ich einen lebendigen Fisch gefangen

It is German alright, but there is no way those words will fit with the rhythm. The other major difficulty with this song is that nothing much rhymes with “fünf”, except Strümpf’ (socks) or Schlümpf’ (smurfs). So, we had to change to structure of the song to still convey the original meaning. Here’s what we did:

Eins, zwei, drei und vier
Ich hab’ ein kleines Fischlein hier
Fünf, sechs, sieben, acht
Jetzt hat er sich fort gemacht

We found some German translations for a few of the songs but that just served to give a few ideas..
Maik and I had a lot of back and forth, and middle-of-the-night bright ideas in order to pull this project together. So now we have 36 nursery rhymes with singable German translations, a really intense project but well worth it for the finished product.

And we eventually did find a way of rendering the “three blind mice” into German. It’s one heck of a tongue-twister even for a native speaker, but it rhymes while still conveying the meaning of the original English. Here it is:

Drei blinde Mäuse, drei blinde Mäuse.
Sieh, wie sie laufen, sieh, wie sie laufen.
Sie liefen hinter der Bauersfrau
Die wollte ihnen die Schwänze abhaun,
Mit ‘nem Messer, ja das glaube ich kaum,
Drei blinde Mäuse.

We translated and recorded some songs in 2015 for our Lingotastic “Mostly German” album. We took some traditional German Kinderlieder and translated them so they were singable in both German and English to help learn German. We also included verses in French, Spanish, Mandarin and Esperanto. In singing along language learning happens without even thinking about it. Get hold of your own copy here.

A very German Easter

As a German-English family we like to include traditions from both cultures in our Easter celebrations so we celebrate both a German Easter and English Easter.

The first Easter I spent in Germany, I was astounded by all the beautiful Basteln (crafts) and Osterschmuck (Easter decorations). Walking around the neighbourhood, I saw many Osterbäume (Easter trees) festooned with Ostereier (Easter eggs). Many of the houses also had beautiful Fensterbilder (homemade window decorations).

I love crafts and decorating so I brought home many materials, magazines and templates to make our own Easter crafts.

In the week leading up to Easter we go up into the loft to bring down our decorations, which grow in number each year. Last year we were in Germany for Easter, so we brought home some beautiful decorations. My favourite is the Osterkranz (Easter wreath): I love the pastel colours and it is something not often seen in the UK. It was also an absolute Schnäppchen (bargain)!

 

We love to decorate a branch with brightly coloured eggs. We decorated our own plastic ones with pens the first few years. We’ve bought more plastic ones to add to our collection in following years. As we decorated it this year, my older daughter started to talk about the Osterbaum. I was surprised she still remembered the word.pic

In our home we know it is almost Easter as Oma’s Osterpaket arrives from Germany. It is brimming with lots of yummy German food and chocolate, ready for Easter.

Pic

Before Easter my girls often make Easter bonnets to wear to school.

On Karfreitag (Good Friday) we go to church as a family to think about Jesus’ death on the cross, and what that means to us personally.

My husband has described Karsamstag in Germany to us, with the lighting of the Paschal candle to mark the period from Easter to Pentecost. Many churches also have an Osterfeuer, which dates back to pagan times: a time for the young people of the church to have fun together.

On Easter Sunday (Ostersonntag) our children get up to find their baskets filled with Chocolate (Osterhasen) Easter Bunnies (must be Milka) and lots of delicious things zum Naschen. We also buy them an English Easter egg in a box. Maik, my husband, always had a few small gifts for Easter so we’ve continued this tradition with our own children – usually a book, stationery, or something they have asked for in the run up to Easter.

We all head to church together to celebrate Easter with our church family. It is a very special service with music, dance, and readings where the whole family is involved.

At some point in the weekend we have an Easter egg hunt in the garden.
As spend time playing games together.

As Monday is a Bank holiday in the UK, we take time to have a roast dinner together and head out for a walk in the afternoon.

Some years at Easter, we have visited my family in the Yorkshire Dales. My parents have friends who are sheep farmers, so we have been lucky enough to watch a lambing and help bottle feed the orphan lambs.

To me, Easter is a time of hope, of celebrating that the dark days of winter are over and the days are getting lighter and longer.

As we have two cultures and languages in our family, I think we are so much richer for embracing them both.

How does your family celebrate Easter?

Girlie headphones review

We’ve been reviewing these headphones for just over a fortnight now. We travelled up North for family wedding so they were great so stop arguments about who chooses the music and save us a parents from the umpteenth rendition of “Let it go” or the sound effects of Crossy Road or Dumb Ways to Die. We stayed at Ibis Shipley so you may recognise the hotel in the background.
Over to Josh our tech reviewer.

These headphones are good quality for the price. This is because:
I think that the design of the EasySMX Kids headphones is very fun and colourful, this makes sense as these headphones are designed for children. The headphones have a pink faux leather headband which feels rugged and cushioned enough, the earcups are the same colour as the headband but plastic with purple and white hearts this suits the headphones as they are designed for girls in both design and size of the headphones. A feature that shows that these headphones are designed for children is that the headphones’ do not go any louder than 85db, which is about the same as a food blender at its maximum settings from a metre away. This is so that children do not listen to music too loud and damage. their hearing. There is not much bass in these headphones which was expected as they are designed for younger children which do not typically listen to bass heavy songs, the mids and highs sounded decent and overall just sounded a little bit muddy. Overall these headphones are of decent quality for the price as they have an alright sound and build quality for the price that they are.


The girls managed to dislodge one of the headphone covers, we were really pleased to find (from a very helpful member of Ibis hotel staff) they are really simple to reattach.
The headphones arrived in a solid cardboard box with a plastic insert. It was well designed with a child friendly theme.

So over to the girls….

Jasmin
These headphones are good for children as they do not go too loud. I like the design. I’m glad I have the girls design. When I use other headphones they are sometimes crackly but these headphones have clear sound. I would like it better if they were Bluetooth because the wire gets in the way.

Emily
They have good sound. I liked taking them on holiday, especially on Valentines day because they have got hearts on them. They are good because I can choose my own music in the car.

Disclaimer
We were given these headphones in return for an honest review.

Thanks to Ibis hotel Shipley for a making us feel so welcome on our stay there.

If you’d like to buy a set for your family simply follow the link below.

Inspirational mum Michelle from 1st early education

Each month we interview an inspirational mum in business. This month we have Michelle from 1st Early Education. I’ll let her introduce herself.

Hi I’m Michelle and I am originally from Dublin now living in Co. Wicklow Ireland with my family. I have a daughter in her early twenties and a teenage son.

What’s your career background?
I am a creative writer and storyteller and am trained in the Montessori method of education. I have been working in the field of childcare and early education for over 25 years.

where did the idea for your business come from?
I have always liked the idea of running my own business. When I found out I was unable to renew my contract because of a government embargo I decided to combine my experience of teaching and working in early childhood education and my love of creative writing and storytelling to create an online resource for parents and teachers called 1stearlyed.com. I have had great reaction to the audio work and have now launched my first album called ‘Fun in the car’.

Who are your target audience?
Parents of young children , The parent who values listening and sharing time with their little ones, wanting them to have lots of fun and learn making the most of this most valuable time in their formative years.
It appeals to preschool teachers as well as it is fun with an educational twist. The poems and stories you hear on the album compliment what they learn in their early years.

How do you spread the word about what you do?
Word of mouth , when people hear my album they tell others which is great, Because it is online through social media channels I am able to reach people all over the world which is fantastic, I have a lot of contacts in the early education sector and go to conferences and seminars spreading the word.

What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?
Believing in myself and having the confidence to put my work out there.

And your proudest moment/biggest success so far?
Launching my first album ‘Fun in the car’

Why is work so important to you ?
I am very lucky in that I am passionate about what I do. I love my work. I absolutely love writing and creating material for children in their formative years.

Who inspires you ?
I have to say the little ones I have worked with over the years. I can see their little faces as I write and create the audio, it’s magical.

Balancing work and life.
Working on this because a lot of my work is online. I need to make sure take time out for myself and my family. Live every minute to the full.

The album consists of 9 tracks which can be downloaded. The tracks are full of original poems and stories narrated by Michelle with lovely background noises. They can find out about Teddy and all the adventures. Teddy loves playing hide and seek. The children can listen and interact learning about different places they may go and things they may see. The great thing is there are lots of little facts incorporated so along with improving their listening and observational skills ,plus enriching their vocabulary, they will be absorbing knowledge in a fun way.
On the site you will find resources to do with your children and activities to compliment what they hear about on the album. Keep checking back as it is always being updated.
You can find out more about the album and resources at www.1stearlyed.com

facebook 1stearlyeducation/

twitter @1stearlyed

If you want to buy your own copy of this great resource check out Fun in the car CD

Can you get great sound and great style?

This week we have a first blog from Josh. A tech review on a set of Bluetooth headphones. So over to Josh.

Hi I’m Josh, the eldest child in the Lingotastic family, I am also a student and like looking at technology and the big advances in the technological world. I am currently doing my A-levels and one of the subjects I am doing is computing. I have been into technology from an early age. When I was around 7 years old I loved going on the computer, taking photos with my dad’s digital camera. I was also fascinated by mobile phones at the time, ever since I have enjoyed looking at the advancement of mobile phones from phones with physical keypads, through the early touch screen phones to now with phones which have high quality cameras built in. I like listening to music and headphones have very useful for me in the past as I have wanted to listen to music but not out loud as the rest of my family have different music tastes to me. I specifically like Bluetooth headphones as they have no cables to get caught on something while listening to music. Also because you can have your device on the other side of the room while listening to music, so when I was offered to review the August EP636 I couldn’t say no.

These headphones are very good quality headphones for the price they are as Bluetooth headphones. This is because:
Firstly, these headphones are very compact. In other headphones, I have used in the past, being compact can sometimes mean that the manufacturer has compromised on the build quality to make the headphones more compact, but in this case August hasn’t reduced the build quality of these headphones that much so that they are more compact. To further test build quality of the EP636 I then tested the quality and strength of the headband of the headphones. I could stretch the headband quite far without it feeling like it was going to break. During my time testing the EP636 at one point, they fell onto the ground from a meter high (3.28084 feet). After this drop happened the sound and build quality was not affected in any obvious way. The build quality isn’t all completely good though because when testing the headphones after an hour of listening to music with them it started to get a little bit uncomfortable, this may be because I have a fairly big head but I don’t think these headphones are designed for people with bigger heads.

The earcups move around a little too much for my liking this might be because they are on ear headphones, people want to adjust the angle and positioning but for me, it moves around too much. I really like the positioning of the media control buttons on the EP636 as they are exactly where I would expect buttons to be on Bluetooth headphones. Whereas in previous Bluetooth headphones I have used the media control buttons weren’t that intuitive to use. The addition of NFC to these headphones made it really simple and easy to pair the headphones to my phone as I just had to tap it against the back of my phone to connect and tap it once more to disconnect.

I liked the design of these headphones as I got the matte red version. I prefer a matte finish on headphones as the finish looks cleaner and smoother. I don’t think that there is enough cushioning on the earpads as they got slightly uncomfortable after an extended period of use. The sound quality of these Bluetooth headphones is reasonable for the price they are sold at. The bass is quite powerful which for the price of these headphones was quite unexpected, the mids and highs were not as clear and sounded quite muddy. I have not fully tested how long the battery on these headphones last but I have used them for a whole day without the headphones running out of charge. Overall these headphones are very good for the price as have a very good build quality and sound quality for a low budget.

Josh blogs about tech on https://joshtechcentral.wordpress.com/ Thanks Josh, we look forward to reading

Want to get your hands on a pair of these speakers with 40% off? Click here to get your discount code.

Then follow the link below to the Amazon product page

Disclaimer, we were offered these headphones at a reduced price in exchange for an honest review.

How do you teach Arabic to your Children?

This week we have a guest blog from Nadine Ismail, from Reinventing Nadine . She lives in the USA and faces the same language challenges as parents the world over.

I am born and raised in Lebanon, a tiny country in the Middle East. Moved to the USA when I got married to my American born husband (He is of Syrian heritage). My native language is Arabic, but I went to French School (so all material were taught in French) and then went to the American University of Beirut, where I did both my BA and MA in Public Sector Administration with emphasis on Human Resources. I always loved languages and while in college, I also studied German for 3 years at the Goethe Institute and finished Elementary level. I worked on projects with the World Bank, UNDP and then moved to the private sector and worked in multinational companies where English was the official business language.

When I moved to the US, I decided to leave the corporate world and focus on what I enjoy doing, being a mother and wife. My blog started as a way to document my journey from a single working young woman in the Middle East to a Mom and a wife in the USA. It started as a food blog, then as my daughter grew, I started teaching her Arabic Language. I discovered how little are the resources out there for mothers like me. I started reaching out to other companies and authors who make products/wrote books and reviewed them and come up with creative ways of using the products. I became involved in my local Arabic school and helping out with the events, the curriculum and started a new Arabic Culture and Heritage class that I teach every Sunday.

I am also a blogger at Arab America ) where I blog about being a bilingual parent, tips about teaching kids/adults Arabic language and heritage. I am involved in a unique Middle Eastern Youth Singing Ensemble that teaches youth to sing classical and folkloric Arabic Songs. I am working on a course to teach adults the language with emphasis on Spoken Levantine dialect. The Arabic language is a beautiful and rich language but it is difficult and challenging. I am currently learning Spanish and Turkish. My daughter who is 7 now, can read and write in Arabic. Here is a video of her reading a book.

My website is now more about celebrating the Arab Heritage and culture through food, arts and the language. I also do traditional Middle Eastern embroidery and share that one my Instagram. In my opinion, the language is the gate to the culture, it opens up all the other doors.

Please find below links to some of my articles and collaborations:

With Arab America:

1.Teaching Kids Arabic
2. Arabic Back to School
3. Alef Baa in Songs
4. An interview with Joudie Kalla, the author of “Palestine on a Plate”
5. 10 Games in Arabic to fight Winter Break Boredom

With Arabic Playground:
My Arabic journey alphabets.
Summer workbook, my journey alphabets.Writing Arabic

Are you learning Arabic or teaching it to your children? Have you come across any other good resources? We’d love to know in the comments below.

How do you get great sound in your bag? #Giveaway

As a language teacher I use music all the time so needed some small powerful Bluetooth speakers.
I was sent these ones free of charge in exchange for a review a year ago.So here it is…

As I opened it I was really impressed at the packaging. The cardboard box had a hard plastic packaging which held two speakers, an audio wire and a charging wire. I was really impressed to see that both speakers can be charged with a mains plug adaptor with a USB socket on it. The two speakers have a matt black finish and their triangular shape means they can be used on the side for sound into the room or standing on the base for sound above. The size of one speaker fits into a cup holder in the car when I want to listen to music from my phone whilst driving to my class. I easily connected my phone to the speakers by switching on the left speaker and searching for the device on my phone. I then simply clicked on the correct device and it was connected. I can also be connected to laptops and tablets by searching for the device.

I was really impressed at the clarity of the speakers. At first I was a little surprised there was no volume control on the speakers themselves but quickly figured out how to use my phone to control the volume. The rocker switch on the back of the left speaker can be used to change tracks on the device. I rarely use this function.
I was amazed at the volume I could get from the speakers and when the second one is connected it is even better. The first time I used the speakers at my class one of the parents commented she was surprised that clarity and volume came from such little speakers. I’m really impressed at the battery life in the speakers. I only need to charge them weekly with use in classes and at home. I’ve sometime forgotten to charge them ahead of time so was really pleased to find you can recharge them whilst you are listening. The speakers are brilliant for what I need. Small, compact and lightweight with great volume. I’d strongly recommend them for other teachers of children’s classes. If you looking for a good sound, and a very good priced speaker that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, this may for you. It also makes a great little gift! So after a years use I am happy to report I still feel the same. The battery life is just as good after a year.

I spoke to August and they’ve given me a set of speakers to giveway. To win your own simply enter via the rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you want to buy your own set click here.

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