Tag Archives: Teaching

Do picture books help children learn another language?

This week we are really blessed to guest blog from the lovely Nathalie. We met on twitter and have a shared love for picture books and puppets. So over to Nathalie.Natalie 4

For as far back as I can remember, I have always loved books and been surrounded by them. When my children (now 12 and 15) were born and I decided to bring them up bilingual (English and French) I am convinced books played a major part in their success… thanks to my parents who always bought so many stories for them! I read to Leah and Max in French every day and they learnt naturally, without any lessons, to read French; Max read so much by himself he taught himself to write in French too. However I never actually thought of making it part of my business until I had so many children’s books that I started to wonder what I was going to do with them! Books in English and books for adults I never kept you see; I believe books are only alive if they are being read and shared and it was easy to give them away, but books in French… Well they were too heavy to take back to France and I didn’t know anyone in the UK who would appreciate them! My dream was to open a French library; then my best friend came up with the amazing idea of a mobile library!
Bibliobus

You can check out photos of the bus on my website: http://natta-lingo.gihem.info/
The books I travel around with on my Bibliobook are mostly picture books. Why, might you ask, should anyone want to pay me to go and tell a story to their children in French? If you attend any of Sarah’s classes I am sure you are not asking yourself this question as she is a fan of books (and puppets!) herself. We all accept that stories in their native language are good for our children and they are encouraged to be read to and to read from a very young age. Moreover research shows that sharing stories in a second language (even without being bilingual) helps to develop listening, speaking, reading and writing skills! (more about various research projects here http://natta-lingo.gihem.info/spip.php?article114) More than 2000 booksChildren still love books as real objects; they enjoy sitting on the carpet and listening to a story, even more so if they can act it out with props! This we do on le Bibliobook whilst surrounded by nearly 2000 French books!! It is great fun and we know our children will learn better and be more motivated when they have fun… Not just little ones either!

If you do not have access to authentic books in another language, please check out One Third Stories for virtual stories which start in English and end in another language. That’s another great fun way of learning with stories!
So if you get the chance to, please take your children to storytelling sessions (in any language!) and keep reading to them or with them (in any language you can too!). You and they will never wish you hadn’t done it!
Natalie writes weekly blogs about picture books that are great for language learning.

Can you pass on a language without being a native speaker?

Today we have an interview with Rachel, who is teaching her daughter french, but she’s not a native speaker of french.
I’d been chatting to Rachel before. We met via the Speak to the Future LinkedIn group. I was really excited when I found out she’s teaching her own child French at home, although her mother tongue is English, like we’re doing at home.

Learning about le poisson d'Avril

Learning about le poisson d’Avril

We met Rachel in her hometown of Carlisle in the Easter holidays.

– The first question was from Emily: Why do you live in the north?

I’m from this area and my parents live here. There’s lots to do with little ones in Carlisle.

– What do you do for work?

I’m a freelance translator of French and German and private tutor of French. I also occasionally do some voluntary work in French classes in a local infant school.

– What made you want to introduce a foreign language to M?

I can see that it’s a massive advantage for her to be introduced to languages at a young age. Little ones are like sponges – they learn so quickly. She’s at an age where she’s not shy about using another language. I have the language skills so can pass them on to her. I know she won’t become bilingual through me – I’m not a native speaker and we don’t live in France – but I want her to have a good grounding in another language, to enjoy it and be confident in it. I was surprised from how early on she could distinguish between French and English and how much she has picked up.

– Do you do lessons with your little one?

No, we simply do it as part of our everyday life. She likes to watch “Pierre le lapin” (Peter Rabbit) and other English-language cartoons she knows on the tablet in French, as well as original French-language cartoons. We’ve also got some CDs of French songs – she in particular likes trying to sing along to songs on one called “Maxi Enfance”. We enjoy sharing French books and puzzles. I’ve got a French mummy friend we exchange books with, which is a great advantage.
I joke with friends that I teach her “French by torture” – we play a tickling game where I’ll stop tickling only when she says “arrête”. She often shouts “encore”!
We visit France together. Last time we were there, M bought herself a book. I explained the procedure/what to say, all in French, and she quite happily went to the counter and said all the right things at the right time, and was delighted to have “tricked” the lady into thinking she was French!
She’s just started French lessons at her preschool, so we’ll see if she lets on that she knows lots or is quiet and acts like she doesn’t know any!

"We love to share these magazines together"

“We love to share these magazines together”

Alongside learning the actual language, I also think it’s important to teach M about some of the traditions and culture of France. For example, we recently read an article together on Easter in France, from which M not only learned a couple of new Easter-related words but was also interested to find out about the “cloches volantes” that bring sweets to children in France. We also had fun making “poissons d’avril” as I taught her about this French 1st of April tradition. I was also able to use this activity to reinforce colour words with her.

– Finally, what would you say to other parents wishing to pass on their language skills to their little one?

Go for it! There’s no better time to learn than when they’re young – the younger the better! Especially if you’re a native speaker, but even if you aren’t but have the right background and skills in the foreign language. It’s fun for both of you and wonderful to see their progress.

Song translating fun.

Savez-vous-planter-les-chouxThe songs we use in our classes are a mix of those familiar English nursery rhymes and songs like Incy Wincy spider and traditional songs in the target language to help the families appreciate that culture. We have a few French songs I’d love to use but we’ve not yet got English translations that can be sung to the same tune to help introduce the song. We’re also starting working on our French CD so it all becomes a bit more urgent!

We were sat round the table having Sunday tea and I asked my family for ideas. This is how it went…

The first song was Mernier tu dors

Meunier, tu dors, (mime sleeping)
Ton moulin, va trop vite. (roll arms)
Meunier, tu dors, (mime sleeping)
Ton moulin, va trop fort
Ton moulin, ton moulin (roll arms faster)
Va trop vite
Ton moulin, ton moulin (roll arms backwards)
Va trop fort.
Ton moulin, ton moulin
Va trop vite
Ton moulin, ton moulin
Va trop fort.

My eight year old started and after five minutes we had this translation which can be sung and keeps the feel of the song.

Miller, wake up
The wind it is blowing
Miller, wake up.
The wind it is strong.

Your windmill, your windmill,
It is too fast.
Your windmill, your windmill,
is too strong.
Your windmill, your windmill,
It is too fast.
Your windmill your windmill,
is too strong.

It you don’t know the song here is a live version we recorded last year.

This second song, I’ve wanted to use for ages. It has a fun tune, is silly and is a great way to learn body parts. It must be fairly old as my mum learned it at school!

Savez-vous planter les choux
À la mode, à la mode
Savez-vous planter les choux
À la mode de chez nous

On les plante avec les pieds
À la mode, à la mode
On les plante avec les pieds
À la mode de chez nous

On les plante avec le genou
À la mode, à la mode
On les plante avec le genou
À la mode de chez nous

On les plante avec le nez
À la mode, à la mode
On les plante avec le nez
À la mode de chez nous

On les plante avec le coude
À la mode, à la mode
On les plante avec le coude
À la mode de chez nous

The google translate of this is hilarious !

“Do you plant cabbage
Fashionable, trendy
Do you plant cabbage
The way we do it at home”

After a few minutes we came up with.

Cabbage planting is such fun
Like we do it, like we do it.
Cabbage planting is such fun,
Like we do it, come along.

We can plant it with our feet,
Like we do it, like we do it.
We can plant it with our feet,
Like we do it, come along.

We can plant it with our knee,
Like we do it, like we do it.
We can plant it with our knee,
Like we do it, come along.

We can plant it with our nose,
Like we do it, like we do it.
We can plant it with our nose
Like we do it, come along.

We can plant it with our elbow,
Like we do it, like we do it.
We can plant it with our elbow
Like we do it, come along.

Next term’s French class we’ll be reading “la petit poule rousse” The little red hen. We’ll finally we using this song.

I need to find a cabbage prop! Any ideas where?

Do you use songs in your language learning? Do you have fun translating them. Let me know in the comments below.

Chinese New Year- my Lesson Plan

Lion danceFebruary 8th 2016 is the start of the Chinese New Year This year is the year of the Monkey. We’re taking part in Chinatown in Chesham in a few weeks. We’ve got three classes in local schools for early years and KS1.

 

So last year, I wrote a brilliant lesson using the great songs by Toni Wang at a little mandarin. It’s a lot of fun and children pick up some simple Mandarin words.

This is my lesson plan for the session lasting about 20 minutes. I hope it inspires you to use Mandarin in your classroom.
The lyrics for all the songs are available on http://alittlemandarin.com/lyrics/ I printed them out on A4 card, put a related picture on the other side and laminated it.
The story I used  was the really simple one from Twinkl .

Learning objective:
To hear, sing and speak a little Mandarin and hear about the cultural traditions for Chinese New Year.

By the end of  session the children should be able to say hello “nĭ hăo” and good bye “zài jiàn” and have become familiar with the songs. They are likely to be able to sing the Two tigers song by repeating it. They will also have realised learning another language is a lot of fun.

The lesson outline is as follows.

dancing dragonLingotastic Chinese New Year class

Blast off to China (with rockets) One two three blast off  “yi er san diăn huŏ”

Meet the Dragon and say hello to him “nĭ hăo” If the children are feeling brave you I take the dragon to talk to individual children, a great way to repeat this phrase with them. The dragon is taking us on a New Year adventure with lots of friends to meet along the way.

Tell the Dragon’s story (Chinese zodiac story with lots of animal props) As the children hear their animal mentioned they need to wave it. Twinkl  have a brilliant simple version.

After we’ve crossed the river in the story we meet the Jade Emperor. It’s his birthday so we can all sing  Happy Birthday to the Jade Emperor in Mandarin  shēng rì kuài lè

The dragon asks can we sing it again?  please- “qĭng”

 

It’s time to find the two tigers together. Bring out the two tiger props and teach the song.

Sing two tigers with actions (in Mandarin)  liǎng zhī láo hǔ

We need to say  thank you to tigers for playing with us“xié xié”

 

Of we go again. We’ve got a friend to find. Time to find a friend

We can’t find them, they are cleaning the house ready for the new year.

On the songcard, notice the children are wearing red and gold lucky colours for the new year.

Find a friend (musical game) (in Mandarin) Play the song and pause after they sing “nǐ shì wǒ de hǎo péng yǒu” (You are my good friend.) The chidren need to find a friend and shake hands with them. Continue the song stopping at “nǐ shì wǒ de hǎo péng yǒu” and the childen find another friend to shake hands with.

 

So now we’re all ready for the New Year. It’s time to sing.

Happy new year song (in Mandarin)  xīn nián hǎo

The Dragon needs to go now, to look after the water and bring rain.

All say good bye “zài jiàn” to dragon. If you have time the dragon (and you) can go round and say it to each child so repeating it many times.finished_rockets

Blast off back to England with the rockets. Another chance to count together.

 

We use rockets as we always do at Lingotastic. It is our way of travelling to the different countries. It’s a good way to introduce some numbers.

The songs here are familiar tunes or very simple. I learned these songs by singing along to a little mandarin CD mostly in the car. My children learned them too. In the same order I did. I figured if we could learn them by singing other people could too.

 

I’m really happy to chat with you about how you could use this in your classroom. Get in touch Sarah@Lingotastic.co.uk

Live Learn Love Languages with Michaela Haynes

This week we are really lucky to have and interview with Michaela Haynes from Laugh, Learn, Love Languages. I met her a while ago on twitter (@LLLLanguages) As a fellow mumtrepeneur with the same vision we’ve chatted lots (and she’s from Yorkshire like me!) This week is really special for her but I’ll let her tell you about that. Over to you…
Michaela Haynes
Hi, my name is Michaela. I’m a fully qualified teacher who has been working in an outstanding Harrogate school, for 5 years, teaching Spanish and French.
I haven’t always had a love for languages, in fact, it wasn’t until I chose to take an hour of Spanish each week, as part of my Travel and Tourism qualification, that I discovered a wonderful teacher who taught lessons that captured my interest and from then on I had a new passion.
This encouraged me to become a teacher on a mission… to make language learning fun, and therefore motivating and enjoyable.
As many people will know, working in a school involves much more than being in the classroom and teaching the pupils. However, it is the teaching that I love, not the endless paperwork and meetings. After having nearly a year off on maternity leave, the thought of going back to the never-ending marking that kept me at my dining room table until 10pm most evenings and on a Sunday, whilst also juggling a family, seemed impossible. So, I decided that it was time to realise my dream… to teach people my way, the fun way, and to make languages accessible and enjoyable for everyone, all on my terms (well, along with the students’ of course)!
That’s when Laugh, Learn, Love Languages was born.
I had to make a decision. Not return to school at all and risk having no job if things didn’t go well (plus having to pay back my maternity pay) or go back to school three days a week and try to juggle the business and a family all at the same time. I chose the latter. It’s been a very busy and tiring year but I’m so pleased to say that things have gone really well. In fact, I handed in my notice at Easter and today is literally my last day at school!
I’m so looking forward to gaining the work life balance that I wanted, as of course this year has been just as busy as previous years, but I’ve enjoyed the teaching so much more. I love being my own boss and having people trust me to do my job without the pressure of the dreaded OFSTED criteria. I also really like the variety. One minute I’m singing in Spanish with toddlers, the next I’m teaching French to a feisty and competitive couple with lots of banter between them and then the next I’m teaching Spanish A Level to a lovely, hardworking student. What more could I ask for in terms of diversity? No day is ever the same!
I have big plans for the future but of course I will take it one step at a time. With some more hard work and a little bit of luck, perhaps this time next year there will be a team of us at Laugh Learn Love Languages. For now though, I’m just happy to be able to say, “Hi, I’m Michaela, the founder of Laugh Learn Love Languages and things are going really well”.
To everyone in a similar position… I wish you the best of luck. It’s not easy and can be daunting at times but I’m sure it will be worth it!
All the best,
Michaela Haynes

Thanks so much for sharing your story with us Michaela. I wish you every blessing as you move into this new chapter of your life.

If you want to find out more about what she’s up to check out her website www.laughlearnlivelanguages.co.uk

Michaela and Laugh Learn Live Languages have been nominated for a Kalli Kids award. Vote for them
here
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