Friday, September 10, 2010

Learning French- Frog Puppets

One of the biggest challenges to teaching my children French is that I do not know it. Teaching them Spanish has been fairly easy since I just speak and play with them in Spanish. I have needed to run to my Spanish/English dictionary on occasion but for the most part it has not required a lot of work on my part.

My decision to learn French along with my children has reminded me how difficult is it to learn a language as an adult. I am now fluent in Spanish but it has taken me twenty years to get to the level of fluency that my four year old has obtained in the last two years. This has just reinforced my determination to continue with the French while my children are young and they still have the ability to soak up languages like a sponge.

The two keys to success for a non-native speaker to teach their children a foreign language are preparation and fun. Since I do not know the vocabulary or phrases in French myself, I have to learn them beforehand. I make myself cheat sheets with the words and phrases that I want to use during the lesson.

In this lesson I wanted to say (in order):
Are you hungry?
I am hungry.
I am not hungry.
Do you want a fly?
I want a fly.

***Correction from card below. Forgive me, I am a beginner. :)
I am hungry. J'ai faim
Fly. mouche

After I am prepared, I try to make it fun. We painted these green frogs since it was frog week.
Finally, we play in French. I would ask Diego's frog if he was hungry and if he said yes, we would still a fly to his tongue. When his frog's tongue was full of flies, we practiced saying that he was not hungry.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Frog Unit

Our topic of study of the last two weeks has been "ranas" (frogs.) The majority of our activities included reading a ton of books about frogs and various worksheet about the life cycle of frogs that I have picked up from various places.

One of our fun frog-related art projects was these handprint frogs from Handprint and Footprint Arts and Crafts.

A fun surprise this week was finding this little guy out on the patio. He must have known that it was frog week. :) I think the best lesson of the week was researching to decide whether our new friend was indeed a frog or actually a toad. We finally decided that he must be a toad based on his rough skin. It was a great lesson in comparing and researching.

We also spend a great deal of time discussing the life cycle of the frog. A few of our library books gave us enough information to make our own representation of this cycle. We began with the eggs, then the "renacuajos" (tadpoles), then the tadpoles grew legs, and then finally they became frogs.

As usual Diego was a very good student and participated in all of my planned activities. When we are done, however, he always has his own plan. As soon as we finished the life cycle of the frog, he wanted to do the life cycle of the bear. This entailed us taking turns drawing the bears getting bigger and bigger. He is such a funny little guy. :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Weren't we going to learn French?

I will admit that our French lessons were non-existent over the summer. Language is very much a use-it or lose-it type of skill so we have had to review a lot of our previously learned material. We are back in the swing of things and I am trying to find fun ways to add a little French into our daily lives. To review some of the vocabulary that we learned at the beginning of the year, I made this simple board game. We use a regular dice and you have to say the name of the object or color in French if you land on it. It is not fancy, I know, but Diego loves to play board games right now so it works for us.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Geography Placemats

I have mentioned these before but I just love the travel magazines that I still receive since I took a group of high school students abroad to Mexico several years ago. Diego loves to flip through the pages and ask me questions about the places that he would like to visit. This day Diego decided to make placemats using the pictures from the magazine.

Monday, September 6, 2010

What Mateo has been up to..

One of the benefits of Diego being in school two days a week is that I can finally spend some one-on-one time with Mateo. I am sure that it is normal for the second child to lack alone time with parents but it has always bothered me.

My children could not be any different. If one likes an activity, you can be sure the other does not. Diego not like to paint with water colors at all. On this morning I discovered that Mateo LOVES it. He painted several pictures for his Papi who was working out of town.

Now I have to correct myself, the boys do have something in common. They both love to build. Mateo has the best fine motor skills of any two-year-old that I know. He can build anything with the tiniest Legos and manipulate these TRIO blocks that used to be difficult for Diego. In this picture Mateo built an "avión."

By this age, Diego knew all of his letters. Mateo can just now identify the letter "M." We are starting to do a letter of the week project to introduce his letters and to work on his vocabulary and pronunciation. Mateo is seeing a speech therapist for a speech delay and other speech-related problems.

Of course when Diego came home he had to make an "abeja" as well. I love his use of bubble letters. I asked him why he wrote like that because I had never seen him do it before. He told me that he wanted to write that I did on the banner we made for Papi when he went out of town.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

End of Ocean Unit

We finished up our summer-long ocean theme a couple of weeks ago. Due to many issues, I am way behind on posting. My blog is a scrapbook of my activities with the boys and I hope that I can keep it up. I am sure that we will redo several projects in the future and it is also helpful to look back and see what we already did. Yesterday I was scanning our activities from last fall trying to get ideas for this fall.

We put most of our projects in the "ocean" that we painted earlier in the summer. They will be hanging in the playroom for a couple more days and then it will be replaced by the next bulletin board. The boys really enjoyed displaying their artwork this way and watching as we filled up our little ocean scene.

My Favorites