Friday, March 19, 2010

Teaching Children a Second Language - Vocabulary Building Success - Nouns

***I realized after posting this, that I should add the following statement, at the beginning***
This post is really meant for American, or maybe Canadian parents (you know, those of us who don't really speak more than one language), who are interested in teaching their children a second language.
After I mentioned some of the purchased (and borrowed) language materials, we've used, and are using, with the children, I realized, ironically, the set, that we've used with the greatest success, is a homemade batch of matching cards, I made up to teach the children some beginning nouns.

Basically, I cut small cards out of card stock, about 1 inch by 1 1/2 inch. Then, I cut, and glued, or drew pictures of nouns (animals, fruits and vegetables, numbers, etc.) onto some of the cards, and wrote their matching words, on the rest. I only made one set of picture cards, but I wrote the words out in German, French, Spanish, and very sad looking Japanese and Hebrew (right now we're focusing in on the German) - this is where the books, that came along with the Muzzy set, or the picture dictionaries, came in handy. I also made a master sheet, as a guide for myself.

The pictures, I cut out for the animals, came from worksheets printed from the Kid Speak software, which offers practice in German, French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, and Hebrew. I bought this software during my "give the children a broad linguistic base" phase of thinking. And, that's also why I made cards for so many different languages at once.

I started out by introducing one set of words to the children per month (remember when I said learning a language takes time?). So, one month we took on animals, another month fruits and vegetables, and so on, of course, for smaller groups, like shapes, or easy ones like numbers, we'd cover two, or three groups in a month.

The first week we spend going through the cards together. I place a picture, and word together, and we say them out loud, which is where some of those recorded sets, like Bilingual Baby, come in handy, as pronunciation guides.

The rest of the month, I challenge the children, each day, to match up as many of the words to their correct pictures, as possible. By the end of the month, the children usually have a pretty good grasp of the words in the set, and we move on to the next group. Every once in a while, we pull out the old words, and play a matching, or memory type game with them. With the older children, I try as much as possible, to have a worksheet, or two, ready as well, so they can practice writing the words, too.

If in review, some of the words have been forgotten, we pull the group back out, and start over with it again, focusing heavily, on the forgotten words. And, I try to quiz the children throughout the day on the words, by pointing to objects around the house, and asking for their names in other languages, just like I did with English, when the children were first learning to speak.

This part of language teaching is easy, and I've had success with this method. I've even had some good beginning success in moving into plural nouns, and adjectives. The obstacle I haven't been able to overcome yet, is finding a child friendly way to teach verb conjugation. If anyone knows of one, I'd love to hear about it.

It's great to be a homeschooler.


Debbie said...

Thank you for sharing. I was wondering how you teach the correct dialect of the language? I guess that falls into your dilema about the verb usage.

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

Fascinating. We have those Miniluk games from German that teach basic noun vocabulary, but Anna couldn't be less interested. She only learns words in actual context, not by itself.

Ticia said...

The only way I really know for verb conjugation is memorization.
Very cool game ideas.