Archive for June, 2007

Children's Music Videos Bring Spanish Learning to Life

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

WOW!!!  We are almost there – the filming of our Boca Beth music videos has been set into motion.

The winning entries of our decorating BOCA the puppet contest are in!  Children and their families entered their decorated, dressed up BOCAs to earn a winning spot in our upcoming Florida filming of bilingual music videos for children.]

Congratulations go out to / felicitaciones to the following children (first names only given for security protection):

Wolfgang and Gracie, Sara, Marissa, Sammy and Maxwell will be joining us for rehearsals and final filming during the late part of July and early August as we shoot a series of Boca Beth Spanish and English music videos for children which we look to air on public access TV, submit to PBS, court NickJr/Noggin with and add to our “I Like Animals/Me gustan los animales” DVD. 

We will be sharing the winning entries via my blog over the next couple of weeks!!!  Then, wait until you hear about the next opportunity for your child to become part of our Boca Beth bilingual production!

See you in the music video movies!

Boca Beth 

Parents Need Not Speak Spanish in Order to Introduce it to Their Children

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

We are our children’s best teachers!  That we know – from reading to them while still in our belly to having siblings and daddy speak to them, sing to them while still unborn to constantly communicating with our infant upon birth in a loving and predictable way.  We create the little personalities that will walk our earth in years to come!

I am often times asked, “How can I give my child the gift of a second language when I don’t even speak anything more than English?”  Don’t be afraid of this task I advise parents and fellow teachers or you will never want to follow through on it.  In order to make it part of our daily routine WE have to love it before having the kids love it.

That’s why Boca Beth music and movies work so well.  Sure, the DVDs are not the slick Baby Einstein look (not yet!) and no, we don’t profess to have your 5 year old come out as a bilingual genius ready to tackle grammar and verb conjugation!  What we do here with this love of mine, this passion I have channeled into a bilingual program for youngsters is  provide lots and lots of tools to introduce Spanish to English-speaking families as well as English to Spanish-speaking families!  We even have tons of free resources available 24/7!

I leave for one of my favorite Conferences in two days – the FFCCHA Conference in Clearwater Beach, Florida at the Sheraton Sand Key Hotel.  FFCCHAA stands for Florida Family Child Care Home Association, and these providers ROCK!  Our daughter was cared for by one of these special home care providers, and she flourished.  That’s why I love presenting my workshops on how easy it is to bring bilingual fun into their homes and give these little children a jump start on learning languages for a future full of cultural diversity!

Happy Educating! 

Boca Beth

Seven Summer Suggestions for Bilingual Bliss

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

Parents across the world see a very global future for their children and want to prepare them for it. We have read or heard about the experts’ reports of bilingual children scoring higher on standardized tests and reading sooner than monolingual children. Yet there seems to be a struggle to achieve that blissful state of learning.  My simply suggestions follow – all with the premise that music and movement is universal.  Let’s help our children with the medium they love – bilingual music to bridge the language gap!

Just yesterday I did a live concert with Florida First and their Clearwater, Florida ‘play group.’  These people are amazing at helping those in our community who do not have the funds to send their children to preschool nor do they have access to the amazing resources to raise children successfully during the first five years due to a language barrier.  I am so touched by the home visits they offer these families, hoping to increase the chances of success for the young children later in life.Many times children rebel at using their native language of Spanish; thus eliciting threats from the parent of no communication in any other language but Spanish. Then there is the Anglo parent who, with all good intentions, eagerly enrolls their child in a fairly expensive once-a-week language class; only to wonder why that same child will not ‘perform’ for family and friends her new words in Spanish.  Yesterday I had both – the Mexican mom wishing to help their child learn the English that she herself has never mastered while all the time maintaining a sense of pride to speak their native language in and out of the home.  And there were present the Anglo moms hoping to help their little ones begin to communicate with their Spanish speaking neighbors with more than just “Hola.”  It was a rewarding two hours – full of cultural diversity and harmony!

With the following seven simple steps and suggestions you and your family can bloom into a second language journey – blissfully and with smiles:

1. Start the second language learning as early in your child’s life as possible. Experts agree – the earlier, the better. Think of how you learned your native language. It’s all about vocabulary at first so remember that repetition is the key for all your child’s learning. Experts say it is just as easy for a child to learn two words in two languages for one item as it is to learn just one word. Introduce the new language bilingually, using the native language and the new together, for any child birth through 8-10 years old. (Immersion should be used for children 8 -10 and older.)

2. Find a bilingual language learning program, product or class for your child that incorporates the following components necessary for success: visual, music, beginning reading and verbal exchange. Give your child the opportunity to enjoy the new language daily for 10 to 30 minutes (depending upon the age of your child, more time needs to be spent as your child continues to develop his language skills).

3. Show your child you value speaking a second language. If you speak mainly English in your home invite a Spanish speaking friend over, attend cultural events where both native & new languages are spotlighted through music, dance, food and more and turn on the Spanish channel on TV and the radio. If you speak mainly Spanish in your home invite new English speaking friends over and get them involved in learning Spanish as you cook for them, entertain them and welcome them into your home, visit the local library for bilingual books and fun children’s programs and make learning the new language fun for your child and yourself.

4. Do not allow anyone try to convince you that learning a second language needs to come after your child has mastered her native language. The myth that children will be language delayed or have a language disorder if a new language is introduced early in life is just that – a myth. The latest study out of Texas on this subject suggests that children up to the age of five can learn five languages simultaneously. I will caution that you not settle for immersion for your young child during her school day. It should not be ‘sink or swim’ in the English only classroom for the Spanish speaking child nor should a Spanish only class be used with your English speaking first grader. Your child should be allowed contact with his/her native language throughout the day until at least the age of 8-10 years old.

5. For Spanish speaking families it is a lot of work to continue your native language within your home and community when English is the dominant and daily language your child hears. As in most of parenting, keep a smile first of all. Refuse to fall into the trap of making your child ‘perform’ in your native Spanish language. Encourage your child to appreciate their native language by appreciating it yourself and speaking it with love. Try not threaten to speak only in Spanish to your child in order to get them to respond back to you in Spanish. This will alienate them from you, their language and their heritage. Your child will understand everything you say to them, but your child might often times make the conscious effort to refuse to verbalize back in their native tongue due to your threats. One last note: You, as the parent, need to practice your new language of English. Try to make it a family effort to soften your accent when speaking English. Instead of being embarrassed by your Spanish accent, show your child you are proud to be Hispanic and will continue to work on your new language as you ask your child to work on their native language. Practice what you preach!

6. Have realistic expectations for your child. Becoming fluent in a new language takes time and takes living the language. Avoid getting a one-on-one tutor for your child during the early years (birth – 8 years old). This language journey should be fun – filled with music, games and creativity (not conjugating verbs and grammar). Try not to look for your child to be conversational after benchmarks you set up yourself. Every child learns and develops differently – allow your child to enjoy this language learning by not pressuring your child to excel in or perform in either language. The sign of a true linguist is one who code switches. That is, one who can flow between both languages easily within one sentence, one thought, one conversation.

7. The ideal situation in any home where the parent wishes to raise a bilingual child is for one parent to speak Spanish full time with their young child while the other parent speaks English full time. They would flow back and forth between the two languages – explaining things in both languages when possible. We all realize this takes a tremendous amount of effort. We also realize that this is not the norm in most households across the world which is why we look for simple solutions that fit into our daily lives.

You can do this. You can give your child the gift of a second language. You are your child’s best teacher. You just need to find the tools to jump start their second language journey today. You know what makes your child excited about learning. You know what you can fit into your daily routine and still make it fun for all. You just need to do it! 

Happy Educating!  Sea feliz educando!

Boca Beth
 

Summer Scavenger Hunt with Spanish Fun Sprinkled on Top

Monday, June 18th, 2007

Kids love a good hunt, and this one is limited only by your imagination! We have created an entire lesson around Summer Fun that can be used all year round!  Whether you live in Kansas, Florida, New York, South Carolina or California we will give you and your children the chance to have some beach fun! Inside with air conditioning, no chance of sunburn, stingrays and sharks (only on TV) you will enjoy learning and laughter as you play our Summer Scavenger Hunt!

 

 Samples of our FREE bilingual language cards on our Boca Beth web site.  More than 60 cards are yours FREE anytime for download off our cool bilingual web site for children, parents and teachers!

 

To get this FREE summer fun activity simply comment back to my post by saying ‘summer fun’ somewhere in your comment with a return e-mail address, and you will receive Boca Beth’s Summer Scavenger Hunt game fun for preschool and elementary age school children FREE!!!

Happy Educating!  ¡Sea feliz educando!

Boca Beth

Contest Entries For Boca Beth Filming Are Super Shots of Spanish Sport

Saturday, June 16th, 2007

Isn’t the graduate toooooooooo cute?!?!?!

Children across the country are entering to win a spot in our next Boca Beth music and movement filming that takes place here in Tampa, Florida in just a little over a month.  This new music segment will replace our current Bonus Class on our Boca Beth bilingual DVD called I Like Animals/Me gustan los animales.  We will film 3-4 songs with a cast of multi-cultural children singing and dancing and playing to our Boca Beth bilingual beats!  We will also be submitting these music videos to public access TV, PBS TV stations around the country and other cool places where children learn with fun!

We will have two rehearsals followed by a full day of filming in a new location for Boca Beth (here in Tampa) that will allow us to create some cool Spanish and English song segments straight from the Boca Beth music CDs that introduce two languages to young children.  As the winning entries the children and their parents should be prepared for three full days of fun and practice!

The contest to win the five open slots began last month (May) and continues through this Monday, June 18th!  We have had some creative entries and know that the winning children will be thrilled to be part of such a terrific venture!

How do YOU get your child involved………simply buy a BOCA puppet if you don’t already own one and decorate him any creative way you see fit.  Add hair, sequines, stars, clothes, hat, whatever to make him YOUR special BOCA.  Buy him for only $5.99 (regular price $9.99).  Only digital images are accepted to bocabeth@msn.com

Happy Decorating!   ¡Feliz decorando! 

Boca Beth

Children Learning Spanish and Having Fun!

Friday, June 15th, 2007

It has been a week full of bilingual learning here in the Tampa Bay Area!  I was in Plant City and Ruskin libraries this week singing, dancing and playing with children from ages 4 months all the way through 10 years old!  It was a blast.  We have some pictures headed our way soon, and I will add them to this post as soon as they are sent my way!

I have to share with you one quick little story from my Plant City visit . . .  I had done a toddler session early in the morning, had a short break and then did a preschool age Boca Beth class a little later.  After my bilingual kid song called “What Time Is It? /  ¿Que hora es?” this little boy named Eric blurts out, “I really like that song!”  It couldn’t have been staged any better, I could not have paid Eric a ringers’ fee of being on set to produce a commercial for our products any more than I could have anticipated such unabandoned and genuine love for my music and movement fun!  Thanks / Gracias Eric . . . I love that song too!  And you children for being such great Boca Beth entertainers that morning!  

For Eric’s Mommy (and all of you who want to buy that More Boca Beth/Más Boca Beth music CD the telling time song is on) . . . here’s the link.  And it’s FREE Shipping and Handling all summer on Boca Beth’s web site!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We high fived, gave cinco and simply had a blast sharing the love of one another’s languages and cultures and stories and music and heritage.  This is why I do what I do…………………

Para los niños / For the children!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy Educating!  ¡Sea feliz educando!

Boca Beth

Body Parts Song in Spanish – Bilingual Learning Has Never Been So Silly!

Wednesday, June 13th, 2007

So, I go into the studio about three years ago to record this song that I had in my head about “Where is my eye?….Where is my ear?…..¿Dónde está mi ojo?…. ¿Dónde está mi oreja? and so on!  Ken, the music arranger and producer who has worked on our Boca Beth bilingual music songs for children since day one laughs and gives me this weird, sordid analogy to a 1970’s song about something not so child-friendly!

I tell Ken he has harmed me for life when it comes to trying to perform this song during a live children’s concert or library event or classroom edutaining circle time!!!  I have a very difficult time keeping a straight face on while I hold my little felt glove and ask the children to help Ms. Beth hold her eye, her ear, her nose and so on.  The body part pieces velcro onto the mitt and the children get a chance to learn a second language with tactile, audio, fine motor, eye/hand, visual and kinesthetic learning all in this one song called Where is My…?  ¿Dónde está mi…?

                                           1 - My First Songs In Spanish/Mis Primeras Canciones En Ingles

From our first CD called My First Songs in Spanish / Mis primeras canciones en ingles this song is track 11 with the following lyrics:

“Dónde Está Mi . / Where Is My . . .” (sung to the beat of “Frere Jacques”)

¿Dónde está mi ojo?
Where is my eye?

¡Aqui estoy!
Here I am!

¿Como estás hoy ojo?
How are you today eye?

¡Muy bien!
Very fine!

¿Dónde está mi oreja?
Where is my ear?

¡Aqui estoy!
Here I am!

¿Como estás hoy oreja?
How are you today ear?

¡Muy bien!
Very fine!

(continue with the following parts of the body –
Dónde está mi boca . . . mi nariz . . . mi mano . . . mi pie . . . )

Suggested circle time activity:  A fun and simple six body parts song. There is a cute felt hand glove on the market with all six body parts included with velcro on the back of them. I start out with a full glove and then hand out a body part for selected children to hold. Each time I ask them to gently point to or touch the part we are singing about. On the part of the song about the hand, I ask them to hold up their “mano/hand” and I give each child a high five. Lots of high self-confidence during all of this interaction – providing a sense of pride and high self-esteem during the language lesson (something conjugating verbs and testing on grammar does not do). That’s why this is so successful!

Another idea is to go the your public library and gather some of the bilingual board books about body, cuerpo and use this as an additional resource for body part learning in both Spanish and English.  Rebecca Emberley, Gladys Rosa Mendoza and others have made some cute books available on amazon.com and alibris.com for pretty cheap if found used/like new!

Happy Educating!  ¡Sea feliz educando!

Boca Beth

Early Learning Coalition, Child Care Providers and The Stars That They Are

Sunday, June 10th, 2007

It was my first time since our homeschool convention in March that I had been in front of fellow teachers, care providers and parents to share my message from my Boca Beth Program along with my enthusiasm and energy as a keynote.  So much has happened since that wonderful Cincinnati Homeschool Convention . . . Mary (my sister) and I came home to Florida on a true high after such a warm reception and record sales in Ohio only to have our mom pass on to the Lord 3 days later.

I almost feel like the first two months have passed in a time warp.  I am just getting back to feeling somewhat normal, getting caught up on business matters, feeling like myself again – the happy, positive, always ready with an upbeat word mom, friend, wife, sister and Boca Beth. 

I miss mom so much.  I reach out to call her so often still, only having to remind myself that she isn’t there.  It’s so final…..and I know I will see her again in a much better place.

So, this past Friday with the Early Learning Coalition of the Big Bend Region in Tallahassee, Florida I paced the women’s restroom floor of the Civic Center practicing my speech (nervous as a ‘chicken in a chicken coop’ I told a friend/amiga of mine as she exclaimed with delight upon seeing me in the restroom!).

It was a night to celebrate the care providers of this seven county area in northern Florida, and the theme was “Evening with the Stars” along with an underlying note of ‘Imagine.’  The room was beautiful, the food looked yummy and most importantly, these providers, preschool teachers, directors, owners and board members were stylin’!!!!!!!!!!!  They had put on their Sunday best, and I was so proud to have been invited to be their keynote speaker.

Nerves are good they tell us – as long as they provide the adrenalin to do well and not overcome you totally.  And that is just what happened!  I got my message of how fun it can be to bring Spanish and English together for young children with some of my Boca Beth songs and tips.  Mainly I was able to convey to my amigas and amigos how very important they are in the lives of every child they reach daily.  We imagined, we sang, we laughed, we played a little with Boca the puppet.

I even mentioned mom Friday night in my speech.  It wasn’t planned.  Wasn’t written down.  It just felt appropriate; my first presentation since her death.  I looked towards the heavens and thanked her for giving me the strength to deliver a motivating keynote.  Thanks mom!  And thank you Chris and Chris and Rue and Kathy for the chance to begin my travels again as Boca Beth – the woman who loves to share her passion for second language learning with young children along with her energy, enthusiasm and true love of working with early childhood educators and care providers.  I love motivating them to be the best and most positive people they can be in order to be the great teachers and role models our youth of today needs.

Happy Educating!  ¡Sea feliz educando!

Boca Beth

¿ Cómo estás ? How are you? A Spanish and English Song That Bonds Us Together

Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

Too cute!  Too precious!  Too wonderful for words!  These little children were singing and dancing this morning to our Boca Beth song called ¿ Cómo estás ? How Are You? during one of my summer enrichment library events with the Hillsborough County Public Library System.  Vickie Trice is the Youth Specialist at this Riverview, Florida library, and she ROCKS!!!Girl with egg and BOCA

It’s so rewarding to get somewhere and have the families really, really appreciate your music, your energy, your enthusiasm and genuine love of working with young children and second language learning.  I give the children name tags so that I might interact with them by name – providing a quick level of comfort on their part (since my sessions at libraries are typically only 30 minutes).

We play!  We sing!  We dance!  We read!  Ahhhhh…the sweet sounds of early reading skills, literacy, problem solving and No Child Left Behind.  My Boca Beth stuff is so reflective of all of this and more.  Who knew when I started conceptualizing this bilingual program back in the early 2002 months that all of the recent research would substantiate all of my hard efforts…………. 

So, here are the lyrics to this cool song we did this morning that really allows the whole room to interact as a group:

Cómo Estás?/How Are You? (From our Boca Beth CD called My First Songs in Spanish song #10)
(sung to the melody of “Skip To My Lou”)

¿Hola, cómo estás?
¿Hola, cómo estás?
¿Hola, cómo estás?
¿Cómo estás hoy día?

Hello, how are you?
Hello, how are you?
Hello, how are you?
How are you today?

¡Muy bien gracias mi buen amigo!
¡Muy bien gracias mi buen amigo!
¡Muy bien gracias mi buen amigo!
¡Muy bien hoy dia!

Very fine thank you my good friend!
Very fine thank you my good friend!
Very fine thank you my good friend!
Very fine today!

repeat one more time

If possible, have each child get a BOCA puppet passed out to them and explain that BOCA loves to do “dos cosas/two things.” He loves to sing/canta and dance/baila. I also explain that BOCA has excellent behavior and that he never bites or hits or touches another puppet friend. Have the children put BOCA on their hands and interact with their friends respecting space and enjoying the fun of puppeteering.  Remember that the suggested activities come from our Boca Beth Free Resource Area located on our web site.

language card

This is a great way to start off the new school year, a terrific birthday party activity, a fantastic getting to know you song for children just getting to know one another – an overall great ice breaker!

Happy Educating!  ¡Sea feliz educando!

Boca Beth

The Puppet Contest Goes On – Children Star In MultiCultural Movie Clips

Monday, June 4th, 2007

Sooooooo….you think you have what it takes to be in pictures?

You think your little darlin’ is the cutest thing since strawberry jam on bread?!?!

And you really feel your little one-year-old sweetie would do JUST FINE on the big screen?!?!?!?!?!

Well then – get busy!  Decorate a BOCA puppet and win one of five slots open for children to star in upcoming Boca Beth bilingual segments for cable TV and DVD viewing………………………………We will select five of the hundreds of entries sent in to our Decorate BOCA Contest that ends June 18, 2007!

We want you to add hair, clothes, stars, silly anything to jazz up BOCA and get him ready for more movie milestones!  Send us your best pictures to bocabeth@msn.com and buy a BOCA to decorate at a silly price of only $5.99 each until June 15, 2007!

Take a look at our first entry –

 

It’s going to be a fun national contest with many winners to star in our bilingual educational DVDs and cable TV segments!  Get decorating soon!

Boca Beth