Art History Gameboards

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I am truly an art nerd.  Who couldn’t be when artists have such interesting lives?  From Frida Kahlo’s bus accident and tumultuous relationship with Diego Rivera to Leonardo Da Vinci’s flying experiments kids are fascinated by the lives of famous artists.

One year I broke my art club into teams of 4 kids (I had 40 art clubbers).  Each team would research an artist in the library, come up with a timeline of that artist’s life, and create a game board game based on their research.  The school librarian helped the kids research the artists they chose and write their timelines.  When I approved their timeline they began building their game boards using cardboard boxes, duct tape and white butcher paper.  Then they had to design their game board in pencil using facts from the artist’s life, a portrait of him/her, and motifs found in works of art by that artist.  They used Crayola Model Magic to model the pieces that would move across the board and tempera paint with glue to paint the pieces. Once all the game boards were finished we had a party and the kids played the games while they munched on chips and drank soda.  We hung the game boards around the art room for years to come as they were full of factual information I wanted my students to learn.  This is a lesson I loved and would definitely do again!

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How to Raise a Bilingual Child

In order to take care of Ben you have to be able to speak more than one language. This was an issue for my parents who I had to give a refresher mini course in Hebrew to so I could have a date night when they visited. He communicates with both Hebrew and English. Half and half. If his nose is running he’ll tell you in Hebrew, if Ben wants something to eat he’ll ask you for “cookies.” ” Cookies” aren’t really a cookie though, I just want to clarify that, it’s more like a cracker. I’ve learned more Hebrew being his mom than I had in the six years prior being married to his dad. His Hebrew has grown organically through several different channels. I’m going to share how we have taught in both languages simultaneously. Currently he’s not speaking either in complete sentences, we recently caught up with a speech therapist that I used to work with and she advised that he has not yet picked his dominant language. He is 2 and a half-that is normal, and that is very normal for kids who are bilingual. Just because he picks a dominant language doesn’t mean that he’s going lose the other language either.


1. My husband refuses to speak English at all with him. Ben has to only communicate in Hebrew with my husband.  If Ben wants “up” from the dinner table he will be answered in Hebrew with “I don’t understand what yo want, I don’t speak English with you.”  For me, it’s easier because we are in America, all of his classes are in English, and our day to day life is in English.  So he gets plenty of English, so his dad really has to be firm in speaking only Hebrew.

2.  We had an Israeli nanny for a year.  She only spoke Hebrew with Ben and she taught him
Hebrew songs.

3.  TV!  TV is huge.  My speech therapist friend agrees.  She said to teach a young child any language put them in front of the TV.  He has always from babyhood watched TV in both languages.

4.   We took a trip to Israel for a month and all of us were immersed in Hebrew.  My Hebrew developed over there dramatically in a short time!  Full immersion is the way to go if you get the opportunity.

5. Hebrew CD’s are on constant rotation in my car.  I know every Hebrew nursery rhyme!  Ben sings along where ever we go, it’s so sweet!

6.  Reading is so important in both languages.  I honestly don’t read a lot in Hebrew to him because he doesn’t have patience for how slowly I read and loses interest.  I do read him flash cards and have a few books I’m familiar with.  Our nanny read to him in Hebrew only, and my friends who are Israeli always read Hebrew stories to our kids.

7. Hebrew toys help some, especially if they make noise and speak.  His aunt in Israel sent some learning toys that will increase his vocabulary and even increase mine.  I also turn his American toys to Spanish just to strengthen his ear for languages.

8. Lastly, our local community has a large Israeli population so there are many friends and kids for him to speak Hebrew with.

We started all of these steps from birth.  My husband has not spoken a word of English to my son ever. English is only for mommy.  This is truly a gift for Ben and it will be a gift for Adam who already has a word in Hebrew and a word in English!

 

Homeschooling:Our Schedule

When I decided I wanted to stay home with my boys one of my big reasons was that Ben was outgrowing staying home everyday  with our nanny.  She was more than perfect and still remains a close friend, but he needed to be socialized.  Adam at the time had just been born and would, of course, benefit from being close to his mom.  So I have created a class schedule for the week that introduces the boys to several subjects and experiences.

homeschoolingSunday: Ben has swimming class.

Monday: Both boys go to Open Gym at Gymboree.

Tuesday: Both boys go to music class at Gymboree

Wednesday: Play date/play group day.

Thursday: Both boys go to Toddler Time at our local science museum.

Friday: Both boys go to storytime at our local library.

Saturday: Ben attends the Sabbath program at our synagogue.

Adam learning about African music at Gymboree.

The boys having fun at Lego Club.

Once a month the boys have our My Petite Picassos play group on a Wednesday at our home.  They also attend Lego club at our library. Depending on the weather we hike pretty often with a babywearing group and we attend Attachment Parenting International play groups and meetings. We also are working on completing the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program at our local library. Language skills are really important in our home because the boys are learning two languages:English and Hebrew.  Ben is fluent in both.
The boys get a lot of socialization and exposure to a variety of interests.  I’m able to help them navigate these early experiences which is such a blessing.

Envelope Animals

envelope-animalsThis was a simple rainy day activity.  It’s gotten to be pretty cold here in Las Vegas believe it or not. This morning it’s 39° out -i’m from Buffalo,  New York that’s cold to me. Even though it’s called the sun is out and shining and it’s a beautiful winter. It even snowed a couple days ago. So as the kids have been inside more we’ve been doing more arts and crafts activities.  The other day as I was paying bills I put some envelopes inside and took out construction paper. I cut out different shapes and show them to Ben and we talked about with the shapes were.   He repeated after me triangle an oval. Then I helped him glue them onto the back of the envelope to create years. I took out some googly eyes we glue those on to the top of the envelope to make guys. Then I added some details to create the face so he could see the animal. I told him what type of animal it is in English and in Hebrew because he’s bilingual.  Then he had fun playing with his new markers and coloring them in.  You could easily include a book like Where the Wild Things Are to this activity.  You can make a whole zoo!  It’s a really cute, fun, cheap art activity with supplies you already have around the house!