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The High Five Challenge

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¡Dame cinco! or… ¡Chócala! When we were recording our last session of Habla Blah Blah music in Mexico, some of my previous “translating” errors became glaringly embarrassing causes for continuous chuckling at the studio. I turned to Maria (Sánchez Lozano), one of our female Spanish singers, and I said in my coolest purr, “¡dame cinco!” She, honestly, just looked at me. In perfect English, she said, “What do you mean?” It turns out that “Give me five!” doesn’t translate! TheRead More ...

Michelle Obama at Bell Multicultural High School

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Despite living only five  miles from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, I have never had the good fortune of seeing the President or First Lady in the flesh. However, yesterday I, along with the sophomore class of Bell Multicultural High School in Columbia Heights had the pleasure of not only seeing but hearing Mrs. Obama speak on the importance of committing to your education in order to create a better future for ourselves and our country. However, this school isn’t just anyRead More ...

Why We Chose a Chinese Over Spanish Immersion School

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When it came time to decide on a public school for our 4-year-old daughter last spring, it ultimately came down to a choice between two very different language immersion programs: Spanish or Chinese. We’ve done a pretty good job at weaving our cultura into our daily lives — Texican, on my side, and Nicaraguan on my husband’s side – but our daughter is still far from fluent in Spanish. While I do want her to eventually become fluent in Spanish,Read More ...

Will I Ever Stop Being Mama to Become “Mommy”?

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Last week I picked up Enzo at daycare and he ran to me with arms open wide. “Mommy!”  he said. I said no, “Yo soy mama, abuela es mami.” He started to giggle and pointed his finger at me, “no tú mommy.” Only four months into daycare and Enzo’s English is flourishing. At home, sometimes we hear him playing by himself and he is playing en inglés! His Papa swears English has already become his first language. Enzo hears his otherRead More ...

When Bilingual Kids are Misidentified as Special Ed Students

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“They put me in special ed when I started school. They thought I couldn’t learn, but it was because I didn’t speak English.” During a conversation with a friend, he shared with me his experience 30+ years ago in kindergarten. During the first week of school, my friend was taken out of his regular class and placed in a separate, segregated class for students with special needs. As an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher and a parent ofRead More ...

Is Language Enough When Raising Bicultural Kids?

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The arrival of the newest member of our family is on the horizon, and I have anxieties just like any expecting mom. However, most of mine have nothing to do with balancing time with each kid, getting through sleepless nights, or making sure the baby is eating well. Strangely, I am most concerned about culture. Although my son and stepdaughters can be considered bilingual, I am not sure they could accurately be called bicultural. My husband’s family expresses Salvadoran andRead More ...

Teach Your Bilingual Kids To Roll Their R’s

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A while back I wrote about my daughter Vanessa having a hard time pronouncing the letter R. She’s gotten better at it, but now it’s her 4-year-old brother’s turn to learn how to roll his R’s and she’s doing a great job teaching him. He still has ways to go, but as with my daughter, I’m not really worried about it because typically Spanish speaking children don’t learn to do it until they’re between 5 and 7 years old. IRead More ...

10 Tips to Find An Online Spanish Tutor

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  Editor’s note: Last week, we brought you a guest post outlining the pros and cons of online tutoring for bilingual kids. Today, we have a follow up by the same author with tips on how to actually find a Spanish tutor online. The way we started our search was just by Goggling “Spanish tutor online” (or “Spanish tutor via Skype”). A lot of schools popped up, many of them were based in Guatemala and Ecuador. We have changed three schools andRead More ...

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