Tag Archives: time

5 Reasons Why Computer Games Improved My Son’s Spelling

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I know what you are thinking! Computer and we limit the children’s time on it, trust me, I’ve been there, I still AM! But my son was reading very complicated books and was really great at understanding and reading them, but when it was time to write answers, to spell, oh no! Even words he had just read, simple day to day words would come out like some foreign language and trust me, they were not in any known dictionary!

Well, Minecraft and Clash of Clans came along and he needed to chat, sometimes, unusual words were involved in the game! He started observing other players and started mastering the most common words and also the harder ones. Let me share a secret – 7, 8 even 9 year olds don’t chat with acronyms or abbreviations, they write things down, full words as a way to communicate with each other. It’s their brain trying to make sense of thinking and typing at the same time, fast enough to ask for resources, for donations, for troops and for their buddy who is playing with them to follow them and attack.

So after my frustration with my son’s literature answers, and observing his progress and maturity in the written language and how it had developed in parallel with his game skills, I have reached the conclusion that games can have a positive impact on your child’s education, as long as they are playing games  that reach and use those skills.

As a linguist, these are my findings, comparing my observation and the data on my son’s homework:

  1.  Games can improve spelling if your child uses chat mode, because the speed and level of concentration will require that they master their spelling to write while they play.
  2. At age 6-8, children are trying to make sense of building sentences, without proper punctuation and connectors, so words need to have full meaning, because most times, two words will convey the meaning of a full 10 word sentence. Well, no better place then games, where speed will require precision and concision, above all.
  3. Children don’t want to sound “not cool”, so sometimes my son would shout across the room, mom, how do you spell? Spelling becomes a must have skill, so the cool older kids playing don’t make fun of you!
  4. My son’s communication skills also were enhanced while playing Minecraft, Clash of Clans and Terraria since he had to master Skype, research mods, glitches and tricks on You Tube, which brought extra hours of reading and learning, prior to playing the game.
  5. His typing skills were also developed, because with no formal typing lessons, he suddenly became a very fast keyboarder.  There is a chat section on Minecraft which has motivated him to learn to type faster and more accurately and sometimes communicate with several players at the same time. 

So more specifically about Minecraft, my favorite, way beyond spelling, when you spawn in Minecraft you are in the middle of nowhere with trees, caves and animals around.  If you are playing in survival mode, you will also see creepers, skeletons, zombies, spiders or endermen that will attack you starting at sundown.  You need to try to survive by cutting down trees and building some type of shelter to protect yourself from the monsters that come out at night.  You also have  hunger bars and if you don’t find food, you will die.

Sounds easy, but trust me it’s not.  You must come up with a strategy for surviving that first night and be quick about it lest you die at the hands of the monsters in the dark or a hungry belly.  I have seen the kids come up with elaborate plans for surviving that first night.  They’ve learned to hunt for food, build shelter, mine coal for torches and make tools from natural resources all within the span of a 10 minute Minecraft “day”. Tough, huh?

I’m impressed so much I have even recommended some parents to use games to help my foreign language students enhance their reading and spelling skills. Check it out on my post on favorite apps!

Just remember, the best way to help your child excel at any subject is to make it fun and help him feel successful. Nothing is more fun then playing video games!

Holiday Gift Guide Bathing Suit Edition! Why not??

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We received the bathing suits from Tom & Teddy but all opinions are our own.

You know we have been sharing our favorites on our holiday gift guide! Well, this time, I will share a secret: best time to buy bathing suits is in the winter! When they just arrived on their online catalogues or when they just arrive at the stores!

I am sharing this week, these super cute bathing suits from Tom & Teddy which comes in many sizes and types!

After purchasing a pair in the winter and giving to your favorite little or big guy, you will never wait until all the sizes and best options are out to get what is left! Besides Tom & Teddy offers quality and amazing options!

I know my guys were happy to see their early gifts and model for us! They can’t wait to take them to the beach!

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To purchase and look at other options, please check out their site : http://tomandteddy.com

Disney Infinity – Infinite Possibilities

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In Disney’s most ambitious video game initiative ever, Disney Infinity introduces an all-new game universe where a spark of imagination unlocks a fantastical world where players have unprecedented freedom and endless opportunity to create stories and play experiences starring the beloved characters from Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios’ most popular franchises.

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For the first time, players will place real-world interactive figures – characters, power discs and Play Set pieces – on a device called the “Disney Infinity Base” to activate original, story-driven adventures in the game worlds, also known as “Play Sets,” of “Monsters University,” “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “The Incredibles.” In each respective ”Play Set,” players will take on the role of a variety of popular characters including Sulley, the naturally gifted scarer; Captain Jack Sparrow, the sword-wielding double crosser; and Mr. Incredible, one of the world’s greatest crime-fighters, and battle enemies, solve challenging puzzles, overcome obstacles and complete a variety of other unique quests.

I can’t even tell you how excited my son was when the set arrived, he couldn’t wait to open it and play!

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As players advance through each adventure, they will collect characters, vehicles, upgrades, gadgets and more which they can save to a virtual “Toy Box.”  At any time, players can access their personal “Toy Box” and use the items to create one-of-a-kind Disney adventures featuring any combination of characters, environments and items across all franchises. The possibilities are endless and players are only limited by their imaginations.

My son and my husband spent hours enjoying the Toy Box feature! Here are a few screen shots to give you an idea of this amazing feature!

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KEY FEATURES:

  • Unprecedented Creative Play – Featuring a virtual “Toy Box” and a vast open world environment, players can create their own stories and customize their adventures combining characters, environments, gadgets, vehicles and more.  The possibilities are truly infinite as Disney will add new additions from the company’s vast library of entertainment properties.
  • Infinite Storyline Possibilities – Disney prides itself on its storytelling culture and for the first time ever, Disney Infinity will put the story creation into the hands of consumers. Players will be able to create their own adventures in an open-world environment and will give players unprecedented freedom for creative play.
  • Multiple Franchises Across All Platforms Disney Infinity introduces an all-new universe, featuring a toy-inspired art style where multiple Disney franchises and characters can exist and interact in one game and across Xbox360, PS3, Wii, Wii-U, 3DS, PC and online, as well as on smart devices including tablets and mobile phones.
  • Interactive Figures Activate In-Game Adventures and Customizations Disney Infinity will initially introduce a line of 40 collectible interactive figures – characters, Play Set pieces and power discs – that allow players to expand and customize their play experiences. Over time, Disney Infinity will release additional characters and “Play Sets” and this platform will constantly evolve.
    • 17 interactive character figures allow players to experience a variety of their favorite characters in each ”Play Set” and in “Toy Box” play
    • 3 Play Set pieces that add new Disney and Disney•Pixar “Play Set” locations
    • 20 power discs enhance environments, add gadgets and more
  • Co-op Multiplayer Action Disney Infinity supports 2 player co-op play in structured adventures and up to 4 players in “Toy Box” mode.

My husband and son had a blast playing the game. My son is already asking for more characters to join the fun! For more information, check out the website: www.disney.com/Infinity. I can assure you, this will make an amazing holiday gift, for all ages!!!

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Video game images were provided by Disney. 

Back To School With Kleenex

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This sponsored post was written by me in collaboration with Latina Bloggers Connect and Kleenex, however all opinions are my own.

Back to School is a time to look for deals, to check out the newest styles, find the supplies that my son will think are cool! He’s growing and we now make it a fun time and shop together! He gets to choose his colors and some of the supplies like backpack, lunch bag and pencil box. The picture below reflects some of his choices!

Keeping that in mind, this past week, I went online and checked most stores to find deals and styles that matched my son’s idea of cool supplies! He attends a Private  School, so he wears a uniform and dress shoes – no need to worry about clothing. The parents are required to donate some classroom supplies and I’m happy to be able to contribute to it!

After online “Shop-hopping”, I wanted to share some of our favorites, which pretty much have been a part of his must have list:

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With seasonal colds and my son’s allergies, the Kleenex Pocket Tissues have been on the top of our list. My son brings them in his backpack every day! I also purchased 10 boxes of Kleenex Tissues to donate to his classroom. Kleenex Everyday Tissue with Sneeze Shield is definitely a must-have in the classroom!

One more reason to include Kleenex on our list is that I found out Kleenex is supporting the Back to School Season! Kleenex brand, America’s softest tissue, promotes healthy kids and continues its tradition of leadership through innovation.


This year, Kleenex brand and Box Tops for Education are working together to share tips for the Back to School season. Each Box Tops coupon – found on more than 240 participating products – is worth 10 cents for your school, making Box Tops an easy way for your school to earn money for the things they need, like Kleenex Everyday Tissue with Sneeze Shield!

To date, the Kleenex brand has donated $13 million to Box Tops for Education! Isn’t that amazing?

I’ve shared my top items and I would love to know what is on your Back to School List? Share your list and tell us why Kleenex Brands should be included in the classroom.

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Pampers Shines A Spotlight On How Kids Love, Sleep and Play!

 

PR_Logo 1This is part of a compensated campaign with Latina Mom Bloggers and Pampers.  However, all opinions expressed are my own.

 

Every time I look at my son, I keep thinking how fast he is growing and I still remember the day when he came into this world and was handed to me as a miracle, a blessing! The complications with his delivery and facing the fact that I could no longer have kids, made raising him more than an act of love, it was my only opportunity to get it right! To give all I had to this little being.

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We explored together the early days, the first bath, playtime, sleep through the night miracle, potty trained at 18months, so many milestones!

I still see myself going back in time and sitting on the floor and playing for hours, singing a Brazilian or Spanish lullaby for him to sleep. My endless hours chatting with him in as many languages as I speak, doodling a masterpiece, dancing away and playdates, so many park visits!

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His favorite time was always bed time when I would lay by his side, read a story, sing him a song….he still asks me to read with him and sing together, it’s our unique bond! I know he will grow up and these memories will never leave him, memories that no matter how busy mom is, that she will always have time to Play and Love him, even when he is sleeping!

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It totally translates Pampers new Campaign, Love, Sleep and Play and I’m so excited to share that for the first time in the brand’s history, Pampers is turning the spotlight on babies across North America to participate in the brand’s new Love Sleep & Play campaign.  The program pays tribute to the millions of ways babies uniquely experience love, sleep and play.  By visiting the Pampers Facebook page, parents can submit photos of their babies experiencing love, sleep or play for the opportunity to be part of a massive celebration event this August. Each week, every photo submitted will have an opportunity to appear on the Pampers Facebook page, in Pampers Twitter feed and in the brand’s special Love, Sleep & Play online gallery.  Plus, these photos have the opportunity to be featured in the brand’s celebration event in New York City next month. In joining the campaign, parents can celebrate all the special ways their babies experience love, sleep and play.

Check out the video below:

Pampers’ philosophy is recognizing the unique and joyful ways each baby delights in their own experiences, and embracing all the ways babies experience love, sleep and play. There are many kinds of love (whether it’s sibling love, parental love or love from their favorite teddy bear), different ways to sleep (whether it’s a planned nap, impromptu slumber or a night filled with the sweetest of dreams), and a  different types of play (whether it’s with a complex toy, a block or a simple box) – and Pampers celebrates and supports them all, that is why from the moment we brought our son home, Pampers was the only diaper brand we used.

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Hope you enjoyed my story and it’s now your turn to submit photo entries of your own children at Pampers Love, Sleep & Play at: http://es.pamperslovesleepandplay.com/

 
 

On the road to Disney

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When I was invited to the Disney on the Road event, I was extremely happy because Disney is on the my favorite places on earth! I had my first trip there when I was 12, still living in Brazil and it was also my first bilingual experience, as I helped most of the people in my bus buy things! Had compliments from store sales people for my English, that experience shaped my confidence towards my foreign language skills and open the doors to what became a successful career!

I remember hearing the Disney staff asking where did you learn English, have you ever lived here? Their kind words and gratitude for my help set an image that would never leave me! That was the first time I thought, I will live in this country one day! Who would know those words would come true and I would moving 20 years later!

Since then, I had been back many times and every time is a different experience of colors, languages in the air, flavors in the restaurants, chats on the lines to the rides, it all brings back memories from my childhood tinted by new colors and new flavors. That is one of the best Disney qualities, that new familiar feeling every time you visit it

As a bilingual parent and a foreign language instructor, I have a plan to bring my son to Disney next year and share my love for the place while sharing my favorite rides! The event definitely sparkled my interest to make the trip as soon as possible with the new rides and improvements they are making!

Disney on the road’s speakers in NYC brought me back to that happy place, that magical feeling I felt when I was twelve that I was powerful and could grow and do anything!

Have an Amazing Bilingual Year!

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   As the year come to an end I feel compelled to look for more ways to bring more bilingual joy into our life and to strengthen my commitment to raise a bilingual child and keep my culture’s flame burning to open my son’s mind to a world of endless possibilities, since I also continue to bring Hispanic heritage into the mix!

As any busy parent, I see myself conflicted between spending the little time left during the day with crazy bilingual maneuvers…..but you know, after being a few days home with no work, I realized it is all worth it and I not only contributing for my son’s education, by introducing foreign languages to him, but also filling his spirit with rich traditions in the books we read together, in the food I so carefully prepare and in my attempts to keep my mother language and Spanish alive in our home!

My husband is an American and does not speak a foreign language, although he has been talking about learning Portuguese, which made me very happy, but I must confess, I would have to find an instructor to teach him and I will help bring the language alive at home, that is one of my goals for 2013!

Another goal is to work harder on using a foreign language at home and bringing things like music, which my son loves, closer to us, so we keep the foreign language flame burning!

My son attends a Christian school and latin is taught until 6th grade, so I have no help there to keep his Spanish skills sharp! He attends most of our summer camps, which brings him an amazing amount of knowledge but it slowly goes away as the year passes and I see myself divided between Portuguese and Spanish at home…..you know, always conflicted!

So instead of worrying about being conflicted, another new year’s resolution is to keep doing what I have been doing and bring more in 2013; I would love to see my son speaking Portuguese fluently by the time we travel to Brazil in August! He speaks short sentences but we need to take it to the next level and establish a more consistent conversation!

I do want to share what I already do and has proven to show results, whether you are starting or just wondering how to start! Please share if you try some of our ideas on how to bring bilingual joy into your home, even if you don’t speak the foreign language!

Yes, I set time aside! We have Spanish night,  Tuesday Tacos! When I cook a Hispanic meal and we speak Spanish at the table, I also read some of my books I am using in my classes during our bed time time, he watches me prepare classes at night on my computer, so he watches and listens to videos! I also have a long playlist on my ipad and iphone, so when I’m home cleaning the house, guess what, only Spanish or Portuguese music on!

Failing is not an option! There are no wrong or rights, every effort is worth it!  You must find time, but above all, make it fun, so it is not a chore for you and your children! It’s easier for me because I have all the books and activities at my finger tips but I wanted to share some resources: go to my blog: www.easylearnlanguages.com, search for a themes, each theme has suggestions on things to do, songs and videos to watch. We need to do age appropriate and keep them engaged. Also if you and your husband are native speaker, it’s easier, make a point to bring the language and establish a reward chart if they are reluctant to reply in Spanish, every reply worth a star!

Books are a great option for spending time with your child and bringing bilingual love at bed time! You can find books here in our store and also at Barnes and Noble, my two best sources for buying new bilingual books!

Videos are a must! Today’s children are connected with technology, tv, shows, so youtube becomes your first option for new videos, itunes also offers many apps to bring bilingual practice and games to your little or not so little ones! I will be sharing my favorite apps next year, stay tuned!

We also make a Brazilian dish once a week and I share memories! Memories of my childhood and memories that the food evokes…This week we made brigadeiros, recipe available on: www.kcocina.com and also made a typical Bahian meal with muqueca and farofa de manteiga, not one morsel left!! I shared how my mom used to make this meal and all about dende oil and how it was brought by African slaves to our culinary mix! Use of dende oil is typical of north of Brazil, not found in most Brazilian restaurants in the US, so my meal brings an unique experience to my son!!! I was so proud to see him enjoying every bite! Muito Bom!

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The Brigadeiros are a must on every birthday party in Brazil, another great addition to our new year’s munch table! Recipes here: http://kcocina.com/latina-cuisine/brigadeiros-brazilian-truffles/

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I hope my suggestions and my experience has helped you continue to do more or start to make 2013 an amazing bilingual year! Please share if you use some of our suggestions???

….And remember, there is no wrong when you put effort and love to bring bilingual love into your home! Feliz Ano Novo!

Claudia K. –

A multilingual Mom, foreign language instructor and owner of EasyLearn Languages