Sep 06

Make Sure Your Child's Language Lessons "Stick" With this Easy Tip

Teaching your child a new language is one of the best things you can do for them. However, some parents find that motivating a child to practice is difficult.

A variety of factors contribute to boosting motivation, such as positive incentives, or a safe environment to practice new skills. The most important skill, however, is simply ensuring the child practices enough to retain his or her new language skills.

So, how can you make learning Spanish and/or Mandarin education fun so that your child is willing to practice?

How About… a Tent?

It may sound a little out of the ordinary, but here at Jump! we recommend a method that works every time: set up a tent.


The tent doesn’t have to be anything grandiose — a $30 pop tent from Wal-Mart is all you need. Even blankets draped over the backs of some dining room chairs will do. For an extra bonus, line the tent with twinkle lights and set down some colorful pillows in cultural parallel to the language your child is learning.

The important factor here is that you create a special location that's "fun" and geared towards at-home language immersion. The tent could be in your backyard, in the living room, or in the rec room. The goal is to create a location where, once your child steps into the tent, he or she feels excitement. Your job is to direct that excitement towards language-learning.

The Secret Ingredient to Mastering the Tent Method:

Spend at least 30 minutes a day in the tent, and when you’re in there, your child can only speak Spanish or Mandarin.

Consider it a game: perhaps the tent “transports” you to a Spanish or Mandarin-speaking country — and the only way to communicate with each other is through this new language.

Decorate the tent to include Spanish or Mandarin-themed clothing or accessories. Use lots of color. You might even bring along a flashlight and music CD’s in Spanish or Mandarin to make it even more authentic (and fun!).

However, once your child understands the language-only rule, it's time to practice. Don’t worry about what you talk about… As long as you do so in Spanish or Mandarin, there are no rules.

Before you get into the tent, review your child’s lesson plan for the day. Once inside, go over it together. Work on the language together if you are both learning. Jump!’s curriculum is very thorough and offers vocabulary words to follow if you yourself are learning Spanish or Mandarin. You can easily follow along.

Most importantly, make sure the activity is fun for both of you. It should not be a punishment to practice in this way.

Trust Us, the Tent Method Works

The Tent Method is positive reinforcement at its best. As your child learns to speak Spanish or Mandarin in the tent, he or she will become more comfortable with the learning process. Language-learning aside, the important factor is not just that he or she is practicing Spanish or Mandarin, but that the child is receiving — and enjoying — the one-on-one time with you.

Ultimately, your child will effectively practice learning another language while developing a closer bond with you – what more could you ask for?

Jun 05

The 3 Great iPad Apps for Spanish


Rainy day? Long car ride? If you’re looking for something to entertain your child for a few minutes (or hours) why not set them up with an app that will let them have fun and learn a new language?

Digital apps can be useful for turning language-learning into a game that children actually want to play. We’ve compiled the 3 best Spanish-learning apps for the iPad, including the most kid-friendly and the most comprehensive in terms of grammar, speaking, and reading comprehension.

Endless Spanish (by Originator)  |  Price: Free for intro levels (price varies to add more)

A parent-favorite, Endless Spanish takes our #1 spot for a multitude of reasons. First, this app is designed for children learning Spanish and is complete with creative graphics that are designed to create enthusiasm for learning Spanish.

Second, you complete interactive puzzles and sentence structures that are inherently designed to increase reading comprehension at any skill level. The puzzles literally come to life to teach vocabulary visually as well -- for example the word “flor” actually blooms!

Third, Endless Spanish comes in two modes: “Spanish Immersion” and “Spanish with English Translation” so that you can choose the appropriate skill level.

The best part is, this app was designed specifically for children being introduced to the language. There are no competitions, scores, or charts keeping track of progress. Simply play and learn!

Duolingo  |  Price: Free

Duolingo is up next, and is a fantastic app for learning Spanish. It has an extremely high rating, and is a student and teacher favorite. The app is split into themes (work, fun, education, etc.) with adjustable levels of difficulty.

Duolingo incorporates a multitude of learning methods: repeating aloud into the microphone to practice speaking and pronunciation; multiple choice response to questions asked by characters in the app; and matching pictures to words.

Duolingo is not grammar intensive, however, and relies mostly on vocabulary, reading comprehension, and speaking/listening settings to teach Spanish to its users. At Jump!, since we understand the value of immersion and its role on language development, we highly suggest using an app like Duolingo in addition to learning grammar rules to really become proficient.

MindSnacks  |  Price: $4.99

MindSnacks is a fantastic app that works well on its own or as a supplementary app to others. Like Endless Spanish, MindSnacks was designed with children in mind. Here, the app combines learning with games, and makes the entire experience something fun to look forward to. For example, the homepage has different sections/themes that you can play with, such as School or Food. With graphics designed for entertaining younger children, players can race to choose the correct vocabulary word, play with sentence structure, and substitute correct Spanish answers. This app accomplishes fun while combining vocabulary and reading comprehension, but slightly in less depth than Duolingo or Endless Spanish.

We hope that the next time your child wants to play online, you download one of these three apps for learning Spanish. Feel free to tell us on our Facebook page how you liked it, and share your experience!

Read related articles on Jump! Blog:

May 09

Easy Way to Create Chinese Fans for Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and that means showing appreciation for all the love, loyalty, and support that mothers offer in our families. This year, instead of flowers (or, along with flowers), you and your child can create something beautifully original and handmade: traditional Chinese paper fans.


Here at Jump!, we prioritize all the mothers that we meet and want you to have the opportunity to create something special for her. And, since we prioritize and appreciate the cultural value of other countries, we highly suggest trying something new. To honor that, we have compiled a set of fun and easy instructions to create your own set of Chinese paper fans for Mother’s Day.

Let’s get started!

Supplies:

  1. One sheet of red construction paper
  2. One sheet of gold (shiny) paper
  3. Scissors (scissors with shaped blades optional)
  4. Elmer’s glue
  5. Gold ribbon

Step 1:

Cut around the top and bottom edges of the red construction paper to create a pattern (if using scissors with shaped blades). Extra tip: Paint patterns on the sheet first!

Step 2:

Cut two strips of gold paper and glue along the top and bottom edges of your piece of red construction paper.

Step 3:

Starting at one gold edge, start folding approximately one inch of paper in and out, like an accordion. Fold all the way up to the other side of the paper.

Step 4:

Fold the fan in half, and glue together

Step 5:

Pierce a hole through the fold at the end of the fan, and thread the piece of gold string through it. All done!

There you have it! This Mother’s Day, you won’t disappoint. For extra points, use fun supplies like glitter or stencils to create beautiful patterns like the fan shown above.

If you choose any (or all) of the projects we recommend, be sure to send us a picture and we’ll post it on our Facebook page!

Feb 14

Making Paper Lanterns

Follow our step-by-step instructions to make colorful paper lanterns for your home this holiday season! Not only are they fun and easy to make, you can use them to celebrate the Chinese Lantern Festival.

Step 1: Take a piece of paper, and fold it in half lengthwise.

We recommend colorful construction paper, because of its durability and color possibilities.


Step 2: Cut 1 to 2 inch-long slits about one inch apart along the folded paper.

This will act as the filter the light will shine through. The longer the slits, the more floppy the lantern will be.


Step 3: Fold the two ends together so that it forms a tube, and staple together

We recommend that the parents complete this step, especially if your children are on the younger side. Staple the top and bottom of the tube, so that the lantern shape takes form.


Step 4: Make a handle

Take a thin strip of the same (or new!) construction paper, stapling it to the sides of the top of the lantern. Try out different paper to add colorful dimensions to your lantern.


Step 5: Add light!

Use a long electric candle inside your paper lantern by fitting it through the bottom. Make sure to turn it off after extended periods of time.


There you have it! We hope you enjoy this easy, fun way of making paper lanterns. If you have pictures you would like to show us, don’t hesitate to post them to our Facebook page.

Feb 09

Making "Melted Snowman" Slime

During the month of January we celebrated winter by making "melted snowman" slime at our Open Houses! The children LOVED this activity! We want to share the fun with you, so here's the recipe for making your own melted snowman slime.


Materials Needed

  • 3 ounces of Elmer’s Glue
  • 1 ounce of Sta-Flo liquid starch
  • Small bowl
  • 4-ounce Glass Container
  • Glitter and/or Art Sand
  • Jar label & Paint Pens

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Pour the 3 ounces of Elmer’s glue into the small bowl
  2. Pour ½ of the Sta-Flo liquid starch into the bowl
  3. Use your hands and mix the glue and the starch together until the mixture is sticky (about 3-5 minutes)
  4. Put the mixture into the bowl and pour in the remaining starch
  5. Mix until the mixture feels firm and stretchy (like silly putty)
  6. Put back into bowl and sprinkle glitter and/or art sand onto the mixture
  7. Mix the glitter/sand throughout and viola; sparkly "melted" snow!
  8. After playing with the melted snow; place it in the container
  9. Put the label on and decorate with art pens

Have Fun!

Nov 17

Fun Thanksgiving Activity

Fun activities that integrate interactive learning and building lasting memories

Jump! loves to integrate fun learning activities that help build a solid relationship between you and your children. We believe that through hands-on educational interactions, learning is accomplished using a variety of sensory experiences and also creating lasting memories for you and your family.

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, why not take some time to gather together to make an interactive menu of your Thanksgiving dinner! Your children can showcase the menu items before everyone sits down to eat.

We love this Baker's Tray activity from FirstPalette.com. It allows your child to use their imagination and dexterity. Don’t forget to capture this moment and share it with friends and family!

Visit FirstPalette.com for details about this activity»

Jun 03

Our 1st Grade Puppet Show Premier!

Author: Dana Matthews

Our students have a way of amazing us! The first grade class was learning about sentence and story structure, and the students took the concept to another level. They asked their teacher if they could do a puppet show. But not just acting out a story that they read, but do an entire production: writing the story, designing the stage, and creating the puppets without assistance from any teachers.

¡Los Pingüinitos Pingüinosos!

Their wonderful puppet show is about penguins going to visit their cousin and along the way they encounter a polar bear. The penguins are so scared that one has a little "accident" that causes the polar bear to leave them alone!

We are so proud of the First Graders playwriting, designing, and directing premier!

Lesson learned: We must be flexible and let students challenge themselves and be there to provide support and direction. The students learned more than anticipated by doing a puppet show!

Click the image to watch the video of their premier play: ¡Los pingüinitos pingüinosos!

Mar 31

Learning to Read in Spanish & English



Here's an article that does a great job explaining some of the similarities and differences in literacy instruction depending on the language. It also suggests the following activities you can do at home to complement your child's language instruction (list from ¡Colorín Colorado!):

Learning at Home: Tips for Parents

  • Create small places at home where your child can study, read and play. Areas set aside for learning and play are important for your child's development.
  • Stock the study area with books, pencils, pens, and paper. Encourage your child to read and then write stories using Spanish.
  • Have a play area where there are opportunities to play with materials. Provide labels for the materials (e.g., plastelina [clay], bloques [blocks], computadora [computer], rompecabezas [puzzles]).
  • Read aloud to your child in Spanish to help build vocabulary and comprehension skills. 
  • Provide opportunities to talk to your child about the world around him. Talk about things at the supermarket, during walks, or things you are doing as you cook or clean. 

Read the full article and even more tips at the ¡Colorín Colorado! website:
Early Literacy Instruction in Spanish: Teaching the Beginning Reader»

Jump! Immersion School embraces early literacy in both Spanish and English to ensure that your child reaches their full global potential!

Mar 11

7 Ways to Use Media & Tech to Raise Bilingual Kids

There are many ways to use media and technology to ease the sometimes challenging task of raising kids to speak a second (or third!) language.

For example, watching a movie/TV in the target language can help increase your child's vocabulary and help develop "an ear" for the language. Exploring bilingual apps and bilingual books are also great ways.

Read the full article at Common Sense Media:
7 Ways to Use Media and Tech to Raise Bilingual Kids»

Although the author's focus is on Spanish as the target language, these 7 tips can be applied to any language!

Read related articles on Jump! Blog:

Jul 31

How to Make a Fortune Teller

Author: Bri Rodriguez-Cancio

In the spirit of summer, Jump! Immersion is changing the focus of the blog to give families some ideas for hands-on activities and conversation starters. We hope the ideas are lighthearted and fun!

For the Dreamer: A Paper “Fortune Teller"

Do you remember these? A home-made paper trinket to pass away the time? 

In Spanish, begin the conversation identifying this contraption with Comecocos de Papel (a Pacman of Paper) or even a Sacapiojos (Lice Remover!). Also known in English as Cootie-Catchers, Chatterbox or Fortune Teller, while the name changes, the thoughts behind it are the same: creativity, socialization and distraction. This activity is highly adaptable for preschoolers (use colors and stickers to make it appropriate for them) up to lower elementary students. 

Creating the project requires folding, and playing the game requires hand & finger movement as well as fine motor skills. In a nutshell, you fold a piece of paper into four triangle-type shapes. The “toy” will fit over your thumb, index and middle finger so you can “open” and “close” it. Your friend will answer a series of questions to get an answer… or a prediction. Younger children can begin by picking a color as well, and use the syllables.

Supplies Needed

  • Paper
  • Writing/Drawing materials
  • Imagination!

Folding Instructions

Scroll to the bottom of this site. This appears to be a neat website, with lots of information. There are also a few pre-printed ones and videos of how to fold in Spanish or in English on YouTube.

If you prefer pictorial instructions, try this site

Playing the Game

This is a good language activity and can be adapted in many ways. Answer a question, do an action, describe the person answering the questions, favorite food, etc.

Ground rules: make sure the person asking the questions knows how to ask a question in the language, such as “Which one?” or “Choose one.”

In Spanish, you can say “Cual quieres?” or “Escoje uno”

One can either break up the word into syllables to “open” and “close” the opening, or a complete sentence can be used for greater vocabulary. For example, Red versus The color is red.”  You can even spell the word (like R-E-D). It all depends on the age and language level of the players.

Check out this page which has some great ideas for writing some “vague” Spanish fortunes, such as “something exciting awaits you in your immediate future.” Sounds good for tweens. I want to explore this site further. (Do not be put off by the name of the website as I was, momentarily; it describes the “hyphenated” bicultural child, of Latin-American of Hispanic origin being raised in an English-speaking environment. Peruse and judge for yourself.)

My children have used the “fortune tellers” in the car, waiting in line at the grocery store, outside on the lawn or inside the house in a reading nook on a rainy day. I remember letting my imagination run wild... with boys I would marry or adventures that I would go on or misfortunes that might befall me.

All you need is paper, writing/drawing materials and your imagination…

...One, two, three, four you will enjoy a tropical vacation on your private island soon …

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