Language Challenge 180: Week 8 Check-In

by Corey · 38 comments

This page is for Language Challenge 180 participants only. Sign up now to join this event!

For the Love of Pinterest

My apologies on the delay of this post! It should have come out yesterday but you know what… I could not pull myself away from posting pins on the Multilingual Living Pinterest page. Unbelievable how addictive this new social media program really is!

We would love to get to know you more through your Pinterest page! Come follow us on Pinterest and let’s “hook” up! We’d also be delighted if you wanted to add pins to a language page! Are you learning Arabic? Then let’s create a “For the Love of Arabic” board for you and give you pinning permission so that you can put your favorite Arabic links there! Anyone else interested in adding pins to another language page?  Just contact us and let’s get you pinning!

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Now back to Language Challenge 180… How did this week go? Did you enjoy the pictures? Were you able to use them for your/your children’s language learning? If so, let us know! If not, let us know too!

Either way, don’t forget to go to the Language Page(s) and/or Multilingual Living Forum to make contact with other families! Here is your chance to find others who are just as excited as you and your family are with language learning. Even if you don’t have anything special to share, checking in with one another can keep us feeling connected and motivated.

Learning Languages with Technology

Technology has really changed the way we can learn languages today! Whether it is learning a language for ourselves or helping our children learn a language, media has so many benefits! The catch, of course, is to use media to help us, not take us over. Spending hours on end in front of a computer, smartphone or iPad is not good (even if it does help our language learning).

It is our job as parents to make sure that we don’t use technology as a babysitter too often. Now and then is just fine. I have been known to do this from time to time as well. The catch is to make sure we aren’t handing over our iPhone to our child to distract them while telling ourselves, “It is good for him! He is doing language learning!” As parents, we need to be in charge of our children’s media exposure. Saying “no” is sometimes the best thing we can do for our children. Read a book out loud to your child (even if it is from your iPad) while waiting for the doctor. Interact! Talk! Converse!

That having been said, my family and I can’t imagine working on our languages without technology! It is our best friend for language learning! We watch German TV shows (without commercials – yea!) and movies a few times a week. and have some amazing programs that we can access for free. We pipe them from our computer into our television and sit back for a wonderful family language bath, complete with popcord! The only argument is whether to put salt or sugar on the popcorn (salt of course!).

My family also benefits from a long list of online language activities. We love reading online books at Grow Story Grow as well as Ana Lomba’s website. Petra Lingua offers a long list of fun language-learning activities for the very young and, as you know, LingQ is one of my favorite places to head for working on Spanish, German and French since I can listen to the audio while reading the text. Our local library offers a whole list of language-learning technology for FREE. In fact, there is almost too many options for us!

To find ways to utilize technology in your household for language learning, read Franck & Cristina’s latest post: Technology to Help Children Learn a New Language: 10 Minutes at a Time. It is packed with fantastic suggestions for how to use technology in small doses to really make language learning work. You will certainly find some great tips in this post that you can implement in your family’s Language Challenge 180 adventure.

Today’s Check-In Activity

Note: You can only enter this week’s giveaway if you are (1) signed up for Language Challenge 180 and (2) completed the week’s check-in below:

  • Check-In Activity: In the comment section below, tell us whether or not you used technology to help you/your children learn language(s) this week. If you did, which programs?
  • Giveaway: After you leave a comment below, head over to today’s giveaway and enter! You are now qualified!


Don’t forget to visit the Multilingual Living Forum to ask a question, start a discussion or give someone else some support. You do NOT have to log in to post there. We encourage you to check out the Language Challenge 180 section as well as the other sections. And come check us out at Pinterest! We’d love to share with you there!

Keep an eye out for your next email which will arrive on Monday! Keep up the fantastic work!

1 JenneferJ April 28, 2012 at 6:13 pm

We watched some anime in Japanese, but nothing else. I am using Human Japanese for myself but I haven’t tried it out for the kids.

2 Ceci April 28, 2012 at 7:09 pm

We sit at the table and talk: I present new words, phrases, and concepts. For entertainment and to keep us focused, I also expose the kids to my emails from Spanish Word a Day. There are themes from week to week and verb conjugations. Some times he has links to other sites which are also interesting. Simple, varied, entertaining, and comes right to my email box every day.
Now I’m going to check out this pintarest thing. My daughter IS studying Arabic and it would be great if she had another place to hear from others also studying the same language.
Thank you!

3 Joe Schauwitzer April 29, 2012 at 10:40 am

I also use word a day, & I share them with my students periodically.

4 Rachel April 28, 2012 at 8:07 pm

we have watched lots of YouTube. My daughter also likes Muzzy. I bought it years ago at a thrift store and wasn’t impressed. I’ve been surprised how much she has learned from it.

5 Wendy April 29, 2012 at 11:41 am

My 7-year-olds have also enjoyed Muzzy, but they’re starting to get bored with it. Are there other episodes besides the one where he creates multiple copies of the princess using his computer?

6 Alex April 28, 2012 at 8:46 pm

We watched “Bob der Baummeister” twice, and listened to have of a story in Mandarin, in preparation for our September classes. I feel like I failed somewhat this week, because although I attempted to be more German , I ended up getting a lot less done. I need to get more focused, as it is inside , but not being used.

7 Heather April 28, 2012 at 8:48 pm

I’m using the “Ritual” app to keep track of which activities I do daily. It is a super easy activity tracker–similar to the idea of a star chart, but without the guilt of having to fill everything in. I made a list of stuff (in German, of course) like pages read, listening to music, speaking out loud, reading blog posts, writing, watching TV or movies, etc. and I can check off or enter a number for any that I do. It gives nice graphs too so I can see over time what I actually do and which are merely a guilt-trip.

8 Simon April 28, 2012 at 9:07 pm

We’re learning Spanish. I’ve been loving Mango, Livemocha, and the BBC website. My son has been all about Muzzy. We are beginning beginners, but I actually spoke Spanish with a stranger today!

9 Monika April 28, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Yes, we definitely use technology each week! My DD has been enjoying the Italian language ebooks from PlayTales (used to be TouchyBooks) – I have the app on my Android phone and a few stories on my Nook Color. She especially loves Cenerentola!

10 Melissa April 28, 2012 at 10:22 pm

My son is only 1.5yrs but we use DVDs and youtube for Portugese kids music for him. He loves it.

11 audrey April 28, 2012 at 10:50 pm

I have been using dvds in Spanish, and cds in the car with songs, youtube too though we did try lingascope with the eldest he was not really impressed when he tired it but his attitude is a lot more positive now so i will try it again.

12 Celia April 28, 2012 at 11:28 pm

Hi again, the resources I use are books,DVDs and computer. The best way we get our kids to say a new word and then to use it is to say “papa zef’s donker, mummy says dark” and get them to repeat it and make a joke of it if they say the other’s language this works really well and we also ask what our relations and friends would say as the kids know which language they speak;-)

13 Mary Kay April 29, 2012 at 3:18 am

I guess the most technology we are using with our daughter is the telephone and Skype. When someone from my family calls in, we put her on the phone and she goes off in gibberish, with English words thrown in. When someone from Daddy’s family calls in, we put her on the phone and she says “Ca va?” quicky but then gets off the phone. Very interesting to watch how confident she is in English, with the gibberish and all, but not so in her other languages. Maybe in time…

14 Jenny April 29, 2012 at 4:10 am

We watch Muzzy in French and follow up with some of the activities from the accompanying activity book. We also watch French videos on Youtube. Alain Le Lait’s kids’ songs are our favorites.

15 Margareta April 29, 2012 at 6:25 am

We use Slovak DVDs. Youtube is a goldmine for short cartoons as well.
We often use CDs, especially in the car after the kindy pick up, it helps with an instant switch to Slovak.
However, our favourite by far are books. Lately my daughter actually asks me to read some English books to her in Slovak. Difficult, but fun. 🙂
Even if we do read English books, it’s only the text that is English, we always discuss the story and pictures in Slovak, which is great to introduce any new vocab. I find this strategy very helpful with teaching how code-switching can work – the reading task is in English, but any questions and answers or explanations are in Slovak.

16 Barb April 29, 2012 at 7:35 am

We used the CDs from Power Glide but I’m not impressed with the program.

17 Seana Parker-Dalton April 29, 2012 at 7:42 am

I am going through “Mi Vida Loca” on the BBC site, & I listen to a Spanish podcast while driving (drawing a blank on the name of it). The kids are addicted to watching old barbapapa videos on YouTube, in the original French.

18 Murray April 29, 2012 at 9:51 am

This week I used my MP3, as well as my cassette recorder for French lessons.
I was also checked out a couple of websites recommended by Canadian Parents for French.

19 Joe Schauwitzer April 29, 2012 at 10:36 am

I absolutely love using technology to learn language! Most recently I found an android app that is called tourist language, and it’s free! If you are interested it is in the Android market with a little blue guy on the icon carrying a suitcase. The app have dozens of language is represented, and even though they are just basic phrases and , really give you a background of every major language you could want to study. Check it out!

20 Wendy April 29, 2012 at 11:54 am

We’ve tried Spanish CDs with songs and DVDs like Muzzy and Language Tree’s Spanish for Kids. The DVDs were good, but we’re still looking for a full program to use longer-term. This week we tried watching El Chavo del Ocho and also tried a Spanish podcast, but we didn’t understand that much. We’ve also tried some simple Spanish computer games with our 7-year-olds. Our kids really enjoy the games and cartoons, so this is definitely something we’ll be exploring more.

21 Mikayla April 29, 2012 at 2:35 pm

This week we sang a song called Cinco Ratoncitos and played the 4 corners game with it. No technology necessary.

22 Karolena April 29, 2012 at 8:43 pm

I have an app that is an Arabic dictionary, and it is so much easier to carry around than my huge Mawrid! Sometimes we watch you tube clips in Spanish or Arabic, but we didn’t this week. My son is still a little young to watch any tv.

23 Li-Ha April 29, 2012 at 10:51 pm

We are using cantoneseclass101 online lessons every week and cantonese for munchkins on ipad. The boys like to repeat what they hear. We also sing Cantonese songs in karaoke, with dancing it’s always so much fun!

24 Francesca April 30, 2012 at 3:24 am

At the moment G is into videos from SUpersimplelearning channel (
He is really into them….sometimes I have to say ‘NO’ because He pretends to see and listen to the videos everytime he sees the PC or my iPhone.
As a learner, I’m really appreciating the elementary podcasts of the British Council (
I listen to them on the car and when I walk to my studio. Great!

25 Jen N. April 30, 2012 at 5:54 am

I use the web as my resource to look up active games to play with my kids and the kids I tutor in Spanish!

26 Laurie April 30, 2012 at 6:01 am

We’re learning Spanish here at our house. We listen to a bunch of different CDs with music and stories every time we are in the car. We’re also watching the Salsa videos through Georgia Public Broadcasting. They are great learning videos, and my kids really like them! I’ve made my kids watch other Spanish learning videos without them enjoying (or learning) all that much. Thanks to this board for sharing this resource.

27 Maria Iskenderoglu April 30, 2012 at 6:48 am

I usually do use technology but the pc at home is broken. We normally use the internet for my daughter’s home school studies and I use web sites to help study in Turkish.

28 Jessica P. April 30, 2012 at 7:38 am

This past week, we watched short youtube clips of Korean cartoons for the kids. We’ve also watched French cartoons online as well as Ipad apps in french.

29 Gale April 30, 2012 at 8:21 am

This week I didn’t use technology, but I have in the past. I really like MindSnacks spanish games for the iPad.

30 Alicia April 30, 2012 at 11:33 am

I make my own CD’s for my child to listen to while napping and falling asleep. I tape myself, or others reciting Bible verses in Spanish and English. My niece goes to sleep listening to the verses repeatedly and before long, she has memorized them in both languages. Her vocabulary and understanding is growing in both languages.

31 Terra April 30, 2012 at 5:30 pm

This week we used YouTube to watch Los Pitufos (The Smurfs) and it was a huge hit! We often use our iPad for language learning.

32 Georgia April 30, 2012 at 9:47 pm

My children watch Muzzy. My 2 1/2 yr old wants to watch it all the time, my 4 1/2 yr old would rather watch something else. I have used the Muzzy interactive computer game, my 4 1/2 yr old LOVES IT!!!! I also, keep the Franklin Merriam Webster electronic dictionary in my pocket, I use it all day. The best thing I’ve done to boost my vocab. 🙂

33 Katina April 30, 2012 at 11:50 pm

My son and daughter enjoy playing Spanish games and watching Spanish programming that we have found on the internet. We also listen to different Spanish language radio stations and try to pick out the parts that we understand.

34 Chris May 1, 2012 at 8:26 pm

I’ve been using a flash card app on my phone (anki) to fill down time during the day.

35 Grace May 2, 2012 at 2:53 am

My three-year-old daughter likes to watch a Chinese programme called Qiaohu online. She loves the songs and the stories of it.

Since we learnt how to introduce a foreign language in ten minutes a day, we started to watch a French programme called Le Grande Muzzy. We enjoy it so much, especially my daughter. She likes to repeat the phrases and songs and never want to stop after short ten minutes!

36 THW May 2, 2012 at 7:12 am

We use BayaM, an interactive website produced by the top French publishing house for children’s literature. These are the people who publish Pomme d’Api, Popi, Petit Ours Brun, Babar l’éléphant etc. You download an interactive link to the site, you can set limits on the length of time that your child spends playing. There are several interesting and educational games, activities, videos, animations on all subjects, and the site is equally user-friendly via mouse or trackpad or iPad. Ages 3-13

37 Tracey May 8, 2012 at 2:26 pm

My children mainly watch Discovery Channel (in Spanish – no other option) or videos when there is time in our busy day. This week we used more videos are we were moving house.

38 Tracey May 8, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Sorry my girls also choose sometimes the language for the videos and also for their little First Computers. They are only 4.

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