I’d love to be fluent in another language. After 7 years of French at school (at GCSE I found it easy, but A level traumatised me forever!), and a fleeting couple of years doing Spanish, my verbal language skills are pretty much limited to counting to 10 and asking the direction to the toilets. The OH did no languages in school – supposedly the teacher told him he’d be better off learning English properly first! But I’d love for N to start early and be comfortable on the spoken side of things as the confidence in speaking other languages was where I struggled.
N already does French at his day nursery (La Jolie Ronde) and has previously done some at his nursery school with one of the mums who’s French, coming in to talk to the children. So really becoming a #FlashStickBlogger should have meant choosing the French Flashsticks to try. I decided however to leave nursery to it with French, and that we’d try the Spanish out instead. Much more useful for holidays and speaking in future because there’s far more Spanish being spoken around the world than French.
We received our first beginner set of Flashsticks, and have duly started sticking a few up and learning the words.
If you’re not aware of Flashsticks they’re a great learning method to pick up quick vocabulary. Essentially post-it style notes, printed with the word in Spanish, the translation in English, and the phonetic pronounciation. Oh and not forgetting a little picture.
You can stick them around your home, matching the flashstick to the actual item. So the flashstick for books or library could be stuck near the books, food on the fridge etc.
What’s ingenious about them is the way each note is coloured depending on whether the word is feminine (pink), masculine (blue) or a verb, adjective etc (green). Hopefully there won’t be a whole load of people moaning about pink representing a feminine word! My view would be that it’s a great way to explain it and help it sink in. I know I have no idea even though I’m now re-learning words as N brings home his French ‘homework’ prompt sheet, so hopefully the coloured Flashsticks will help remember the spanish.
Because N’s learning Spanish along with me, I’m planning on putting up a few at a time. Because he can’t read, it’s a case of making sure I keep talking and repeating them to him when we see them. Of course, the OH would also have a moan if the whole house got stickered. He’s not interested in learning, but maybe it’ll pique his interest.
On top of the Flashsticks, there’s also a free app available for both ios and Android. After downloading, you just create an account, then start scanning the flashsticks. Once you’ve scanned (I did find it took a while but maybe that’s just our lack of decent signal for mobiles and wifi speeds), you get the word come on the screen along with a person who pronounces it correctly for you. N finds it highly amusing to see the lady pop up, so much so that it’s hard to quieten him down to hear her speak.
So far we’ve learnt good and bad – I’ve started doing funny actions and voices with it. God knows what N will end up speaking spanish like, but at least it should help him remember it, if his method of learning phonics and French at nursery is anything to go by! So we have a big thumbs up and happy voice for bueno, and a thumbs down and grumpy voice for malo. And I’ve added various animals as well. I’m hoping N won’t be too confused about animals in Spanish and French because he’s now learning the animals in both languages.
I’ve taken some Flashsticks into work as well although not having a permanent desk might prove a problem. Maybe I’ll stick them inside my locker?
So we’ve started and every couple of days I plan to introduce a couple more Flashsticks to see how we go. I’m not sure N finding Peppa Pig episodes en espanol on YouTube is going to help him learn!
Do you speak another language? Are your children learning?
Disclosure: I’m one of the #Flashstickblogger team, and received some Flashsticks to try out and review.