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Preview: Bringing up Baby Bilingual

Bringing up Baby Bilingual

stories, activities, profiles, resources, and whimsy from a non-native French speaker

Updated: 2018-02-22T04:48:52.593-07:00


adding another language to your happy home


Bonjour from Lac du Bois, where even if the little kids are having a blast, some of them will refuse to smile for a group photo Coming soon: stories of my summer at Lac du Bois, running the Maternelle (the program for children ages 0-6) at an amazing French immersion camp in Minnesota!  In the meantime, an article I wrote for their blog with suggestions of how to incorporate a second language

ventes flash! books for kids--in French--for a dollar (or a euro) each--through August 16!


I know, I know.  I don't need any more books.  (Non-packrat, non-teacher husband nods his head vigorously while bookcases cower in fear at the thought of squeezing more volumes onto their cramped, sagging shelves.) But I want my kids to read in French (and to enjoy doing so)!  And I always can use more books for my storytimes and tutoring! So imagine my delight when I saw that "J'aime lire,"

parle-ing francais in the north woods


Saturday afternoon, small town in northern Minnesota, gas station.  My friendly mother smiles and says "merci" to the lady who holds the door for her. Sunday morning, small town in northern Wisconsin, my "hopelessly monolingual" (his words!) husband nods at the stranger passing him in the hallway and says "bonjour."  And then a minute later, exclaims, "Did I just say bonjour?!" Nearly every

where did the año go?!


Griffin and Gwyneth in front of their school, Escuela Bilingüe Pioneer I sent my second grader and preschooler to school yesterday and they didn't come home.  Instead, at the end of the day, a rising kindergartener and a third grader greeted me with hugs and overstuffed backpacks and paleta-stained fingers. a peanut of a rising kindergartener who only weighs 31 pounds--the big kids won't

where did the années go?


Ten years ago this day, before I became a mother, while I was still working full time as a French teacher, I wrote my first post on Bringing up Baby Bilingual: This blog is now almost as old as my nephew, and now my babies--who were only hypothetical when I named the blog--are trilingual elementary school students! Happy tenth birthday, blog.  Joyeux anniversaire!

Mes, ils yas mes mes! Commeme.


Griffin, now age eight, just this morning learned to write il y a [there is/there are] instead of ils yas [they…uh…what?].  His teacher lets me pull him out of class twice a week for French lessons with me in the school hallway, and for the past few months I've been struggling with how to balance our time together: read fiction or nonfiction? focus on writing or speaking?  accuracy or fluency?

Happy New…er…February!


I might not have posted for three months, but I promise that I'm still speaking exclusively French with my kiddos!  And leading a monthly French immersion storytime and running a monthly French immersion playdate and tutoring three children in French and teaching Griffin to write in French….I just can't find time to blog about it. For now, I'll just have to content myself with posting a cute

Quelle heure est-il? Time for some realia!


The curse of having been an ESL/EFL teacher is that I am still compelled to collect and keep examples of American culture and English language in context and comic strips and advertisements and newspaper articles and funny pictures (not to mention all of the textbooks I used as a grad student, the textbooks I taught out of, the class set of paper clocks, the flashcards, the bingo markers, the

an unexpected result of a parent-teacher conference


I hate soccer. Je déteste le foot. Griffin, par contre, adore le foot. No, wait, that's too strong.  Rather, I am ambivalent about sports and I dislike the commitment that playing on a kids' soccer team requires--two practices a week, right at dinner time (which means that we can either eat early without my husband, who is still at work, or eat later, which throws off the kids' bedtime

l'alphabet français II : répétez !


Okay, so now you have listened to more French alphabet songs than you'd ever thought possible.  Enough listening!  You won't learn the sounds and the names of the letters until you get comfortable pronouncing them.  So clear your throat, take a long drink of eau, and try these out: "Military-style French Alphabet": An English-speaking French teacher walks you through her version of the alphabet,

l'alphabet français I : chantez !


It's time for my tutees to learn the French alphabet (and for my four-year-old to stop mumbling "elmo-elmo-pé" when she gets lost in the middle of the song)!  Let's start with some chansons (songs)... First, some traditional alphabet songs with Mozart's familiar melody: La chanson de l'alphabet, featuring a man's voice accompanied by a calm acoustic guitar: The letters appear on screen

new resources to share!


Although it still is (and no doubt will always be) a work-in-progress, I have been updating my "French Teaching at Home" page with more books, games, songs, resources, and more.  Please take a look and tell me if I'm missing any of your favorites!

jeux de mots avec Griffin


Griffin loves to play with words in all three of his languages--he tells and invents jokes, plays word games, does crossword puzzles and word searches, and even makes up puns.  Here's his best one in French so far--I am soooo happy that he has fun doing this sort of thing! Maman : Oh, non, je me suis trompée. [Oh, no, I was wrong.] Griffin: No, Mom, you're not all wet!  ["Trempée," soaked, is

Bonjour, bonjour ! Comment ça va ?


As a parent who only speaks French to my American children, I work as an unpaid teacher 24/7.  But I also have several private tutoring clients, parents who actually pay me to speak French to their children!  I really enjoy teaching French to these kiddos, but being with my own children reinforces that 30 or 60 minutes a week is not nearly enough for these other kids.   Therefore, I'm starting

Gwyneth "can't stand" my French!


My daughter (who recently turned four, which gives me hope for my sanity, as she's no longer a "threenager") is very, very good at pushing my buttons, and she is realizing that perhaps the best way to do this is to claim that she doesn't know what I'm saying and that I need to translate it into English for her. joyeux anniversaire ! "Mommy!  I can't 'stand your French!  Say it in English!"

how to get a seven-year-old to pay attention during French storytime


Ask him if he wants to read one of the books to the little kids!  Here's Griffin with T'choupi au cirque, about the beloved penguin's trip to the circus with his grandfather.

nine years of blogging


My blog is older than my children! Happy Ninth Birthday to my poor neglected blog!  Can't complain--the reason I'm not writing as regularly is because my energy flows into my family, my library job, my French tutoring, and volunteering.  (But I promise, I think about language acquisition and books and teaching all. the. time!  Just don't usually get around to writing about it.) Occasionally I

French storytime: le vert


After day after uncharacteristically rainy day here along Colorado's Front Range, our lawns are lush and weedy, our skies cloudy, and we are all rolling our eyes about the fact that for the second year in a row, it snowed on Mother's Day.  So in honor of our soggy springtime, I picked GREEN as the theme for my most recent library storytime. After "Dans la forêt lointaine," our usual

random Frenchy, teachy things


No time for full blog posts this month!  But at least I can make a bulleted list of some of my recent Frenchy and/or teachy thoughts…. gratuitous shot of G&G at the zoo A mom I know who occasionally uses her non-native French with her teen daughters told me that she has discovered a way to cut down on the speed and intensity of their arguments: she announces things like curfew in French,

Legos make everything better


Wouldn't his would be a fun project for French playdates? So my storytimes at the Lafayette Public Library are back, and so far successful at bringing in a fun mix of toddlers and preschoolers, Americans and native Francophones, people familiar with some of the stories and songs while others are eager to learn new ones (one maman even recorded me on her phone--"All we know are lullabies in

soirée à la française--for the kids!


How much do I want my children to meet other young native French speakers?  Enough that I convince my husband to leave work early on a Friday afternoon to drive our children to Denver so that they can attend "Parents' Night Out" at the Alliance Française, a three-hour immersion experience, even though it cost twice as much as similar events locally (and didn't include dinner, drinks, or a even a

teaching tots and telling tales


So there we were, my friend Carol and I, in front of our brand new class--French for ages 0-5--relieved that five students signed up and the course was actually going to happen.  There we were with our contextualized lesson plans, props, puppets, songs, and stories.  And there in front of us, sprawled on the mat, clinging to a parent, snoozing, or nursing, were our distracted, drooling, diapered

Global Village Acad-envy


G&G with the "bonjour" bear outside the French classroom An hour north of where I live, in the city where I used to teach, a new campus of an immersion charter school has opened.  This elementary school offers classes in Spanish, Mandarin, and French, and if I didn't so love my kids' Spanish immersion school already, I would be tempted to quit my job and spend my days driving back and forth

introducing…Boulder County Fun with French!


Carol (of A French American Life fame) and I have been asked to teach our immersion class at the toy shop in Boulder again this term, and I am restarting my library French storytimes and adding a French playdate for older kids as well! Because attendance has always been our biggest challenge with the storytimes, we decided to take advantage of social media for promotional purposes.  We are very

neither here nor there, ici ou là, acquí o allí


Sometimes carving the time out to read and write about raising my children bilingually is easy, familiar, fun, like slipping a spoon into soft-serve ice cream, each new idea and discovery and resource and online kindred spirit a colorful sprinkle that I devour. (My husband is continually astonished by the number of websites I can have open simultaneously--but I can't close a page until I'm done