jueves, 19 de agosto de 2010

Year 3 - first 6 months

For this year I've uploaded it in two 6-month parts due to the bigger content.
He subido el año en dos partes, ya que hay más contenidos.
Year 3 / El tercer año – May 16th 2009 - May 16th 2010

May-June 2009
I’m still managing to spend at least an hour with him in the mornings. We watch CBeebies and I ask questions about the programmes we watch as well as repeat some of the phrases they use. He loves the songs: The Happy Birthday song , the Popshop programme which has catchy tunes and interaction with the viewer and the Boogie Beebies that involves dancing and doing the actions based on themes such as ‘the farm’, ‘football’, ‘pirates’, etc. Watching these programmes and doing the actions is becoming a ritual and he’s learning a lot of the vocabulary and phrases which he can repeat to me.
For this 3rd year I’m continuing with the morning routine of changing and dressing him in the morning and singing him songs, which he enjoys a lot. And walking him to school and focusing on things happening in the street and the weather.
In the evenings he’s awake till very late which means even when I get in after 9pm I can still spend at least 2 hours speaking and playing with him.
We’re still focusing on the colours, nursery rhymes, vehicles, animals, sports.
I’ve been doing press-ups and sit-ups and he spurs me on (even when I don’t want to).
“Do press ups daddy!”
If he makes a mistake I reformulate: e.g. I don’t want it (shoes). Oh so, you don’t want them?
I stick to the premises that ‘correction’ and reformulation are necessary in English due to the lower than normal input from myself and television (3 hours a days Monday – Friday and 6-10 hours at the weekend per day ). In an English speaking country I wouldn’t ‘need’ to do this. My wife hasn’t corrected his ‘No vol’ (he doesn’t want), since she knows that with the amount of input he will naturally say ‘No vull’ (I don’t want) when ‘ready’.
Remember that Contact Time isn’t Input Time if you’re not talking to the child. If you proudly think to yourself that you’ve spent two hours with your child at the swimming pool but have hardly said anything then your input time may have been 10 minutes and a couple of phrases.
His accent is standard southern English and Catalan when speaking Catalan with some small deviations which I’ll point out.
He’s learning the colours. He uses ‘green’ without ‘it’s green’ and sometimes mixes it up with ‘blue’. He finds it hard to distinguish between silver and white when naming car colours.
He can say ‘helicopter’ correctly.
He’s starting to distinguish sheep from lamb; kitten from cat.
He can say “I don’t want it, but doesn’t use ‘I want them’ (in the plural).
He replies with the full phrases: ‘Yes, it is’ or ‘No it isn’t’
This month I’m working till 10pm and getting home at nearly 11pm. Despite this, he stays up for me and this means he gets another hour’s input. To make up for this I spend two hours with him in the morning and then take him to the playgroup.
More work on colours, animals, as the previous month.
On youtube we’re working on the alphabet songs, I’m not bothered that some are American.
and other songs such as:
‘Jelly on a plate”, which was new to me! Includes the sentences:
‘Jelly on a plate, wibble wobble’. ‘Sweeties in a jar, shake and rattle’ and ‘sausages in a pan, sizzle sozzle.’
He knows what ‘food’ and ‘drink’ is and can name ‘bananas’, ‘apples’ and ‘water’, beer’.
I get him to name food, drink and objects in the supermarket. It becomes a fun learning opportunity. At least most of the time between the usual children’s ‘naughty’ behaviour’!

He still says ‘I no want’ despite my efforts. But can be ‘made’ to say :’I don’t’
A couple times he’s said ‘a car blue’ but it’s the exception. He’s now started to use the pronoun ‘one’:
‘a blue one’,’ this one’
Possessives seems totally mastered: ‘it’s daddy’s’, etc.
H e uttered the first ‘complete sentence: “I want a jelly on a plate’ which shows the importance and usefulness of children’s rhymes! He can reply to the question: “what noise do the sausages make’” “Sizzle, sozzle’ with the correct pronunciation of the voiced /Z/.
He finds it easier to say certain catalan/ Spanish words which are2-syllable :
Bibi (bottle)/ caca (poo) /cuca (willy) /pupa (it hurts/bump)/pipi (wee wees)
Although eventually he replaces these in English through making him repeat them in English.
Many parents don’t bother about this but although they are understood in one country they wouldn’t be in England. Perhaps I’m a purist but I like differentiating the languages!

August / Agosto 2009 Summary
This month included 2 weeks in the UK staying with my mother and two days with my sister and her six kids! He got extra input from my mother and playing with the other children which was good for him. In the car on the way to the UK and back I’d made a DVD with nursery rhymes and songs to give him extra input. Este mes pasamos 2 semanas en RU con mi madre y 2 días con mi hermana y sus 6 niños. Pudo jugar y hablar con los otros niños además de mi madre. Para el viaje en el coche le hice un DVD para escuchar sus canciones favoritas durante el viaje.
This month I really noticed how good his pronunciation is. He has imitated my English accent almost perfectly. He’s now become a parrot repeating practically everything we say in English or Catalan. And for the first time he’s playing with tone and volume when he speaks. E.g
“ I DON’T like it” in a ‘deep’ voice just for fun, which I encourage.
He’s still mixing the meaning of ‘want’ and ‘like’ as well as in Catalan. E.g I no want jelly, instead of ‘I don’t like jelly’. He sometimes uses ‘don’t’ and sometimes ‘no’. Although it’s becoming less common.
Now adding the pronoun: ‘I no like IT’ when Iplay him songs he doesn’t want to hear!
Also, he’s started using the famous: ‘What’s that? To find out the names of things.
He can count to 10 and we practise counting as he goes up stairs and I always ask him ‘How many cakes/sweets/toys, etc? ‘
Found a great ABC song on Sesame Street with the singer India and Elmo. Sesame Street invite guests singers and the result is good. He can do A-D and up to P with prompting .
Use of past tenses:
(19/08) “I saw a spider in the kitchen. “ Prompted by me pointing it out to him.
(30/08) I went to the swimming pool. – When we are coming back from the pool I try to make him remember what he’s done. Some of it sticks and he comes out with it later on.
This summary of activities is something that a lot of children’s TV programmes do now.e.g.
The Number Jacks and In the Night Garden.
He loves Timmy Time but there’s no speaking in it except for the catchy them tune! When I watch it with him I ask him questions about the action and add the vocabulary.
“Oh look he ‘s got a wheelbarrow. See that. He’s pushing a wheelbarrow’ What colour’s the wheelbarrow Marc?
It’s yellow-
What’s yellow?
Oh yeah, that’s right. Hey, What’s he put in it?
- A football.

September / Setiembre 2009 (2 years 4 months)
This month included a long weekend in Dublin. I noticed a quantitative and qualitative leap in his English this month.
The trip to Dublin gave him input from my friend’s 7 year old daughter.
This month he’s got new favourite songs from TV and radio. ‘Tonight tonight tonight’ from an Ad, Cold Play, Viva la Vida and Waltzing Matilda and Skip to my Lou, and Coming Round the mountain, all of which I played for him on the guitar for him to try and sing along to. We found them on the internet too. He also likes Super Trouper by ABBA.
We found Spiderman and Batman theme tunes on youtube which he loves and I added vocab such as spin a web and batman hitting the ‘baddies’, bif’ bop’ ‘zonk’ etc, which he loves repeating and trying out on me!! Nursery rhymes include London Bridge is falling down, Twinkle twinkle little star. And a song I wrote for him for his ‘naming party’: “Stars in his eyes”. He’s fascinated by stars!
His favourite Cbeebies programmes are. ‘in the night Garden’ Bob the builder’, The Tweenies’, Mister Maker (especially the part with the shapes: ‘I am a shape la la la, I am a circle/square/triangle/rectangle). And Timmy Time still ranks in there with them.
I’m working hard at maintaining routines. Clean my teeth, wash my hands, have a bath, and include the song “this is the way we wash our hands, wash our … on a cold and frosty morning.” Which isn’t so relevant in September!
Also, ‘Wakey wakey, rise and shine! Night night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite!
From his trip to Dublin he surprised us by repeating phrases he’d heard from the girl Grace.
“I can’t believe it, there’s no butter left!” Although this could’ve been my friend Steve or his wife Heidi. When we say:”What does Grace say? He says this sentence!
He’s also picked up ‘Goodness me’! from my mother and’ Fuck!’ Sorry! Whoops!
Others include: That’s amazing!
When he says colours he prefers English as I’ve been told from the playschool. “That’s not ‘vermell’ it’s red!”
He repeats new phrases again and again which gives us a clue to how children learn language and certain words:
“I swam in the swimming pool”.
He’s starting to use the morning and night routine phrases.
He sometimes says “open the light” possibly influenced by the Spanish/Catalan, which I correct him on.
He prefers ‘pala’ to ‘spade’ at the moment.
And he says ‘deenosaw’ instead of ‘dine o saw’ for ‘dinosaur’. I sometimes suspect that my wife may try and say the words in English for him and he picks up her pronunciation. Luckily these are quickly remediated and eradicated!!

October / octubre 2009 (2 years 5months)
Looking back at my notes I see that this was an intensive month for language or maybe I just took more notes than normal. Well, here goes:
This month I’ve added some new children’s tunes which I’ve found on youtube:
“There’s a hole in my bucket” He likes this a lot and comes up to me saying “Daddy, there’s a hole in my bucket.” !!
Anew song on the changing table in the morning: “Where’s your mama / papa gone?” which I normalize to ‘mummy’ / daddy.
A nursery rhyme book with CD, e.g twinkle twinkle little star. He can sing the whole song nearly.
I continue walking him to the playgroup every morning. It’s 5-10mins of intensive language and fun. Every morning is different depending on his mood, and mine of course!
We work on lots of questions of repetitive themes:
The weather: What’s the weather like? It’s sunny/cloudy/wet/raining/ cold/warm/ a bit cloudy. I say wrong sentences on purpose and he corrects me:
ME: It’s very sunny today, isn’t it?
Marc: No it’s CLOUDY!”
I introduce the Cbeebies autumn song we’ve been listening to :
“Brown leaves keep falling down down down onto the ground” which is relevant since the ground is strewn with leaves. I get him to sing along.
Dressing time: I sing songs from CBeebies and use the opportunity to introduce the concept of ‘matching’ for his pyjamas and socks. E.g. colour, stripes, polka dots. He takes to this surprisingly quickly. Later he extends it to always having matching coloured plates and cutlery!
Have a I created a compulsive-obsessive?!
Me: Look they’re matching! Are they matching?
Marc. Yes, matching.
He uses this word in Catalan sentences and then my wife started doing so!
Toilet /potty training. Starting this month. We use gold and silver stars which he sticks on a path of numbers and another with the alphabet to reinforce these areas. I introduce ‘big wee/ enormous wee’.
Me: Let’s have a morning wee wee!
Bath time: I reinforce “there’s STILL some water LEFT.
Watching football: Me: Look Marc, there’s NO-ONE playing on the pitch, is there?
I make sure I use questions tags as much as possible and have chosen “have got’ rather than ‘have’ which is more natural for me and is common in standard southern English. I notice that I sometimes use both forms, but this is the exception.

In general he’s becoming more talkative. He loves repeating everything, often over and over again, which gives us a clue to the way in which new vocabulary is learned and remembered. When I walk in the door he automatically switches to English, and
he’s playing with his toys in Englsh even though I’m not there, which is unusual. And thus reinforcing the language.
Some words don’t sound totally English. Words with an ‘r’ at the end sound something between Spanish and American!! I ‘correct’ him and my theory that it’s just a phase are shown to be right later on and this pronunciation disappears.
Negative forms:
‘Don’t / doesn’t’ appear more frequently from the middle of this month but using the third person: “Marc doesn’t like it.”
Also, ‘can’t’ is fixed in his lexicon: “I can’t!” or “I can’t believe it” appears again as he remembers the phrase he picked up in Dublin.
He’s confusing ‘clock’ and ‘watch’ which he didn’t previously. This often happens as the child works out the rules.
Due to his interest in planes he’s now using “take off “ and land” which I’ve been working on with him.
Spanish words and phrases from the Playschool come out occasionally:
‘Me he caido’ (I’ve fallen down). When he says this with me I repeat it in English and he repeats it back to me.
I’ve got a yellow ‘boli’ (pen). I found it difficult to get him to say ‘pen’.
Marc: “It’s not a ‘pen’ it’s a ‘boli’.” The following month he uses the English.
Pron: Some small mistakes: ‘oven’ is pronounces with an ‘o’ not an ‘u’ and Telly Tubbies sounds like the Spanish ‘Toobies”. He repeats my corrections without protest and without problems. I noticed that a 6-year old Spanish child wasn’t able to say “See you soon” in an English accent, which shows the importance of exposing the child to a language as early as possible.
He’s able to sing the first lines of ‘Super Trouper’ and still sings the complete Twinkle Twinkle, although the last lines are not so clear. He also likes ‘Daisy, Diasy, give me your answer do…” and asks me to sing it to him and joins in as best he can. Basically, if you’re in a situation try and think of a song that matches it. There’s nearly always one. If it’s sunny you can use:
‘Good day sunshine’ or ‘Here comes the Sun’ by the Beatles, or ‘The Sun has got his hat on, hip hip hip hooray’ , etc. They really do help with language acquisition. Make an effort, and you’ll be repaid.
Body awareness:
He can now say: “I’m hungry”; “I’m tired” and asks for ‘water’ in English. He hasn’t said ‘I’m thirsty” yet.
November 2009 2 years 6 months
He’s mad on Mr Men this month instead of Cbeebies and he’s been watching the same DVD over and over again although we’ve also watched Cbeebies at various other times. He likes ‘Show me show me’ . We’ve also connected to youtube and seen the ABC song with India and Elmo and Skyped my mother on Sunday evenings, and he’s participated more than previously.
During the last week of the month we played some Wiggles songs:e.g
“Skip to the Loo” which he wanted to watch to death! I also played it for him on the guitar.
He’s saying turn it on/off instead of ‘open / close’ for lights most of the time.
He can practically say the alphabet using the youtube sesame street version mentioned, reciting to my mother on the Skype.
He can repeat typical phrases from the children’s programmes verbatim and sing along to the songs. Show importance of this type of input. Better when watched with a ‘teacher’ adult to make it more interactive.
Requests and permission:
Can you open the box Daddy
Can I have an ice cube?
I love you Daddy. (Ahhh! )
I’ve got little hiccups, no big ones.

Almost a conversation now on Skype
Nana:“ How are you today”
Marc: ‘I’m fine thanks’. I’m playing nana.
Yes,… (and then runs away !)
Using an imperative.
When he saw me on the computer he says: “Daddy you work”
And he’s started using “Shhh be quiet. “
Pronounces the ‘R’ in a ‘strange’ way at the end of words: e.g. star , here almost American!
Very clear English accent. When I arrive home one evening I asked ‘where’s Marc’ and a clear voice with an English accent answered: “I’m in the bathroom”.

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