Education

Multiplication House Printables

I’m constantly looking for new ways for the girls to practice their multiplication math facts so they have them committed to memory. These multiplication houses from TeachBesideMe.com are a great way for the girls to review their math facts with each other using tools that are interactive and fun.
To make these Multiplication Houses, cut the squares of each window on three sides so they open. Mount on another piece of paper. Write the answers to each math problem behind the windows. For example: if it is the house of fives, behind the 3 window you would write 15!
Use them for your kids to practice their multiplication facts. You can attach them together into book form when finished with all of them!
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Languages by Difficulty for English Speakers

The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) of the US Department of State has compiled approximate learning expectations for a number of languages based on the length of time it takes to achieve Speaking 3: General Professional Proficiency in Speaking (S3) and Reading 3: General Professional Proficiency in Reading (R3). The list is limited to languages taught at the Foreign Service Institute. Below we have a table of these languages and their difficulty for English speakers. For more information on the FSI scale, known as the ILR Scale, go to the Interagency Language Roundtable site, for an overview of the history of the ILR Language Proficiency Skill level descriptions and scale information.

* Languages preceded by asterisks are typically somewhat more difficult for native English speakers to learn than other languages in the same category.
Category I: Languages closely related to English
23-24 weeks (575-600 class hours)
Afrikaans
Catalan
Danish
Dutch
French
Italian
Norwegian
Portuguese
Romanian
Spanish
Swedish
Category I: Languages closely related to English
30-36 weeks (750-900 class hours)
German (30 weeks / 750 class hours)
Indonesian (36 weeks / 900 class hours)
Javanese (36 weeks / 900 class hours)
Malay (36 weeks / 900 class hours)
Swahili (36 weeks / 900 class hours)
Category II: Languages with significant linguistic and/or cultural differences from English
44 weeks (1100 class hours)
Albanian
Amharic
Armenian
Azerbaijani
Belarusian
Bengali
Bosnian
Bulgarian
Burmese
Cebuano
Croatian
Czech
*Dzongkha
*Estonian
*Finnish
*Georgian
Greek
Gujarati
Hebrew
Hindi
*Hungarian
Icelandic
Ilocano
Irish
Kannada
Kazakh
Kurdish
Kyrgyz
Khmer
Lao
Latvian
Lithuanian
Macedonian
Marathi
Nepali
Pashto
Persian (Dari, Farsi, Tajik)
Polish
Punjabi
Russian
Serbian
Sinhalese
Slovak
Slovenian
Somali
Tagalog
Tamil
Telugu
Tetum
*Thai
Turkish
Turkmen
Ukrainian
Urdu
Uzbek
*Vietnamese
Xhosa
Zulu
Category III: Languages which are quite difficult for native English speakers
88 weeks (2200 class hours; about half that time preferably spent studying in-country)
Arabic
Cantonese (Chinese)
Mandarin (Chinese)
Taiwanese (Chinese)
Korean
Japanese
Mongolian
Wu

Tips for Teens – Oversharing: Think Before You Post

I don’t have teens but social media has crept into the vocabulary of my little girls and I know that they anticipate the day that they will have their own social media passwords that they access on their smart phones while they text, tweet, IG, snapchat, etc with their friends. PAASSC will start posting more information about tips to support your youth on social media and safety devices – as I become more knowledgeable in my efforts to protect my own children.

In the meantime I wanted to share this video with clear messages to youth that encourage responsible use of social media.

Made in collaboration with CommonSense Media and Flocabulary,  the experts in educational hip-hop, this animated music video raps about the hazards of oversharing online and emphasizes a thoughtful approach to digital footprints. Tweens, teens, and adults can laugh and learn about the ups and downs of communicating and connecting in the digital world.

Mandarin Movie for Language Learners!!

Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf is an entertaining film for your Mandarin language learner. The premise of the movie is that a “bad guy” thwarts the princess and prince from falling in love and getting married. This changes the story books and adults throughout the land are in tears. When 4 little goats have a chance to help the prince rescue his princess they, along with two adult goats, travel in search of the princess. Their journey has many typical obstacles and successes that you would expect in a children’s movie. The animation, songs, action and plot are all enjoyable. English subtitles make it a plus for parent’s to watch with their children. Hope you enjoy.

Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf (Chinese: 喜羊羊与灰太狼; pinyin: Xǐ Yáng Yáng yǔ Huī Tài Láng) is a Chinese animated television series created by Huang Weiming, Lin Yuting and Luo Yinggeng, and produced by Creative Power Entertaining. The show is about a group of goats living on the Green Pasture, Qing Qing Grasslands/Plains (Chinese: 青青草原), and the story revolving around a clumsy wolf who wants to eat them. The cartoon became enormously popular with Chinese schoolchildren after its debut in 2005. Cashing in on the cartoon’s success, the producer made an animated feature in 2009.

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Learning Mandarin from birds

Scholars of the Mandarin Chinese language can learn a lot from birds.

That’s the premise of a new language learning game designed by a Michigan State University researcher and an interdisciplinary team of students.

Inspired by the varying tones of bird species, Picky Birds teaches students the four main Mandarin tones by helping them associate each tone with a corresponding colored bird, said Catherine Ryu, associate professor of Japanese literature and culture, who recently received a patent for the technology on which the game is based.

Catherine Ryu, associate professor of Japanese literature and culture, has received a patent for the technology behind her language learning game, Picky Birds. Photo by Kurt Stepnitz

Catherine Ryu, associate professor of Japanese literature and culture, has received a patent for the technology behind her language learning game, Picky Birds. Photo by Kurt Stepnitz

“Mandarin Chinese is a tonal language, which means the same word can mean something entirely different depending on the tone used,” Ryu said. “And this is fundamentally different than how we use tonal inflections in English.”

For example, in Mandarin the word “ma” (English sound equivalent) can mean “mother,” “flax,” “horse” or “to yell” depending on the tonal inflection used.

Picky Birds is based on research showing brains are wired to associate high pitches with lighter hues, Ryu said. So the birds in her game are yellow for the high even tone, green for the rising tone, blue for the dipping tone and red for the falling tone.

The app is an outcome of Ryu’s Tone Perception Efficacy Study, which she conducted with Aline Godfroid, assistant professor of second language studies, and Chin-Hsi Lin, assistant professor in the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Special Education. ToPES investigated two related questions regarding language:

• How do people perceive, process and retain tones as a sensory perception, especially when the tones in question are not an integral aspect of their own language backgrounds?
• To what extent can people learn to differentiate tones and retain that information?

Ryu will use Picky Birds next month for a Mandarin tone perception experiment, hoping to recruit 40 students without any prior exposure to Mandarin Chinese to participate.

Once Picky Birds is vetted, Ryu will work with MSU Technologies to market the app to users; they expect to begin commercialization in the fall.

In addition to College of Arts and Letters faculty and students, the Picky Birds team includes media and information majors specializing in game design and development in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences and a computer music composer who teaches at Mott Community College in Flint.

Ryu hopes to expand her research team to include neuroscientists, graphic artists, creative writers, game developers, web developers, mechanical engineers and social media specialists.

“It’s a high-energy group of collaborators,” Ryu said. “When we all get together with linguists, truly exciting conversations take place.”

Development of Picky Birds was supported with funding from MSU’s Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies under the Targeted Support Grant for Technology Development program.

Repost from MSUtoday.com

Dual-Language Classes for Kids Grow in Popularity

In increasingly global economy, more parents seek leg up for their children through early immersion programs

Kindergartener Leah Grunwell counts items in Spanish on a calendar at Parkview Elementary school in Valparaiso, Ind., which has been awarded a grant for dual-language immersion classes. Photo: Tony V. Martin/The Times of Northwest Indiana/Associated Press

Kindergartener Leah Grunwell counts items in Spanish on a calendar at Parkview Elementary school in Valparaiso, Ind., which has been awarded a grant for dual-language immersion classes. Photo: Tony V. Martin/The Times of Northwest Indiana/Associated Press

Penelope Spain is desperate to make her 3-year-old son fluent in a second language.

Last year, the Washington, D.C., attorney competed with hundreds of other parents for a spot at several prekindergarten programs that teach lessons partly or mostly in Spanish. She struck out. “I sat on the couch and just cried endlessly,” she recalled. Now she has widened her search to French and Mandarin schools.

Public schools that immerse students in a second language have become hot destinations for parents seeking a leg up for their children in a global economy. New York, Utah, Delaware and other states are adding classrooms where at least half of lessons are taught in a second tongue.

Many of these programs started as a way to ease students from immigrant households into U.S. classrooms. Instead, they are attracting droves of native English-speaking families who bet that top jobs will increasingly demand bilingual skills thanks to foreign trade and a growing Latino population in the U.S. Programs that immerse students in Spanish, Mandarin and Arabic are seeing heavy interest starting in preschool.

“If you have another language, it opens up so many more opportunities for your career,” said Ms. Spain, who is non-Hispanic white.

Delaware’s governor is pouring $1.9 million a year into more than tripling the number of students in dual-language school programs for Spanish and Mandarin, with the goal of having 10,000 students in these classrooms by 2022. Utah’s 138 language immersion programs have seen such high demand that the state surpassed its target of enrolling 30,000 students a year ahead of schedule in 2014.

“In most parts of the county, it’s something parents are demanding,” says Marty Abbott, executive director of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. She calls people like Ms. Spain “language moms.”

Some programs have sparked a backlash. When Houston’s public school district opened an Arabic dual-language school in August, about 30 protesters camped outside, waving American flags and anti-Muslim signs. “There’s some level of fear about it,” said Kate Adams, principal of the Arabic Immersion Magnet School in Houston.

The school district started the program in part because Houston’s energy industry attracts a sizable number of Middle Eastern workers. Yet in its inaugural class this fall, only about 10% of students came from households that spoke Arabic, Ms. Adams said. Many of the rest—a mix of white, black and Latino pupils—have parents who see broad educational benefits in learning a second language early in life. About three students applied for each open spot at the school, where half of all lessons are taught in Arabic.

Parents are being attracted by research suggesting that students gain mental flexibility when they learn a language early in life instead of waiting until high school. In a multiyear study starting in 2007, George Mason University emeritus professors Wayne Thomas and Virginia Collier looked at native and nonnative English-speaking students mixed together in classrooms where teachers taught in both English and a second language. They found that all students scored higher in reading and math than students in non dual-language classrooms, regardless of their ethnicity or socioeconomic status.

“The way the kids think and analyze is more robust than a monolingual school,” said Melody Meade, primary school principal at the Washington International School, a private D.C. immersion school.

In the District of Columbia, dual-language programs have helped turn some once-struggling public schools into attractive destinations. Tyler Elementary School, located just over a mile east of the U.S. Capitol Building, was placed on the district’s list of its 40 worst-performing schools four years ago.

But its Spanish dual-language program, coupled with a desirable location and overall improvements in district public schools, has created such heavy demand that more than 300 students are on a wait list for spots there this school year.

 Spanish instructor Kristin Nguyen teaches a class at Parkview Elementary School. Dual-language classes are attracting native English-speaking families who bet that top jobs will increasingly demand bilingual skills thanks to foreign trade and a growing Latino population in the U.S. Photo: Tony V. Martin/The Times of Northwest Indiana/Associated Press

Spanish instructor Kristin Nguyen teaches a class at Parkview Elementary School. Dual-language classes are attracting native English-speaking families who bet that top jobs will increasingly demand bilingual skills thanks to foreign trade and a growing Latino population in the U.S. Photo: Tony V. Martin/The Times of Northwest Indiana/Associated Press

On a recent afternoon at Tyler, not a word of English was spoken as kindergarten teacher Laura Chapa walked students through a math lesson, counting from one to 11 as she pulled colored chips out of a bag. A sign labeled the class library as a “biblioteca,” including sections for books about “familia” and “animales.”

Tyler’s mostly black student body has diversified to include more white, Latino and Asian students drawn to the dual-language program. “It’s been a win-win for the school,” says Principal Mitchell Brunson. The district’s public school system plans to add three new dual-language programs this coming school year, and D.C. parents have formed an advocacy group to push for more.

“They’re not schools that middle-class people would be attracted to if you just looked at test scores and demographics and condition of the building,” said E.V. Downey, a Washington educational consultant. “They would generally speaking be a no-go, and yet they’re of great interest because of the immersion programs.”

Repost WSJ

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