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mms

Becoming more consistent w/ OPOL

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I know the easy answer is: Just Do It!  But, really, if one has gotten out of the habit of OPOL are there some strategies for gradually easing back into it without pouring cold water on the children (esp if one hasn't had any exposure to OPOL and will be primarily doing the minority language as a foreign language during school time)?

Editing out personal details!

Edited by mms

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How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
Usually the hardest thing about disciplining our kids to do a thing, is disciplining ourselves to lead by example.

I have no idea about Russian websites, but if you can read and write/type Russian, it shouldn't take you long to find some. Just go to YouTube/Google, change your language to Russian and start searching things in Russian. Whatever search engines are popular in Russian speaking countries, are the ones that you need to use. Buy yourself some audiobooks, podCasts, movies and eBooks in Russian and start spending your time in Russian.

Using a popular Russian search engine look for "Best X website" etc, in Russian, and you'll get plenty.
Find YouTubers who have Russian channels.

 

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Editing out personal details!

Edited by mms

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I usually tell families to just start with just one routine and speak the target language then. It is sometimes overwhelming to think to just begin speaking the other language all the time, so you can start small. We are an English/Spanish family, but are learning Mandarin. To get us in the habit of speaking the (very) little we know, I started Mandarin mornings. We are to speak Mandarin during breakfast time. That is the only obligatory time we speak Chinese (although it does find its way into other conversation in the day sometimes). I have my own tutor, so if I need information to extend our conversation, I ask and then am able to incorporate that into the routine. I see us doing this routine for a while, since our knowledge is so limited at the moment. I started a journal to help keep us consistent with speaking, and watching shows and discussing them, etc. It has worked out well so far. 

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Interactions and activities are the tool that I use to teach language to kids. I've never really taught an adult a language, but when I work with adults on language, we use interactions and activities as well.

Decide on 3-5 activities that you're going to do with the 5yo, and just get really intentional and spend 10-30 minutes with your 5yo interacting in Russian. You want to start teaching him certain words and phrases and reinforcing them in "quiz games" as possible. Over a week, make sure that you are directly instructing him on the phrases and vocabulary that he needs to participate in that reaction. Teach him to phrase questions and answers.

cooking, (simple) games or even the generic "crafts" are good places to start "interactions".

Start with a simple craft, such as cutting out different size circles to make snowmen.
Teach your kid the phrases that are needed to explain that activity via direct instruction.
1 or 2 days before you do the craft teach the phrases that are needed and the vocab. So if you're using glue, paper, scissors and pencil, teach those words. After you teach him 2-4 words, Play "hand me..." where you tell the child in Russian "Hand me X,"etc, for X, Y, Z, and W, where XYZ and W are the 4 things you'll need to do the craft thats coming up.
Also point to things and ask him "What is this?" and "Is this X?" and have him reply in complete sentences "Yes, it is X", or "No, it's not X, it's W"

Once you know that he can follow, get the materials for the crafts set up and pulling him aside individiually for some special time with you, you guys do the crafthe should understand 75% or more of the instructions the first time around.

You want easy crafts, because the goal is NOT the craft, the goal is getting him to take-in and produce language intelligibly for 5-20 minutes in that setting, where he can be right more often than not. Once he's done a few crafts, move on to cooking. Switch the activity between cooking and craft every few days unless he has a bigger interest/passion in one or the other.

Give him that 1-1 time 20 minutes a day and then reinforce 2-3 times through out the day as life goes one. Once he's able to comprehend more language, then you can fold in the 7yo with slightly more advanced activities for both of them. Your oldest may or may not join in, but (I think) that many little kids like that sort of play. They like feeling smart and love being able to show off.

Once he can confidently play a few games, help you cook, clean, do crafts with you, move on to watching his cartoons with him and discussing the cartoons.
Then on to story books, and discussing the pictures and story a lot.

 

Make sure that your husband is learning the phrases and words that are most important to day to day life with 4 small kids. Put phrases and words around the house so that the husband and the kids can read/review them throughout the day.

Once the 5yo has caught up (1.5 months max, if your consistent it will probably not take that long) have meals ONLY in Russian.
Have your 10yo to help you "Do Russian Circle" for the 5yo and toddler. "Russian Circle" is pointing at a chart and doing choral chanting essentially, then Q and A, try to keep it between 7 and 10 minutes, even if you have to cut it off at that time.

"Russian Circle" activities is when you get a calendar and point while reciting the days of the week, months of the year by season, doing word of the day (use props, don't actually write down a word for them), and counting items and playing short questioning games with them each day. Get a special rug or something for them to sit on each day and a stuffed animal that only comes out during that time.

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You've gotten some good advice already.  The hardest thing is not child discipline, but parental discipline.  In our house, I guess technically I speak the minority language (English) and the local language and DH's native language is French.  I have ALWAYS spoken to the kids in English.  The only exception is if we have guests and it might feel rude to speak in another language in front of them.  

In fact, it got to the point where their English was outpacing the local language, so we switched to dinner time (when DH is home) all speaking French, including me.  This is where my personal self-discipline is the most tested.  It is very hard for me to switch to my second language when I'm tired from the day.  I'm fluent in French, I'm just lazy about it.  🙂  

I think it's great that you are doing target language media time, but remember studies do not support language acquisition through screens.  Kids need direct interaction with a live human in order to acquire language so that they can pick up on the whole ensemble of clues (body language, tone, volume, etc, etc) that enhance meaning and understanding.  Media as reinforcement and reward is fine, just don't expect much from it in terms of forwarding progress.  

Finally, for the easily frustrated child/children, spend as little time as possible in correcting directly.  If there is an error in pronunciation, conjugation, whatever,  just immediately repeat correctly:

"That car be red!"

"Yes, that car *is* red!  And this car *is* blue!  Which car is your favorite?"

The exact same way we teach toddlers to speak in their mother tongue.  

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Great advice and very good reminders! I think I have a bit more of a plan to start implementing after Easter Break! Yes, on parental discipline: that's why I'm hoping to get in the groove before the baby comes, hopefully make it more automatic after a sleepless night...

Monica, the media is for me 🙂  The only screens my kids are exposed to at home are 30 min of cartoons (only in Russian) on very rainy days when it's impossible to go outside.  I will say though that audiobooks have been instrumental for my older girls in maintaining their language skills - I don't think I would have been able to do anything without audiobooks.  I'm always amazed by the vocabulary they pick up from listening.

I just have to keep reminding myself that I did this for several years when there were only two + infant, I can do this with four + infant too!

Thanks to everyone!

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On 4/16/2019 at 2:04 PM, mms said:

I know the easy answer is: Just Do It!  But, really, if one has gotten out of the habit of OPOL are there some strategies for gradually easing back into it without pouring cold water on the children (esp if one hasn't had any exposure to OPOL and will be primarily doing the minority language as a foreign language during school time)?

Editing out personal details!

I can so relate. The best things for me have been adding minority language auditory resources to our day (mostly Spanish hip hop and sermons) because it kinda knocks me into Spanish mode, and adding the language to my personal time. I have a Spanish Bible and if a book is available in both languages I'll pick the minority option. I'm not sure Russian resources would help me much. :laugh:

On 4/18/2019 at 1:49 PM, Renai said:

I usually tell families to just start with just one routine and speak the target language then. It is sometimes overwhelming to think to just begin speaking the other language all the time, so you can start small. We are an English/Spanish family, but are learning Mandarin. To get us in the habit of speaking the (very) little we know, I started Mandarin mornings. We are to speak Mandarin during breakfast time. That is the only obligatory time we speak Chinese (although it does find its way into other conversation in the day sometimes). I have my own tutor, so if I need information to extend our conversation, I ask and then am able to incorporate that into the routine. I see us doing this routine for a while, since our knowledge is so limited at the moment. I started a journal to help keep us consistent with speaking, and watching shows and discussing them, etc. It has worked out well so far. 

Of course she fails to mention that she created the perfect product to go along with this method! I should have mentioned that. This really helped us. We started with morning time. I either switched to Spanish products (poetry, songs) or translated on the spot (art appreciation, drills). The journal was very helpful in making me think through things I didn't realize were important so that I could implement the routine better.

On 4/20/2019 at 2:33 AM, Monica_in_Switzerland said:

You've gotten some good advice already.  The hardest thing is not child discipline, but parental discipline.  I

Finally, for the easily frustrated child/children, spend as little time as possible in correcting directly.  If there is an error in pronunciation, conjugation, whatever,  just immediately repeat correctly:

"That car be red!"

"Yes, that car *is* red!  And this car *is* blue!  Which car is your favorite?"

The exact same way we teach toddlers to speak in their mother tongue.  

I just wanted to say that I strongly agree with both of these points.

On 4/20/2019 at 7:41 PM, mms said:

Great advice and very good reminders! I think I have a bit more of a plan to start implementing after Easter Break! Yes, on parental discipline: that's why I'm hoping to get in the groove before the baby comes, hopefully make it more automatic after a sleepless night...

Monica, the media is for me 🙂  The only screens my kids are exposed to at home are 30 min of cartoons (only in Russian) on very rainy days when it's impossible to go outside.  I will say though that audiobooks have been instrumental for my older girls in maintaining their language skills - I don't think I would have been able to do anything without audiobooks.  I'm always amazed by the vocabulary they pick up from listening.

I just have to keep reminding myself that I did this for several years when there were only two + infant, I can do this with four + infant too!

Thanks to everyone!

Someone suggested that I make the minority language the baby's language. That was very helpful and encouraged everyone to speak it more. The only problem I encountered was Spanish baby talk. I didn't learn Spanish until I was about 4 so when the baby was asking for no-no (desayuno=breakfast) I had no idea what he wanted. There was a lot of that. Row for dog, ka for bath. Fortunately, my oldest could translate for me. :blush:

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