Category Archives: Holidays

Giving Thanks Around the World

Thanksgiving is here! Let’s take a look at the meaning behind this holiday in the US, and what its traditions have in common with celebrations in other parts of the world. And learn to say “thank you” in different languages!

Harvest Celebrations

basket with food itemsThe first Thanksgivings celebrated by the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians were a celebration of a good harvest.

Harvest celebrations are held in every part of the world, throughout the year. For example, Vietnam celebrates the Mid-Autumn Festival, and Israel celebrates the festival of Sukkot. (Check out our post for fun and easy kids crafts that celebrate these harvest celebrations and more.)

Giving Thanks

hands holding "give thanks"Thanksgiving is an opportunity to pause our hectic schedules, and appreciate all that we have to be grateful for.

In the US, we generally express our gratitude with the words “thank you,” with meaningful gifts, and with gestures like hugs and handshakes.

Every language has its own way of saying the words “thank you,” as shown in this colorful thank you poster with 40 different languages (e.g., Gracias, Danke, Salamat, Obrigado, Hvala, Paldies, Diolch, Tack, Gijtto, Falemindert, Asante, Merci).  Each culture has its own unique set of norms for showing gratitude, as well. In India, for example, people only actually say “thank you” to strangers, not loved ones.  And, in the Philippines, the act of giving is given more importance than the actual item being given.

Sharing a Meal with Loved Ones

people sharing a holiday mealThanksgiving’s “main event” is the meal. While the stuffed turkey is the star of the show, just as important are the sides of cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and countless others.

The first Thanksgiving menu in 1621 likely included seafood, like mussels and lobster, and a dish cooked inside a hollowed-out pumpkin.

There are a variety of traditional dishes enjoyed at gatherings in the winter months. In Mexico, tamales are a popular dish. In Japan, people dine on hot Udon soup. Speckknödel (dumplings) is traditional in Germany. See our post for more winter holiday dishes, with links to recipes.

What’s your favorite part of the Thanksgiving holiday? Comment below and share your unique traditions!

“Happy Thanksgiving” by Faith Goble via Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/8UykdQ

“A holiday feast with my dearest friends, Masako and Satch Takayasu” by Ron Frazier via Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/pEzNEZ

Huge Bilingual Books Giveaway for Celebrating the Bilingual Child Month

Language Lizard will give away a free “surprise set” of bilingual books to at least one lucky winner every month for a year… so you have more chances to win! We are launching our most exciting BILINGUAL BOOK GIVEAWAY on October 1st, 2017, the start of Celebrating the Bilingual Child Month.

Celebrating the Bilingual Child Month

October is an exciting month for language learners because it’s also Celebrating the Bilingual Child Month! Let’s take this opportunity to recognize the many children who speak two or more languages and understand multiple cultures. We can encourage literacy and parental involvement, and celebrate the children who work so hard to learn a new language.

Enter the Language Lizard Bilingual Book Giveaway

We will give away a free “surprise set” of bilingual books to at least one lucky winner every month for a year, so you have many chances to win. Over $1,000 of language materials will be given away! The multicultural children’s books offered in this giveaway will engage and inspire teachers and students in their continued language learning.

How do I enter for a chance to win?

It’s easy! Just fill out the form on our Giveaway Page AND sign up for Language Lizard’s Culture Connection newsletter.*

The sooner you sign up, the more chances you have to win – enter today! For more information and details on the giveaway, visit our Giveaway Page.

What languages will I receive?

Winners will receive bilingual books in one or more of the languages listed on their entry form.

Language Lizard bilingual books are available in English with Albanian, Arabic, Bengali, Bulgarian, Burmese, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Croatian, Czech, Dari, Dutch, Farsi, French, German, Greek, Gujarati, Haitian Creole, Hebrew, Hindi, Hmong, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Karen (Sgaw), Korean, Kurdish, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malay, Malayalam, Nepali, Norwegian, Panjabi (Punjabi), Pashto/Pashtu, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Scottish-Gaelic, Shona, Slovakian, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Tagalog, Tamil, Thai, Tigrinya, Turkish, Twi, Urdu, Vietnamese, Welsh, Yiddish and Yoruba.

*Note: Existing newsletter subscribers do not need to resubscribe. Books will be sent to US or Canada addresses only.

Comment below and tell us how you celebrate the outstanding bilingual children in your life!

 

Text and fade added to “2010 10 31 Autumn leaves leave 4” by Mark Strobl via Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/8PPonW

 

 

World Teacher’s Day Giveaway

World Teachers Day is coming up on October 5. Don’t forget to tell the wonderful teachers in your life how much their hard work is appreciated!

Brief History of World Teachers Day

World Teachers Day was first founded in 1994 by the United Nations to commemorate various intergovernmental recommendations regarding the rights and responsibilities of teachers around the world. These recommendations are guidelines that elevate the status of teaching and promote high quality education.

Enter Our World Teachers Day Giveaway

We’ve teamed up for a K-2 Teacher Giveaway in honor of World Teachers Day. Enter now through October 7, 2017, for a chance to win!

Enter for a chance to win a $100 Visa Gift Card
1. Like this post
2. Comment with your grade level
3. Enter our short Rafflecopter

4. Help us spread the word

How will you celebrate World Teachers Day? Comment below and share!

“Madagascar Teaching” by Frontierofficial is licensed under CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/dgmzdB

World Refugee Day – Support Those in Need

refugee children using Language Lizard books
Language Lizard bilingual books used in a refugee camp

World Refugee Day is coming up on June 20. Marked in over 100 countries, its goal is to raise awareness and funds to help provide refugees with shelter, food and safety.

There are an estimated 60 million refugees in the world. More than half of them are children.  According to the UN, every minute 24 people become refugees who are fleeing war or persecution.

Refugee children in the US face many challenges when adapting to a new life: culture shock, making friends, and learning a new language are just a few.  There are educational resources out there to help ease the transition for newcomers, as well as for teachers, administrators and other students.

Refugee child reading a Language Lizard multicultural children's book
Refugee child reading a multicultural children’s book

There are a number of organizations that support children living in refugee camps.

We at Language Lizard had the pleasure of working with volunteers at The School Box Project, an organization that provides trauma-informed care to relieve the effects that years of violence and conflict have had on the children emotionally and physically. They run various programs that include fun, physical games, as well as projects that allow children to sit quietly and create beautiful artwork.

In Greece, volunteers used Arabic-English bilingual books in a refugee camp to engage children in creative art and reading sessions with parents and teachers. 

Whether you support a local refugee family, help a newcomer in your school, or donate to a large refugee organization, every act of compassion makes a difference.

Do you have plans to mark World Refugee Day? Comment below and share your experiences.

Children’s Day: Win a Multicultural Stories Book Set!

Children celebrating Children's Day

Every June, Children’s Day is celebrated in more than 50 countries around the world. Generally, it’s a day to celebrate the happiness and growth of our children, and commit to protecting their well-being.  Language Lizard is celebrating this day by promoting children’s literacy with a giveaway of Multicultural Books!

In the US, Children’s Day is the second Sunday of June. While the holiday is not widely celebrated here, there is a movement to bring more attention to the holiday, and increase its popularity.

Children's Day Carp Streamers

Although the customs vary in each country, Children’s Day is usually celebrated with fruit juices, kid-pleasing treats, and fun decorations, like dolls and streamers.

We’ve teamed up on a K-2 Teacher Giveaway of a Children of the World class library! Enter below by June 17, 2017, for a chance to win!

Enter to win a multicultural stories class library

“1.6.17 Sofia on Children’s Day 186” by Donald Judge via Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/VbDTRD

“Children’s Day Japan” by Japanexperterna.se via Flickr is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/sbSaHu

Multicultural Books for National Reading Month & Giveaway!

woman in a library

National Reading Month is a great time to try out a new multicultural book with your little ones! Celebrate with fun, diverse children’s books that introduce them to different cultures. And don’t miss out on the Multicultural Stories Giveaway we are co-sponsoring with our friends at I Teach K-2!

What is National Reading Month?

Every March, National Reading Month kicks off with NEA’s Read Across America, which celebrates the birthday of the beloved Dr. Seuss. All month long, organizations across the country hold events that celebrate the love of reading, and encourage kids and adults to enjoy new books or re-visit old favorites.

Our Favorite Multicultural Books for Children

If you’re looking to grow your classroom or personal library by adding great multicultural picture books the kids will love, here are some of our favorites. (Each title is available in English plus your choice of a second language, so kids get to explore a second language, too!)

Grandma’s Saturday Soup

Grandma's Saturday Soup - multicultural children's book

Each day, something new makes Mimi think of her grandma, whom she misses very much. She misses Grandma’s special Saturday Soup, and her stories of life in Jamaica. Derek Brazell’s colorful illustrations brings this story to life, and make us wish we all had a remarkable grandma like this!

Welcome to the World Baby

Welcome to the World Baby - diverse children's books

How are new babies celebrated around the world? Tariq’s classroom gets to meet his new baby brother. During circle time, the students share the different ways their families welcome new babies into the world. Na’ima bint Robert brings us a beautiful, thoughtful exploration of cultural and religious diversity through the eyes of our children.

Yum! Let’s Eat!

Yum! Let's Eat - multicultural books for preschool

This book by Thando Maclaren takes us around the world, to learn about different foods and traditions. Read about exotic dishes like fajitas, sushi, dhal, roti and more! Explore the diversity in children’s lives and develop a worldwide perspective with this book, which is part of the “Our Lives, Our World” series. Other titles in the series include Brrmm! Let’s Go! and Goal! Let’s Play!

The Wibbly Wobbly Tooth

Wibbly Wobbly Tooth - multicultural picture books

Little Li woke up on a Monday morning, only to discover that his tooth is wibbly wobbly! His tooth went wibble wobble all day, until PLOP! it fell right out. Now what will Li do with the tooth?

This humorous story by David Mills, author of Lima’s Red Hot Chilli and Mei Ling’s Hiccups, explores different cultural traditions associated with losing a tooth. It’s a great story to start a class discussion about customs and shared experiences.

Multicultural Stories Giveaway

Language Lizard is co-sponsoring a Multicultural Stories Class Library Giveaway… Enter below by April 1, 2017 for a chance to win!

Giveaway Multicultural Class Library

 

“Woman in Library” by David Niblack via imagebase.net is licensed under CC0 http://imagebase.net/photo/696/Woman-in-Library.html

Holi Festival + World Folktales & Fables Week: New Lesson Plans & Discount

We’re excited to share new, free multicultural lesson plans you can use to celebrate two fun upcoming holidays:

Holi “Festival of Colors” (March 13, 2017)

women preparing for holi celebration

Holi [pronounced houli], also known as the Festival of Colors,  is a popular springtime festival celebrated in many parts of South Asia and around the world.  This festival celebrates the coming of spring and the end of winter. It is also a day to give thanks for a good harvest. It’s a time to forgive and forget, be with your friends and your family, and have a whole lot of fun.

The Holi Festival lasts two days. The first night, there’s a big bonfire that everyone gathers around. The next day is when all the fun begins! Ranwali Holi—as day 2 is called—is the day of colors. People, old and young, friends and strangers, carry spritzers and balloons filled with colored water, and they spray each other until everyone is multi‐colored and beautiful.

World Folktales and Fables Week (March 19-25, 2017)

World Folktales and Fables Week

World Folktales and Fables Week is dedicated to encouraging children and adults to explore the lessons and cultural background of folktales, fables, myths and legends from around the world.

Reading world folktales and fables is not only a wonderful way to entertain and bond with children, it is also an effective way to educate them. The stories in classic folklore offer both social lessons as well as an opportunity to teach about cultures and languages. Be sure to enjoy a good folktale in your classroom or home!

Celebrate with Free Lesson Plans & Discount

It’s easy to download these lessons, along with other multicultural lesson plans that you can use throughout the year!

As a special bonus for World Folktales & Fables Week 2017, Language Lizard is offering a 10% discount on the following bilingual folktales and fables available in English with multiple other languages: Buri and the Marrow, The Crow King, The Dragon’s Tears, Goose Fables, Lion Fables and Yeh Hsien: A Chinese Cinderella.

Simply enter coupon code FABLES2017 to receive the discount (valid through March 31, 2017).

More Resources

To celebrate World Folktales and Fables Week, check out these blog posts for great ideas you can use in the classroom and at home:

World Folktales and Fables: Effective Teaching Tools to Educate and Entertain Children

Celebrate World Folktales and Fables Week in the Classroom and at Home

 

“Holi Celebrations” by wonker via Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/4CL6qE

Big Giveaway! Win Multicultural Children’s Resources for Celebrating the Bilingual Child Month

celebrate-bilingual-child-month

ENTER GIVEAWAY NOW! (click here)

In honor of Celebrating the Bilingual Child Month, Language Lizard is giving away hundreds of dollars worth of language learning materials!

Celebrating the Bilingual Child Month was established in 2006 to recognize the many children that speak two or more languages and understand multiple cultures. We want to encourage literacy and parental involvement, while celebrating the children who work so hard to learn a second language.

Teachers can check out our blog post for 10 ideas for how to celebrate bilingual children in the classroom.

The multicultural children’s books and audio resources offered in this giveaway will engage and inspire teachers and students in their continued language learning!

PENpal Audio Recorder Pen Bilingual Book Set

A grand prize winner will receive an interactive literacy set that includes bilingual books, an illustrated dictionary and the award-winning PENpal Audio Recorder Pen, valued at over $200. Sets are available in English with a choice of Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, French, Haitian-Creole, Hindi, Panjabi, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Turkish, Urdu, Vietnamese and more.  Runners up will win a surprise “basket of books” in their choice of languages.

Find more info and enter the giveaway today! Last day for entry is November 12, 2016.

“Happy Time” by David Amsler via Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/btpFXa

We’re linking up with other educational bloggers to bring you fun ideas and a great giveaway too!

November 2016 Rafflecopter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

5 Fun & Easy Ways to Celebrate Diversity

celebrate-diversity

It’s always a great time to celebrate diversity in your classroom and home, but October is special because it’s also Celebrating the Bilingual Child Month! Language Lizard will soon announce a huge giveaway in honor of the occasion… In the meantime, we offer 5 fun and easy ways to celebrate diversity today!

Foods from Around the World

pizza-heartTrying out a new dish from a different part of the world is delicious, fun and educational – a sure win! You might love trying a bit of Gulab Jamun from India, or some Udon from Japan. Give these international foods a try, and get a taste of life in another land.

International Crafts

mid-autumn festival lantern diversity craft

Bring cultural diversity and international flavor to your classroom with these five easy kid crafts inspired by multicultural traditions. The best part? They can all be made with materials you probably already have. Plus, they involve minimal mess and are simple enough for most kids to complete on their own.

Language Learning with Music

bilingual music activities

Children love music and singing. There is something magical about words being set to a melody that make children perk up and join in. Since most children’s songs consist of catchy beats and poetry-infused lyrics, it is a perfect combination of rhythm, rhyme and fun.

An added benefit to children’s songs is that they are often easy to learn. The short, repetitive sentences lend themselves to easy memorization and retention. What better way to learn words in context than to sing them out loud? Children don’t even realize how much their language skills are improving while joining in the singing fun.

Games and Bilingual Storybooks

variety of booksExploring a new language or culture through fun games and activities makes so much sense! We learn better when we’re having fun and not putting too much pressure on ourselves to retain information. Take a look at ten great game ideas that make use of the bilingual storybooks you already have in your library – or are hoping to add – and get ready to have lots of fun while you’re learning!

Multicultural Holidays & Vacations

child-holding-wrapped-gift1We all know first-hand that getting students to engage in conversations works best when they are inspired and excited about the topic.  This is particularly true of bilingual students, especially those who may still be mastering the community language. What better way to get your bilingual students talking with you and one another? Their minds are so full of wonderful memories of holidays and vacations past, they will most likely want to share as much as possible. We have tips to help your students direct their holiday and vacation excitement into fun language opportunities.

What are you favorite ways to celebrate diversity in your classroom and family? Comment below and share!

 

“Kids Talk” by victoria harjadi via Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/a29EsL

“PizzaHeart” by Anderson Mancini via flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/5E43fe

“Preschool Song” by PROcaseywest via flickr is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/81QRSX

Father’s Day Inspiration From Around the World

father walking with kids on the beach

While Father’s Day traditions may vary all of the world, one thing is for sure, they deserve to be celebrated! Did you know that dads in Mexico wake up early to compete in a 21 km race around the capital city? Alternatively, fathers in Finland sleep in and enjoy their favorite breakfast.

If you are looking for a fun way to show your dad you care, why not look to another country for some cultural inspiration? You never know where you may find a new tradition for your family!

fathers day

This guest post was provided by Personal Creations.  You may also enjoy last year’s inspirational father’s day post, “The Last Book My Dad Read to Me“.  Note: For Father’s Day 2016, Language Lizard is offering a 10% discount on our popular bilingual book, “My Daddy is a Giant” (through June 2016, using coupon code Daddy-16).

“Family By the Beach” by FHG Photo via Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/8odLni