16
Aug

Poet laureate or children's laureate - what's the difference?

You’ve probably guessed that we love all things storytelling here at Mantra Lingua. We don’t mind if it takes the form of a picture book, or a dramatic performance, or a story or song with actions, or (one of our favourites) rhyme or chanting. And we’re always delighted to hear about new story champions for children. Now that the dust has settled from the excitement of the appointment of Cressida Cowell as Children’s Laureate for the next two years, we thought we’d take a quick look at what “Laureate” actually means.

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16
Aug

The elephant in the room? A few facts about our largest land animal

You might have noticed that Mantra Lingua’s logo includes at least one elephant – so we thought it might be quite fun to have a look at a few elephant facts. You probably already know that the elephant is the world’s largest land animal, and that they have rather large ears and a splendid trunk, but there are many other facts you might not know.

Natural history experts now think there are 3 species of elephant (they used to think it was 2). The species are the African bush elephant, the African forest elephant, and the Asian elephant.

Ear, Ear – How Do You Know If It’s An Asian Elephant Or An African Elephant?

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09
Aug

Do you know your ELGs from your EYFS? How Mantra Lingua can help Early Years Literacy

While literacy isn’t the only area of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) where Mantra Lingua’s products can help with Early Learning Goals, one of our specialist areas is storytelling, in all its forms.

How can Mantra Lingua help in the Early Years Foundation Stages?

Literacy is a lifelong skill: it’s the key to many other subjects, and essential for educational, social and, later on, career development. It’s not surprising, therefore, that the EYFS curriculum gives so much emphasis to Early Learning Goals (ELGs) in this area.

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07
Aug

Language sponges of the world unite – how effective are bilingual books in early years education?

You know that nagging suspicion we’ve always had that babies who are brought up bilingual from birth are actually, well, wired a little differently when it comes to acquiring languages? Well, it turns out we were absolutely correct – according to the Infant Speech Perception Lab at McGill University in Canada, anyway.

Research into bilingualism

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31
Jul

Blooms, butterflies, moths – and maps? Yes, it’s time for the Big Butterfly Count Again

If you’re lucky enough to be on holiday at the moment, you might well be enjoying a little relaxation time in your garden, or a local park or nature reserve, enjoying the fresh air and flowers and being aware of the local fauna as well, including insects.

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29
Jul

Weather-wise – weather sayings or scientific facts, which are more accurate in predicting the weather?

Whether you love the weather or loathe the weather, it affects all of us. In recent years, climate change has become much more evident, but have you ever wondered how people used to forecast the weather in the old days? Now that we have the Met Office and amazing apps and computer software to help alert us to what’s heading our way, we sometimes forget that for centuries farmers and others used to use signs from the natural world to determine what lay ahead.

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29
Jul

Sing something simple – using songs for language learning

What’s the first nursery rhyme you remember learning in your native language? Chances are, it was set to music, whether it was a version of Frere Jacques or Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.

Songs make an excellent teaching and learning tool for all kinds of subjects, including foreign language learning or English as Another Language. Even for adults, putting prosaic things like shopping lists or task lists to a familiar tune can also be a great way to remember what you need to do.

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25
Jul

Dual Language Story Books - Welcome, Bienvenu, Come on In

While there are more dual language books available than there used to be, most of the fiction titles out there are either translations of well-established classics or limited to a very small number of language pairs. In the past, parallel texts used to be a popular method of teaching classical Greek and Latin. If you’re looking for dual language stories, then your choice is reasonably broad for French/English; Spanish/English; German/English; Japanese/English and Chinese/English.

What’s a dual language book?

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19
Jul

The man in the moon, or is it a hare? Lunar expressions for the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing

It’s been quite a year for anniversaries - fifty years ago this weekend, on 20 July 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to set foot on the moon, to the amazement of the world.  

Until the moon landings, the moon was swathed in superstition. And while in the west we might talk about the man in the moon, in many parts of the world, it’s traditional for people to see a hare or a rabbit. Apollo 11 landed in the Sea of Tranquility – which is apparently the rabbit’s head, with the Sea of Nectar and the Sea of Fertility as the creature’s ears.  In Maori and Samoan folk tales, it isn’t a man in the moon, but a girl or a woman.  

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16
Jul

"I was bowled over, completely!" How we use sayings from sport in our everyday conversation

We’ve seen a lot of sports coverage this summer – Wimbledon, the FIFA Women's World Cup, the Cricket World Cup (amazingly, England won that one…) It got us thinking about all those sporting terms and phrases that have made their way into our more-or-less everyday conversations.

Sticking with cricket, we know something is unacceptable if we hear “it’s just not cricket”, while if you’re on a “sticky wicket”, it’s not good news. Meanwhile, if you’re “bowled over” by something or someone, we can rest assured that you’re pretty impressed.

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