Distance Learning: Language and Arts Digital Resources for Multilingual Learners

The third part of our series on Free Digital Resources for Multilingual Learners focuses on Language and Arts Digital Resources. Along with the freely available multilingual resources related to language learning and arts, we present some creative activities realized by our Language Friendly Schools. As you will see, these can easily be repeated both at home and at school, giving vent to children’s imagination and inventiveness.

This initiative is part of a project which aims to support children, parents and schools in this difficult period. In fact, COVID19 has led us to rethink our lives. In this situation, education needs to shape itself into new forms, embracing different ways to reach students and support their learning. The Rutu Foundation has curated a series of free online resources specifically designed for multilingual learners. Even when schools open up again, these resources are important tools to create inclusive multilingual classrooms. We will continue to update them so check back regularly or subscribe to our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss anything.

#LearningNeverStops

The first and second part of the series can be found here:

Language Digital Resources

Learning a new language can be a challenge for many people, especially when social interactions are limited. Traveling in different countries, meeting native speakers and participating in live classes are great possibilities to study a language. Fortunately, when movements and social relationships are constrained, the internet offers many ways to keep learning languages. Here you can find some multilingual language resources for children, to support their learning process from home. Enjoy!

  • Moka Mera – Moka Mera is an app for preschool and primary school multilingual children. It offers animated bilingual stories with which children can interact and play. Through this app, children can learn new languages while playing games and interacting with bright graphics. Available languages are Arabic, Chinese, English, Finnish, French, Russian Spanish and Swedish. In addition, the app is also accessible for offline users.

  • Mamalisa – Songs and poems are a great way for children to learn about languages and about each other. Mamalisa is a platform that offers songs and rhymes in different languages from around the world, full of  texts, pictures and videos. It is a great way also to develop listening skill and to know more about typical songs and poems from other countries.

  • MondlyKID – Mondly is also a good app to learn languages. Here, the learning process is mother tongue-based: in fact, the app allows you to choose between 33 languages from which you can start your courses. This approach allows children to feel more confident during the education process and interact with learning materials in an easier way. Read more about the benefits of mother tongue-based education here. A version specifically for children is also available: it’s mondlyKID, full of games and animations.
  • BaBa Dum – If you are looking for a more playful way to learn languages, this platform is perfect for you. BaBa Dum offers different games through which children are encouraged to learn new words. It is available in 21 languages, among them: Afrikaans, Dutch, Lithuanian, Polish, Romanian and many others.

English Learners

  • British Council Learning English – The British Council offers an interactive platform where children can learn English through illustrated materials, games or paintings. Lessons cover many linguistic skills, such as reading, listening, writing and speaking. Also, the website offers face-to-face courses in different languages, and it provides support for parents. It is available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian Spanish and Thai.

  • KS2 English – BBC – The BBC provides multilingual resources to learn and improve your English. This platform is aimed at people speaking UK languages: learning materials are accessible in Gaelic, English, Irish, and Welsh. But they can used by anyone. Activities are divided by language skills. The platform also includes games and a great library full of different genres of books: from fiction to non-fiction books, from poems to plays.

Arts&Leisure Online Resources

In this confinement situation, where movements and trips are limited, going to visit a museum or having a walk in a park is unfortunately not possible for many people in the world. But, what if you had the possibility to bring them inside your house? The web makes this possible! In fact, there are many free online resources that allow people to take virtual tours of museums around the world, explore cities and parks or again, travel across history, discovering the world’s cultural and artistic heritage.

You can use these resources in many different ways and with different purposes. You can either enjoy a visit by yourself or use some interactive videos with your children or students. They can be extremely precious for children because they help them leave their domestic and local environment, allow them to visit new places and discovering new things. They are also a great opportunity to enter the world of Arts and stimulate creativity. All these resources are available in different languages and they adapt to your geographic settings. 

Visiting a museum

Google Arts&Culture is a platform where you can virtually appreciate the beauty of Arts and Culture. It includes a series of collections from museums around the world, offering the possibility to collect peaceful moments in this difficult period. You can explore masterpieces from different museums or deepen your knowledge about an artist, a painting technique or a motif. And you can also travel across history, events and people. 

Many museums around the world are offering their own virtual online tours. Among them, you can find:

Walking around

Do you miss walking in a park? Or booking a flight to visit a new city? While waiting for this to be possible, you can virtually do it through Google Earth. Open the platform and you will be catapulted wherever you want to be. You can visit a natural park in the United States or explore blossoming cherry trees in Japan. You can bring your children or students to a zoo or make them discover how dinosaurs lived their last days on our planet. And you can also play some quizzes about animals, nature and the wonders of the world. 

Language Friendly Schools' Suggestions

Our Language Friendly Schools are unique when it comes to developing creative and dynamic activities for multilingual students. Here we present you some examples of their wonderful work with multilingual students that can be a guide for your activities at home or at school. All these practices are based on the respect and inclusion of all languages spoken by children and on the power of their imagination and creativity. So, get some papers, markers and pencils and let our Language Friendly Schools inspire you.

Create a multilingual illustrated poster

Creating a multilingual poster is an easy and stimulating activity to do with your children and students. Both at home and at school, you can encourage them to work on a specific world and translate it in all the languages they speak and learn. The result will be an amazing collection of nouns in many different languages, fruit of the engagement and participation of all children. Have a look at the welcoming one made by our LFS Silver Creek in Toronto.

To make the practice even more interesting, you can have students adding words in their own languages according to their own imagination. Here you can find examples of some posters realized by our LFS: the students of the St Janschool in Amsterdam (credits to Guilia Bierens de Haan) created drawings representing how animal sounds are perceived in different languages.

Draw a story, your favorite song or your own hero

Read children a story or play them their favorite song. Later, ask them to draw their feelings, emotions and thoughts. It will be a wonderful exercise to stimulate their creativity and inventiveness. There are plenty of multilingual reading resources available online (see our blog post).  The Optimist International School asked students to write their favorite story in their own language and then draw them. The result is beautiful!

Explore nature and draw what you see

Have you ever thought of going out and explore the nature around you? You can find out about the presence of many small things that you have never noticed. We suggest you do this exercise with children and ask them to talk about and draw what they have seen and perceived. You can also encourage them to pick some leaves or flowers and use them to make their drawing even more beautiful. Adding the names of plants in their home languages, perhaps with the help of parents, or have them talk about their favourite fruits or flowers from their heritage countries, will enhance the knowledge of the whole classroom.

Reproduce a famous painting that inspires you

Another exciting activity that you can easily try is to draw a famous painting. Ask children to pick their favorite one from their heritage countries and to reproduce it! Then, encourage them to talk or write something about it in their home languages, describing what feelings the drawing gives them. The Optimist International School has realized a special version of this activity: children chose a printed piece of art and cut it in half. Then, they use their inventiveness to draw the other half with any materials they liked and they wrote stories in their own languages to accompany their creations. This practice helped them to explore how things can be seen, perceived and interpreted in different ways according to everyone eyes. Our LFS also tells us:

In Language class students imagined that the paintings were clips of a film that has been paused and they we encouraged to write what happens in the film before and after the paused scene. Everyone could write in their chosen language to let their creativity and imagination flow freely. On a special green paper students wrote about which feelings they had about the movie in the language they felt most comfortable expressing their feelings.

Create your own multilingual vocabulary and share it with your friends

If you are looking for a practice to improve children’s linguistic skills, creating a multilingual vocabulary can be the perfect one. Pick a topic or a theme and translate words in all languages spoken or studied by children and students.

Then, have fun in representing them through drawings: visualizing nouns is a powerful exercise in order to remember words better. One of our schools in Toronto asked students to search for Québecois sayings and draw them. “Lâche pas la patate!” was their favorite!

Send a card in your own language to a classmate you miss

School closure and distance learning have a crucial impact on children’s relationships and many suffer from the lack of interaction with their teachers and classmates. Writing a card in their own language, drawing a special picture and sending it to a friend they miss can help them deal with this situation and keep them connected to their school environment.

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