Using this with young kids (FAQ and ongoing discussion)

>Have you considered how this might work with young kids? I haven’t really investigated how to modify this stuff for kids yet; at the moment, I'm mostly aiming for adults. The theory of memory that I go over in the book will apply to kids just as well as adults, but since most of this is active (you’re making your own resources), it’s going to be out of the reach of young (4-5 year old) kids. If you’re talking about 8-12 year olds, though, they’re already able to start making physical flashcards, leitner boxes, etc., so that might be a good fit. At younger ages, helping kids learn how to learn information is probably the best thing you can do for them: here's how you make a flashcard with a picture on it, here's how you test yourself, here's how you use a personal connection to make that information more salient. (And later on, here's how you use a Leitner box, or how to use Anki, for computer savvy kids). I would *love* to hear comments on this, ideas for ways of using these ideas with kids, and actual experiments you've tried with your own kids. So please do contribute to this thread and let's discuss this stuff!

* Originally posted by Gabriel Wyner.

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17 comments

  • I know that the original idea in this part of the forum is the focus of potentially using the FF method with younger language learners but I would like to offer a tangential idea to this:

    As a Canadian high school science teacher (chemistry specifically) and a language learner/dabbler (polyglot wannabe) I am really looking forward to taking the Fluent Forever ideas and incorporating them into my chemistry classes.

    I have approached the teaching of chemistry as a "language" and I have been using flashcards over the years to try to help the students to learn things that they have to commit to memory. Upon reflection, I am realizing now that I have been doing this at a very basic and probably ineffectual level. I am looking to the FF ideas to supercharge this process.

    I think the genius of the FF approach is that by constructing flashcards with so many connections that it deeply facilitates a richer learning experience. The students construct their own learning which although not an easy one, it could end up being very satisfying.

    The cool thing is that I will be using the FF method for my own language learning while at the same time modifying it for chemistry. I will hope to model the learning that I am hoping my students will experience as well. It will be an interesting semester and I will report back on my progress.

    To compliment the wonderful ideas presented in the FF book I would suggest that people also get a book that just came out called "Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning" by Brown, Roediger and McDaniel. It gives a more research-based approach to the ideas in FF and is a great compliment to what FF advocates.

    My prediction is that once the FF book becomes more known and talked about there will be more and more teachers of various subjects that will take the FF ideas and use them in their classes!

    cheers
    niels

    * Originally posted by ronin31.
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  • Tangential ideas are encouraged; I agree that this stuff has applications outside of language learning, and I'd love to hear how your Chem classes go!

    * Originally posted by Gabriel Wyner.
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  • I'm doing some experiments on my kids...

    I've made Anki cards for a large batch of information for my 9 y/o - she's learning 16 specific musical works, along with the composers and various ancillary information relating to the works and/or composers. I think here it'll make sense to incoporate the cards that are related to one particular work/composer all at the same go, as a thematic unit. At this point she's very enthused, but probably mostly because it's a novelty. Better still would've been to have her work with me creating the deck, but I'm still figuing out the Anki.

    For another kid - she's 7 - we're going to give it a whirl with math facts. Historically, this kid will know 7 4 some days and not have the faintest idea other days.

    ... I'll have results before long.

    * Originally posted by Holly.
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  • @Holly: Very cool. Do check out this article as you branch out from language to other subjects; it should help make those flashcards more effective: http://fluent-forever.com/create-better-flashcards/

    * Originally posted by Gabriel Wyner.
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  • Hello! I've just jumped on the FF bandwagon... saw the book Sunday, now it's Thursday and I have Anki cards and I've read most of the book. I've been trying to learn French for years, and my older dd has far outstripped me because she gets to have a tutor. So I'm very excited about FF.

    I have plans to apply FF to my kids' studies. I currently have an 11yo, a 6yo, and a 1yo. The two older kids are working on French and Japanese, and the 1yo gets exposure.

    I'm probably not going to do the pronunciation studies with them, but replace it with lots of CDs, music, and apps that will have the right sounds. The best resource I've found is the Baby's First Words CDs (here's the French one: http://tinyurl.com/lnnfs9j) because they work to introduce the sounds that are unusual in English. I'm looking for something similar for Japanese, but we're using music in the meanwhile.

    I'm planning on helping each of them make Anki vocab decks, and then they'll use them on their iDevices.

    I'm curious to see what other folks do. I'm finding so far that FF seems fabulous but requires some technological sophistication. I'm comfortable with everything I'm doing thus far, but it's not streamlined or open-and-go. Lots of the parents I know need something simple to use. I can see that "easy to use" might develop with time, which would be amazing.

    * Originally posted by anabelneri.
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  • My kid/Anki experiments are coming along...

    Kid1 (she's 9) is really digging the music memory materials we've worked on. We started with really simple "name of piece" / "name of composer" cards, then added things like what type of ensemble plays the piece (solo guitar, full orchestra w/ chorus, brass choir, etc). Now we're working together to make new cards with more information about the musical forms we're hearing and specific things about the composers. My girl is getting the hang of making the cards have only the smallest bits of information - we're shooting for lots of cards wtih tiny bits of things to remember.

    I'm finding that having the kid involved in the card making (she wasn't at the get-go) is very helpful. She feels more invested in the whole thing and likes being prepped for what'll come up in her deck.

    I bailed on the math-facts for Kid2. It wasn't going well. She needs a people-connection to make it any fun at all.

    We're also using Anki for tackling a huge spelling list. The list is long enough that even working a little bit at a time without a method would probably not yield good results. So I imported the list into an Anki deck. Its only function is to prompt the person helping the kid with the spelling list. I considered adding sound files so the kid could study independently, but it seemed like too much work. The kid likes being able to see the pie chart of how much of the list she's learned - that makes it not feel never-ending and outrageous.

    * Originally posted by Holly.
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  • I'm an English teacher in Korea and, within a week of finishing Fluent-Forever, have taught each of my private students (age 11 to adult) how to use an SRS. I haven't been using Anki though. Instead I've taught them about Memrise because it's a little more playful and fun. Let's call it the gateway drug of SRS...

    After they get the idea of how to study in this way and start to see the fruits of their labor, I will begin to show them how to create cards in Anki.

    * Originally posted by bkilrain.
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  • @Holly: Check this out - https://ankiweb.net/shared/info/3100585138 - it'll let you download English audio for those spelling cards automagically.

    @bkilrain: "Gateway drug of SRS"..I like that :)

    * Originally posted by Gabriel Wyner.
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  • Woah.

    * Originally posted by Holly.
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  • Our family speaks English and DD is 5. We started learning ASL when DD was 3 months old, added Spanish at age 2, added French at 4.5 at DD's request and plan to add some Latin roots next year. DH and I both learned French in high school and college; he is far more fluent that I am after having lived in France for an exchange. The other languages we are just stumbling along learning from the best resources I can find. I just got a copy of FF and am excited to get started on rounding out our 625 words in each of our languages!

    I've used ANKI previously, but I'm wondering if it would be a good idea to set up an account for DH and DD and share my cards for each of the languages with them so that the practicing for each person is tracked separately. Does anyone have experience doing this?

    Thanks,
    Sandee

    * Originally posted by sdlium.
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  • It is fine to share your deck but, keep in mind that the more DD and DH are involved with the creation of cards, the more effective it is.

    * Originally posted by Gabriel Wyner.
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  • Does anyone know if the verb developmental stages for French and Spanish are the same as in English?

    On page 112-113 in Fluent Forever there is a discussion of the verb learning order:
    □ -ing (He watching TV)
    □ IS (he is watching)
    □ Irregular past tense (he fell)
    □ Regular past tense (He Jumped
    □ Third-person present tense (He eats the cheeseburger)

    I want to simplify the verbs that I teach DD. I originally planned to start by teaching just the first useful form of I such as "I want", "I need", etc. But after re-reading this section, I'm wondering if I should use the -ing form of the word instead.

    Thanks,
    Sandee

    * Originally posted by sdlium.
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  • Very great book, and very good thread. I have finished the book and will apply this to my study of Mandarin. I am also interested in this thread as I hope to adapt my ESL classes. I specifically want to use the tools to help my middle school students.

    @bkilrain: how is it going there, especially with your younger students? Have any proceeded to use Anki? Thank you for the memrise reference. I will look into that.

    -Mateo

    * Originally posted by mateo.
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  • I just wanted to thank everyone for the discussion here. My kids (ages 11 and 13) are going to start learning Spanish this fall, and although I'd seen the problem of card creation being slower for them, I hadn't considered making all of my own cards ahead of time and then copying them over and just removing the pictures. That's a nice solution that, especially for my 11yo, will remove a layer of clicking and searching that may not be particularly value-added.

    I'm also scaling back the new cards to 20/day instead of 30. I want to see how this goes, in terms of time commitment, but with this faster way for them to make cards, maybe I'll be able to bump it back up to 30 once we've gotten into a good rhythm.

    I also told my neighbor, who has a child my son's age, about the FF pronunciation trainers. She's very impressed, and I'm glad that the Japanese resources are done in time for them.

    * Originally posted by islandtanya.
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  • I don't want to forget how we're getting through some of the obstacles we're running into, so I'm posting before we are that far into the process.

    My 13yo is able to use the Spanish pronunciation trainer at the normal speed fairly easily. Not as easily as an adult, but it's ok. My 11yo is running into some problems.

    We started at the same speed (28 new cards, the mix of minimal pairs and vocab/spelling/sound sub-decks) but I just switched it to half as many going forward for him (the 11yo). He's not strong in spelling, so that is bogging him down. I'm hoping we don't have just skip through the spelling cards altogether because it's such a valuable part of linking the new sounds to the written word. I have already told him that he can consider a word right if he writes down the correct letters (so I'm don't-caring the accent marks).

    Also, the overall vocabulary (in the pronunciation trainer) is aimed at adults, and while my son has a good vocabulary for an 11yo, he just doesn't have a lot of associations for some of these words. Missile and bomb will be great (once he gets to them -- I'm a week or so ahead) but, while he's heard of Israel, he's rarely read the word, and album yugoslavo (I haven't figured out how to type accent marks yet) doesn't trigger any thoughts of Yugoslavia or Yugo cars in him.


    * Originally posted by islandtanya.
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  • Regarding adapting the pronunciation trainer (specifically the Spanish one) for kids, I wish I had started it at half-speed for my son. He's about halfway through the pronunciation trainer now and we are going to try to bump it back up to normal speed (28 new cards per day) now that he's making good progress with the spelling. If there were a midway point between 14 and 28, that would be even better.

    Also, being a newbie to Anki, I didn't realize I could go in and see how many cards were in the entire deck. I spent a long time not being entirely sure how many days, at the usual rate, it would take to get through the deck. And then given that I had to slow it down for my son, it would've been easier to start with an explicit: this deck has 654 cards and will take (however many) days when used at the usual rate of 28 new cards per day. I figured it out, it's just not terribly user friendly for those of us who are trying to help kids through it. Which is not the target audience, I admit, so I'm only mentioning it if there is time for modifications.

    I'm pretty excited about the kickstarter and the possibilities there. We'll work through Spanish this year the way we've started (which I admit, I am dragging my feet on due to not being comfortable splitting and recombining decks, the way I'll have to to help the kids), but this kickstarter seems like it would make a 2nd language an actual possibility rather than just a pipe dream. Woo-hoo!

    * Originally posted by islandtanya.
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  • This is super useful information. Thank you!

    I think having a status indicator in the pronunciation section so you know where you are is excellent and I've added the idea. I'll have to think about the ability to slow things in the trainer down, other than giving users the ability to slow down everything, globally.

    Best regards
    -Gabe

    * Originally posted by Gabriel Wyner.
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