22 Jul 2014

A Best way to Learn Spanish for Kids - Speekee

- 11 comments
Hola! Buenos días
Cómo estás?
Estoy bien gracias 

For those who are wondering what the above means, the answers are right below the post including a giveaway for one random person to try Speekee for three months. But before that, do read the full post for it introduces you to a different and a best way to learn Spanish language for kids.

Introducing a new language to a child plays an important role in early childhood education with its own benefits. It helps in their intellectual development, opens their learning to different cultures, improves their listening skills, helps when they travel to new places and meet new peoples, make them understand their own native language and also adds as an asset in their resume for their future jobs . Being aware of its advantage, I try to introduce my kids to new languages whenever I get time. Now that Summer holidays has began, I tried to utilise some time in making Cherry and Berry learn a new language along with their native Tamil language. French has been always in my list since I can provide them the right help to their learning of this new language. But, now that I have a chance to try Speekee for kids, a Spanish learning program that targets kids aged 2 to 10 years of age, I planned to start exposing them to basics of Spanish first rather than French.
spanish for beginners
¿Cómo te llama? Me llamo Speekee
(What is your name? My name is Speekee)

What is Speekee?

Speekee is a specialized program which teaches children Spanish language with the use of videos with real Spanish speaking children, puppets, incredible locations to explore, fun online games, flashcards and worksheets. It has two plans: the basic plan which is free having access to limited set of videos and the other is paid subscription giving access to nearly 40 videos and all other resources of Speekee.

At first, I found Speekee a little confusing with just videos straight as you enter their website after creating a login and the video track was like Greek and Latin to the ears. Slowly, I discovered that Speekee has two divisions namely Speekee Fast Track- perfect for young learners ( for children up to 7 years old) and the Speekee Spanish Challenge for older learners (for children 7 years and older). These divisions are clearly organised plans and in case you are starting early, start with the Speekee Fastrack which is a 40 week plan for children which focuses on the first ten episodes in the Speekee series. And every week, the children are suggested activities with corresponding video clips, worksheets and other downloadables.

Working along with Cherry and Berry:

Cherry loved learning a new language as she has always wondered when people from different cultures speaks their own native language in her school. Berry too was interested like his sister. Now that you have known what exactly Speekee is for, I am going to take to our first week's journey where you can get a basic idea of how this Speekee program turned out for us.

Starting with Speekee Fast Track's 40 week plan.

Before starting with day 1, I made sure that I had the flashcards printed and ready for them so that the children can get those 4 to 5 Spanish words registered on their mind. Also, in every video these particular sets of words from flashcards gets repeated so that the children can get the sounds and the place where to use them right. All these ideas on how to carry out teaching to the kids were clearly mentioned in the Speekee's week by week guide. Also, the idea of kids using  puppet Speekee, sock puppets Dino and Lupi converse in Spanish is a great way of making kids interested in the subject. I also need to mention about Jim and the Spanish kids for making the videos great to watch.

spanish for beginners

Each week, Cherry concentrated on a particular set of words through activity based learning. And in two weeks, Cherry was introduced to some basic Spanish words like "Hola", "Muy bien","Me gusta" and "Adios" meaning "Hello","Very well, "I like" and "Bye Bye" including numbers 1-5 and greetings. The whole journey was smooth with videos, fun activities, puppet play and songs. Also it is recommended that children don't need to get every Spanish words in the video right but all they need to concentrate is the repeated words including that's given in flashcards and worksheets. 

So, following these patterns into our two weeks Speekee journey, Cherry learnt some basic Spanish words as well as thoroughly enjoyed Speekee way of learning a new language. Moreover, the songs made the learning enjoyable. Every songs in the video have a pleasant music and are very addicting. I can hear it all day long and in fact, Cherry started to sing few songs along with the Spanish kids in the video. One song that keeps ringing in my ear is "Habla espanol, Habla espanol" song. 

My only concern with this program was whenever I switch from week 1 to other areas in the website using right click "open in a new window", I had to login every time. Otherwise, this program should be appreciated for its new, interesting and unique way of teaching kids a new language. The website is quick in loading, with quality videos and a tab which has a features like "Shout" to say out selected Spanish words from the list for learning the way it sounds.

Overall, Speekee is one of the best program I have used for teaching and learning a new language. This unique approach helps learn Spanish fast for kids. As much as my kids have learnt Spanish , I too have some basic understanding of Spanish language. It is quite easy to follow and learn. Speekee is no doubt the best way to learn Spanish as it utilises the visual  the play way engaging in visual, representational, and auditory teaching of Spanish language for kids.

Below is one activity done by my dear kids based on Speekee,

my kids momscribe
Cherry shows a happy face - Muy bein
Berry shows that he is not happy - No muy bein
Mira! Yo hablo un poco español (Look! I can speak Spanish a little)

Hola! Buenos días (Hello! Good Morning)
Cómo estás? (How are you ?)
Estoy bien gracias (I'm fine thank you)
Muy Bein -(Very well)
Adiós (Bye bye)

Note:  One winner from the comments below will be selected randomly and then will be given a chance to use full package of Speekee for a period of three months. Good Luck!

Disclosure: I received a 3 month subscription to Speekee in return for my honest review. No monetary compensation was exchanged and all opinions are my own.
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18 Jul 2014

Beeswax Real Rose LED Candle

- 9 comments
beewax candle

Beeswax are natural wax produced in the bee hive of honey bees. Beeswax have been used for variety of purposes and one of them is making beeswax candles. Beeswax candles are said to be the healthiest candle since they are completely natural and environment friendly. Apart from making ordinary burning candle by pouring the liquid beeswax into a container, I tried to make something different with some decoration and using LED light. It is called " the Beeswax Real Rose LED Candle". The light produced gives out a golden colour and the decorations gives out a embossing effect (or say bulging effect). Moreover, it stays long and makes a perfect gift on any occasion.

Materials Required

beewax candle
Beewax - 2 to 3 bars
Balloon -1
Real rose bud with leaf - 1
LED light - 1
Scissor - 1
Paper plate - 1 ( optional)
Water - to boil
A Pan and a bowl (always use any old pans and bowls since once you have melted the beeswax in the pan you can't use the same again for making any dishes)

Step 1: How to make the Beewax LED light holder

beewax candle
  • Fill the balloon with tap water until it is half filled.
  • Tie the end of the balloon with a band or a thread. I have used another long balloon to tie the water filled balloon.
  • Melt the beeswax bar in a bowl.You can do this using a double boiler. For my project, I have used the pan to boil the water and melted the wax inside the bowl by
  • placing the bowl onto the boiling water. The heat from the boiling water keeps the wax in liquid state.
  • Before proceed to the next step, slightly oil all around the balloon. This will make for easy removal of the beeswax in the final step.
  • After completing step 4, place the water filled balloon carefully into the liquid beeswax and rotate it so that the beeswax coats all around the balloon sides . The
  • wax cools down quickly so make sure you follow this step carefully. Also, avoid the balloon to touch the sides of the bowl other than the wax.
  • After careful coating of the beeswax around the balloon, release the balloon to let the water out. The final beeswax after removing the balloon will looks like a hollow semi circle beeswax.

Step 2: How to Wax Coat the Real Rose

beewax candle
  • Select a small real rose bud along with leaf according to your candle size requirement. I have used a rose bud from my garden.
  • Dip the rose bud in liquid beeswax. By doing so, you are allowing the beeswax to coat the rose and the leaf.
  • The resultant will be a waxed rose and a waxed leaf which possess a kind of artificial yet appealing look. Also by doing so, the real rose will preserve its look for
  • long without drying.

Step 3: Making of the Real Rose LED Beeswax Candle

beewax candle
  • Place the real waxed rose with leaf over the side of the candle holder and join them both using the remaining melted wax.
  • Remove any excess using a blade and carefully trim the corners of the hollow semi circle beeswax.
  • Now, place the hollow end of the candle holder above the LED candle ( see below image). You can also add some decorations on the sides to make it quite attractive
beewax candle
beewax candle

The above is only a smaller version of the candle as I had only ordered and brought 2 bars from ebay for this project. You can make a bigger size of the same candle by melting more beeswax and dipping the balloon into it. By making similar kinds of LED rose beeswax candle, you can decorate your home or add light to any kind of parties. It will also make a perfect gift. And moreover, without melting through candle light this model will stay lighted longer. You just need to change the LED batteries. Hope you enjoyed this post.
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11 Jul 2014

How to Create A Scroll Back To Top Button

- 7 comments
Previously I had written a post on "How to create a Simple Back to Top Button" for designing your own buttons using few basic softwares such as MS Powerpoint and MS Paint. As the name says, it was a simple button and now regarding a request from "Rafaqat Ali", here is another blog post for a Scroll Back To Top Button instead of moving to top quickly. For this, you need to add a simple jquery in the <head>.../<head> section of your blog layout and call the function in our code - all in just two steps as given below.

STEP 1: JQuery to be added in the <head> section of Edit HTML of Blog Layout

$(document).ready(function(){
 //Check to see if the window is top if not then display button
 $(window).scroll(function(){
  if ($(this).scrollTop() > 100) {
   $('.scrollToTop').fadeIn();
  } else {
   $('.scrollToTop').fadeOut();
  }
 });
 //Click event to scroll to top
 $('.scrollToTop').click(function(){
  $('html, body').animate({scrollTop : 0},800);
  return false;
 });
});

Use the above codes in between <script> ...</script>

STEP 2: Call the JQuery function by adding class="scrollToTop" inside our code

<a href="#" class="scrollToTop" style="bottom: 10px; display: scroll; left: 5px; position: fixed;" title="Back to Top">
<img src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-TwrQa_HSI1c/U6r9nGXV6XI/AAAAAAAALTk/aGPdSIeoBP4/s1600/back+to+top+button.png" />
</a>

Just add the above codes (under step 2) in Blog Layout -> Add a Gadget -> HTML/JavaScript and save your arrangement. Now, go to your webpage bottom and click the "Back to Top" button to see how good it scroll backs to the top.

Note: Notice that the only change we had made to our previously written back to top button code was the addition of just class="scrollToTop" in the a href above.

How to Create An Animated Scroll To Top Button

In case of creating an animated scroll back to top button, just use a .gif image instead of a .png image in the code above,

Example: Try this gif image (credits: funnybunnywebsites)
animated back to top buttonwhose image code is inserted as below,

<a href="#" class="scrollToTop" style="bottom: 10px; display: scroll; left: 5px; position: fixed;" title="Back to Top">
<img src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-D6QT1TXPPhc/U78XF21xFKI/AAAAAAAALis/eXRPy4sBdLI/s1600/animated-up_arrow-red-yellow.gif" />
</a>

Hope you have benefited from this post! Let me know your thoughts in the comment below.

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8 Jul 2014

Solved: If this markup is about a person, at least 2 of the following fields are needed - Rich Snippets

- 7 comments
I'm back again with yet another Google Rich Snippets error and its workable solution. It has become a sort of habit sharing my experience on how I solved blogging errors in hope of guiding someone who might need some help. And many times, it does.

How to solve Error: If this markup is about a person, at least 2 of the following fields are needed: organization, location, or role.


rich snippets
Why do you get this error? It is because of Google piloting the display of author information in search information. And so if you have a blog or website or working for one, then you need to know how to set these in order to make Google recognize you and display the results accordingly.

Solution for fixing this rich snippet error

1. Go to Blog Dashboard -> Template -> Edit HTML

2. Find this 'post-author vcard' using CTRL+F which looks like,
rich snippets

3. Just below <span class='fn'>...</span>,  enter the following values
<span class="org">Company/Organisation Name</span>
<span class="role">Your role</span>
which exactly will look like below,

rich snippets

4. After entering the values as given in the yellow box, save your template and view your website again in Structured Data Testing Tool.

Result: Your errors are fixed and the whole extracted details will look like below
rich snippets

AND THAT'S IT!

Note: Do remember that you can see the changes in your Webpage as well as in Google search results.
rich snippets
CHANGES SEEN IN GOOGLE SEARCH RESULT
rich snippets
CHANGES SEEN IN YOUR WEBPAGE AUTHOR PROFILE
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5 Jul 2014

My Magic Ticket to a Dream Destination

- 7 comments
Travelling has always been in my interest. I am more in awe of different places, cultures and foods. And hence take every opportunity to travel to different locations when had a chance to relax both my mind and my soul. And only travelers can know what I mean by soul. Yes, travelling is a "soul experience" and visiting sacred or historical places, you seem to  attract the positive vibes around the places. And for this reason, Bangkok has always been in my travelling list. And the below places are some interesting places that I have already been saving in my notes hoping that someday this magical journey would come true. 

MY DREAM LOCATION : BANGKOK, THAILAND

Top 10 Places that I have planned to visit in Bangkok
top locations in bangkok thailand
I have chosen what I wanted to see but planning a travel is more difficult than it sounds. With almost hundred of travel websites around offering discounts and cheap flights, it becomes highly impossible tasks to sort out and to find the details that I need. But like a life saver comes Skyscanner, accumulating and pulling out all information that I might need to book my dream travel.

Soon my magical journey started with SKYSCANNER,

My Budget - Rs.1,00,000 ( as per Skyscanner's proposal for planning my dream trip)

So, with the available money at hand, I am going to start with my Flight and Travel bookings.

PLANNING AND ORGANIZING MY TRIP USING SKY SCANNER


top locations bangkok

FLIGHT BOOKINGS

Having planned the places to visit, I decided to use skyscanner to scan my flights for to find the cheapest and best available flights. The dates I have entered corresponds to the warm weather in Bangkok so that I can enjoy my stay there.The details that follows are,

From- Chennai International Airport
To - Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)
(since it is the nearest airport to almost all my top location picks).

The departure and arrival dates falls on mid-December as I have already planned regarding Bangkok's weather. After entering for two return tickets to Bangkok, a click on the search button yielded all the available flights for my trip.

skyscanner review
skyscanner review

skyscanner review

The flight search was fast and the results were displayed in an organised manner. The filters on the left hand side helped me to filter my search. I chose the "Direct Flight" since it saves me the waiting time and I found "Thai Airways" the cheapest for travelling to Bangkok.

I liked how Skyscanner gave me options from different website for that single flight that I choose. To book and confirm the tickets all I need is to click the link that suits best to my needs. I have chosen my tickets from yatra.com which amounts to Rs.47,038.00 for a couple.

HOTEL BOOKINGS

Now, that I have booked my flight tickets for Bangkok, I need to book my hotel for the duration of my stay. Advance booking is sure to save me time, money as well as to let me have a tension free trip. 

Using Skyscanner my hotel bookings were easy as I could transfer my exact dates of travel to search hotels in Bangkok along with fitering options like popularity, ratings, reviews and distance to the centre of the city. 

After having done my search, I found that the hotel "Bussaba Bangkok" to exceed my expectations. Among the dozens of hotels I searched, this hotel had amazing reviews and by looking at the photos, I fell in love with the ambiance of the rooms. So, having filtered my options, I choose this hotel for my stay in Bangkok amounting to Rs.28, 722

skyscanner review

skyscanner review

Clicking on the "View Deal" redirected to another website "Laterooms" through which I am to complete my bookings. Voilà, I saved Rs.5160 through Skyscanner.

CAR RENTALS

Now that I have safely booked my Hotel, it is time to hire a car for to travel in and out of all the locations that I picked up for my sight-seeing. I needed a decent car which will pick me up from the Airport, help me with my sight-seeings and then finally drop me safely back at the airport.

And again, Skyscanner saved me with its "Car Hire" search.

skyscanner review

Having been directed to the rentalcars.com, I found that Skyscanner has been updated with all its price that amounted to Rs.16048.44.

The fast and easy filtering and search facility just saved my day.

Total Trip Cost = Rs.47,038 + Rs.28,722 + Rs.14,749.73 = Rs.91,508.73

Just with few clicks, I have planned, booked and organised my whole trip as easy as pie starting from Flight Bookings, Hotel Bookings and Car Rental. Also, even after choosing the best of what I want in my trip, I was still able to save Rs.8,490.27 from the available Rs.1,00,000 by booking through Skyscanner.

And my planning of the whole trip ends here while my magical journey starts ...


The fun part is that now you can even get Skyscanner apps on your mobiles phones and iPads making your search easy and on the go.


This post is a part of Skyscanner travel wizard activity at BlogAdda.com
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