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Alef,b...

The playful way to learn the Arabic language and culture

Teaching Modern Standard Arabic to children since 1994 in France and the US

Alef,b... Newsletter

Stay on the look-out for Our quarterly Alefbkids Newsletter to include information about our classes as well as tackle concerns that every parent may have about teaching a foreign language to their children, keeping their heritage alive and help build a better future for the new generation.

December Newsletter

Michelle Tager - Sunday, December 21, 2014
info@alefb.org
 
www.alefb.org
 
 
!Ahlan wa Sahlan To Alefb Newsletter

As our colleague Samar, from Alefb - Paris says, wherever we are in this world we do carry our language with us either consciously or not, as it is a fundamental part of us.

We are looking to move forward into 2015 with renewed energy and confidence about our commitment to the Arabic language and culture. 

لُغتي في غربتي

في تجلّيها     تُسوِّغني

تَصُوغني

تحكيني حين  أحكيها

........

أأكونُ كًونَها  أم كوني

كامنٌ فيها؟

ما هي حروفٌ

تَتلوى رقصاً

على نغَمٍ  

 من نواميس القواعدْ

هي وقْع الروح

 لُقياً أميّ

وعيناً أبي

على أعتاب الفرائدْ

أنشودتي في غربتي

ومهجتي رسالة مفروشة على المدى

كلمات....

...........

ملاذي في غربتي

هوية حملتها في حِلّيّ وترحالي....

غربتي عنكِ

  مرارة غربتي عن أميّ

غير أني

أحمل أمي في قلبي

وأحملكِ وعي  أنت ولاوعيّ

د.سمرمحمد سعد

مقطوعة مهداة إلى لسان حال مَن يحملون لغة الضاد في حقائب سفرهم...هَوّية  قرأتها في عيونهم كما اقرؤها في عيون تلامذتي الذين يبحثون أيضاً عن انتمائهم في هذه اللغة القريبة البعيدة. أبثها أيضاً إلى الذين التقيتم اليوم، في اليوم العالمي للّغة العربية  الذي أُقيم في مقر منظمة الاونيسكو في باريس.


Like every year since 2012, the world celebrated World Arabic Language Day this December 18, in the UNESCO headquarters in Paris France, Dr.Samar Saad reports. 


NEWS from Alefb:

Since the launch of our website in June 2014, we are proud to count more than 10,000 visitors! Thank you!

Three months into our Alefb school year, we are thrilled to let you know that our students have accomplished great progress.You can read all about our weekly lessons and see pictures here.

By popular demand, we worked hard to add more features to our website so that our teachers provide timely information about our classes, online. Please make sure you check our website every week for updates.

Now is the time to enroll or re-enroll your kids for our second session. Deadline is January 2, 2015. 

We will be opening new classes in Millbrae-CA, and we are looking for dedicated teachers. Our training program is available to our potential candidates on an ongoing basis. This program is meant to equip our team members with the tools and methodology to become successful teachers of Arabic as a Foreign Language, using the unique Alefb curriculum.
We are recruiting and would like to hear from you.

Teachers are our core asset, however we also need to be able to rely on volunteers and interns to activate our social media strategy, and build on the momentum created by the endorsement granted to Alefb by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Lebanon. Please contact us now.

Finally, we are looking for board members who share our vision, and would like to be part of a rewarding mission. If you feel you have the drive, the interest and the time, please drop us  a line. 

Together with a strong team and a solid curriculum, we believe that culture is inherent to the learning of a foreign language. In that regard, Alefb, partnered with the Arab Film Festival to organize the San Francisco premiere screening of Lebanese movie Heritages/Mirath in the presence of film maker Philippe Aractingi. Close to 300 spectators were present for this one evening only event, at the San Francisco French School on December 4, 2014. 
 
We also plan on organizing our first field trip to the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco.  Road to Arabia exhibit is closing on January 18, 2015. Please send us your name and contacts, if you would like to join a guided Alefb trip in Arabic, herebefore January 5 .                       

ALEFB  HINT TO REINFORCE YOUR CHILDREN'S ARABIC LANGUAGE AND CULTURE:

Take time during this holiday season to cook with your children in Arabic. You can get some inspiration here

Did you know that it is part of the Lebanese tradition to prepare Meghli at Christmas, in Lebanon? Learn how right hereSend us a picture of your preparation and we will post it in our next Newsletter.

FROM AROUND THE WEB:

WHAT YOU CAN DO to motivate your kids to learn the Arabic language and culture?

Arabic is classified as a Less Commonly Taught Language in the US, and it is one of the most taught foreign languages in France. However, Arabic does not enjoy the appeal of other foreign languages and more often than not, is related to pejorative ideas.

I'm sure you all heard this before: 
"I want my son to be proud! When he was 12, my son , Mike, walked into our living room and said to me , "Dad, I hate Arabs." I was shocked. My parents' background is Lebanese. I though I'd taught Mike to be proud of his Arab heritage. Of course, like most kids born here, he thought of himself as American, period. 
I asked why he hated Arabs."
Here's how Casey Kasem, famed American Top 40 countdown DJ speaks about how to fight stereotypes: here.

Three ways to motivate our children to learn Arabic:
- Immerse in an Arabic speaking environment, once a year
- Read to them in Arabic, watch movies and youtube videos in Arabic with them but always be careful to screen those before.
- Enroll them in a once a week Arabic activity -- Alefb would be a good choice :)

Children learn a language when they have either an emotional interest or a value related interest. Emotional often comes from the desire to please a loved one (in the case of heritage kids, it would be the parents, it could also be the teacher). On the other hand, some kids would like to see what value there is for them to learn this language, be it to communicate in order to be understood, or just a material reward.

Finally, check out a kid's guide to Arab American history as a resource to help you motivate your children.

Educational  Resources:

Use this fun website to create art with Arabic words. Ask your child for his favorite word in Arabic, or English (you will translate it for her in Arabic), type it in Arabic using a visual Arabic keyboard (learn how to add Arabic to your Microsoft office suite, here) and copy paste the word in the appropriate box. Pick your style and your font and let the magic work... Send us a picture of you masterpiece,  and  we will post it in our next Newsletter. 

Cultural and Community resources:

We can't but pay tribute in this newsletter to the great poet, writer, playwright and language reformer Said Akl, who passed away at 102 years old. Said Akl promoted the use of the Lebanese dialect written in a modified Latin alphabet rather than the Arabic one. More here.

ردني إلى بلادي مع نسائم الغوادي
مع شعاعة تغاوت عند شاطئ و وادي
ردني إلى بلادى
سعيد عقل  
Take me back to my country...with the ongoing breeze...with the light dancing on a coast and a valley... Take me to my country...

Watch Song Video performed by Feyrouz on Said Akl's poem here.

Fun Fact: Did you know that all the "Rindala" and "Yara" owe their original names to Said Akl who created them?

Another giant of the Lebanese and Arabic culture passed away this month: Singer and actress Jeanette Feghali, also known as Shahroura or Sabah, died at age 87. Read more here.  Listen and watch Sabah singing a Dabke song (traditional dance) with your children here.

Fun Fact: Did you know that Sabah's career spanned 60 years  and she created more than 90 films and thousands of songs?
 
Choose the best gift for the holidays from this collection of good reads and good views for children and adults, about the Middle East.

You can also choose from up to five games to enhance your children's Arabic skills. 
"Dourak" is an online shop specializing in language games for Arabic speakers and learners.  

Share with your children our Arabic culture, go out to the museum, to the movies. Here are some ideas and events coming your way:

If you would like to share an event please let us know at info@alefb.org

- Newseum's exhibit on ethnic media tells The Arab American News’ story. More here

- Wendell Phillips Collection:Through a selection of unearthed objects as well as film and photography shot by the exhibition team, the collection highlights Phillips’s key finds in South Arabia (present-day Yemen), and recreates his adventures and conveys the thrill of discovery on the last great archaeological frontier. October 11 through June 7. Sackler Gallery,Washington, D.C. More here 

- Nasta’liq: The Genius of Persian Calligraphy. through February 22. Sackler Gallery, Washington, D.C. More here

- Roads of Arabia: Archaeology and History of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: October 24 through January 18. Asian Art Museum of San Francisco More here.

- Pearls on a String: Art and Biography in the Islamic World (San Francisco). June 21 Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. More here

STORIES FROM OUR ALEFB ALUMNI:

If you once took part in the Alefb adventure, as a parent or a teacher,  please share your story at info@alefb.org 

Let's celebrate... Alefb Teachers of Arabic as a Foreign Language. 

Kan ya ma kan, once upon a time, there was... Rafah….
Rafah is a mom, a friend,  and a teacher like no other...
She came to Alefb in its Washington DC early days, bringing her enthusiasm, rigor and special education degree. She was eventually interested in teaching her son the Arabic language and culture. Rafah has a special education background but she never taught Arabic as a foreign language to children before joining Alefb. Yet, she rolled up her sleeves and got on the job. 
About 6 school years of teaching part-time, developing two levels of curricula and nurturing more than  50 children, Rafah is now working full-time, managing grants for teachers of foreign languages all over the world.
Today,Rafah gives back to the community by training Alefb's  teachers on our curriculum, either here in the US or in Paris, France. She enjoys it as much as her first days of teaching.
From an educated mom to a fulfilled professional and role model, Rafah was able to raise her son in the Arabic language and culture as well as contribute to Alefb's non-profit educational mission.
In the same manner, every Alefb teacher, in Paris-France, Washington DC or San Francisco is contributing to preserving our Arabic heritage.
Dedication and commitment are key. 
Whether we are parents or teachers. How many of us are willing to do this for the sake of our children and the future generation?
How many of us can claim to have made a difference in a child's life?
How many of us do not want to hear this much too often heard blame from older teen-agers: Mom, Dad, why didn't you teach us Arabic?
Shouldn't we all be teachers, educators, nurturers in what we know best?....

 We are looking to hear from you on this topic at info@alefb.org
Share your experience and join our team of parents/educators.


WE NEED YOU:
  • If you have stories to share, please send them our way at info@alefb.org
  • Please propose field trips in your area that are relevant to the Arabic culture and language.
  • Come to our classes and perform one of your talents or just read a story, tell us about a traditional holiday, or about your job.

Our Team wishes you a Merry Christmas and a Linguistically- Culturally Wonderful 2015!



اللغة هي اصل التواصل فكيف ان كانت اللغة هي العربية... فهي ميراث و تراث... اصالة و فن لا يمكن لعربيّ مهما تغرب ان ينسى الحروف العربية المنسوخة في الوجدان با سم العائلة و الاجداد... و اسم الجيل القادم و الاجيال... فللتواصل باللغة العربية نكهة الوطن ...

رانيا عبد الجمعة

Member and friend of Alefb

 

 

Welcome to Alefb 2014-15 school year!

Ahlan wa Sahlan!

We are looking forward to a great school year of Arabic language fun and culture, starting October 11, 2014!

As Rania Abdel Jomaa puts it: “language is at the core of communication, and to communicate in Arabic is to bring out the essence of a nation…”

It is with great excitement that we are preparing for this year’s multiple projects.

NEWS from Alefb:

Our revamped website has successfully been launched back in June 2014, together with the first Arabic Interactive Story Book (ISB), "Dunia Fi Lubnan". 

We are very proud of this achievement and would like to encourage you to use the ISB with your children.

In this day and age, where high tech becomes indispensable, we wanted the Arabic language to be part of the digital world. We plan on adding more online Arabic material for you to peruse with your children. However, as you know, we will be able to get the necessary funding, only if there is enough demand. Please do send us your feedbackon the ISB. Your suggestions and recommendations are crucial.

Digital does not mean that interpersonal communication is lost… At Alefb, we will always strive to offer the best of blended instruction in our different locations, Arlington VA, San Francisco Bay area, and Paris-France.

In our Arlington-VA location, we have the pleasure of introducing two new teachers, who will continue to please our children with new educational projects, aimed at making the Arabic learning fun and rewarding.

New classes were offered this school year, a Parents/Toddler class and a teen age class.

In the San Francisco Bay area, we are partnering with the Arab Film Festival organization to offer Arabic classes in schools, and through existing Arab –American organizations.

In Paris –France we can count more than 150 children registered for this school year. During my trip to Lebanon this summer, I met with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I am very pleased to announce that Alefb has been recognized by the ministry as a major stakeholder in the dissemination and preservation of the Arabic language and culture. A letter from the ministry was sent to the Lebanese embassies worldwide to this effect.

It is now up to the diaspora families to show commitment, and make space for our mother tongue and our culture in our children’s busy schedule! We count on you!

ALEFB TODAY'S  HINT TO REINFORCE YOUR CHILDREN'S ARABIC LANGUAGE AND CULTURE:

Play “Basra” with your kids in Arabic. Check the rules of this card game here


FROM AROUND THE WEB:


Why should our kids learn the ARABIC LANGUAGE and CULTURE?

Arabic is the 5th most widely spoken native language and considered a critical world language by the U.S. Government

When my then-six year-old son William announced his desire to learn Arabic after a whirlwind trip to the Holy Land, I did the typical dad move of agreeing to whatever he said….. Finding an introductory Arabic class for elementary school children anywhere in the US is challenging, but here in Alaska it is an impossibility…… He’d just turned 7….

William can now read, write, and speak Arabic: it is part of who he is.  He’s become a life-long learner of the native language of close to half a billion people across the Middle East and north Africa; and the religious language of Earth’s billion-plus Muslims…..

Here are some things to know that might help you help your child:

  1. Learning Arabic Takes Time.
  2. Learning Arabic Doesn’t Take Time.
  3. Perseverance Is Key.
  4. Prepare for Prejudice.
  5. Watch The Growth.
  6. Join the World.

Read more here

Educational  Resources:

Madar Al-Huruf, or the Arabic transliteration wheel, as an outreach tool to show the similarities between the English and Arabic alphabets. By using the wheel, or the wheel app (available for free on the iTunes and Android stores), people can learn to write their names in Arabic.

Try it here, and send us your name in Arabic, with or without your picture, and  we will post it in our next Newsletter. 

Cultural and Community resources:

Share with your children our Arabic culture, go out to the museum, to the movies. Here are some ideas and events coming your way:

If you would like to share an event please let us know at info@alefb.org

-Patriots & Peacemakers: Arab Americans in Service to Our Country - November 10-14, 2014 – Washington DC. More here 

-Newseum's exhibit on ethnic media tells The Arab American News’ story . More here 

-Wendell Phillips Collection.:Through a selection of unearthed objects as well as film and photography shot by the exhibition team, the collection highlights Phillips’s key finds in South Arabia (present-day Yemen), and recreates his adventures and conveys the thrill of discovery on the last great archeological frontier. October 11 through June 7. Sackler Gallery, Washington, D.C. More here 

-Nasta’liq: The Genius of Persian Calligraphy. through February 22. Sackler Gallery, Washington, D.C. More here

-Roads of Arabia: Archaeology and History of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: October 24 through January 18. Asian Art Museum of San Francisco More here 

-Pearls on a String: Art and Biography in the Islamic World (San Francisco). June 21Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. More here 

- New Threads Staged Reading Series. Introducing five new plays from and about the Middle East to Bay Area audiences. This year’s lineup includes Middle East America Honorable Mention winners Ismail Khalidi and Daria Polatin Thick House, San Francisco through October 31.More here   

- ADS(american Druze Society)  Run/Walk event: Sunday October 19, 2014. Location: Bluemont Park, 325 North Manchester Street, Arlington, VA. More here

-Check out the Arab Film Festival as of October 10, 2014, here.


STORIES FROM OUR ALEFB ALUMNI:

If your children once took part in the Alefb adventure, please have them share their stories at info@alefb.org

The story of Arab heritage kids, Maya and Yasmine:

Kan ya ma kan, once upon a time there was two adorable girls…Maya was born in the DC area and Yasmine was born in Paris-France. Maya was raised in the American school system, and Yasmine in the French one. However, they both attended Alefb’s after school Arabic program since they were 5 years old. Yasmine went on to live in the West Coast and Maya stayed on the East coast. Later on, Maya went to study at Georgetown University and Yasmine at UC Berkeley. Many years later, they meet again… Where?...In Beirut - Lebanon,  where they land their first job, and they eventually share the same apartment! Why? You tell us…One thing is certain, their parents have succeeded!  Succeeded, really? Yes and No. Yes, they gave their daughters the love and the appreciation for their roots, and their culture. Yes, they gave them the language skills. Yes, this made them extremely well rounded candidates to integrate excellent colleges. But, is it a good thing that they both live now in one of the most dangerous places in the world, thousands of miles away from home? No! But again, what is “home” for us, uprooted exiles and our heritage children?  We are looking to hear from you on this topic. Send us your thoughts atinfo@alefb.org

Our next story will be on our Alumni teachers.

WE NEED YOU:

If you have stories to share, please send them our way at info@alefb.org

Please propose field trips in your area relevant to the Arabic culture and language.

Come to our classes and perform one of your talents or just read a story, tell us about a holiday, or about your job.

If you would like to put your skills at work as a teacher, please let us know, or refer teachers to us.

Please keep on spreading the word out about our classes. Thank you!

 

Our Team wishes you a Blessed and Peaceful holiday for Eid el Adha al Majid 

اللغة هي اصل التواصل فكيف ان كانت اللغة هي العربية... فهي ميراث و تراث... اصالة و فن لا يمكن لعربيّ مهما تغرب ان ينسى الحروف العربية المنسوخة في الوجدان با سم العائلة و الاجداد... و اسم الجيل القادم و الاجيال... فللتواصل باللغة العربية نكهة الوطن ...

رانيا عبد الجمعة

Member and friend of Alefb

 

 

Welcome to Alefb 2014-15 school year!

Ahlan wa Sahlan!

We are looking forward to a great school year of Arabic language fun and culture, starting October 11, 2014!

As Rania Abdel Jomaa puts it: “language is at the core of communication, and to communicate in Arabic is to bring out the essence of a nation…”

It is with great excitement that we are preparing for this year’s multiple projects.

NEWS from Alefb:

Our revamped website has successfully been launched back in June 2014, together with the first Arabic Interactive Story Book (ISB), "Dunia Fi Lubnan". 

We are very proud of this achievement and would like to encourage you to use the ISB with your children.

In this day and age, where high tech becomes indispensable, we wanted the Arabic language to be part of the digital world. We plan on adding more online Arabic material for you to peruse with your children. However, as you know, we will be able to get the necessary funding, only if there is enough demand. Please do send us your feedbackon the ISB. Your suggestions and recommendations are crucial.

Digital does not mean that interpersonal communication is lost… At Alefb, we will always strive to offer the best of blended instruction in our different locations, Arlington VA, San Francisco Bay area, and Paris-France.

In our Arlington-VA location, we have the pleasure of introducing two new teachers, who will continue to please our children with new educational projects, aimed at making the Arabic learning fun and rewarding.

New classes were offered this school year, a Parents/Toddler class and a teen age class.

In the San Francisco Bay area, we are partnering with the Arab Film Festival organization to offer Arabic classes in schools, and through existing Arab –American organizations.

In Paris –France we can count more than 150 children registered for this school year. During my trip to Lebanon this summer, I met with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I am very pleased to announce that Alefb has been recognized by the ministry as a major stakeholder in the dissemination and preservation of the Arabic language and culture. A letter from the ministry was sent to the Lebanese embassies worldwide to this effect.

It is now up to the diaspora families to show commitment, and make space for our mother tongue and our culture in our children’s busy schedule! We count on you!

ALEFB TODAY'S  HINT TO REINFORCE YOUR CHILDREN'S ARABIC LANGUAGE AND CULTURE:

Play “Basra” with your kids in Arabic. Check the rules of this card game here


FROM AROUND THE WEB:


Why should our kids learn the ARABIC LANGUAGE and CULTURE?

Arabic is the 5th most widely spoken native language and considered a critical world language by the U.S. Government

When my then-six year-old son William announced his desire to learn Arabic after a whirlwind trip to the Holy Land, I did the typical dad move of agreeing to whatever he said….. Finding an introductory Arabic class for elementary school children anywhere in the US is challenging, but here in Alaska it is an impossibility…… He’d just turned 7….

William can now read, write, and speak Arabic: it is part of who he is.  He’s become a life-long learner of the native language of close to half a billion people across the Middle East and north Africa; and the religious language of Earth’s billion-plus Muslims…..

Here are some things to know that might help you help your child:

  1. Learning Arabic Takes Time.
  2. Learning Arabic Doesn’t Take Time.
  3. Perseverance Is Key.
  4. Prepare for Prejudice.
  5. Watch The Growth.
  6. Join the World.

Read more here

Educational  Resources:

Madar Al-Huruf, or the Arabic transliteration wheel, as an outreach tool to show the similarities between the English and Arabic alphabets. By using the wheel, or the wheel app (available for free on the iTunes and Android stores), people can learn to write their names in Arabic.

Try it here, and send us your name in Arabic, with or without your picture, and  we will post it in our next Newsletter. 

Cultural and Community resources:

Share with your children our Arabic culture, go out to the museum, to the movies. Here are some ideas and events coming your way:

If you would like to share an event please let us know at info@alefb.org

-Patriots & Peacemakers: Arab Americans in Service to Our Country - November 10-14, 2014 – Washington DC. More here 

-Newseum's exhibit on ethnic media tells The Arab American News’ story . More here 

-Wendell Phillips Collection.:Through a selection of unearthed objects as well as film and photography shot by the exhibition team, the collection highlights Phillips’s key finds in South Arabia (present-day Yemen), and recreates his adventures and conveys the thrill of discovery on the last great archeological frontier. October 11 through June 7. Sackler Gallery, Washington, D.C. More here 

-Nasta’liq: The Genius of Persian Calligraphy. through February 22. Sackler Gallery, Washington, D.C. More here

-Roads of Arabia: Archaeology and History of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: October 24 through January 18. Asian Art Museum of San Francisco More here 

-Pearls on a String: Art and Biography in the Islamic World (San Francisco). June 21Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. More here 

- New Threads Staged Reading Series. Introducing five new plays from and about the Middle East to Bay Area audiences. This year’s lineup includes Middle East America Honorable Mention winners Ismail Khalidi and Daria Polatin Thick House, San Francisco through October 31.More here   

- ADS(american Druze Society)  Run/Walk event: Sunday October 19, 2014. Location: Bluemont Park, 325 North Manchester Street, Arlington, VA. More here

-Check out the Arab Film Festival as of October 10, 2014, here.


STORIES FROM OUR ALEFB ALUMNI:

If your children once took part in the Alefb adventure, please have them share their stories at info@alefb.org

The story of Arab heritage kids, Maya and Yasmine:

Kan ya ma kan, once upon a time there was two adorable girls…Maya was born in the DC area and Yasmine was born in Paris-France. Maya was raised in the American school system, and Yasmine in the French one. However, they both attended Alefb’s after school Arabic program since they were 5 years old. Yasmine went on to live in the West Coast and Maya stayed on the East coast. Later on, Maya went to study at Georgetown University and Yasmine at UC Berkeley. Many years later, they meet again… Where?...In Beirut - Lebanon,  where they land their first job, and they eventually share the same apartment! Why? You tell us…One thing is certain, their parents have succeeded!  Succeeded, really? Yes and No. Yes, they gave their daughters the love and the appreciation for their roots, and their culture. Yes, they gave them the language skills. Yes, this made them extremely well rounded candidates to integrate excellent colleges. But, is it a good thing that they both live now in one of the most dangerous places in the world, thousands of miles away from home? No! But again, what is “home” for us, uprooted exiles and our heritage children?  We are looking to hear from you on this topic. Send us your thoughts atinfo@alefb.org

Our next story will be on our Alumni teachers.

WE NEED YOU:

If you have stories to share, please send them our way at info@alefb.org

Please propose field trips in your area relevant to the Arabic culture and language.

Come to our classes and perform one of your talents or just read a story, tell us about a holiday, or about your job.

If you would like to put your skills at work as a teacher, please let us know, or refer teachers to us.

Please keep on spreading the word out about our classes. Thank you!

 

Our Team wishes you a Blessed and Peaceful holiday for Eid el Adha al Majid 

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