Thursday, December 29, 2011

Read, Listen & Learn On a Nook Color

For Christmas I received a Nook Color – my very first ebook reader. To say I was excited when I saw it would be an understatement. I’ve already downloaded a couple of books in English and Spanish, the newest update (includes Netflix app), and checked out some books from the library.nookcolor

Then I started to think about about how I could use the Nook for my Spanish language learning. For some time I’ve wanted to use the resources provided by VeinteMundos, but just couldn’t find the time to read the articles or listen to the mp3s on my laptop. (Granted I could’ve downloaded the MP3s on my iPod Touch, but just never got around to it.)

So this morning, I downloaded several PDFs of the articles along with the corresponding audio files onto my Nook. So now I can read and listen to the articles wherever I want, whenever I want.

How do you use your ebook reader to help you with your language learning?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Students use Spanish language skills to help needy

I love this! Two groups of high school Spanish language students in northern Kentucky are using their growing language skills to help the needy in their community. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Aside from helping local families, the students are also improving their Spanish, according to Cobb.

"They're learning so much, not just about the language but also about the culture," said Cobb. "It's a huge benefit for them to be able to speak Spanish with native speakers.

"They're excited to help and the group is really getting into the project."

This is how to learn a language! I wish I had had a similar opportunity when I was in high school or college.

By the way, I ran across this article via the CASLS newsletter which I would highly recommend. I look forward to it every Monday morning.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Caramba Kids by José-Luis Orozco

Just saw on Spanglish Baby’s Facebook page that José-Luis Orozco has a Jose-Luisnew site:

Caramba Kids is developing a new and innovative education program based on the music of renowned bilingual educator Jose-Luis Orozco. Our team consists of award-winning experts in animation, music, technology and early childhood development who are committed to the development of exciting educational content for children 8 and under.

You’ll find printable activities in both English and Spanish. They already have a YouTube channel as well as a presence on Facebook and Twitter.

This is great! I remember using his songs all the time when I taught preschool Spanish.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Khan Academy… en español

Quick post to let you know that so far, close to 900 Khan Academy videos translated into Spanish have been uploaded on YouTube:

I ran across this piece of news on Facebook.

Monday, October 31, 2011

El día de los muertos

I subscribe to the Annenberg Learner newsletter which is always full of information for teaching a wide variety of subjects. In this particular issue, there is a section about El día de los muertos (Day of the Dead). Here is the link to the activities including slideshows in English and Spanish, a teacher guide and more: 

If you don’t have time to use this lesson this year, then perhaps you can bookmark it for next year.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

JP Is Back!

And it’s about time! Just kidding, JP. Seriously though, I was a big fan of his when he was on SpanishPod. He had such a great way of explaqa_spanishining Spanish grammar, vocabulary, etc. So when I saw a post on my Facebook page (via Medical Spanish Podcast) that he was on a new podcast, I immediately came here to write a quick post about it.

The podcast is called Q&A Spanish and is part of the Radio Lingua Network… you know, the wonderful folks who produce Coffee Break Spanish, ShowTime Spanish and many more high-quality language podcasts.

From the Q&A Spanish web page:

When you’re learning a language on your own and you don’t have access to a teacher or a native speaker it can sometimes be difficult to get the help you need in order to build confidence in the language and make progress. Here at Radio Lingua we receive requests for help all the time through our website, email, our help desk, Twitter and Facebook. We’ve decided that the best way to answer these questions is by launching our new weekly show Q&A Spanish. Q&A Spanish is hosted by Spanish teacher and language expert JP Villanueva. JP is joined by Nahyeli Mendivil who will be sharing her native speaker knowledge with learners in each show.

You can also download the podcast via iTunes. And here’s the link to the Q&A Spanish Facebook page.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pocoyó YouTube Channel

After our Spanish lesson, my younger son and I watched a few episodes of Pocoyó on YouTube. It was nice to see that they have their own channel now. What’s really funny is that he wanted to watch an English version “just to see what it was like.” After less than a minute, he said he didn’t like it nearly as much.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Destino: España

Destino España (TVE)

I’m totally addicted to the show, Destino: España, on RTVE. I ran across the program via the RTVE app on iTunes.

During each episode you meet several people from various parts of the world (from Togo to Mongolia and everywhere in between) who have chosen to set up residence in Spain. They talk about how long they’ve been there, introduce their family and friends, visit various parts of their town including where they work when applicable.

The program is organized by regions. I started with Aragón since that is where I spent most of my time when I studied abroad in Spain umpteen years ago. For instance, in the Aragón II episode, they talk to a gentleman from Romania who is a gardener at the Monasterio de Piedra. It was lovely to “re-visit” this beautiful location even for just a little bit.

I could see this being used in the classroom (upper-intermediate, advanced) for listening comprehension, Spanish language (of course), geography and culture.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

How-to videos in Spanish is chocked-full of videos about how to do everything from packing a suitcase to touring El Prado, from how to transport a pet in your car to how to speak in public.

From the site: es el líder del How-To audiovisual en España con más de un millón de usuarios mensuales. Practicopedia intenta dar solución a los problemas de la vida cotidiana creando contenidos originales, gracias a su equipo de redacción. también vigila por la calidad de los contenidos que envían los usuarios y sólo publica aquellos que pasan el filtro por tener los estándares de calidad periodista exigible.

You can also hover your mouse over any word and get the definition – in Spanish, of course. There is also a free iPhone app, so that you can watch the videos wherever you are.

To view more categories:

How would you use this site in your classroom?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cooking with your children… in Spanish

My older son loves to cook and I’m glad. I figure in a few years, I may be able to hand over the cooking duties to him. One can dream… image

I have found a couple of websites full of recipes in Spanish so that I can help him improve his cooking skills as well as his Spanish language skills.

You’ll find weekly menus, quick dinner recipes, recipes that you can do with your children and more.

Cocina facilisimo
Here readers contribute recipes to the site which are broken up into your typical categories – salads, sauces, desserts, etc.

Do you cook with your children? Which sites would you recommend?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Los misterios de Laura

Even though this series is probably not new to you, it’s new to me, so I thought I would post it here for those who didn’t know about it. Here’s a snippet from

Laura Lebrel tiene que compatibilizar sus labores de esposa, ama de casa y madre de dos gemelos de cinco años con su trabajo como inspectora de policía. Pero no es una inspectora cualquiera... No se basa en pruebas científicas, ni controla el análisis psicológico. Su arma es la intuición y el instinto, que la llevarán a desmontar la coartada más perfecta…

Even though I don’t normally watch this sort of programming I’m willing to watch in Spanish just to help with my listening comprehension.

Where to go:
About the series -
(To watch the individual shows, click on the capítulos tab.)

Spanish Civil War – 75th Anniversary

Today, July 18, marks the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. I saw a post by RTVE on Facebook which has an entire section (videos, reports, photographs) about the war.

Many years ago, during a studying abroad trip to Spain, I remember an excursion to Belchite… still remember it like it was yesterday. It’s a town in the province of Zaragoza which was completely destroyed. It was an eerie trip back in time… entire sides of buildings completely gone, large gaping holes in what remained of the cathedral and other structures. Needless to say it left quite an impression.

Where to go: – La guerra civil
History Channel – Spanish Civil War breaks out
Belchite – Ghostly Reminder of the Spanish Civil War

Monday, July 11, 2011

Active learning

As I mentioned in my previous post, most of my Spanish learning these days is inactive – reading and listening. There’s definitely nothing wrong with either one, but I feel I don’t progress as much as when I write or speak in Spanish on a regular basis.

Since my time is limited, I’ve been trying to figure out a way to work on the skills noted above. While I would love to speak in Spanish face-to-face with a native speaker, I realize I just can’t at this time. On the other hand, I do have access to the wonderful Internet and all its possibilities. One site that came to mind when I started thinking about this post was is an online community for those who are learning English and Spanish. That’s it… English and Spanish. I like this. Nothing wrong with language exchange sites which offer a multitude of languages, but I appreciate the simplicity of just having just these two to choose from.

Here’s the embarrassing part… I’ve been a member for over a year and I haven’t had a conversation through the site. I also haven’t used the text chat app and probably will not too often. On the other hand I have participated in their Writing Club… once. It was a very positive experience though. I chose to write a little something about myself as an introduction to the community. Within days I had feedback from Spanish language speakers which was so helpful.

So, here’s the thing. I’m going to put myself on a schedule of sorts. I’m going to start off by writing again in Spanish at least twice a week and then more frequently. During that time I’m going to also try to set up a conversation schedule with a couple of my Lenguajero “friends.”

I’ll write about my progress here. Wish me luck!

Where to go:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Working, family and now homeschooling

To say that I’ve been busy would be quite an understatement. As I’ve mentioned before I work at a summer camp which pretty much means I have little time for anything else. Luckily, I’ve actually been able to use my Spanish with a camper family from Madrid.

Speaking of which… I noticed the last few times I corresponded with the mother in Spanish, I found it to be a difficult task. I was doubting myself quite a bit and looking up more words than I should.

Family. Unlike some bloggers who write about learning languages, I just can’t pick up and travel to a Spanish-speaking country right now even though I really would like to. I need to work and look after my family. I wake up with the best intentions, but after a day at work, housework, family time, etc., I go to bed without doing anything in Spanish except to read or listen to part of a podcast during my commute to work.

And, that brings me back to this blog and why I started it in the first place over three years ago, but now with a bit of a twist. We’re going to start homeschooling in August. Over the past several years I’ve taught them some Spanish, but more structure will be necessary.

I’m currently searching for a curriculum for each (3rd and 7th grades), but so far, I haven’t been very satisfied with what I have seen. If or when I do find something, I will certainly write about it here. (And yes, I have thought about putting something together on my own.) I will also continue to write about resources for adult-learners.

So, that’s it. Just a quick update from me.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Starting off slow…

I’m the first to admit that my listening comprehension is somewhat lacking. I find myself catching some words here and there and pretty much understanding what’s being said, but there is certainly room for improvement.

For the past several months, I’ve been listening to News in Slow Spanish which I wrote about last year. It’s slow, that’s for sure. In fact, I thought perhaps it would slow me down, but I have discovered that it’s helped my comprehension when listening to Spanish at a “normal” speed.

I compare it to reading a book. When listening to the News in Slow Spanish podcast, I can savor each word, think about its meaning and still pretty much keep up with the podcast. I have found that my vocabulary has increased quite a bit as well as my comprehension when listening to other Spanish language podcasts.

Give it a try! I think you’ll understand after a few episodes.

Where to go:
Subscribe via iTunes

Sunday, March 6, 2011

New link for thematic units

A reader brought to my attention the fact that the link for my post about free thematic units in Spanish and other languages did not work anymore. After a bit of research, I discovered that the pages were archived. The new link is: 

I will fix the link on the original post, but since I thought this was such a great resource, I thought it deserved a new post as well. Also, I would highly recommend that you download the material to your computer. I will be doing the same. Thanks again, Molly!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Videos: Adivina la palabra de hoy

You know when you find one great website which then leads to another website and so on? Well, on the Practica Español site, I found a series of videos from the Fundación de la Lengua Española called Adivina. From the site:

"Adivina" es un diccionario básico del español en formato audiovisual con definiciones aportadas por niños españoles. Creado con el fin de fomentar el aprendizaje del idioma con una metodología en la que prima el entretenimiento.

Okay, I’m just going to say it. The videos are cute… useful as well, but cute. I can see this series of videos being used in the classroom or at home. You could also follow the premise of this series as a classroom exercise. Divide your students into two teams and have one person on each team describe a vocabulary word. Whichever team guesses correctly gets a point and so on.

Where to go:
Fundación de la Lengua Española - Adivina

Monday, February 14, 2011

Website: Practica Español

I’m again amazed at the amount and quality of free learning materials that are available to the Spanish language student. In my weekly CASLS (Center for Applied Second Language Studies) email newsletter, I ran across this wonderful resource – Practica Español. From the site:

Dispones de una variedad de contenidos con diferentes temáticas: ESPAÑA, MUNDO, DEPORTES, ENTRETENIMIENTO, VIAJES, SALUD, NEGOCIOS, CULTURA, CIENCIA y GASTRONOMÍA.

Todos los contenidos tienen soporte en TEXTO, SONIDO E IMÁGENES (Video y/o Fotografía). Lo que te permite LEER, ESCUCHAR, PRACTICAR, APRENDER Y PARTICIPAR a través de los ejercicios que te proponemos.

And here’s their video:

Where to go:
Practica Español
Center for Applied Second Language Studies