Friday, January 17, 2014

Spanish Phone Conversations

While on Twitter, I ran across the Spanish Phone Conversations site from the Defense Language Institute via Kristen at Spanish Is Your Amigo.

Since this was new to me, I thought I had better check it out and write a quick post about it.

So, upon visiting the Spanish Phone Conversations site, you can choose a country which there are only six available (Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Cuba, Honduras and Argentina), level (2, 2+, 3) and various topics ranging from clothing and working conditions, to education and family life. There are 10 total.

Once you make your choices, you can either listen to the conversation online or download the audio to put on your mp3 player.

There are over 300 phone conversations which should provide plenty of listening comprehension practice. Even though they mention lesson plans, I'm afraid they're not available. In any case, I feel it's still a good site for practicing your Spanish language listening skills.

Spanish Phone Conversations for Improving Your Listening Comprehension

Saturday, June 29, 2013

News in Slow (Latin American) Spanish

Because I was going on a long car trip last week, I started to look for new podcasts to put on my iPod Touch. That's when I found News in Slow Latin American Spanish. As you know, there is News in Slow Spanish which has been around for a while now. (For instance they're on episode number 224. The Latin American version is just on number three.)

There are six sections:

1) Flashcards
2) News Stories
3) Grammar
4) Expressions
5) Pronunciations
6) Quizzes

You can access the audio for sections 2, 3, and 4 from the site or download them via iTunes or another similar program. (I use the Downcast app on my iPod Touch.) You can also download the flashcards in pdf format from the site. The full transcripts, and the pronunciation and quizzes sections are accessible by subscription only.

They also offer educational discounts (individual licenses, individual floating licenses, and language lab licenses).

By the way, the same folks also offer News in Slow Italian, Chinese (suspended but there are 20 episodes available), and French.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Summer Proficiency Pack for Middle Schoolers

Run, don't walk to Maris Hawkins' blog post Made It Monday: Summer Proficiency Pack. It's for middle schoolers, but please, go look anyway even if you're not teaching at that level or just learning on your own at home.

She has put together a wonderful packet for her students so that their language skills do not dwindle over the summer. She based it on the most recent #langchat on Twitter: Keep Students Motivated with 9 Summer Language Learning Activities. You'll find links to recipe sites, YouTube videos, news video sites, and more.

In her post, she also mentions that Zachary Jones has put together an ebook, Summer Spanish 2013. It costs $5.00 and I imagine it's worth every penny.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Spanish Language Route: Learn Spanish Using 3D Adventure Game

Just saw this and had to share...

It will be available September 2013 and will contain linguistic exercises from levels A1 to C2.

From the article on

Aprender jugando es una técnica empleada en muchos niveles educativos, también en el ámbito de los idiomas. Una empresa española está desarrollando una ambiciosa apuesta en la enseñanza de idiomas, la Spanish Language Route (en español Ruta de la Lengua Española), una aventura gráfica en 3D en la que, con la excusa de rescatar el diario de Cervantes, el alumno-jugador  pasa múltiples etapas de aprendizaje de español.
El viaje a la Edad Media y a parte del Siglo de Oro español (el siglo XVI) con soporte multimedia en 3D comienza con el robo del diario de Cervantes. El usuario, que puede acceder al juego en su propia lengua, como inglés, francés o ruso, por ejemplo, tiene que escoger un aspecto (avatar) y comenzar una aventura por el Camino de Santiago.

This looks like it will be a lot of fun. I can't wait to try it!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Exercise Videos in Spanish

Challenge your mind and your body by exercising using Spanish language workout routines.

Recently I was browsing one of my favorite YouTube channels, OnceTV México, when I saw a show called Energía. This caught my eye because I work out at least five times a week and am always looking for new routines.

When I googled the show, I discovered that not only do they have regular exercise shows (cardio & strength), but also yoga, pilates, and a couple of other types as well. 

Del sitio

Energía invita a las mujeres a conservar su salud física y mental mediante distintas técnicas para realizar en casa sin necesidad de aparatos o equipo especial. Se busca con ello un equilibrio en la relación con el cuerpo y el bienestar al reforzar aspectos espirituales, de fuerza muscular y cuidado cardiaco. 

Have fun working out your Spanish language skills and your body!


By the way, I discovered the videos by browsing the channel's upload feed

Friday, March 22, 2013

First NASA Google+ Hangout in Spanish

Space and Spanish go together like... well, I'm not sure, but in any case, you'll get the chance to participate in NASA's first Google+ Hangout in Spanish hosted by NASA en Español.

From the Google+ Hangout event page:

Durante este evento, la científica terrestre Erika Podest y la investigadora principal e ingeniera de sistemas Michela Muñoz Fernández, ambas del Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) de la NASA en Pasadena, California, compartirán sus historias. Ellas responderán a preguntas de los participantes sobre el camino que tomaron para llegar a la NASA, lo que hacen, por qué es importante y cómo formar parte del programa espacial.

The event is scheduled for Thursday, March 28 from 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM EDT. To participate, visit the event page at Google+ or watch it on the NASA YouTube Channel.

For more information about Podest and Fernández, visit the Women@NASA y Science4Girls.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Free Customizable Picture Book Apps

A quick post about a set of apps that is free... for now at least. They are the "I Like" Picture Books apps from Grasshopper Apps.

They're in English, but and this is a big BUT, you can customize the photos, text and the sound recordings. I downloaded the "I Like Colors" book and yes, I was able to customize it using my own voice and text turning it into a Spanish picture book. (I haven't tried changing the photos yet, because I wanted to get the word out as quickly as possible about this app!)

From the site:

All “I Like” Picture Books contain engaging stories written by Miranda Paul and stunning crisp photographs. Words are highlighted as they are being read to optimize the learning curve. Literally everything is customizable; add your own voice, your own photos and even your own story line!

There are other free ones as well such as I Like Numbers, I Like Grandpa, I Like School, I Like Planes and several more. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Spanish Classes at

Well, that was a lot of fun! I just finished a conversation class in Spanish on Verbling. I learned that the classes were being offered just a couple of days ago via Learn Spanish with Paulino.

Currently it appears that there are several Spanish teachers offering classes from beginner to advance. You chat using Google Hangout, but keep in mind you have to connect via a link within the Verbling website.

You can join the classes for free or become a premium member which guarantees you a seat in advance which may come in handy.

EDITED 5/12/2013
Now it appears you have to buy tickets to join a class. Please visit Verbling for more information.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Coursera Classes in Spanish

If you really want a language challenge, is now offering select classes in Spanish. 

So far, there are two universities participating: La Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and Tecnológico de Monterrey

Classes include Matemáticas y movimiento, Innovación educativa con recursos abiertos, Ser más creativos and more. (To view the classes, click on the university links above.)

The following video is from Dra. María Soledad Ramírez Montoya, one of the instructors of Innovación educativa con recursos abiertos.

Also from Tecnológico de Monterrey, a 6-week Latin American Culture class will be available in June. From the About the Course section:
This course will develop students’ abilities to understand Latin American culture at both the national and regional levels. Students will analyze the social, economic, political, and cultural development of the region by applying modern critical thinking to the understood history of the individual Latin American countries. At the same time, students will study the contributions of different cultural and ethnic groups that exist within these countries, in order to understand fully the social complexity of what we call “Latin America”. Lastly, students will evaluate the developmental needs of Latin American countries and propose possible solutions in which individuals can act as a force for change.
Unlike the others, it appears this class will be in English.

To learn more about, visit the About page. By the way, all Coursera classes are free.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

A large collection of resources in one place

This morning I noticed that Red de Bibliotecas del Instituto Cervantes posted a link to a booklet (downloadable PDF) put together by Spain’s Ministry of Education in Italy, Greece and Albania. Recursos en línea para la enseñanza del español como lengua extranjera

What will you find in this booklet? A large collection of resources to help teach Spanish as a foreign language. On each page you will find the name of the site, a screenshot of the first page, a description, tags and the site’s URL at the bottom.

Glancing through the pages, I found links to associations, educational materials, exercises, videos, online courses, games and much more. (And believe it or not, there were some even I had not seen before!)