Sunday, August 31, 2008

Scholastic's Club Leo

One of my readers, Tricia, sent me an email about Scholastic's Club Leo which is a great resource for Spanish, English, and bilingual books from the U.S., Latin America, and Spain.

By now your child's teacher has probably already sent home Scholastic book order forms or will very soon. My kindergartner came home with one on Friday. I'm going to ask his teacher if we can also order from Club Leo. The prices are unbeatable and parents do not have to pay for shipping and handling. Also, the teachers will benefit by getting points towards books and materials for their classrooms. It's certainly a win-win situation.

Thanks for the tip, Tricia!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Pocoyó - New activities on web site

As I was exploring the Pocoyó site, I noticed that new printable activities had been added. Click on the characters at the top of the screen to access them. You'll find masks, coloring pages, and crafts for each character. Enjoy!


Pocoyó - Exigente Pato


Keywords and phrases:

exigente - fussy, demanding

la mancha - spot, stain
la bañera - bathtub (Tina is more common in Latin America.)

pintar con los dedos
- fingerpaint
Pinto - I paint.
Pintas - You paint.
Pinta - He/She paints.

estar limpio(a) - to be clean
estar sucio(a) - to be dirty

Estoy limpio. (For a girl - limpia.) - I am clean.
Estás limpio. - You are clean.
Está limpio. - He/She is clean.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Working on your listening skills? Here's a site for you.

Reading Jessica's blog entry about developing your Spanish language listening skills reminded me of this outstanding web site. I find myself going back to it again and again.

From the site:
Spanish Proficiency Exercises is a compilation of brief video clips in which native speakers of Spanish from various locations throughout Latin America and Spain demonstrate various language tasks. The objective of the exercises is to provide students of Spanish with the necessary tools to be able to talk about the same topics in Spanish. In order to do, this Spanish Proficiency Exercises contains five major components. First, there is a simplified video clip. This simplified version is scripted, the native speakers talks slower, and he or she uses simpler words and less slang. Second, there are video clips of native speakers who also perform the proficiency tasks. These clips are not scripted. What the native speakers say is what they really said. Some may talk fast, others talk slow, and some have specific regional dialects.
You'll also find an English/Spanish glossary to assist you in conversing about the topics, sample sentences and short grammar explanations. Four different levels are offered: beginner, intermediate, advanced and superior. With most of the videos, you have the choice of seeing the transcript in English, Spanish or not at all.

The topics cover everyday things such as ordering a simple meal, your TV viewing habits, a typical day of activities and so on. You can also download them to your iPod.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Mi vida loca: Spanish for beginners

As I was looking through various sites and blogs this morning, I found this one. La vida loca: Spanish for beginners is an interactive online course with video and sound produced by the BBC. From the site:

There will be 22 episodes, themed according to language topics such as directions, shopping, etc. You can check the full breakdown in the syllabus.

Each episode is a combination of real-action video with language teaching and practice, focused on developing communicative skills. The language is presented in small bitesize chunks when it's needed. Learners are encouraged to practise and to speak out loud to the characters they encounter.

Each episode should take no more than 20-30 minutes to complete for an absolute beginner. Learners can then be encouraged to watch the full episode or some of the key scenes more than once. Just make sure not to close the episode window.

At the end of each episode there is a consolidation section, bringing together all the key vocabulary, explaining the grammar structures and providing extra practice. All these pages are printable.

Learners can also review the key scenes, tagged with the key language objective, by using the orange bar at the top of the video screen after viewing the episode.

Along with the video you'll find a syllabus, teacher's guide and a user's guide.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Tecla: an online magazine for teachers and students of Spanish

I don't know why I keep forgetting about this wonderful resource, but I thought if I blogged about it, then perhaps I would remember it better. Let's see if it works...

Tecla is a monthly magazine published by the Consejería de Educación which is part of the Spanish Embassy in the United Kingdom. Each month there are three articles at three different levels (beginner, intermediate, advanced). Comprehension exercises accompany each one along with the answers so that you can check yourself.

I could see this as a resource for the classroom teacher, homeschool teacher and adults who are studying Spanish on their own.

Edited: Updated link - 2/27/2012

Pocoyó - Música Maestro

Keywords and phrases:

la orquesta pelota
- ball orchestra
los instrumentos musicales - musical instruments
un par de platillos - a pair of cymbals
un tambor - drum
una trompeta - trumpet

necesitar descansar
- to need to rest
Necesita descansar. - He/She needs to rest.
Necesitas descansar. - You need to rest.
Necesito descansar. - I need to rest. (so true...)

tener una idea
- to have an idea
Tiene una idea. - He/She has an idea.
Tienes una idea. - You have an idea.
Tengo una idea. - I have an idea.

tocar la trompeta - to play the trumpet
Toca la trompeta. - He/She plays the trumpet.
Tocas la trompeta. - You play the trumpet.
Toco la trompeta. - I play the trumpet.

Es una lástima. - It's a shame.

La música está en todas partes. - Music is everywhere. (It's also correct to say por todas partes. I've heard por more often in this context.)

Good site for some YouTube tricks:

Also, I use RealPlayer to download YouTube videos and watch them offline.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Two blogs - technology and languages

This evening through Twitter I found two wonderful blogs. They talk about using technology in the modern foreign language classroom.

The first one is Integrating ICT into the MFL Classroom written by Joe Dale, a French middle school teacher. The second blog is called ICT and Education - Box of Tricks written by José Picardo, a high school foreign language teacher.

Not much else to say except, please go take a look at them. Come back and let me know your opinions. For me, I think it's so important to introduce and integrate technology into the classroom, but as a tool to help students learn, not for the technology itself.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Turning a Wii remote into a digital whiteboard

For classroom teachers, this is something you might want to try.

He also demonstrates how to turn the video game controller into a touchscreen and a head-mounted 3-D viewer. This is just fascinating to me.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Teaching parts of the face with a monster puppet

When talking about the parts of the face in Spanish, I know that many teachers use Mr. Potato Head in class. Well, about a year ago, I saw the Melissa & Doug Make Your Own Monster Puppet online and a lightbulb went off. Wouldn't this be great to use instead of or in addition to Mr. Potato Head?

I finally got around to buying one last week through Amazon. I laid out all the parts for you to see. (To enlarge, click on photo.) For $15 and some change, I really think you get a good deal.

Imagine using this in class. The children helping him find his eyes... "No puedo ver. ¿Dónde están mis ojos?" The child or teacher can place them in the right place. The puppet then could say Puedo ver. ¡Gracias! You could do the same with the nose, ears and arms even. You could also put them in the wrong place - such as placing the eyes under the mouth and then the students could tell you the correct place.

I have to say that I can't wait to use this little guy in class. I think the kids will love him!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Official Olympics web site in Spanish

If you want to practice your Spanish and learn more about the Olympics in Beijing, here's a good place to go:

For more information about the Olympics and foreign languages, visit Foreign Language Fun.

Even more coverage in Spanish:

Quick note: For the month of August, I'm going to slow down a bit with the posts - perhaps one or two a week. It's my last month with my little guys before they start school. My youngest will be in kindergarten, so I feel that I need to grab this time now. (Yes, they grow up way too quickly.) ¡Gracias!