Sunday, September 28, 2008

Spain - On the Road Again

UPDATE: It appears that the first episode was free for only a limited time. I apologize for any confusion. Each episode is available for $1.99 on iTunes.

Download the episodes of Spain - On the Road Again.

For more information y recetas visit


Thursday, September 25, 2008

We Are Little Amigos CD Giveaway

The Foreign Language Fun Blog is giving away a copy of the We Are Little Amigos cd. This would be perfect for both the home and classroom. From the blog:
Fun is exactly what you’ll find in the We Are Little Amigos CD. I ordered my copy the other week, and my kids LOVE it. You should see them dancing away. Mirabel Suardy, a native speaker and the creative genius behind the CD, has put easy-to-remember lyrics to familiar, upbeat tunes. I know very little Spanish, but the bilingual songs are easy to pick up and remember. I even find myself singing little Spanish phrases throughout my day.
So, go over there for a chance to win!

Free Power Point presentations and other resources

During my daily visit at the Free Technology for Teachers blog, I found a good resource for Spanish teachers. At Pete's Power Point Station, I made a stop at the Spanish language station. Not only will you find links to Power Point presentations, but also links to sites for children and teachers.


Listening comprehension - helpful web sites

First we'll begin with where you'll find short stories and poems, organized by author, read aloud with transcripts. You will find works by García Lorca, Becquer, Neruda, Hardy, Poe, Woolf and many, many more. In some cases, you can find them in other languages side by side such as The Princess and the Pea/La Princesa y el Guisante or the combination of Spanish and French. Listen to the audio online or download them as mp3 files.

From literature to the news, we next visit Spanish NewsBites which is simply packed with lots of good things. They offer brief "snippets" from Spanish-language news sources with audio (listen online or download mp3 files), links and mouseover glossaries. Not only that, but Spanish NewsBites also offers a PDF transcript with key glossary words. And if that wasn't enough, you can test your comprehension with their fill-in-the gap exercises. There are three levels - beginner, intermediate and advanced.

The last one I will talk about today is Audiria. From their site:
  • An original daily audio file in Spanish with its transcription.
  • Different chapter "channels" along the week.
  • Chapters organized by difficulty level.
  • Different exercises associated to each chapter.
  • A forum for practicing your Spanish writing and get corrected.
  • Personal stats to follow-up your scores.
  • A collection of complementary learning resources.
  • A completely free book of grammar, vocabulary and a conversation guide.
  • Brief grammatical lessons in audio-text format.
  • A free iTunes podcast
All I can say is - wow! I mean, I really have nothing else to add. Wait, there is one more thing - all of these resources are free as in gratis. Enjoy!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Profeland: A resource site for Spanish teachers - high school & up

Profeland: La web para el profesor de español is a site that might be quite helpful to high school teachers, college professors and adults learning on their own.

They combine different types of media such as music videos, short movie clips and more along with support material. Here's un buen ejemplo. In fact, I think I might use this site myself.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Go Animate: Teaching tool


Okay, this is my first time making a cartoon at Go Animate.

¿Qué vamos a comer? - What are we going to eat?
Tengo hambre. - I am hungry.
Comer - to eat
Helado - ice cream
Pastel - cake
Arroz con pollo - rice with chicken

There is a way to add sound, but I thought I would keep it simple for my first one.

*It works now. Thanks for your patience!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Friday, September 12, 2008

A personal note

I wanted to let all of you know that I'm going to slow down a bit the next few weeks for medical reasons. I'm not going to stop posting, but maybe just once a week or so. Thank you for understanding.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Spain - On the Road Again


I'm definitely watching this from start to finish. For more information visit Spain - On the Road Again.

(Apparently Gwyneth Paltrow, in addition to acting and singing, can also speak Spanish quite well... does it ever end?)

SpanishPod - subscription changes

On September 1, SpanishPod started charging for their podcasts except for the newbie lessons, ¿Qué Pasa? and Del Taco al Tango which will still be available for free. At first, I was sad to hear it because I really love their podcasts and I didn't think I would have the money to pay for even the basic subscription. (It seems everything in our house is breaking down at once - from the refrigerator to the plumbing. Like many of you, money is tight right now.)

But then I started thinking about it as an investment in my future. Out of all the Spanish-language podcasts available, I still think SpanishPod is far superior. I have learned so much from listening to them. I would even go as far as to say that I have learned more from their podcasts than in some of my Spanish courses in college. Their podcasts help me with my teaching and did I mention my language skills just helped me land a very cool part-time job? An investment in my future? Most definitely.

So today, I signed up for the basic subscription of $69/year which equals to $5.75/month which I can handle. With my subscription, I get all the MP3 lessons, video lessons and pdf transcripts. As the saying goes, "you get what you pay for." So true...

Monday, September 1, 2008

Watching online videos on your television

Recently I started thinking how much I would like to watch online videos on my television. You know, instead of having my five-year old perch on my lap as we watch Pocoyó videos on the laptop, we could watch them while we sit comfortably on the couch.

Now I'm not going to get too technical because of the number of variables, but this is what I did. We have a TV that is four years old which has an S-video input in the back. I have an S-video output on my laptop which is less than a year old.

With the computer off, I plugged the S-video cable (photo: on the right - empty package, click on it to see it up close) into the TV and laptop. In order to hear the sound through the TV, I also plugged in another cable (photo: on the left) into the headphone jack on my laptop and the other part into the TV.

Then I switched on my PC laptop running Vista and selected S-Video on the TV. Very easy! Total cost - about $6. I already had the audio cable from our portable DVD player. For more help, I recommend Googling "hooking up computer to TV."

So, yesterday, my little guy and I watched a couple of Pocoyó videos on our television... snuggling on the couch. I really believe my kids will be more inclined to watch more Spanish-language shows since all of us will not have to "crowd" around the laptop.

Also, for myself, I'm going to start watching Amar en tiempos revueltos - a television drama out of Spain.

And for you classroom teachers, this could be quite handy as well. Save the online videos beforehand using RealPlayer or some other similar program and then show them to your class on a larger screen. Always check the video quality first though. Not all online video will come through clearly.