Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tips from TLSB readers – bilingual book for preschoolers

From Rachael: timkim

I just started reading a bilingual book to my preschoolers. They love this book "Tim and Kim" by Kay Linda Nord. It is really cute. Anyway, with the book we have made a new game. Whoever can use the words we learned in Spanish the most in one day, gets to pick the story to read at night. I love it when learning tools are so much fun! And this will be perfect!

Since we are sharing, here is where I found the book -
http://kaylindanord.com. It is great because it has cute illustrations and both English and Spanish (Mexican not the traditional Castilian) on the same page so you can follow along.

If you have any tips or advice for other TLSB readers, you may send me an email and I will post them. ¡Gracias!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Spanish children television shows and more

Vaya... just a quick post to share with you a very nice link. It's TVE a la carta - programas infantiles, but you can watch other types of online videos también such as sports, dramas, documentaries y más. Oh, and we're talking about entire episodes, not clips.

Let’s go shopping

Okay, not really, but how about we do some window-shopping online. I think it’s a fantastic way to learn new vocabulary and it’s pretty fun at the same time.

El Corte Inglés is a very large department store chain in Spain. When I studied abroad in Zaragoza, I shopped there a couple of times. From juguetes (toys) to zapatos (shoes), they have just about everything—including a supermercado (grocery store). Just have fun browsing around. Oh, and if you look carefully, you’ll find a free online magazine full of beautiful photographs, interesting articles and recetas (recipes).

Speaking of food, grocery store sites are fun to browse. One of my favorites is HEB Mexico. And guess what? You’ll find another free online magazine. Did you find it? I could see this being used in class when talking about food, shopping and even cooking. Maybe even use one of the recipes in class or have students make a dish and bring it in for extra credit.

Did someone mention hardware? How about we visit a ferretería? I didn’t know this, but there are Home Depots in Mexico. You can even thumb through the folleto electrónico. Here’s a hardware store in Spain – Ferretería Esmas. Can you find a martillo?

Well, I think that is enough window-shopping for now. Hasta luego.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

ShowTime Spanish Podcast

Recently I started listening to a new podcast that I wanted to share with my readers here at TLSB. It’s called ShowTime Spanish, a new podcast from the Radio Lingua Network.

The two main presenters are Mark, an experienced teacher who has lived and worked in Spain and Alba, from Barcelona, who is teaching Spanish in Scotland. José Picardo, a native speaker from Andalucia, who currently teaches in England, makes a guest appearance in each show.

There are two acts in each podcast or show. During the first act, the presenters have a conversation about a particular topic. To help listeners understand the conversation, they provide a summary using more “straightforward” Spanish afterwards.

In the second act, the grammar and vocabulary used during the first act are then explained by Mark. In between the two acts is the intermedio where José talks about taking the language to the next level by introducing helpful phrases to sound more native. Also during the intermedio, Alba introduces trabalenguas (tongue twisters).

To access the podcasts, you can subscribe for free through iTunes or listen directly on the ShowTime Spanish site. You can take your learning even further by becoming a premium member. As a member you’ll have access to the lesson guides which include: “full transcripts of the introduction, the main conversation and any other Spanish texts used within the lesson. The guide also features the text and explanations relating to our intermedio section… premium members can also use the Encore podcast to test their understanding of what has been covered in the main lesson.”

For those who like to kick the tires and look under the hood so to speak, you can access the lesson 3 materials for free either through iTunes or here.

I have to say that I’m quite impressed with the entire package. The presenters are engaging and very knowledgeable about the Spanish language. The grammar and vocabulary explanations are done well and easy to understand. Overall I’m pleased to have found a new podcast to listen to as I go about my day in the car or around the house. I also have to mention that the Radio Lingua Network produces a podcast for beginners called Coffee Break Spanish as well as programs for other languages.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Tips from TLSB readers

Earlier I received an email from one of my readers and decided to share it with all of you.

From Tricia: I just made a good discovery in the dollar bins at Target. They are little wooden boxes with bears to "dress up." There's a boy bear and a girl bear. There are six heads with different emotions plus different colored pants, shirts, dresses, shoes, etc. I just sad down with my three year old and had a blast practicing Spanish for emotions, weather, clothes, colors, etc. They're actually in the $2.50 section, but I still thought it was a pretty good deal.

So, if you have any tips or advice for other TLSB readers, you may send me an email here at the Teaching & Learning Spanish Blog and I will post them. ¡Gracias!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Keep track of your language learning

While learning a language you might want to record what you have learned and what you would like to learn. The LinguaFolio is the perfect tool for this. From the web site:

LinguaFolio is designed for use by students and educators in secondary schools and in universities as well as for adult learners. Businesses and community employers may choose to use the document to profile language proficiency of their employees or job applicants.

LinguaFolio is designed to assist students with guidance from their instructors in assessing and describing individual language skills and to facilitate articulation from high school to the university level. The three sections of the portfolio are available to teachers and students for building individual portfolios in notebooks and/or as electronic files.

LinguaFolio should facilitate the earning of college credit for language study completed in high school or in transfer agreements among colleges by providing evidence of language learning experiences and intercultural experiences.

There are three parts: the Language Passport, Language Biography and the Dossier which are available in PDF format where applicable.

For younger learners, there is the LinguaFolio Jr. I have used this with my elementary-age student to assess what he knew and what he would like to learn. His mother commented that she really enjoyed filling it out with her son and that it gave her a clearer picture of what he had learned from previous Spanish classes and where he still needed help.

Some sample questions from the language biography section:

What helps me understand when I read words in another language?
What goals do I have for learning a language?
What activities help me pronounce words like my teacher says them?

You will also find a checklist for each level (novice, intermediate, advanced) and activity (speaking, listening, reading, writing). You can assess your child four times a year or fill it out over several years to track his/her progress. Here's a screenshot of a small part of the Advanced section under Speaking:


The LinguaFolio and the LinguaFolio Jr. can be very useful tools in school or at home to keep track of your language learning progress or the progress of your child.

(Here's a link to the Junior European Language Portfolio and the link to the adult version.)