Tuesday, July 26, 2011

How-to videos in Spanish

Practicopedia.com 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:

Practicopedia.com 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. Practicopedia.com 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: http://categorias.practicopedia.com/

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.

PequeRecetas http://www.pequerecetas.com/
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 RTVE.es:

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:
RTVE.es – 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 Lenguajero.com.

Lenguajero.com 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