22 January 2009

"How much is estuvo de pie?"

One of my students cracked me up this morning. I haven't laughed so hard in a while!

We were doing this story where the students were at a circus with a monito and Garfield and no estuvieron de pie. One of the students, Karyssa, was the vendedora, estuvo de pie, y vendía carne de res, jugo de piña, y "orejas de elefante." One of my students had to go to the office for a few minutes during the story, and when he got back we were catching him up on the whole vendedora idea. To help him understand, I told him that the carne de res was un dólar and the jugo de piña was dos dólares and the oreja de elefante was quince dólares.

So, of course, looking at the different things on the board, he says, "How much is the estuvo de pie?" (pronouncing pie like apple pie)

I lost it for maybe five minutes straight. Maybe you had to be there, LOL.

20 January 2009

One more song for subjunctive

There's another song that's great for so many reasons--by far one of my students' favorites: La llave de mi corazón by Juan Luis Guerra. His music and lyrics are positive and upbeat and the codeswitching (mixing languages) fascinates my students, who often enter my class thinking bilingualism is weird and there aren't any cool people who speak two languages. (Side note, the song's also been recorded in Portuguese.)

I blogged about La llave de mi corazón last year in this post but not specifically for subjunctive. It's by reason of influence after a subject change and there are several good examples. Enjoy--it's a great tune!

15 January 2009

A couple more subjunctive songs

Someone landed on my blog a little while ago by searching for good subjunctive songs, so I thought I'd post a couple more I've run across. One is the song "Todo Cambió," the title track to Camila's debut CD. That's them in the photo. The subjunctive is following the word antes for something in the future. The music video isn't one I find worth showing--seems like the woman finds out she's pregnant, has the baby, and it's pretty big by the end of the video, without understanding how the song relates. But, they performed the song on the 2007 Latin Grammy awards and that's a better video. Incidentally it's also a really good example of pronouncing the 'v' as a 'b.'
In case you're wondering, they're not nearly as rough as they look. ;o)
Also, the song No Te Pido Flores by Fanny Lu. It's awesome for subjunctive used over and over again by reason of change of subject with influence in the first verb. The official music video for this one I also don't show, because of the clothes she wears and the way she dances in the happy parts. The Colombian version is much better. You really cannot beat this song for subjunctive for influence.

13 January 2009

An example of vocab

Here's an example of how I present my vocab. Here are the first three weeks of vocab for Spanish 1 this semester. I never give more than 15 phrases per week, and I don't like giving even that much, but in Spanish 1 especially it's hard to avoid that--they just flat out need the vocabulary. In Spanish 2 their words are often words that are repeated from earlier in the year or from Spanish 1, just in a different tense or as part of a different phrase.

This is the only time I present the words with their English counterparts. My students write them in spiral-bound notecards (that, a composition notebook, and a set of colored pencils comprise their supplies for my class since I don't issue a textbook). They review them for five minutes every day, looking at the English and saying the Spanish in a low but audible voice. I wish I could find a less translation-heavy way of doing that, but it's something the students have asked for (even though they complain about the reviews) and it has seemed to be a good compromise between me not wanting to give them anything in English and them wanting everything in English. During a review, they count how many sets of 10 words they can get through in 5 minutes. After 6 reviews, I collect the review counts to make sure they're getting through a reasonable number of words and are holding steady or improving. And sometimes I have them start in different places just to make sure everyone's seeing all the words at some point.

Anyway, here are the words for Spanish 1:
Week of January 12, 2009:
el año nuevo the new year
ni un poco not even a little
¿de veras? really?
él tiene que poner la mesa he has to set the table
pongo las servilletas allí I put the napkins there (pres.)
el comedor dining room
limpian la cocina they clean the kitchen
lavo los platos I wash the dishes
debes pensarlo you should think about it
pienso viajar pronto I’m thinking about traveling soon
¿Qué piensas? What do you think?
pensamos en We’re thinking about
no cierra la puerta he/she doesn’t close the door
empiezo en seguida I start right away
empezamos tarde we’re starting late

Week of January 20, 2009:
este lugar this place
¿piensas que es bonita? do you think it’s pretty?
el lavaplatos dishwasher
prefiero esa estufa I prefer that stove
esta lámpara this lamp
pásame ese pan pass me that bread
un poco de pimienta a little pepper
preferimos mucha sal we prefer a lot of salt
¿te gusta aquel postre? do you like that dessert (over there?)
lo pone aquí he puts it there
prefieren mantequilla they prefer butter
aquella taza that cup (over there)
necesito una cuchara I need a spoon
este tenedor this fork
pedimos esos vasos we order(ed) those glasses

Week of January 26, 2009:
pregunta si vamos (s)he’s asking if we’re going
preferimos azucar we prefer sugar
tienes que ayudarme you have to help me
escribe una carta (s)he writes a letter
repites you repeat
te digo que… I tell you…
me gustaría saber I’d like to know
dicen que van a ir they say they’re going to go
decimos que sí we say yes
mi cuarto/habitación my (bed)room
pide sopa (s)he orders soup
tengo hambre I’m hungry
tiene sed (s)he’s thirsty
tenemos frío we’re cold

Internet scavenger hunts

I'm constantly looking for communicative, interesting tasks for my students to either create or complete. My Spanish 2 project for the 3rd quarter is an internet scavenger-hunt-type worksheet. Students choose a Spanish-language website and then create a series of questions for another student to complete. The questions can involve playing a game, listening to music, creating a virtual car, etc. Since I haven't been able to find much in the way of free communicative worksheets on the internet, I definitely wanted to share the best. Here are some of the very best I got last year:

BMW Mexico by Stephanie

Atari by Louise

Disney Latino by Rebecca

Honda Mexico by Clint

Super Smash Bros by Christian

I believe I cleaned up all of them except the Atari one, because I didn't use that one for my Spanish 2 students this year. You may have to tweak that one a bit. The others I did quickly check last week (because my sub is actually using them today) and updated a few of the items since the websites had changed. They had changed surprisingly little, so they should be usable for quite some time with little revision. Feel free!

A Spanish 2 story test

I've been out for a while--Christmas was a whirlwind, and then I landed in the hospital for 5 days with a severe infection. The baby weathered it better than I did, but I finally feel like I'm recovering. Enough to get back to the blogosphere anyway!

In any case, here's the story test I gave my Spanish 2 students in December. It's about a boy whose brother wakes him up wailing about his lost turtle, who turns out to have been kidnapped by aliens. My students did very well with it and found it pretty fun. The question that tripped them up the most was "¿Dónde vivía Lester?" A lot of my students read it as "Where was Lester?" and they answered it "en frente de la casa." An odd question to miss, I thought, considering the frequency & familiarity of the verb vivir. Perhaps they were working too fast and just skipped the verb.