22 March 2009

Negative commands + culture

Here's a short videoclip of Hugo Chávez continuing his usual rhetoric, now against President Obama, lest anyone think there would be any change in his behavior. It's no secret in my classes that I'm no fan of Chávez (or Obama for that matter, but I digress). Fortunately he provides us with lots of fodder for keeping up on Latin American politics and staying amused at the same time. I can't wait to see what circus act he'll pull at the Summit of the Americas. Anyway, in addition to providing some cultural material, the clip uses several negative usted commands. Negative commands is what Chávez does best, after all. ;-)

Here's a question to mull over: how many high school Spanish students do you think can name one Latin American president?

Mine can name at least two--Chávez and Uribe. I need to work on that. They need to know the presidents of Mexico, Ecuador, and Argentina as well if I want to say they're really up-to-date on their politics in the Americas.

Winds of change

This really has nothing directly to do with Spanish class but I just have to jump up and down (virtually, of course) and publicize that I HAVE INTERNET!!

We haven't had internet at home for almost two years, and we just got it last night. It has a lot to do with my pregnancy and me being able to come home right after school knowing I can accomplish internet-related work from the comfort of my couch (with my swollen feet up, of course). So yay for us!

/unrelated exultation

16 March 2009

Our students aren't the only ones who have speaking problems!

Want to make your students feel better about their Spanish?

Show them this clip (or part of it, if you need to avoid certain clothing issues b/c of your class makeup). The reality competition "Nuestra Belleza Latina" just kicked off 5 participants because they failed a dictation test. The part where the girl says that she's not worried about the test because her Spanish has improved "bastanto" is my favorite. LOL.

Good target features in here too, from Spanish 1 on up. Nice repetitions of "no puedo" and also a couple different uses of darse por vencida which is something we've just been looking at in Spanish 3.

12 March 2009

Activity: News interaction (present perfect)

I just did this with my Spanish 2 students and was surprised at how well it worked.

I went to Google news and typed in a couple of our newsy vocab words from recent weeks--like choque and testigo--and also the helping verb 'han.' I printed out 3 articles (it was 2 pages front and back) and made enough copies to have 1 for every 2 students. In class my students went through and marked with 3 separate colors 1) words that looked familiar but they didn't know them and they weren't in our vocab, 2) words they happen to know from Spanish 1 or experience or cognates, and 3) words that are directly from our vocabulary.

It was cool to watch. As they worked through the article, they negotiated the meaning of it rather well. And these weren't learner Spanish articles. My students said how surprised they were at how much color there was on the page--and how much they knew.

I tried this also with my freshman using a website I just found, a 'learn Spanish' page from the BBC. We've been working with juega and puede lately so I chose an article about soccer in Colombia, two of my favorite topics. I really wanted to use the audio, but the announcer often sounds like a robot. It might work better for you. Anyway, I overheard something from one of my students who always feels behind and like she doesn't understand because she's never had any Spanish before, and typically her grades are lower than the others'. She said to her partner, "Hey, I can speak Spanish!" The joy in her voice was so apparent! I asked her, "What did you say?" and she repeated it for me. It was so empowering for them to find out how much they knew if they didn't look at something and decide it was too hard so they were going to give up. I really had no idea this exercise would turn out this well. I recommend it. :o)

09 March 2009

A new smash hit with a subjunctive benefit

Hey, my title rhymes. :-D

Luis Fonsi has a new(ish) song out that actually hit the Billboard Top 100. It's kind of slow but very catchy. The song is called No Me Doy Por Vencido, and incidentally the video is pretty good too (and 100% legal, yay!). In one part in the chorus, the verb 'buscar' triggers 3 subjunctive verbs because he doesn't know if the woman he's looking for exists or not. Enjoy it and share!

A shout out for Jacob & Joshua

I've been pretty sketchy lately in all areas, trying to be 7 months pregnant and teach full-time and be a good wife etc. So the blog has dropped a bit off the radar but I wanted to come on and post a few quick updates. One is the story test below. Another is to give serious props to one of my sophomores, Jacob, for creating my very cool logo for me and to my husband, who sized & colored it and put it in the blog. THANKS GUYS!

El campesino y la princesa (a Spanish 3 story test, with a bit of subjunctive)

Today I gave my 3rd quarter story test in Spanish 3. It's about a peasant and a princess who get married despite the facts that they just met and her father doesn't approve. It uses a lot of the vocab we've worked on in Spanish 3 this quarter. There's a mistake on the question part--I left a de out I think--but if there's anything else I blame it on sleep deprivation, lol.