06 April 2009

A most fantastic performance at Premio Lo Nuestro

As I wrote in this post, No Me Doy por Vencido by Luis Fonsi is a recent favorite of mine, and Fonsi himself is quickly climbing my list of faves, particularly because of how much he loves his wife and is devoted to her, and refuses to fall into the seductive/hunter/lust-after-these-other-bellezas trap often laid for him by reporters and shows.

So, when I found out that in last month's Premio Lo Nuestro awards, he performed the song, and then sang his new song Aquí Estoy Yo with Aleks Syntek, David Bisbal, and Noel Schajris, I had to find the videoclip. And it's definitely worth watching.

The heroes speak Español

Team USA continued its amazing run on the road to the 2010 World Cup by defeating Trinidad & Tobago last week in Nashville (one of my students went--I'm so jealous!). Of course, Univisión carried the highlights, including brief clips of 3 of the team's stars, including Landon Donovan, speaking Spanish.

Whatever it takes to convince my kids that el bilingüismo is not only possible, it's muy chévere.

A brilliant pair of songs contrasting por/para

In Spanish 3 these days we're looking at the por/para contrasts and for this I like to use two songs that nicely illustrate this unique difference.

The first is Solo por ti by Josh Groban. Yes, some students won't like it because he is a classical singer, but it's a beautiful song. Incidentally, also an excellent illustration of conditional tense, both normal and irregular. It's only available on sappy photo shows on YouTube, but you can listen to it for free at imeem.

The second song is Solo para ti by Camila. What could be better than two songs, exact same title except for the por/para switch? Perfect! Careful with the video, though--there are serious issues w/it (brief thong shot, sadomasochism, & sex scene). Play the song, skip the video. :)

Useless grammar I used to teach

There are a couple of grammar issues I used to teach and I've since decided such explicit instruction on these points is a waste of time. By this, I mean that given the time we have with our students, and what they're really capable of using in fluent speech/writing, explaining the grammatical terms and issues to them isn't going to help their fluency.

One is the personal a. In my experience, you can tell a student all you want that you have to put an a before an object that is a person, but the student will still say veo mi mamá unless they have an overactive monitor, à la Krashen.

The other one is on my radar right now because I'm supposed to be teaching it now, following the sequence in the textbook I loosely use as a guideline, EMC's En sus marcas. It's indirect object pronouns. Or direct ones, for that matter. Again, from my experience, I can tell my students what the difference is (because many of them can't define those in English), which ones are which in Spanish, when they go in front, when they go on the end, when they can go either place, which verbs take one or the other, and they'll still look at something like te veo and read it "you see." There's just too much English background to overcome. So, I opt to include both types of pronouns in all sorts of situations in their vocabulary phrases, so that hopefully their brain will figure out what's going on with all this me/te/etc stuff as they review their vocabulary. Also, when we look at songs, I'm constantly pointing out pronoun/verb sequences and asking what they mean. Yes, I'm asking for an English translation, which isn't what I like, but it's a quick way for me to find out if they know what's going on. And, in increasing numbers, they really do.

If they know that nos ama means he loves us, what do I care if they can define a direct object pronoun? I'll leave that up to their English teacher.

02 April 2009

Adding some links--check 'em out

I added some links to my 'communicative tools' and 'communicative bloggers' sections. Check out Wanna Jugar with Migo, a fabulous blog by a mom & grandmother who are bringing up their kids/grandkids bilingual. (I had a professor who'd go crazy analyzing that codeswitching, lol.) The links and tools and ideas people come up with amaze me! I swiped two other amazing links from their blog--Spanglish Baby (WHY did I not know about this before??) and John De Mado's site on his methods of making foreign language learning fun.

Regardless of the age we're teaching, you know my mantra--the beginner acquiring language is a basically a toddler with a lot of metalinguistic knowledge.