Quick, easy game for Spanish class

I was inspired to try this game with my 7th grade class after reading Martina Bex’s great blog about her first unit of the school year. She gave an idea for a “brain break” which is a quick activity that you can use when your kids are starting to zone out.

I’ve been looking for ideas for activities that can be done very quickly because my kids sometimes do need brain breaks. Or we finish what I’ve planned 5 minutes early and I can’t let them go yet, but there’s no time to start something new. I think that this activity will be a great one for those situations.

I call it “Palomitas” which means “popcorn” in Spanish.

To play:

1. I told the kids to all think of a sentence about themselves starting with “Yo quiero...” We are studying querer right now, but I could do this again with any verb. I gave them an example: “Yo quiero un novio.”¬†They all laughed because I had just told them that I wanted a boyfriend. Well…I do! ūüôā

2. After they had a sentence in mind, I told them all to stand up. They had to say their sentences one by one in no structured order and then sit down. If 2 kids started talking at the same time, then everyone had to stand back up again and start over. Today I didn’t time it, but it would be really fun to time this as well and see how fast they can do it.

How it went:

They loved it! They were all able to say their sentences and sit down without interrupting each other. I thought maybe it was too easy, but I could tell that they were all looking around the room at each other trying to gauge when would be a good time to speak. They all asked to play again, but class was over and we were out of time. Now that they know how to play, I’ll time it next class and see how fast they can do it. I’m sure that using a timer will create more situations where they’ll start talking at the same time and have to start over. Plus, one of the best parts of the game was that we got 22 more repetitions of “Yo quiero”¬†used in context.


Spanish for Beginners: Level 2

Did you take Spanish in high school but struggle to use it in real life? We’ve all been there. Even though I took 2 years of Spanish in college, I struggled to tell my host mother that I wanted to eat dinner on the first night of my semester abroad in Costa Rica.

Fortunately, I was able to get past that hurdle and now I’m fluent in Spanish. I know that Spanish classes can actually be useful for real life. I’m planning a series of classes that will help to simplify all of those grammar rules and verb tenses that you learned in high school while allowing you opportunities to practice your speaking skills with other Spanish learners. Plus, you’ll learn tips and shortcuts for communicating and understanding the most important messages in Spanish without wasting time dissecting whether “el” or “la” is correct.

For this class, we are using a great text called “Spanish Demystified”. In Level 1, we studied the first 3 chapters which included pronunciation, basic conversations and introduction to verbs. In Spanish 2, we will continue to learn more about verbs and putting words together to form sentences.¬†

Who: Adults who want to learn Spanish for work or travel. This class is for students who’ve taken at least 1 Spanish class and want to improve their speaking skills.

What: Small group Spanish classes. 4-6 students in total.

When: Monday nights at 6. Starts March 12 and goes for 6 weeks.

Where: Upstairs cafe of Whole Foods. 870 S. Colorado Blvd., Glendale, CO 80246

Why: To practice Spanish, have fun, and become better communicators.

Space in the class is limited! Contact me to reserve your spot! 

¬°Calle 13 at the Latin Grammy Awards!

Last night was the Latin Grammy awards. As you can see from the picture above, the biggest winner of the night was Calle 13. I’ve been a fan of Calle 13 ever since I went to Chile and heard their music in 2006. In fact, I even posted a blog about one of Calle 13’s songs a few weeks ago. I’m not as familiar with their newer music, but I’m definitely going to have to catch up and see what won this impressive load of Grammys!

My friend Maritza watched the Grammy awards from start to finish, you can more about the show and the winners on Maritza’s post about the Latin Grammy Awards.

Movies in Spanish: Y Tu Mam√° Tambi√©n

Y Tu Mamá También

Actors: Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna, Maribel Verd√ļ

Director: Alfonso Cuarón

Movie location: Mexico

Movie Genre: Comedy/Drama

Type of Spanish: Mexican

Swearing and Slang: ¬°Mucho!

Netflix Instant Streaming: Yes

Family Friendly: No. Rated R

Last night I watched Y Tu Mamá También for the 3rd time. I am proud to say that I understood a lot more Spanish without reading the subtitles than I did when I last watched it in 2008. However, I was less pleased than I expected to be able to understand so much because it seemed that every other word was either swearing or talking about something foul. The teacher in me is still conditioned to glare at students who swear in Spanish at school, so the reflex was strong throughout this entire movie and took away from my enjoyment a bit.

I struggle with whether or not to recommend this movie to people who are learning Spanish. So, instead of recommending it or not, I’ll lay out a few pros and cons and you can decide for yourself if you’d like to watch it.

Pro: The movie takes place in Mexico, so the Spanish that you hear throughout is very similar to what you hear around you if you live in the United States. You can read the English subtitles and listen to learn new words and phrases.

Con: There is lots of swearing in this movie, so be careful with using any new phrases that you pick up by listening!

Pro: It’s a type of coming-of-age story that involves a road trip. Always a good formula for a plot.

Con: The young guys who are the main characters (Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna) annoyed me! They were jerks most of the time and didn’t have many redeeming qualities.

Pro: There is a lot of nudity and sex. If you enjoy movies like this, then you’ll like Y Tu Mam√° Tambi√©n.

Con: There is a lot of nudity and sex. If this offends you, or there are kids around, then definitely skip this movie.


Spanish Phrases in “Lento‚Äú by Julieta Venegas

I’ve always loved this song since I first heard it when I was living in Chile. The title, “Lento” means “Slow”. Throughout the song she says¬†“m√°s lento”, “slower”, many times.¬† Lots of Spanish phrases use this word “m√°s” in front of an adjective like “lento” in order to compare two things. In English, we say “slow” and “slower.” In Spanish, it’s “lento” and “m√°s lento.” Listen for this when you hear the song.

“Lento” not only sounds pretty, but I like the message that she is sending to the guy who is interested in her. She is telling him to slow down, have patience with her and wait for her. Here are my favorite lines.

Ser delicado y esperar,                                                 Be delicate and wait
dame tiempo para darte                                              Give me time to give you
todo lo que tengo                                                           Everything that I have

“Delicado” looks a lot like “delicate” in English, but it might be better translated here as “sensitive.” I don’t hear a lot of women asking their guys to be “delicate”, but I do hear the word “sensitive” used often.

Here’s a link to the rest of the lyrics for the song.