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! 🙂

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.


Savvy Spanish Fiesta de Navidad

I’m planning a fiesta! It’s for Spanish-speakers, so if you can’t read and understand the following, then you’re not invited! 😉 Lo siento!

¿Quién?: Mis amigos y estudiantes quienes hablan español

¿Dónde? Mi casa. (Me puedes mandar un mensaje para mi dirección)

¿Cuándo? El 17 de diciembre, 2011 a las 7 de la noche

¿Qué? ¡Una fiesta de Navidad! Hablamos totalmente en español y disfrutamos comida y bebida de paises que hablan español. Lleva una cosita para compartir. Por ejemplo, vino de España, empanadas, tamales, café de Costa Rica, etc.

Mándame un mensaje si quieres asistir.

Si quieres venir pero estás ocupado con un viaje o cosas de las fiestas de Navidad, no te preocupes porque voy a tener otras fiestas en mi casa para juntar todos mis amigos que hablan español.


Listen to me on the radio!

In case you missed it last Thursday, here’s the recording of The Trash Talk Show with Barb Tobias where I was a featured guest last week.

I found this opportunity through a connection that I made on  LinkedIn 4 years ago. She is working with Barb and was looking for women who own small businesses who would want to give their tips on being thrifty. As soon as I saw that, I knew I was a good candidate. I’ve been in grad school for almost 3 years, and I’ve learned a few secrets about saving money!

So, I wound up being feature on the show. I wasn’t too nervous about being recorded and having people listen to me, because I worked at a radio station for awhile right after college. I was an intern for a Spanish language station and would sometimes prank call Spanish-speakers and pretend that I couldn’t speak English. That’s just a little more intense than chatting with a nice woman about shopping! 😉

During the show, I got to talk about Savvy Spanish for a few minutes. I also got to plug my audio program, Travel Savvy Spanish, which is going to be available very soon! After we finished my part, I talked to Barb about being thrifty and the ideas that I’ve used to save money for grad school and starting a business. The best part for me was that Barb was so supportive of me and complimented me various times on being smart with my money.

Who knew that my first job out of college at a radio station would come back around to find me almost 8 years later?

Should you try a Spanish language exchange?

Yes! The end.

Ok, that’s not really all I have to say. Last night I attended an English-Spanish language exchange event called Speakeasy Spanglish. The setup was a bit like speed dating. A native Spanish speaker sat on one side of the table and a native English speaker sat on the other. Both people spoke English for 5 minutes and then switched to speak Spanish for 5 minutes.

This was my second time to attend one of these events and I liked it even more the second time than the first time. I loved it so much that I have created a list to show you that you will love it too!

5 Reasons to Try a Spanish Language Exchange

  1. Get your face away from the computer and start using it to talk to people. Everyone who I spoke with last night agreed that you must speak Spanish with people in the real world in order to really learn the language. Studying online, with books or by listening to music are all helpful activities, but you really need to speak with another human person in order to learn Spanish.
  2. It’s a safe environment to practice a second language. Of course, a big reason why people hesitate to talk to others in Spanish is because they are afraid of making a mistake or looking stupid. Fortunately, at a language exchange event, you don’t have to worry. Everyone is speaking in two languages and everyone knows how difficult learning a new language can be. So, you can take a few risks and try to express a complex idea without fear of ridicule.
  3. You can help others with their English. Imagine if you moved to a foreign country for a job and then struggled to learn the language. I think you’d feel pretty grateful to meet a friendly person who would help you. You can be that friendly person for someone else! Plus, you get to feel like an expert for 5 minutes. It’s pretty awesome. Also, there’s that truism about how helping other people actually makes you happier…
  4. If you have any questions about Spanish, you can ask an expert! I have questions all the time when I encounter different phrases and words in my Spanish lessons. I could go to the library and search for the answers, but instead I just ask my friends at the language exchange!
  5. Make new friends and network. In my experience, people who show up at these kind of events are very interesting. They have either moved to the United States from another country or have traveled to many countries around the world. Either way, these are cool people to meet and include in your network of friends.

There you have it! If you’re in Denver, click the link to the Speakeasy Spanglish Facebook page, like it and then go to the next event. If you’re not in Denver, then ask you friend Google where you can find something similar in your area.