Teachers Act Up!

Thoughts on Teaching, Language, and Social Change from Melisa "Misha" Cahnmann-Taylor

Spanish Resources

Learning Spanish may be as easy as signing up for a course when one is in high school or college or in the early years of working with limited obligations on one’s time.  But teachers and other grown ups are often short on time and long on interest and an eagerness to learn if the learning is engaging and/or relevant to what we do.  The lists below represent a growing collection of resources one can access completely or partially for free that have relevance to Spanish language learners as well as materials that may be specifically useful for teachers and students in K-12 schools.

Please send us feedback if you use anything here that is particularly successful or not or if you find another resource you would highly recommend.  We’re becoming a Spanish-English bilingual society and we all need as much help as we can get! Here is what we’ve found so far:

 

Where would I go if I wanted to learn Spanish or (another language):

The Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS) or Communicative Input methods are the best I’ve seen and experienced as a language educator and language learner.

For beginners, I would definitely go to Express Fluency.  I watched Elissa MacLean for a week teach beginning adult Spanish (with some young teens there too) and it was incredible! All students were engaged and learned so much meaningful fluency in a very short time:

http://expressfluency.com/upcoming-classes/

I myself am signing up for 3 days of Mandarin with Fluency Fast–I can’t wait to learn with this teacher and they use the same engaging, efficient TPRS methods that I recommend:

http://newstore.fluencyfast.com/

Want to travel abroad and learn a language? Most languag schools use very traditional methods that may give you some quick tools for navigating your host site with a few new words, but few will cultivate advanced fluency.

http://ideal-school.com/ is a program with many years experience and a quality assessment and instructional approach.  They are in Cuernavaca and Oaxaca.

I will soon visit habla.org as this program has also been recommended in Mérida in the Yucatán Peninsula.

There are many wonderful programs in Mexico suited to different language and study goals.  Contact me for more information.

If you would like me to observe your program and consider adding it to my ongoing research for best language programs, please send a private message to cahnmann@uga.edu

Websites for Spanish-Language Learning

  • Use this Youtube video to teach “emotions” in Spanish in a way that any learner would respond to with laughter and engagement!
  • Miscositas.com An INCREDIBLY rich array of language learning materials, ideas, discussion notes from all over the world with a huge focus on Spanish language materials.  Wow–thank you to this world language teacher who put this resource together and Kristina Hanewald for sharing it!
  • Sr. Wooly’s Educational Spanish Music, Videos, and Games A fun and engaging way to learn Spanish. Sing along with hilarious music videos, or try the songs for yourself with karaoke. Test your knowledge while playing the games. This is a HUGE hit with kids! **This is my personal new favorite.  While I’m not crazy about the latest “recess/recreo” video, I am pretty convinced that “soy guapo” is one of the most entertaining language learning videos I’ve ever seen.  Kids love “Puedo Ir Al Baño” (see my blog post on this).
  • Notes in Spanish – A podcast of casual Spanish conversation targeted for Spanish language learners. Organized by level of proficiency.
  • Lengajero – An interactive website where you can practice reading, writing, speaking and listening with other language learners.  There are recordings of native speakers as well as native speakers who are interested in becoming a part of bilingual community.  This seems like a fun way to approach language learning through virtual communities of other language learners.  I listened to one recording of a joke–“man walks into a bar” (in Mexican Spanish).  I would think it would be hard to understand if you weren’t fluent but wondered what the community dialogue might add to helping one another make sense of this joke and help one another pay attention to cues.
  • Live Mocha – This podcast comes highly recommended from Kristin Hanewald and has some great reviews online.  I haven’t used it myself but reports are that it takes advantage of social media to connect native and non-native speakers in engaging ways.  What a contrast to programs like Rosetta Stone and Pimseleur etc. which appear to be isolated programs with pre-recorded audio. I much prefer any method that includes networks of learners and native speakers and anything that involves engaging interaction and/or humor (see Wooly above).
  • BBC Languages: Mi Vida Loca An interactive video drama and Spanish course Mi Vida Loca takes you on an intrigue mystery adventure to Madrid and beyond in 22 episodes, about 10 minutes each, covering basic learning points for Spanish absolute beginners. A learning section complements each episode where you can go through the vocabulary and grammar in more detail and at your own pace, then complete activities for practice.
  • BBC Languages: Primary Spanish Vibrant, engaging activities for beginner level Spanish language learning. Includes games, videos, songs, and photos.
  • Señor Jordan’s Spanish Videos  Over 100 videos explaining grammar and basic vocabulary.
  • Aveteca Selected activities from the online language learning program Aula Virtual de Español (A.V.E.) (Virtual Spanish Classroom). Activities range from beginner (A1) to advanced (C2).
  • Practica Español Practice Spanish in a variety of different ways, including grammar exercises, reading real news articles in Spanish, watching authentic commercials and video clips, and listening to the radio. Activities marked according to level: A1 / A2 – beginner, B1 / B2 – intermediate, C1 / C2 – advanced.
  • Coffee Break Spanish An award winning podcast series of 15 to 20 minute Spanish lessons. Episodes available for free for streaming online or for download to itunes. The first episode begins at the complete beginner level.
  • Advantages of Being Bilingual (In English) &  Estudia Feliz (All in Spanish for advanced language learners)–pages designed by a non-native Spanish University instructor–la famosa Sarah Lowman! The first page is a great introduction to the advantages of learning a second language; the second showcases that advantages with creative & funny materials for Spanish learning.

Websites for Spanish-Speaking Children and Parents

  • Hennepin County Library Site supports parents and teachers with activities, short stories, advice on how to promote reading from childbirth to six years of age. Sitio para ayudar a padres y maestros con actividades, cuentos y consejos para promover la lectura desde que el bebe nace hasta los seis años.
  • International Children’s Digital Library  A large collection of digital books in a variety of languages, including Spanish, English, and bilingual Spanish-English. Una colección amplia de libros digitales en una variedad de lenguas, incluso el español, el inglés y libros bilingües en español e inglés.
  • Kids Health- Bilingual Health information for children-teens dealing with a wide range of physical and mental health issues.  An incredible resource for learning meaningful language as well as for school counselors, family engagement specialists, school nurses and others to have on hand.Sitio bilingüe con información sobre salud para adolescents lidiando con emociones y sentimientos, SIDA, preguntas y respuestas.
  • Literacy Center Great site for parents, teachers and pre-school children. Letters, numbers, colors. Audio pronunciation.Sitio excelente para padres, maestros y niños en edad pre-escolar. Letras, números y colores. Tiene sonidos con la pronunciación de las palabras.
  • National Aeronautics and Space Station Administration NASA’s (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) official Spanish Web Page for children.  Includes games, experiments, space and technology related activities and animation. Versión en español de la página oficial de la NASA (Administración Nacional Aeronáutica y Espacial) para niños. Muy útil, con juegos, experimentos, y actividades relacionadas con el espacio y la tecnología. Animación.
  • National Geographic en Español Spanish version of the National Geographic virtual magazine. Articles, photo gallery. Includes sound and animation. Versión en español de la revista virtual de “National Geographic.”  Reportajes, galería de fotos. Incluye sonido y animación. 
  •  Primera Escuela “First school” (Primera escuela) offers activities for pre-school children such as crafts, coloring pages, and other printable resources. “Primera Escuela” provee actividades infantiles divertidas y materiales de educación preescolar, temas educativos, artes manuales, páginas infantiles, dibujos para colorear y otros recursos educativos imprimibles en español.
  • Story Place – Bilingual Digital library for children, with short stories and activities. Excellent site!  Hermoso lugar. Version en inglés y español disponible. Biblioteca digital para niños, con cuentos y activides.

Websites for Teachers and Administrators

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