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On June 2, 1989, my life changed forever. A brand new world was brought to my attention. I moved into the main land of the United States. I am Puerto Rican, meaning natural born American, but was raised on the island of Puerto Rico. Don't get me wrong, I have always been more fourtunate than most people with my condition. You see, I have a condition called Spina Bifida. I guess it would make more sense if I explain myself. Normally, during the first month of a pregnancy, the two sides of the spine (or backbone) join together to cover the spinal cord, spinal nerves and meninges (the tissues covering the spinal cord). Spina bifida refers to any birth defect involving incomplete closure of the spine. Myelomeningocele is the most common type of Spina Bifida. It is a neural tube defect in which the bones of the spine do not completely form, resulting in an incomplete spinal canal. This causes the spinal cord and meninges (the tissues covering the spinal cord) to stick out of the... read more

Well, students, here I am! I am fresh from Wichita, KS and awaiting tutoring opportunities in the Seattle, WA area. Just to get the ball rolling, I will create weekly blogs that include little snippets of knowledge relating to foreign languages. Here's this week's: a good quote in several languages... (Quote form brainyquote.com) "Make a habit of two things: to help; or at least to do no harm." ~ Hippocrates auf Deutsch: "Machen Sie eine Gewohnheit zu zwei Dingen: zu helfen; oder mindestens keinem Schaden zuzufügen." in Italiano: "Prendere l'abitudine di due cose: aiutare; o almeno di non nuocere." en Español: "Haga un hábito de dos cosas: ayudar; o al menos no hacer daño." en francés: "Faites une habitude de deux choses : aider; ou au moins ne faire aucun mal." Can you see some similarities in the different languages? Let me know and have a great week!

To make learning fun, I use tools that enable your memory to retain the learned information. I use the individuals most enjoyable activities, to teach with either flash cards, video, audio and personal favorits, such as hobbies and learn around those vocabularies. The interactive game comes in to play, when we use the verbs that go with this subjects, to fill in grammar, in self formed sentences.

Definitions: der Schnee (noun), depending on context = snow, nose candy [coll.] /   Famous ones: Schneeflocke = snowflake, not really a flake, rather a hexagonal prism, see Johannes Kepler, German mathematician, astronomer, and astrologer, 1611 in „Über die sechseckige Schneeflocke“ Schneewittchen = Snow White, ate the poisoned apple and was rescued by some prince's love at first sight, – magic mirror: „Spieglein, Spieglein an der Wand, wer ist die Schönste im ganzen Land?“ Eischnee = beaten egg whites, component from a recipe – „Den Eischnee dann auf den fertig gebackenen Kuchen geben und noch ca. 10 Min. (Sichtkontrolle) weiterbacken.“ Be wary of so-called: Schnee von gestern (idiom) = that is yesterday's news and/or water under the bridge, Neuschnee = fresh snow, – Erster Schnee, poem by Christian Morgenstern (1871-1914) Aus silbergrauen Gründen tritt ein... read more

I have been involved education as long as I can remember. My parents were educators. They helped start a school, were on the board of another, and were founding board members of the North Dakota Home School Association. I started teaching at the age of thirteen, as a volunteer. I have taught professionally, for over fourteen years. I have coached soccer. I co-founded a school and taught a wide array of subjects there for three years, including Latin, Rhetoric, General Science, and History. For nearly twelve years, I have been an education consultant, tutor, and mentor. I am prepared to tutor students in all subjects through high school, and I am well-versed in ACT and SAT preparation. I also do some college-level tutoring, particularly in English, Writing, Study Skills, and other humanities-related subjects. Feel free to ask for more details. I tutor adult students in a variety of subjects, and I have also had success in the past working with students who have a variety of... read more

Duden: a (the) decisive dictionary of the German language, if you choose „Textprüfung“ Duden corrects your writings (max. 800 characters)---I use it regularily and I love it! http://www.duden.de/rechtschreibpruefung-online Duolingo: a free language-learning platform, great for beginning up to intermediate level, not only German, I tested French and it's great http://www.duolingo.com/   Linguee: Translation search with lots of example sentences from human translators.   http://www.linguee.de/deutsch-englisch 'Deutsche Welle': news (spoken slowly), articles, even a 'Telenovela' with German subtitles (which is great for learning the language)! http://www.dw.de/deutsch-lernen/s-2055 About education: some dual-language reading selections (German-English) http://german.about.com/library/bllesen_inhalt.htm Goethe Institut : online game, I never played it, but it looks nice :) https://www... read more

Definitions: der Geist (noun), depending on context = ghost, spirit, essence, mind, wit, an alcoholic drink / Famous ones: der Heilige Geist = the Holy Spirit---one of three parts; Mephistopheles = version of Satan ---„Ich bin der Geist, der stets verneint!“ (Goethe: Faust); „Weltseele zu Pferde“ = Napoléon Bonaparte, French military and political leader---Embodies and exemplifies Hegels concept of the world spirit. (Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, German philosopher) /   Be:   geistreich, geistreicher, am geistreichsten = ingenious, more ingenious, most ingenious / Be wary of so-called:   Himbeergeist = type of German Schnaps; Kartoffeln mit Geist = unknown ;) ; Zeitgeist = spirit of the age;   „Etwas Bornierteres als den Zeitgeist gibt es nicht. Wer nur die Gegenwart kennt, muß verblöden.“ (Hans Magnus Enzensberger)      

Momentum, è un termine che non viene utilizzata molto, al di fuori del regno della fisica o sportiva professionistica squadre ' strisce vincenti. Perché? E ' magia? E ' la motivazione ? Possiamo addirittura creare, o che semplicemente accade ? Se uno è consapevole o no, le persone di maggior successo nella vita creare situazioni in cui si verifica lo slancio. Se si sta tentando di superare la montagna di apprendimento delle lingue, che sarebbe stato bello avere un paio di ascensori o passare iniziare a ottenere i bonus di 200 dollari, lungo la strada! Empiricamente parlando, quando un skateboarder professionista desidera elevare la sua altezza o accelerare lui / lei usa una rampa. In particolare unostrategically placed ramp. In essence we as language learners have the ability to place ramps along the way too! There are ways to do this,here a some ways I try to place ramps. 1. Avere amici di penna in varie lingue che vogliono imparare ; Il punto non è considerare questo "studio... read more

I came across the Free Rice during my research on "games with a purpose" (GWAP). For every correct answer, the website donates 10 grains of rice to the UN World Food Program. Games have long been a fun and effective way to learn. Crossword puzzles are a game many enjoy that is also a fun way to learn new words and think about familiar ones. Sesame Street proved that children can learn and have fun at the same time. With the spread of computers and the Internet, teachers quickly adapted the new technology to instruction. Now, many websites and applications for children are both entertaining and educational. Free rice is the newest entry in a long tradition of making learning fun. The best thing about a good game is that people enjoy playing it for its own sake. In other words, people enjoy facing and overcoming challenges, no matter how simple or repetitive. The popular game Tetris because people achieve satisfaction by increasing their skill. This satisfaction alone makes... read more

Five major tips to making learning a foreign language fun:   1. Make it applicable to your life. Learn stuff that you think is important to you, things that you'll use the most often, and things that will stick.   2. Integrate the culture. Learning a language is more than just learning how to speak. You want to learn how to understand other people, and how they think.   3. Make it a part of your routine. Try to do something that you normally do in English in your target language, though you should keep it simple in the beginning. Read a short story in Italian, instead of a novel in English. Follow a recipe for a simple cake in French instead of a recipe for a cake with fondant decorations in English.   4. Get your friends in on the fun. Learning a language is undeniably a social activity. There's nothing more entertaining than trying to learn a language with your friends, and messing up while you do it... read more

I'm sure everyone has seen a commercial or heard a discussion on raising kids from a very young age to be bilingual. While many of these DVD and CD sets are marketing and capitalizing on our desire for our kids to be the shining star of their school, they really do have validity. Our brains are wired to best absorb language before the age of 5 and still ready to take on language up until the age of 8. Yet of course we don't start learning a second language until our brains have closed the doors on language absorption! So it's not your fault that you have to hire tutors like me to help with your Spanish classes...it's really the school's fault for not introducing language sooner! More and more families and school systems are finally coming on board though and creating bilingual schools, or at least exposing youngsters to a second language, and I couldn't be happier! Until I end up jobless because all our children have become linguistic geniuses...uh oh.    I know... read more

One of my favorite French resources is an app called Duolingo. Duolingo is free and it provides an easy way to track your progress and set goals for yourself. It's set up like a game and you win points for correct answers, and you can 'compete' with your friends at different levels. It also requires that you "strengthen your skills", which keeps your memory fresh and up to date by having you repeat certain parts of a lesson that you haven't encountered within a certain period of time. Duolingo is a great supplementary resource to go alongside formal classes, tutoring, or self-instructed study, and it's really fun and even addicting! Even as a fairly fluent French-speaker, I enjoy the vocabulary and grammar games because they help keep me engaged in learning and remind me of vocabulary words that I don't often use. I've also used it to start developing a basic vocabulary in German, Spanish, and Italian. Duolingo is available in French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese...

A tip I often give my students who are studying Spanish is to watch English-language DVDs with the Spanish subtitles on. It's probably best to start with a movie or show you have seen before and with which you are familiar with the basic plot and dialogue. As you watch the movie or show (in English), read the subtitles as you go. Stop the DVD or go back and take notes about the way the English dialogue is rendered into the language you are studying. You will find that you pick up many new idiomatic expressions this way, as well as getting to review the grammar of the language you're learning in action!   Take notes about any phrases or forms that strike you s particularly creative and also phrases or forms with which you are unfamiliar. Bring a list of new phrases to your tutor, along with the English dialogue being translated. You'll be surprised at how creative subtitle writers can be!   

Have you ever stared at a word for so long that its meaning disappeared? Have you ever tried to write backwards across a page? If so, you can begin to understand the task facing English language learners, for whom everything about English is strange and new. Some may even have to learn a new alphabet before beginning to understand the sounds we make and the words we write. I am filled with admiration for these students, who are willing to take on our arcane rules: why we use "the" in front of some nouns but not others, why some adjective phrases take hyphens but others don't, why we turn nouns into adjectives and don't even change the spelling! As a teacher and writer, I no longer take anything about English for granted. Textbooks don't even begin to cover every rule or exception. Each session is a flight into a new question, something I promise I will research in order to bring a coherent explanation to the next session.

Speaking a foreign language is most frustrating when you know exactly what you want to say in your first language, but you either don't know how to say anything similar in the foreign language or anything that captures the exact nuance.   The process if less frustrating if you accept that you should not think in your first language and that you may never be able to capture the exact subtlety. It's absolutely okay that you cannot express yourself as eloquently and exactly at times. There are certain times when you need the exact word or exact phrase because of a nuance, but there are other situations where a generic phrase will do.   This post is focusing on idioms and phrases that are useful to know and that can be used in many situations: they will be adequate, even if you could have picked a more colorful phrase in your native language.   Think of learning Spanish phrases this way: every time you learn a phrase, you add it to your bank of knowledge... read more

There is a lot to be said for knowing vocabulary.  Just about any profession you enter will have its own "lingo", and being able to break sentences down word by word is incredibly helpful.  There are reasons why teachers push basic knowledge, like knowing how to alphabetize quickly, doing your multiplication tables in your head, and understanding how to break sentences apart.  Unfortunately, a lot of students come and go through school without learning the basics.  THIS is your opportunity to improve your communication skills; written and verbal.  If you know your vocabulary, you can discuss topics in a professional manner, and get your point across in a more understandable way.  It's harder to be misinterpreted when you use words appropriately.     If you're reading a textbook, look for underlined or highlighted and/or bolded words.  Read them out loud several times.  Make sure that you are pronouncing them correctly... read more

There are a few easy steps for gaining fluency:  1. Use a new word each day as much as possible. 2. Do your best to think in the target language. 3. Speak in that language with friends or strangers as much as possible. 4. Speak to yourself in that language with scenarios you feel you would be in. 5. Review the words that you learned in conversation or study each day before bed. 6. Study reading and writing as needed. 7. Keep a personal journal or diary in that language. 8. Speak with native speakers if possible. 9. Join communities that speak in the target language. 10. The best way to learn anything is to teach it to someone else. try teaching a family member or friend the language. 11. Watch television as much as possible in the target language. 12. As for music, listen to music in the target language only. (if possible) 13. Write down words that you do not understand that you have heard. 14. Don't be afraid to ask questions... read more

Most write some peripheral thoughts about leadership, beliefs and personal philosophy, discuss it with immediate subordinates and talk about implementing into their organization. But talking about it and modeling it are two different philosophies. Modeling requires a change in the way we think. It requires a strong leader to actually have a strong self-awareness and a strong sense of self. To become a leader means to become a change agent. While at a particular healthcare organization, I was able to implement a leadership framework that was inherently sold to the c-suite by the mere response I was achieving. The need from the people - the employees - was so loud that it permeated through the office hallways and at the water cooler. To learn more about leadership and how to become an effective change agent, you will want to speak with me. I look forward to hearing from you.

For parents who are trying to do any of the following: 1. Engage your child in reading 2. Increase your child's reading skills (fluency, comprehension, rhythm, expression, tempo, etc.) 3. Increase your child's language acquisition, vocabulary, grammar skills, and spelling skills This blog post is for you!!! There are some really unique ways to help your child become a "reader." I myself wasn't a "reader" until about the age of 10. Up to that point, though I loved books and collected books and asked for books for birthdays/holidays, I was not a reading self-starter. However, I loved being read TO! At the age of 6, I took a great interest in Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House" books. Not only, was I fascinated with the time period (late 1800's), I also found a kindred spirit of sorts in Laura. She stood up for things in which she believed strongly, she was stubborn, and she was short! I found a heroine that was very much like me! So... read more

Hello! Thank you for visiting my site! I have 8 years of language teaching experience. I taught for 7 years at Princeton University and 1 year at the University of Notre Dame. It is truly a joy for me to help people reach their academic and personal goals. Please contact me as soon as possible to inquire about scheduling a tutoring session with me. I specialize in language arts, particularly Spanish, French, and English. I also have experience tutoring people of all ages, and helping them prepare for standardized tests. I look forward to hearing from you soon! Best regards, Valerie

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