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Structure is necessary, it keeps things organized but unplanned topics can also present great learning opportunities. If the student is excited about something, we talk about it! There are always chances to learn new vocabulary words and even hit up some practice with grammar. After all, conversation is just that, going with the flow and seeing where things go. Be spontaneous amidst the structure.    Another aspect that is helpful and fun is to center lessons around my students. It's their life and their experience they'll want to share, so we work around that.    Kids games are fun even for adults! It's okay to play "Ispy" (Yo veo) when we are learning colors or talking about specific vocabulary. We even play scrabble for those who really want a challenge. It's a wonderful opportunity to see how many words you already know and learn new ones when I play words you don't recognize. Jeopardy is also another great game I like to include. If... read more

Most language learning resources focus on the process of what YOU can do to learn a language. But what I'm interested in is how a language is an organic, living, naturally occurring phenomenon, like rivers, trees, and humans, and what that has to do with efficient language learning, as well as what it has to do with the nature of life/God/the universe (as a bonus). The mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci used a set of numbers (Fibonacci numbers) to describe how rabbit populations expand. The numbers are 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, ... (each number is the sum of the previous two numbers). This "golden" ratio also describes flowers, trees, rivers, seashells, galaxies, and the human face. Language also grows this way in your mind -- particularly if you're a child. My goal is that it grow that way also in the mind of the adult. The way it looks is that for every language you grew up speaking there are a number of situations you've experienced in... read more

These days I'm having so much fun living the dream!  While doing phone interpretations today in Spanish/English and allowing my latest intern Alaina to shadow me (a whole new way to look at tutoring), she asked:  "When we're listening to the clients, I still don't always know what they're saying?  When did you finally start just getting it when you were interpreting?"   I shared with her, smiling, that my first in person interpretation was ROUGH.  But to answer her question more directly, from my 20 years experience vantage point, I couldn't remember exactly HOW I finally got over the hump.    As I thought back, I could remember that it has a lot to do with smiling, laughing, being personable, and LOVING THE PEOPLE AND CULTURE you are interpreting.  I also recommend finding a close friend (and perhaps even better boyfriend/girlfriend) to get to know up close in your target language.    The most important... read more

Flashcards have been used for a long time by students that want to broaden their vocabulary, whether for learning a second language or increasing one's vocabulary of your primary language. Before computers, students often used index cards and wrote a word on one side, and the meaning of the word, or the equivalent word in another language on the other side. Now there are all sorts of flashcard websites and flashcard software programs available that basically do the same thing electronically. But regardless of the medium you use, there are some ways to use flashcards that are better than others. I'm going to recommend one way that I find very helpful. Instead of just randomly selecting 20 or 50 or 100 words, and trying to memorize them via flashcards, select vocabulary words that are in context. What this means is that it's better to create flashcards based on a reading passage or book or essay you've read, and then selecting words from what you've read and creating flashcards for... read more

Look for the Latin roots in Spanish and French words that may also be found English. This helps one remember vocabulary and appreciate the connection between languages!     Here are some examples!   1. Aprender is 'to learn' in Spanish (apprendre in French), which corresponds to the English word 'apprentice.'   2. Escribir is to write in Spanish (écrire in French), which corresponds to the English word 'scribe' (escribe = he writes).   3. Dormir means 'to sleep' in Spanish (dormir in French as well), which corresponds to the English words 'dormitory' and 'dormant'.   4. Abrazar is 'to hug/embrace' in Spanish (embrasser in French), which corresponds to the English word 'embrace'. Keep in mind that in French it means a "kissing embrace" versus a "hugging embrace".   And there are many more! Please add to the list!   It is important to note that the Latin... read more

If you have reached the present perfect and past perfect tense, you are a good way into your Spanish studies and it's time for a serious talk about grammar. I don't know of any shortcut around regular practice. However, you can do yourself an enormous favor by taking the time to discover what you mean to say in English before you attempt to construct the grammar in Spanish. It is possible to learn how to conjugate verbs in the present and past perfect tenses without truly understanding their meaning or where and when to use them in writing or conversation. If you are reading this, you've likely set higher goals for yourself. Let me begin by introducing the present and past perfect tenses in English. After we've grasped the purpose of these verb forms, we can move quickly and easily through the "rules." Recall that in the simple present or simple past tense we say "I live" or "I lived." "I love"... read more

Many of my students dread conjugating verbs. They dread it even more when the verbs are irregular and have the same meaning!!  The verbs ser and estar both mean "to be", so what is the difference between the two?? Ser is used to describe things that are permanent or often unchangeable.  For example, Yo soy de Estados Unidos.(I am from the United States).  The form of ser used in the sentence is soy.  You can not change where you are from. Ser is also used to describe characteristics, professions, religions and nationalities.       Estar is used to describe things that are temporary. For example, Yo estoy en Florida para las vacaciones(I am in Florida for vacation). I am vacationing in Florida, but I am not from there.  There is a little rhyme that is printed in the textbook, Realidades, which helps you remember when to use the verb, estar.  The rhyme goes, For how you... read more

Many students have a fear of learning a foreign language.  Instead of approaching acquiring a new tongue as an exciting challenge, many approach it with the question "Why do we have to learn this?"  Learning a foreign language can be a wonderful experience.  Here a few of my "Dos and Don'ts" when approaching foreign language learning.   DO keep an open mind and be positive about learning something new. DO recognize the similarities of your native language and the new language that you are learning. DO review your notes from class everyday and practice at home. DO find a language/study buddy in your language class. DO think about your future and how a new language is going to benefit you with your future goals. DON'T be negative. DON'T be prejudice about a foreign language and its culture based on stereotypes. DON'T stop trying even when there are words that you do not understand or there is a chapter that is not... read more

Hello everyone! Hola a todos!   Learning a second language like  Spanish or ESOL can be boring and frustrating sometimes. You just get sick of reading your textbook or completing worksheets that your teacher gives you. But believe it or not...there are several ways to make learning a second language fun no matter what age you are! You're probably thinking right now..."how?" I'll tell you how. First, think of something that you like to do in your free time like listening to music, watching a movie or reading. Say if you really enjoy listening to music...look up one of your favorite genres and see what pops up for Spanish or English music in that genre. For example, Spanish pop/rock - the Colombian artist Juanes will pop up. Check out some of his songs on youtube. Once you find a song that you like, look up the Spanish lyrics online, print them out and then try your best at translating them into English. See if you can figure out what the song means because... read more

10 Tips to Advance Your Second-language Learning Process Speaking a second language is a wonderful tool to have at your disposal. Not only is it fun and cool, but it opens doors to experience another culture in new, exciting and personal ways. And if you're working on speaking a language that others speak in your community, it can also open doors for you professionally. So, if you're itching for some tips to help advance your language learning process, have no fear…I'm here to share with you 10 of my trusty tips for how I learned to speak my second language! (How well do I speak it, you ask? Well, native Spanish speakers often think I’m a native Spanish speaker, just to give you some context.) These are all things that I did myself, so I’m confident in recommending them all to you! :) Let’s get started with some specific tips, and then move on to my more “philosophical” and general advice: 1. Watch television shows, movies and videos in your target language For those working... read more

I have found it very useful to take walks when my Spanish tutoree gets worked up. When we walk we discuss things around in Spanish. For example, we learned colors the other week, so we walked around and she told me the colors of everything she saw around her in Spanish.

I'm new to tutoring and to WyzAnt, but I know I can make tutoring and lessons fun just by using the knowledge I have and what I have learned from my classes in Education.  Spanish is about communicating and the best way to learn Spanish is to use it in real-world applications. So, here are my top 5 suggestions on how to make lessons fun in Spanish:   1.  Put down the text book! Talk to the student as if you are having a real conversation   2.  When learning about everyday objects around the house have the student create labels in Spanish and post them on things such as:  Door, bed, slippers, toothbrush, ect.  So, that they will see them everyday and learn the words as they use them.   3. Find a book, comic book, or any other type of reading that interests them instead of just have them reading straight out of the textbook.  If it's a topic they are interested in they will want to read it!  They can read it to... read more

You don't need to spend hours memorizing new words or making simple concepts more complicated than they need to be to learn Spanish. The best way to learn Spanish is to focus on the similarities between English and Spanish. The fact is that whether or not you realize it, you already know some Spanish.   One book that I highly recommend is Madrigal's Magic Key To Spanish. This book takes you step by step to make you highly proficient in the language. I am not saying that this is a substitute for any class, but it is an excellent complement for nearly any Spanish class. I used this book after not taking Spanish for a while to make me proficient again. I also continue to use it when I don't like the class textbook and need to show a more clear picture of the concept.   Here are some examples of how to make Spanish easy in which Madrigal's Magic Key To Spanish illustrates:   Do you recognize what any of this means?   Oceano Atlántico Oceano... read more

In English we have 5 vowels orthographically(in spelling), but phonetically(in terms of speech sounds) there are 14 different vowel sounds! Spanish only has 5 vowel sounds! This can make it rather difficult for Spanish speakers to pronounce English words. For English speakers learning Spanish, this means that we have to narrow down our vowel pronunciations.  When it comes to pronunciation, I always tell my students to practice their vowel pronunciation in Spanish: a-e-i-o-u is pronounced, in Spanish, "ah"-"ay"-"ee"-"oh"-"oo" The good news is that these vowels never change in Spanish pronunciation. Once you get those down, you can pronounce any Spanish word with confidence. 

1. Whatever the target language is, write it out and leave a space underneath to help with translation.  2. Flashcards for target language.  Make 2 set and you can play a matching game with both your native language and language being learned.   3. While using flashcards, you give yourself 3 seconds to translate.  You will have 2 piles: 1 for correct answers and the 2nd for the ones that you are having trouble with.  Then mix again and try them all. 4. Listen to the target language.  Watch TV, listen to the radio or find meet-ups. 5. Use tips that work for you.  Tweak them til it fits you!!!

Currently, my best subject -though I can tutor in other subjects- is Spanish (bonus: I have Latin Heritage). Please check out my profile for schedule and contact info.  Any questions let me know. I am comfortable using online sessions and I can work using the online without problem. Online sessions are not limited to proximity. 

I frequently work with students who wish to improve their conversational Spanish skills. I strongly believe learning to actually speak the language is the hardest part for most students, because it is almost impossible to practice unless you have someone with whom to practice. I have certain students who I see on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, and only tutor them in conversational Spanish. For me, keeping these lessons interesting can be a challenge, especially with shy students.  To combat this, I recently purchased a conversation starter game called Rory's Story Cubes. These are ridiculously great and have been a huge success among my students. Not only do the cubes give students the opportunity to use their imagination, they are also a great way to practice Spanish! I have challenged students to tell stories using only the past tense, or only the future tense, or by incorporating a command into each sentence. By putting stipulations on what they can and cannot say, you can help... read more

While tutoring is about making sure you learn the material we are discussing, it should always have a balanced amount of learning and fun!  Here are some ways I keep my tutoring sessions a fun place to be: 1. Games - Learning is most successful when it's fun! When applicable, it can be a great change of pace to incorporate a game into the tutoring session.  2. You get to be the teacher - Nothing shows me that you know your information best than when you can teach it to me! On this day we might switch jobs, and you will pretend to be the tutor helping me, your student.  3. Songs - Sometimes the best way to memorize information is to put it in a song. Acronyms, lists of names, dates or even important people can make their way into your favorite song and then you'll never forget that information.  4. Performances - for my music students, we will spend a lot of time working on technical skills to apply to your music making. But some of the... read more

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