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It isn't always necessary to cram textbooks during the summer; try to find simple ways to maintain an overall positive summer in terms of learning by using simple steps: with just a few easy habits, you can reinforce what you've learned in most mainstream classes without feeling like you're under your teacher's thumb! Try typing with proper grammar/punctuation when texting, and using IMs or Facebook. This will get you into the habit of knowing when to use correct capitalization, avoiding word mix-ups such as your/you're and there/their/they're (which are surprisingly common in people who should CERTAINLY know the difference); when using an actual keyboard, this will slowly increase your typing speed, as well. I started doing this myself in 9th grade at 13 years old, have never had a message misinterpreted due to "i cdnt rd wt u sed", and have since greatly improved my typing speed, so much so as to be faster than some people I know who type without looking at the keyboard... 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!

Updated Summer Availability: Mon: No Available Sessions Tues: No Available Sessions Wed: After 3:30 pm Thurs: After 3:30 pm Fri: After 1pm Weekends: 10am-5pm (Some flexibility required for recurring weekend sessions due to prescheduled out of town obligations) Please message me to inquire about setting up a tutoring session! Having your payment information on file will allow us to begin more quickly.

I have been on my bicycle a few times this spring, but yesterday I took my first serious ride (without the 9-year-old). It felt so great. I was absolutely in my "happy place." I am a busy person, often looking to "kill two birds with one stone," so it got me thinking... How can I work biking into the rest of the summer? I started to calculate how many days a week I could bike to work, which regular errands I could do by bike instead of by car, what routes I would like to explore, who I know that might want to bike with me. My thoughts were rolling with the tires, so soon I was on to thinking about any activities I could do outside, and what could be combined without sacrificing mindfulness. Languages! I thought. Riding bike with a friend, I can talk. There's no reason I couldn't do it in French or Spanish instead of English. The same with taking walks, hanging out in parks, playing games outside with kids, and so on. A couple of summers ago I taught Spanish... read more

I say: "I love teaching and I have extensive experience teaching beginner, intermediate, advanced subjects to adults, teens, and younger children, in both group settings and private tutoring. My classes are fun, engaging, and geared to help my students learn fast. For private students, I customize my lessons according to each of my students’ learning style and individual needs. My students’ confidence and grades improve greatly after just a few private lessons.  I use games, songs, music, computers, videos, many authentic materials or whatever is necessary to help you get to the levels you desire. Your success motives me and I will help you anyway I can! If you really want to learn to write, speak, read and listen Spanish/English correctly, I am here to help you today" This is what some of my students have said about me & my classes: "Thank you for being such a wonderful teacher!I had so much fun in your class. I enjoyed learning Spanish more than any... read more

I had so much fun in college when I lived in Miami, Florida and taught English to young school children. I worked for an organization called Amigos Together For Kids, founded by a young Cuban entrepreneur named Jorge. We organized toy drives at Christmas, helped foster families, and ran an after school tutoring program at Jose Marti Park. The kids at the camp always needed help with their homework, and I loved teaching them, many of whom were children of immigrant families from Cuba (native language, Spanish). One day, I was at a table with five little 1st-graders, and one of them started to sing, I laughed out loud as she hummed the Pussycat Dolls and sang, "Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me?" Seriously it was a great time and very rewarding. I still have many of the little crafty gifts the kids which the kids would make in school and then give to me.

I introduced the Present Subjunctive to 2 of my students within the last week; first to my Spanish High School student and then to my Adult ESL student. Wow! Heavy duty grammar! I used to find it easier to teach Spanish grammar, in either English or Spanish, since I had to learn it formally and then incorporate it into my Spanish vernacular. I don't remember studying English grammar to the same extent, ever! At least until I took linguistics classes toward my Masters in ESL. However, I have always felt that learning these and other grammatical concepts in Spanish crept over to my English. I mentioned this to one of my other High School Spanish students and he agreed! He felt that the grammar he is learning, both from his teacher at school and from me, is helping his English! In fact, my knowledge of Spanish grammar also helped me transfer the same concepts to other languages I have learned as well, including Italian and Hebrew. More reason to study other languages, even if... read more

When it comes down to it, many of us are reluctant to sit down and do those mundane tasks that we are required to do. It is so easy to be distracted by simpler or more exciting stimuli; anything to keep us from training the brain. Luckily, there are ways to make it easier. It involves your environment. The objects around you influence your behavior. The surroundings stimulate feelings; good or bad. We have control over how we feel when we go to do our work. Yet, our environment plays a key roll. The first step toward improving our environment is choosing the correct area. Somewhere relatively quiet, plenty of space, ample light, and a comfortable seat. These four characteristics play an important roll in choosing a location. We want quiet and solitude, to reduce distractions, when we sit down to concentrate. If we become distracted, all of the work we put into our state of concentration goes to waste. This leaves us feeling frustrated which makes it hard complete the necessary... read more

Yo escuchaba chapotear en el barro Los pies descalzos Y presentía los rostros anochecidos de hambre. Mi corazón fue un péndulo entre ella y la calle. Y no sé con que fuerza me liberé de sus ojos Me zafé de sus brazos. Ella quedó nublando de lágrimas y angustía Tras de la lluvia y el cristal Pero incapáz para gritarme: "Espérame, Yo me marcho contigo!" ~Miguel Otero Silva

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

In his autobiography, Benjamin Franklin described a technique he frequently used to improve his writing and language skills: Whenever Franklin came across a piece of writing that he felt was extremely well-crafted, he would read the passage repeatedly until he could write down word-for-word—from memory—what he read on a separate piece of paper. He then would compare what he wrote to the original passage he read, would make whatever corrections he needed to, and would repeat the whole exercise several days later. If there’s some aspect of your language skills you’d like to improve (writing, speaking, or listening, etc.), give Benjamin Franklin’s exercise a try: Improve your listening skills by writing down the words you hear in a foreign language movie or song. Watch your favorite foreign-language TV show, and try to imitate your favorite character’s accent or vocabulary. Or, if you want to work on you foreign-language writing and expression skills, buy a translated... read more

When I teach languages I basically work on the student’s grammar and pronunciation. Vocabulary is also important, and I encourage my students to use the language as much as they can. This can take the passive form of reading, watching TV, or listening to the radio; or it can take the active form of speaking to others in the language they want to learn and writing in the language. This can take the form of a journal. Languages are like the piano. If you do not practice, you will not be able to speak well. Grammar is the building block of a language. It tells you how to put the words that you know into sentences. Perhaps children can learn a language without knowing grammar, but most adults need grammar to learn a new language. Pronunciation is important. Sometimes it can determine whether the speaker is understood. For some, communication is the chief goal, and having a really good pronunciation is not that important. For others it is important to speak a language well, and... read more

One thing I found helpful when I was initially getting the hang of Russian was to keep a language diary for a few weeks. My diary started when, in an effort not to get rusty at Russian during the summer between semesters, I started reading some Russian poetry and parts of short stories in the original. The diary wasn’t anything fancy. I simply wanted some more Russian-language practice and to practice expressing my thoughts in writing (no matter how simple the thoughts were). I did this by typing my entries in Russian into a Word document. I usually wrote about 2 things: 1) what I remembered about the poem/story’s plot 2) what I thought about the poem/story I’d also bold and put into red coloring new phrases and vocabulary that I’d learned, found useful, and wanted to remember. Your diary can serve whatever function you’d like. You can write about your day, or some little event that happened one day. Or you can keep track of useful phrases or words you learned... read more

For the past five years, I have worked in multiple online areas: social media, graphic design, web development, etc. I discovered that online collaboration tools are a very unique and diverse way to keep up with and practice different activities. I would like to motivate students to participate in online tutoring sessions. I am not saying this should be a substitute to face to face sessions, but it a nice little way for students to get their online "fix" during the week and be reminded about what they are learning. If you are interested in adding an online session to your student's weekly tutoring, let me know. There are many ways to have video chats and also interactive tools for completing different tasks.

I remember that there was once a time when I underestimated the power of flashcards as a learning tool, and now I they’re all I use to memorize new language vocabulary and sometimes grammar concepts. Though they can be tedious and boring to write out for a large vocabulary list, flashcards have been worth the extra effort that I’ve put into making them. Here are some of the pros (listed in no particular order) that I’ve found in using flashcards: - You can easily make them—and on your own time. I love printed lists, but I noticed that they take me more time and effort to make than flashcards. I find that I get too particular and too hung up over small details—the words need to be a certain font, I like for the English side to be a certain color, etc. Also by the time I’m even done making up a list to print, I usually have to wait for a computer at the library to print my vocab list, and then end up waiting behind someone who has 7 print jobs. Flashcards, one the other... read more

When I am contacted by potential clients for my language tutoring services, I like to ask them what their current level is with the target language, and how fluent they would like to be. Everybody says, "As fluent as you can make me!" Well, the truth is, although I am pretty fabulous, :) our sessions together will be much enhanced if the student is willing to commit to doing some language review outside of our sessions, on his or her own time. I was gathering my WyzAnt information together for tax season this year, and I realized that one of my most successful students is approaching her three-year anniversary with me. She made a commitment to herself to learn to speak and read Spanish, and she has made incredible strides. The reason I mention her in particular is that she only sees me twice a month! Once every two weeks, for an hour each time. She has, however, bought CDs which she listens to on her daily walks with her dogs, she uses her grammar book as a bathroom reader,... read more

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