Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Received this quote today.

Quotation of the Day: "The bright lower- or middle-class English youth who by dint of native ability and application wins a scholarship at one of the first-class public schools and learns upper-class English from his classmates simply by the force of social pressure, he doesn't get it from his English master -- at least not to any appreciable degree. This is informal learning." Albert H. Marckwardt, "Linguistics and English Composition," in A Linguistics Reader 18, 22 (Graham Wilson ed., 1967).

Sunday, September 19, 2010

New to Me Blog

I'm searching for blogs from other parents who also have kids in dual language or immersion programs. Here's one from the creators of the documentary Speaking In Tongues.


We've been using SpanishDict.com and these magnetic words to help us write sentences in Spanish.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Back to Basics

We're reviewing the alphabet. Here are some websites:



For some reason, I was having trouble remembering how to say X,  then I thought of the beer, Dos Equis. Two Xs are better than one?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Candy Land

Easy to use colors in Spanish while playing this fun game. We have this version that can be stored on a bookshelf.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

Friday, July 9, 2010

We're back!

We took a road trip and a vacation from Spanish. We did listen to Papa Lalo in the car and we watched Diego.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Toy Story 3

We haven't seen it yet, but I hear Buzz speaks Spanish in the new Toy Story. We like the olds ones in Spanish.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Maggie's Learning Adventures-Scholastic

I haven't tried this website with the kids, but I will tomorrow. There are 6 games in Spanish. One of them, Spanish-English cycle race asks in English to translate words from Spanish to English or English to Spanish. It reviews colors, numbers, body parts, days of the week. When you get enough correct answers, you win the bike race. The other games have directions in Spanish. Great practice! You can choose a math game to rescue a dog with a helicopter (I think J's going to like that), a game to label science diagrams, a game to differentiate parts of speech, a speed math game to fly around the world, and a guess the password game (similar to hangman). Reading is required for these games so my kiddos will need help.

We're Enjoying This

The traditional Mexican songs on this album are interspersed with narrative in English.

Los Lobos Papa Lalo

Saturday, June 12, 2010


I love the Spanish version of Barking at the Moon (Ladrando a la Luna). Watch on youtube with lyrics here.  The Bolt DVD has the movie and the Rhino short in Spanish.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Games People Play

J and A have made up their own games. They like to use an old computer keyboard and ask me how to spell words. Then they find the letters.

J likes to race me while writing. He'll pick a passage in a book and we see who can copy it the fastest.

These games help me with my Spanish vocab. They help the kids with spelling and handwriting.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


We went to our first Spanish storytime of the summer at a local public library. J and B loved it. A was a little worried about the Spanish, but she loved the craft. This is one of the songs we sang:

Cabeza & Hombros

Cabeza y hombros
Cabeza y hombros

Rodillas y pies
Rodillas y pies

Cuello y estómago
Cuello y estómago

Ojos y orejas
Ojos y orejas

Barba y nariz
Barba y nariz

Cabeza y hombros
Cabeza y hombros

Rodillas y pies
Rodillas y pies

Watch a fun version on youtube here

Here's a different version with lyrics and a sample.
And here's a worksheet with body parts in Spanish.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


J's still recovering. We're taking it easy and playing Pente, counting in Spanish and identifying the colors in Spanish.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Best Laid Plans

J’s sick so we’ve spent the day in front of mostly English PBS. Some shows have a few words of Spanish vocabulary. You can buy them on Amazon or watch anytime on PBSkids.org.

(The Spanish version of Sesame Street is Plaza Sesamo.)

Friday, June 4, 2010

I Love this Song

You can read the lyrics and listen to Colores, Colores by Bacilos on youtube. Apparently, a student made this video for his Spanish class.  The song is on this CD:

Phineas and Ferb

J and A watched in Spanish on youtube here.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Working on Two Languages

We tried out the Maya and Miguel site in Spanish. J enjoyed this matching game where he matched a picture of the animal to a picture of Maya or Miquel doing the sign for the animal.

J Loves this Game

Unfortunately, it's in English. We need a Spanish version. This game plugs into your television and the player spells words to play the different games: bumper cars, magic letter e, or the spinning cups.

J is learning to read in Spanish. He struggles with differentiating the sounds the letters make in Spanish and English. My hope is that by the end of the summer he has the Spanish phonics all figured out.

The Travel Book

I received Lonely Planet's The Travel Book a few years ago and I still love looking through the beautiful photographs in this coffee table book. Each country on the planet has a two page spread complete with stats and interesting tidbits.
Today, I skimmed through looking for Spanish-speaking countries. J and A also like looking at the photos.

Looks like there's also a newer mini version.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

It's Sunday!

I'm searching for a website that I've forwarded many times. It had great suggestions for helping your children learning the target language. One piece of advice was to attend church services in the target language.

Teen Titans Trouble in Tokyo

Teen Titans: Trouble in Tokyo

What do we think?

D: It's highly stylized. Like Manga.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Live Mocha

Live Mocha rocks!!! It's free! It's fun! You can talk to native speaker from all over the world! It's well structured! It offers many languages! Did I mention it rocks?


I've been using SpanishDict.com the entire school year to help me translate J's homework. They have many features that I've just started to mess around with, including flashcards, forums, and word of the day.

James and the Giant Peach

After an exhausting day of kindergarten, J's enjoying James and the Giant Peach in Spanish.


About.com has a nice review of poner.


Benny the Irish polyglot is fluent in several languages. He’s also a professional Spanish to English translator. What’s his secret? One day he just decided that he was only going to speak the target language. He tells all here.

These folks in Casablanca know the secret. Here’s a link to a youtube clip.

And here’s the dialogue:

Mr. Leuchtag: Come sit down. Have a brandy with us.
Mrs. Leuchtag: To celebrate our leaving for America tomorrow.
Carl: Oh, thank you very much. I thought you would ask me, so I brought the good brandy. And - a third glass!
Mrs. Leuchtag: At last the day is came!
Mr. Leuchtag: Mareichtag and I are speaking nothing but English now.
Mrs. Leuchtag: So we should feel at home when we get to America.
Carl: Very nice idea, mm-hmm.
Mr. Leuchtag: [toasting] To America!
Mrs. Leuchtag: To America!
Carl: To America!
Mr. Leuchtag: Liebchen - sweetnessheart, what watch?
Mrs. Leuchtag: Ten watch.
Mr. Leuchtag: Such much?
Carl: Hm. You will get along beautiful in America, mm-hmm

Of course, you can’t always be afraid of making mistakes.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Maya and Miguel

Despite reading this, we still watch Maya and Miguel often. We haven't used the PBS site yet, but you can choose Spanish.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Magazines in Español

It'd be fun to get these in the mail.

Brainy Baby


Zumba (in case you’ve been living in a cave) is the latest fitness craze to hit the gym. It uses Latin rhythms to get the body moving for a fun cardio workout. Not ready to shake your booty at the local rec center? Try a DVD in your own home. And of course, you have to have the right shoes. Amazon has some at great prices. Endless.com also has dance shoes. Capezio Women's Fierce Dansneaker Dance Sneaker,Black,10 M US


What does this have to do with language learning? Lots.
  • Your brain works better if your body’s healthy and active.
  • Much of the music is in Spanish. Like Khatz always says, the more exposure, the better, particularly when it’s fun.
  • Heard of Total Physical Response? If the teacher’s speaking Spanish, you really got it going on.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Arizona Books

I love the idea of destination-centered reading while I travel. Here's a list of books set in Arizona for our upcoming trip.

The protagonist of the The Bean Trees unexpectedly becomes a mother to an abandoned girl. Barbara Kingsolver also wrote the best selling Poisonwood Bible. If you haven’t read her yet, I highly recommend her books.

Jodi Picoult also wrote the best-selling My Sister’s Keeper. According to a review I read on Amazon, Vanishing Acts is about a woman who makes her living finding missing people.

Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is a memoir of growing up with an alcoholic father and a neglectful mother.

J.A. Jance has two mysteries since Damage Control-Trial by Fire and Fire and Ice. In Jance’s 15 mystery novels, Joanne Brady is a Maricopa County sheriff. Maricopa County contains Phoenix. (Joe Arpaio, the actual Maricopa County sheriff gained fame by creating tent city jails.)

Sing Down the Moon by Scott O’Dell is a historical novel about the Navajo forced "long march" in the 1860s.

These is My Words is about the settling of the Arizona/New Mexico territories. “Based on the real-life exploits of the author's great-grandmother, this fictionalized diary vividly details one woman's struggles with life and love in frontier Arizona at the end of the last century.” –from Publishers Weekly

Bones in the Desert is about the mom of Terri of Terri's Consignment who was killed by her live-in boyfriend.

Frank Lloyd Wright bio

Barry Goldwater bio


About.com can be a great resource. I just signed up for their learn Spanish eletter.


We love the How Do Dinosaurs...? series in English. Now we can enjoy them in Spanish, too.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

50 Spanish Phrases

I am so excited about this book! It has fun games that require communication in Spanish.

Spanish Counting Books

Uno, Dos, Tres; One, Two, Three by Pat Mora
Except for the numbers, this rhyming book is almost entirely in English. The beautiful illustrations by Barbara Lavallee depict a Mexican market.

Three Friends, Tres Amigos by Mariá Cristina Brusca and Tona Wilson
The fun illustrations, by Brusca, show desert images as you count your way up to ten and back to one in this bilingual book.

En Aquel Prado by David Carter
Completely in Spanish, this rhyme describes the interaction between mama animals and their babies.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Language Lessons Learned from Splash

Yes, I mean the 80s mermaid movie with Tom Hanks and Darryl Hannah. Madison (Hannah) learns to speak English in one day. That's even faster that Benny, the Irish polyglot.

How'd she do it?
  1. She was highly motivated to communicate with her soul mate. (That's referred to as "learning on the pillow" in some cultures.)
  2. She involves her whole body in the learning process - Total Physical Response.
  3. The input in the target language is apparently entertaining and comprehensible.
Alan's (Hanks) brother, Freddie, played by John Candy, is also gifted in second language acquisition. He says that after watching certain movies 400 - 500 times "the stuff starts to sink in." (I think that's Khatz's theory, too.)

Here's a youtube link where Madison learns English (more than 3 minutes into the 9:27 minute clip) and one where Freddie explains speaking Swedish. You have to check out the previous clip in the youtube series to see what he says.

The movie also begins with Wooly Bully, which is a bilingual (English/Spanish) song, right?


It's not that the Mouse has a monopoly on our movies; it's just that He's highly influential.

J and I were selecting a movie for our weekly family movie night. (It's a challenge to pick a movie that entertains the three year old girl, the five year old boy, and Mom and Dad.)

I found Splash, the '80s movie with Tom Hanks and Darryl Hannah.

I showed it to J, saying, "It's about a mermaid."

"And a sea witch?" he asked.