Thursday, May 30, 2013

Poco A Poco - Little by Little

While it's been raining everyday here in Panama we have started to really dig into our Spanish classes.

Our classes have just started.   I have 7 new students and we have been having so much fun.

 Everyday we have been focusing on new vocabulary, conversational phrases, and conjugating verbs. These kids aren't your average first year freshman Spanish kids. They are international students. They are living in a Spanish Speaking culture where almost everything outside of their home is in Spanish. They want to be able to talk to others in Spanish.

 How do you do that?

 Well as I 've been sharing with my kids they need to put themselves out there and interact in the culture! 

 It may sound amusing that you can live in a Spanish world and not speak Spanish! So many people just do that. They only speak to friends that speak their native language, speak the minimal Spanish to get by, and just don't have the extra energy to put out to learn a new language. Anyone could get stuck not learning the language of the country they live in. It just seems overwhelming at times! I have seen this many times while living in California. There are so many immigrants from Asian, Latin America, and other countries with their own communities. Everyone has heard of China town! Well did you know there is a China town here in Panama City, Panama too?

 So if your finding yourself stuck in this rut of wanting to learn another language but just can't seem to - what do you do? Well let me give you some simple steps to follow that I am encouraging my students to do:

Poco a Poco- Little by little

1. Practice, practice, practice - every day!

Any chance you get try to practice the language. Put on the subtitles when your watching movies. Pay attention to the words in songs. Communicate with people in that language. Add a new word to your vocabulary journal everyday! Write it down! Look it up in a Spanish-English dictionary! Then try to use it again very soon.

2. Make efforts to understand why certain words or phrases are used. Make meaning out of them! Don't just try to memorize them because they won't stick!

3. Understand the grammar of the language your learning - at least a little bit! If you can find patterns you will be able to use them later in a conversation. For example understand the patterns for verb conjugations in Spanish. You may find yourself in the middle of a conversation and learn a new verb.  You can then apply your knowledge of verb conjugations and continue on with your sentence and conversation!

4. Finally step on that pride and embarrassment and just speak! The more you practice the better you will get. If you snooze you loose, right? Another wards keep at it, don't give up. Learning a language can be a lot of work and a times saturate your brain! You may at times feel like you have no room left in your brain to learn ! Just take a break and get back to it when your rested up!

5.  Don't forget to have fun while learning!

Recently some of my students had "light-bulb" moments with verb conjugations. They started to get it! It happened while we were playing some of our verb conjugation games...they were put on the spot to conjugate on their own and add new vocabulary while talking with their peers! Here is one that we were playing "I have who has " in Spanish.

You can download this freebie in the download preview on TPT or just click on the pictures above or go here to google docs! I hope you and your students have many more "light-bulb" moments! That's what makes learning fun:)

I'm linking up with (where you can find other wonderful freebies and ideas)

What do you do to learn your foreign language? How do you teach your students? I would love to hear your insights and what works for your students. Leave me a comment and please share:)

Feel free to enter the Giveaway below to win a Beaded Indian Bracelet from Panama for you and to share with your classroom!


  1. These sound like some good strategies. My son and I play matching card games often, to practice vocabulary. We have some other activities we do, like using felt board figures to practice words and sentences. For learning nuances of certain words, how they can be used, I really like looking things up in the Word Reference Dictionary (you can ask questions to native speakers in their forums).

  2. Wow Dinah I did not know you were teaching Spanish? You have students outside your own kids? I am very excited for you! Your blog is wonderful and so creative!

  3. Hola me llamo Delvalina, soy de Indonesia :)

    I study International Relations in an University here. My favorite class is Latin America Studies, it's because I love latin countries, and culture, and its language is sexy when I listen.

    I've been learning spanish by myself through internet much, I have wanted to join a class with native speaker, but i think will be better if I come and stay there for several weeks hehe :)

    You seems a perfect senora :) I would love to be your students. I really want to make my spanish perfect before I apply a job as diplomat. God ordered my step do not know when He guides me to go, so I let it be..and still want to learn spanish.

    So I follow this blog now.
    Mine is:

    Dios te bendiga :)

  4. Great job with this one!I've given it +1.

  5. What great advice! Language scares me, but I 'm going to remember these tips as I travel around Germany in a couple of weeks. Luckily my daughter can soak up new languages very quickly. I got a package from you, but have been loco busy!

  6. Thanks for sharing! Your pictures are amazing, what a wonderful experience!

  7. Love the I have Who has game ... we use it in our math classes as well!

  8. You have SUCH great advice. I love the 5 steps!! Thanks for sharing at the After School Linky Party!


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Welcome! Bienvendidos! Shalom! from our family here in Panama to yours...

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