Spanish Snippets Blog

Oh, the memories...


  How do we remember a new  

  language? Is remembering the same 

  thing as learning?

  The how and why to learning 

  language are two different animals. 

  I’ll tell you all about HOW today.

In my classes, both for adults and children, I like to make sure the students have tools to be able to access their new tools (the Spanish vocabulary and language). Some students have trouble with memory, and this trait has historically lied to them, “I can’t learn a language, I don’t have a good memory.”  But the opposite is actually true. The thought process SHOULD be, “I don’t have a good memory, so I should learn a new language.” Language is a different subject than any other. Its not just information or facts like with science or history. It’s not beauty or emotion like art or literature. Its not even instructions on how  to accomplish a solution like with math or other formulas. Its a TOOL to be used, and can be used in each of those areas. With this, we know that we can’t absorb it the same way as other subjects. 

Here are some basic tips to learning Spanish: When practicing with memorizing new vocabulary, its no secret that I advocate flashcards. A quick bite of information, added with visual, audial, and tactile practice is the best method to absorb new information. You SEE the photo or picture or word, you SAY the word, and you FLIP the card over.

A second way to get better traction and more progress is to change as you go. As you practice throughout the week, changing the order of the cards, the sound of your voice, the location where you study, any and all of it, will increase your recall, and move the information bit into longterm memory. Click the link below for more reading on human memory to help you understand the HOW behind your language learning journey, and why See it and Say it is a good fit for so many in learning Spanish as a family.

Las aventuras

Adventures are the spice of life! Motivation is the absolute KEY to Learning (I actually wrote the book on that, so I should know.) 

As we discover what makes each of our children tick, we see more light bulb moments, more thirst for knowledge, and more joy in our own lives. Finding it out isn’t TOO hard, but as you try more speaking, moving, listening, narrating, or DOING with your child, you’ll learn HOW they learn.

As a parent, some times we just need a break. We’re teaching and parenting 100% of the time, whether we want to our not. Our Spanish Lessons, if they are consistently accomplished or not, sends a message. Come along side them and enjoy the adventure. It’ll do you good.

Today, my youngest son and I were out working with some feral bees. (It’s called a forced abscond.) It was intense. There was smoke, patience, oils, frames, hives, a special bee vacuum, and more patience. It was hot, and my allergies had decided to go for the gusto. "Let’s make today like no other!" the histamines must have yelled. Sneeze and sneeze and sneeze again…. INSIDE a bee helmet. (Or bonnet, or whatever it is. I’m not the beekeeper, I’m just the chauffeur!) 

I had the thought,  “My son and I are out here, with these wonderful old beeks. This is a teachable moment."

I started speaking Spanish to my boy. He really would have preferred English. He knows all this, but in this moment, las abejas (the bees) were more important than his fluency in Spanish. I didn’t stop. I stuck with it. He was flustered with me, but finally, the fluency jumped. And I knew it would when he relaxed! He spoke back to me in Spanish, grinning as the old beeks gained a new level of respect for him. A ten year old beek, out in the heat and the smoke with them, speaking Spanish with his mom with bees buzzing all around us. 

Two hives, five beeks, and two learners, proud of their aventura. I learned more about abejas today, and my son learned more about perseverance. Use your adventure. Look up the words you’ll need today. Build a sentence with your flashcards, take the step and get going. You’ll be glad. And you can do it ALL without putting on a bee suit!


Words for your personal learning dictionary today:

la aventura = the adventure

las abejas = the bees

el estornudo = the sneeze

el humo = the smoke

la colmena = the hive

Why Learn Spanish?

Without the “why” behind an event, it’s difficult to get going, and even harder to keep going. Here are the top ten reasons for learning Spanish.

  1. Learning Spanish is necessary to keep pace with popular culture.
  2. Learning Spanish is actually a medical device!
  3. For many, learning Spanish is rapidly becoming a business necessity.
  4. Spanish, Spanish everywhere.
  5. Learning Spanish will (truly) expand your universe.
  6. Knowing Spanish will completely transform your travel experience.
  7. Knowing how to speak Spanish will enable you to help others.
  8. There are reasons to learn language for language’s sake.
  9. Learning Spanish will allow you to better appreciate Hispanic cultural contributions.
  10. Learning Spanish is fun!

For more details on each topic, click below!

One word at a time

Many people focus on LISTS of Spanish words to study. But really, you learn ONE word at a time. The best method for keeping from being overwhelmed is Flash Cards! One word, then ONE word, then ONE word. 

Think about counting. Can you tell me what is siete? How about once? What about tres?

If you have to count up from uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis..., you didn’t ever actually learn each word. You learned a CHANT. This is not super helpful when speaking.

Put those numbers on a Flash Card (we teach you how to do this in See it and Say it Flip Flop Spanish) and then put them out of order. Focus on ONE word at time, and soon, you’ll have learned 20 words in the week, perhaps five per day.

Break it down, keep it chunky and light! Learn like a baby. One thing at a time.

If you’re on Facebook, today is FREE TUTORING TUESDAY! Ask your questions there!

What are you waiting for?

What’s holding you back? What is your obstacle to learning Spanish?

For most, the main obstacle is time:  

Solution: Set a time trigger for your Spanish time. I’ve advised many families to keep their Flip Flop Spanish Flashcards in the silverware drawer, so each time they set the table, they grab the ring of cards, and can both review and speak in Spanish at meal time.  “Puedo tener…” (May I have…?) pweh-doh teh-nehr

Each week, we’ll look at fun ways to overcome obstacles, get learning Spanish into your daily life, and see how Flip Flop Spanish can assist you in that goal.

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