August 2008 – ¡Vámonos!

Month: August 2008

On checking Twitter this morning, I saw that Doug @dajbelshaw was trying out something new – called 12seconds.TV. I’m a nosey soul so when he offered invites, I was there like a shot.

Doug was kind enough to send me an invite so off I went to discover more.

It’s one of those ‘does what it says on the tin’ sort of sites – it’s all about 12 seconds of TV, a bit like Seismic but with a time limit. Just as Twitter limits you to 140 characters, here you have to be succinct too. You sign in with a username and are assigned your own channel – mine is and then you just need a webcam and microphone – although Doug Belshaw managed here without a microphone ;o)

I had a first try waffling about nothing in particular, and answered today’s 12challenge – which is the best Star Wars film?

Then I started thinking of uses for, and came up with using it for a challenge – learn and perfect a Spanish tonguetwister.

Here’s the first one – from Puerto Rico

Spanish tongue twister #1 on

Trabalenguas #1 –
miel de abaja, miel de abeja, miel de abeja ……

I started thinking I’d put the widget in my blog sidebar – which I will do – but then thought I’d add it to the school web page and use it to set the challenge to pupils, staff, parents and the wider community. There’s not much going on the site at the moment and in the last year there have been three regular contributors, one of whom has left, one of whom is the administrator, and the other who loves pink and bling ;o) so I think any content will be welcome. I also take pride in promoting languages within the school – as I don’t have my own class, it’s the way most parents get to know who I am. Added to which, I like the idea of promoting language learning to the wider community – and tonguetwisters are such fun. Using video will help as I always find it easier to see the person’s face when I’m learning languages and trying to imitate pronunciation. And the 12 second limit makes it snappy – not an onerous task and within most people’s attention span.

I’ll let you know how it goes – but I’d love to see others having a go – perhaps you could join and post your attempts at the Spanish tonguetwisters?

Or post your own in French, German, Russian, Dutch, Chinese etc. or even a phrase in your local dialect? I’ve got 10 invites to give away if you’d like one!
We could start a whole new trend for linguistic videos!!

I’ll post another one in a day or so!

Both my boys wanted to play on the computer this morning at the same time on different things – 9 year old is a fan of and was playing Swords and Sandals 3 (about Roman gladiators apparently) whilst 6 year old was eager to visit Cbeebies and BABW. Eldest had grabbed the house PC and youngest looked at me with his big brown bush baby eyes…

So I did something I haven’t done for weeks – I got out my laptop! And I could not believe how SLOOOOOOOOOOW it was! I’m so used to the speed of my MacBook that the slowness of my laptop was even more marked than it used to be. After nearly eight minutes of waiting and clicking, it finally got working – only to immediately crash! Started it up again – and although it looked promising, it’s just crashed again. Consequently, boys are now exercising cooperation and playing on house PC together – and whatever they’re doing is obviously tickling them as I can hear belly laughs as I type!

So – my advice? Get a Mac!
And if you can’t, perhaps investigate these products –

There are lots more adverts on the Apple site – always worth a look if you need a giggle!

Thought it was about time I adopted a pet for my blog.

There were no cows available at the Virtual Pet Shop unfortunately – anyhow, Angus would get jealous, wouldn’t he @mrmackenzie?

So, in honour of my friend, The Countess of Devon, here’s my new pet who will henceforth live in my sidebar.

Feel free to feed my sheep with hay or lettuce – just offer it to her and click for her to eat. Apologies that she’s a noisy eater.

Noticias Locas.

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One of my Google Reader / Feedly subscriptions is to a site called Noticias Locas which offers ‘Noticias curiosas, insólitas, raras …. pero rigurosamente ciertas‘, a bit like a site that catalogues ‘And finally…’ news items in Spanish.

I thought I’d share with you one that tickled me!

You can search here by title – find such gems as the Japanese biscuit with a special ingredient, the unfortunate Austrian girl with the tractor driving boyfriend, or Rory the horse who thinks it’s a dog.

A warning – you couldn’t use the site directly for pupils due to some dodgy adverts at the bottom, and some of the stories are of an ‘adult’ nature e.g this one about an interesting side effect of beer. However, if you pick your article and take a screen shot, or print it out, I think you could use some of the stories for gist reading – certainly in a secondary context, but also as an example of using all the clues you can to decipher meaning without understanding every word.

And, for amusement value, it can be quite amusing :oD

Whilst I’ve been getting overexcited about the exceptional performances of Team GB in the rowing, cycling, swimming and sailing – not to mention the gymnastics yesterday – Spain has been enjoying success too.

Yesterday saw Rafa Nadal win gold in the men’s tennis singles, beating Fernando González of Chile 6-3, 7-6, 6-3. And this morning he was crowned World Number 1, knocking Roger Federer off his perch!

And Spain won another gold on Saturday, courtesy of Joan Llaneras in the men’s points race in track cycling at the Velodrome (Chris Newton of Team GB won bronze)

Then today saw silver for Martínez and Fernández in the 49er sailing – oddly no British medals in that one ;o) They might even be promoted to gold after a protest over the (gold medal winning) Danish crew using a Croatian boat in the final race after theirs broke.

And Leire Olaberría didn’t quite manage to emulate Llaneras’ feat on Saturday, but did win bronze in the women’s track cycling points race. (Rebecca Romero, having won gold yesterday in the women’s individual pursuit, came 11th in her first attempt at the points race)
With good prospects of medals in the open water canoeing, hockey, synchronised swimming and triathlon amongst other things, Spain is optimistic of adding to its medal haul before the Games are out.

¡Vamos a ver qué pasa!

The lovely Joe Dale sent me the link to this video on Teachertube today – thought I might find it interesting. And I did, so I thought I’d share it with you too.

Adorable Spanish Elementary Plays is described as

High School Spanish students perform The Three Bears, Snow White, and Little Red Riding Hood plays for area elementary students.

The sound isn’t brilliant but the idea is clear – older pupils have worked on a play to present to younger pupils from neighbouring schools. This is an idea for transition that I love. It benefits both groups of pupils – excellence and enjoyment, anyone? The older pupils get to plan script practice and perform the play, using language they know and also stretching their vocabularies; the younger pupils are familiar with the story so don’t need to understand every word to be able to follow the plot. Both groups have fun, and links are made between the Key Stages, making ‘moving on’ easier for pupils – and potentially for their teachers too.

It’s good to see what can be done with a bit scenery, imagination and a good smattering of Spanish!

There are other videos from sparkenthusiasm that I’ve discovered via this one – more of those tomorrow :o)

Regular readers may have realised by now that I’m a sports fan – and even irregular readers probably have an inkling! So you can guess that I’m currently having a fine time keeping an eye and ear on events at the Olympics Games in Beijing. My boys are quite interested too and it’s fun trying to work out the rules of various rarely seen sports like fencing and judo as well as explaining those that I do understand like badminton and canoeing (again rarely seen on TV!)

Of course I’m particularly enjoying the cycling – Sami Sánchez (left) came good in the road race although Contador failed to make it a Spanish double this morning – my eldest was pleased though as he’s a Cancellara fan.

For those of you who are also enjoying the Games and fancy finding out more in Spanish, you can access the official site in Spanish – as well as English, French, Arabic and Mandarin.

Other places to check out –
Olimpiadas Beijing 2008
Clarín from Buenos Aires for a South American view
the sports pages of ABC and also El País (interesting article about Michael Phelps)
El Universal (Mexico City)
Terra (Miami)

And whilst I’m still on holiday for another three weeks (well, bit under I guess!), those of you in other countries will soon be back to school so here’s a link to some great Olympic resources from the Australian Olympic Committee – five lessons worth of stuff available in Spanish but also Arabic Chinese Croatian French German Indonesian Italian and Japanese. I’m thinking that I might use them anyway as part of EDL day – I know all the languages aren’t European but it’s about celebrating different languages and I’m never really very strict on them being European ;o) You could also check out this blog for some further ideas in Spanish.

And of course, don’t forget the Chinese policeman about whom I blogged before the Games – wonder how many people he’s helped – and in how many more languages he’s mastered greetings!

Anyhow, back to my sporting activities – I have a fantasy football team to complete – and it’s not going to plan as there are too few Spanish defenders in the Premiership to make my team fully Spanish so I’m haivng to cheat more than a little. Oh well!

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DSCN0704, originally uploaded by lisibo.

We’re now over half way through the school holidays and time is flying. My thoughts are already turning to the new academic year – I’ve been invited to do an ICT action research project next year and I need to decide on the title, I’m speaking at three conferences (so far!) so am thinking about those, I need to start resourcing the new Spanish SoW for KS2 at school and I’m planning an animation club so need to make sure that’s in hand too.

In the light of this, I was struck by the ‘Cita de hoy’ from

El trabajo más productivo es el que sale de los manos de un hombre contento.
(Victor Pauchet)
(the most productive work is that which comes from the hands
of a happy man)

I’m having a good holidays and feel happier than I have in a long time – so I’d better get to it, hadn’t I?

But I’ll also be bearing these words in mind when term starts and life is getting me down – I think my bike will be seeing some action ;o)

PS you can sign up for the Dichos refranes y citas newsletter here.

Picture taken at Greenwood Forest Park.

After my week in Anglesey (pictures on Flickr!) I returned to a mammoth list of posts to read in Google reader. I’ve now waded through them and am back to a nice clean page (until someone else blogs!)

This post on -Spanish language caught my eye-

Reporting on an article in the Telegraph , it seems that Barcelona FC cancelled their flight to the USA on Air Berlin as the company refused to deliver the in-flight communications in Catalan. The club’s President, Joan Laporta is involved in the promotion of Catalan and the decision, it seems, was made as a matter of principle.

Whilst I can support the right of people to speak and promote their language, especially in the light of the treatment meted out by Franco to Catalan, Basque and Gallego, and in light of recent discussions, I’m wondering…
how realistic the demands are on a low cost airline? As the spokeman for Air Berlin said, it would involve a great effort.
how far the right to have announcements in your language could be taken – will those from Valencia expect valencià to be spoken whilst those from Mallorca would want them to ‘xerrar es mallorquí’ ?
how much it was for the entourage rather than the players – although the manager is now Pep Guardiola – Catalan through and through – and there are a number of players from Barcelona, there are others who perhaps would be more comfortable in Spanish – or perhaps they should have asked for announcements in Portuguese, French and Icelandic as well?

And one last thing – does anyone pay attention to the inflight announcements anyway?

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