Thursday, April 26, 2012

How to get your Spanish students to pronounce the letter H

I was doing a lesson with my fourth graders on transportation vocabulary. Bus, train, car, boat. I go to school by car. I go to the park by bus. You get the picture. One of the vocabulary words was helicopter. (It's a fun one. Where do you go by helicopter?)

If you know anything about Spanish, you know that the letter H is silent. Always. No matter how many times I repeated it, and made them repeat it back to me, I kept getting "elicopter." After approximately 573277432 times, I threw the book down.

"You guys watch the Simpsons, right?" Blank stares.

"Los SEEmpson?" I tried. Ah of course!

I wrote "Homer" on the board. "How do you pronounce this?" I asked.

"Homer!" they all exclaimed with perfect pronunciation. You see, all good Spanish children, like I was, are raised on the Simpsons, and are familiar with character names.

"How is the H pronounced?" I continued.

"Como la jota." they responded.

"Then how do you pronounce this?" I said pointing to the word helicopter.

"Helicopter!" they all shout, finally pronouncing the H properly.
Toma! English lessons via the Simpsons. Thank you Matt Groening.

Monday, April 23, 2012


Last month for me ended with a much needed girls' weekend in Valencia. Although we didn't get the beach weather we were hoping for, it could have been a blessing in disguise because now it's a reason to go back later.

Although the highlight of the trip was spending time with friends, there are a few must-do's of Valencia we took part in.
First and foremost, paella, and the traditional Valenciana kind consisting of chicken, rabbit, and green beans. This was shared between five people and it completely knocked us out. Paella: 1. Guiris: 0.
Agua de Valencia: a fairly touristy treat, but well worth it. Think sangria with an orange juice base rather than red wine, or a spiked mimosa. It's perfect to sip on for an afternoon while soaking up the rays.
Parque de Ciencias: For me it's modern architecture and smooth, clean lines were a complete contrast to everything I'm used to in Andalucía. Both styles, I've come to learn, are beautiful and enjoyable in their own way.
 Valencia, no te preocupes, we'll be back.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

When life gets in the way of blogging

I know you're all extremely concerned and have probably sent out search parties for me, but rest assured I'm still here. I've just been busy with, you know, the normal. A few trips to Valencia, Madrid, and Segovia, hopping around Central Europe for Semana Santa, getting my wallet and passport stolen, sorting out jobs for the summer and next year, oh, and also having some minor surgery.

I suppose there could be one other explanation for the decrease in bloggage this year. Remember that human dictionary I mentioned? Well he just so happens to live an hour and a half away in Granada. Let's just say we're doing our best to keep ALSA in business, and they should be sending up thank you cards for the amount of money we spend on bus tickets each week.

Details on all coming soon. In the meantime enjoy the teaser. Can anyone tell me where each of these pictures is?