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Showing posts from February, 2012

Art Opening and Spanish Community Service Learning

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by Ann Abbott


The University YMCA in Champaign has always been a place to become informed about and participate in social activism. Now, it seems, it is more than ever a place for activism regarding immigration reform and immigrant rights. It is wonderful.

Even the upcoming art exhibit at the University Y showcases their focus on immigration: "Caritas: The Immigrant, the Word, and Life." I am looking forward to attending the exhibition opening to see the pieces, listen to the band and mingle with friends.

SPAN 232 and 332 students: please read Francisco's message below. If you volunteer, you can count those hours toward your 28-hour requirement. I hope other students will attend!

The YMCA is looking for students interested in volunteering at our Caritas! event on March 2nd.

We know it is 'unofficial', but if you are tired of the same-'ol drunk-student-zombie experience, then come to the YMCA and volunteer some time while we celebrate our Latina/o communit…

Student Reflection: Theresa Calkins

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Theresa Calkins
¡Hola!  My name is Theresa Calkins.  I am a senior at the University of Illinois, studying Communication and Spanish.  After I graduate, I want to work as an event and meeting planner, and hopefully will be able to use Spanish, either working with Spanish-speaking clients, or maybe even in Latin America or Spain.  Learning Spanish has been a huge part of my education for the past eleven years, and I know that I have really improved my ability to speak Spanish during my last few years here at U of I.  I am going to write the rest of this blog entry in Spanish so I can practice escribiendo en español!
Empecé a estudiar el español cuando tenía once años.  Durante la escuela primera, no me gustaba la clase de español.  Era muy difícil para mí a recordar todas las reglas de gramática y el vocabulario nuevo.  Aunque no me gustaba la clase de español, sabía que sería muy beneficial y importante si podía hablarlo en el futuro.  Por eso, y por la influencia de mis padres, continu…

Student Reflection

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by April Nwatah



¡Hola a todos!
Some of you may remember me from my blog posts from last school year but for those of you who don’t, my name is April and I’m a senior (yikes!) in Global Studies. Within the Global Studies major my concentration is “Social Work in Latino Communities”. I have been studying Spanish since the 7th grade but I did not get a solid grasp of it until I studied abroad in Ecuador during my sophomore year. In addition to a semester in Ecuador, I spend last summer in Honduras doing missions work (and am looking forward to doing it again this summer!)
I really enjoyed taking SPAN 232 so I worked this class into my Major Plan of Study and made sure to work my schedule around taking SPAN 332 this semester (it was that serious to me!) From being in this class, I look forward to expanding my Spanish vocabulary to be able to discuss terms that I can use in a professional field (since I would eventually like to do social work in a Latino community). Additionally, I look forwa…

Student Spotlight: Brittany Koteles

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by Ann Abbott


When I opened my mail this morning, I saw the newest newsletter from UIUC's National and International Scholarship program.

Here is the information about Brittany Koteles, my former student, and her Fulbright work in Spain:

"Brittany Koteles, a May 2011 graduate in Spanish and a self-designed major in public and community service, is studying best practices in the field of social entrepreneurship in Spain. She is working with ESADE Business School
to write ten case studies for the first 10 participants in the Momentum Project, an incubator for social entrepreneurs/
social enterprises. Brittany has enjoyed traversing (often with fellow runners) the 'narrow streets, cool cafes, cute
boutiques, and lots of plazas' in her neighborhood of Gracia in Barcelona. She has become obsessed with the fruit spread, membrillo, and Mató, a cottagecheese-like spread."

I'm working with Brittany to find a way for her to Skype in to one of my "Spanish & Ent…

CU Volunteer Opportunity

by Ann Abbott


If you are in SPAN 232 or 332, please take advantage of this opportunity to help Spanish-speaking parents at Central High School and help yourself reach those 28 hours.

Oportunidad de voluntariadi
Parent-teacher conferences a Central High School
Jueves, 15 marzo, 5 pm-8 pm
Viernes 16 marzo 8am-12pm
Contacto: Janet High 

Spanish Community Service Learning in a Master's Program

by Ann Abbott
I am very happy to see that the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Maryland, College Park has created a Master's Degree in Applied Hispanic Linguistics that includes community service learning (CSL). 
I think that the combination of courses will appeal to students. I also think that this is by no accident--the description of the program shows that they have conceived of this program from their own academic perspectives but also from the students' perspectives and goals.
This is a sign of the growing place of Spanish community service learning not just as a pedagogical tool for our undergraduates, but an effective one for graduate studies, too. I would also love to see programs that include CSL in the methods course--or even as the topic of a separate course. (I know exactly how I would teach that course!)
Congratulations and good luck to Professors Manel Lacorte, Roberta Levine (whom I know well from CIBER business languages conferences) and An…

Student Reflection: Tessa McGirk

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by Tessa McGirk


Hello! This is my first time ever writing a blog, but I have to say I am excited about it: especially because it is all about Spanish! También, me considero una bilingüe; entonces, a veces voy a escribir en español y a veces en inglés porque ambos son partes importantes de mi vida.


My Spanish experience started a long time ago. In fact, it basically started when I was born. My mother used to teach Spanish, so, growing up, I learned colors and numbers and some food and clothes. However, my dad does not know Spanish, so, besides a few phrases like “Déjame verla” y “Dame la mano,” that was the extent of my Spanish exposure until school started. The school system I was in did not start teaching Spanish until sixth grade, and even then, we did not get further than nouns. For that first year I felt on top of the world because I already knew most of what we learned. After that, though, I was on the same level as everyone else.


High school was especially fun. I learned a lot, had…

Facebook in my Spanish Community Service Learning Classes

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by Ann Abbott


This semester I have really felt reinvigorated in my teaching. I have always loved doing community service learning in both "Spanish in the Community" and in my Spanish and social entrepreneurship courses. I feel a strong personal connection with the Business Spanish course, too.

But I feel like my energy for designing classes and creating activities took a real leap when I began to integrate smart phones (plus iPads and laptops, of course) and social media into almost every class I teach.

For now, I just wanted to share a screen shot of the Facebook page that my students and I use often during class. Soon I will write about how I use it. And, as always, I'd love to hear about ways that you use Facebook and other social media with your students!

Facebook Groups as a Culturally-appropriate Way of Communicating with the Community

by Ann Abbott


I feel sure that my ¨Spanish and Social Entrepreneurship¨ students have really understood the two basic components of a social enterprise (1. create social value; 2. generate income for economic sustainability). Now I have begun to move on to the second "big concept" of the course: how to create linguistically and culturally appropriate programming.

This is hard! We all see things through our own cultural filter. But when you work in human services and in the nonprofit world, you need to know your stakeholders very, very well.

Here are some of the highlights from today's class:


1. Localization. The old way of approaching international development and nonprofit programming was for the "elites" (in whatever way) to both define a community's problems and decide the solutions to those problems. The trend now is to partner with communities as they define their own challenges and solutions. As a very simple example of why the first approach doesn'…

Pinterest for Spanish Community Service Learning

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by Ann Abbott


I have been aware of Pinterest for a while, but it didn´t seem like a tool that I could use for my professional interests. 


Recently, however, I decided to really dig in and start exploring. I looked at the "education" category, but everything I saw there was about elementary education. Teachers were sharing classroom activities, bulletin boards and classroom organizational solutions. 


At first glance, that has nothing to do with me: I teach at the university; I specialize in Spanish community service learning and social entrepreneurship; and I don't have a classroom of my own. However:

I write activities and lesson plans that I like to share with others. They are on my blog, but you have to know about my blog to find them.I do in fact have a bulletin board outside my office. It is there to promote the Spanish community service learning opportunities for students, but I rarely update it. I should!More and more, I see my classroom as existing "in the cloud.…

Lesson Plan about Twitter in Spanish

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by Ann Abbott


The last post was about my lesson plan to accompany "El grito más fuerte". Since that post was a little...well...¨fuerte¨, I thought this lesson plan about Twitter in Spanish might be something nice as a balance. As always, if you use the lesson plan, I´d love to hear about your experience. And if you have corrections or suggestions, please leave a comment about that, too!


**********Update*********
I used this lesson today, and students had a good time. They giggled at some of the items, learned vocabulary and were introduced to famous figures that some of them didn't know before.


I had 56 students in my classes today, and here is a breakdown of their answers for the last activity.


40  a. Puedo usar Twitter para mejorar mi español.
40  b. Puedo usar Twitter para aprender sobre las culturas hispanas.
7 c. Con Twitter no se aprende nada; son tonterías.
17  d. Tengo una cuenta en Twitter y ahora voy a empezar a seguir a otros que escriben en español.
3    e. He decidid…

Lesson Plan about Violence in Mexico

by Ann Abbott


This video has haunted me ever since I saw it about 24 hours ago. I had many other things on my to-do list for today, but I dropped everything and wrote a lesson plan about the video. I plan to use it with my Spanish community service learning students when we do Lección 14 ¿Por qué emigrar? in Comunidades.


Because I wrote this lesson plan quickly, I'm sure there are typos and other kinds of mistakes in it. Please leave your corrections and suggestions in a comment! I will improve the lesson plan based on your suggestions and share the updates here.