Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Here's a method that is helping students lock in those AR, ER, and IR verbs!

So, you nod your head a lot and smile while your instructor explains how to conjugate verbs but you really, really aren't getting how they work at all! Sound familiar? Although you might be puzzled, there’s actually a reason that Spanish verbs have different endings for each tense. Well, are you ready to learn?

First of all, why do we even need to change the ending of the verbs in Spanish?   

Answer: so that people know who in the world we are talking about!
In English, we have those wonderful pronouns like “I, you, he, she, it, we, and they” tell us what or who we  are talking about. We pretty much use them all the time -  yep, can't live without them. The good news is, we also have them in Spanish! The difference is that in Spanish we have the choice to use them or not. We have choices people, choices! When we change the ending of the verb in Spanish that's how we know who or what we are talking about.

Let me give you an idea how it works, using the word hablar or to speak. Hablar, without being conjugated, literally means “to speak.” So, we must change the ending to indicate who is speaking - you? Me? Him? Her?

I speak
You speak
He speaks
So clearly, we can't just say 'speak' because how random would that sound?
But on the flip side, in Spanish:
I speak = (Yo) hablo
You speak = (Tu) hablas
He speaks = (El) habla

We have two great ways to say the same thing! When we replace the ar at the end of hablar with an ‘o,’ it forms the word hablo, which means ‘I speak.’ We can use this verb alone or with the pronoun (pronombre) ‘yo.’ Let’s see an example of how to use the conjugated ‘yo’ and ‘tu’ form of hablo:

Juan: Hola, hablas español?
Julia: Si, yo hablo español!

Or, in English:

Juan: Hello, do you speak Spanish?
Julia: Yes, I speak Spanish!

That, my people, is why we change the ending of verbs.

One of the best ways to really nail these verbs is to create study sheets for each verb. Then,  take all your unit/chapter verbs and group the verbs together based on whether the verb ends in AR, IR or ER. Do a separate study sheet for each group and read them outloud once a day to commit them to memory!

Here's a sample of a study sheet I have my tutoring students do:
Study Sheet for Regular AR Verbs

Hablar = to speak

I speak = (yo) hablo
You speak = (tu) hablas
He speaks = (el) habla
She speaks = (ella) habla
You (formal) speak = (usted) habla
We speak = (nosotros/nosotras) hablamos
They speak = (ellas/ellos) hablan
All of you/you all speak = (ustedes) hablan

Let me know if you have any questions or if there are other instructional blogs you would to see!  And got this!!!

Sunday, June 19, 2016


Take a look at these great tips because getting the grade you want may not be as hard as you think!

First, talk to your instructor!  Whatever you think the situation may look like,  make that connection! Not only does it encourages your instructor about your sincerity but it will also give some really golden information on what they are looking for and expecting.  For instance, many students don't realize the importance of class participation, i.e. answering questions, reading aloud etc. 
Next,  take your golden information to your highschool or college tutoring center.  For example,  Palomar College has an excellent Star Tutoring Center right there on campus and completely free of charge!  (BTW, another great blog on making the most out of your tutoring sessions coming soon!)

Next, really stick to whatever game plan you and your tutor have come up with.  If it's to spend an extra 30 minutes on homework or just study time... Oh, how can I put this... Do it!  If it's to restructure the way you take notes...hmm... Just do it!   Remember,  we tutors have been there,  done that and have come out alive and sparkling!
And our goal is to help you get there too!

Finally,  realize that attitude is everything!  You got this, the  sky is the limit ! So take advantage of these  tips and remember you can always email me for more!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Online Spanish Classes....Your New Best Friend!

 I think we can all agree that taking a  Spanish class can be exhilarating, invaluable, and unforgettable!    Except if you are stuck in a rush hour 30 commute trying to get to that class!  Or if you are sweating it out at the last minute to finish your homework so you don't have to really look like you are totally not with the program!

        As you know,  I am all about solutions,'s simple....really! If you really want to keep impressing and embracing your Spanish, take a fresh look at Online Spanish classes.  They have improved alot since their subtle, low key entrance into the education world.

Since you also know I am all about the famous four, here are 4 incredible infofacts that will send you to your nearest internet device to sign up!

Infofact #1.   Online Spanish classes are literally accessible to anyone who meets the criteria for individual programs.  Are you in high school?  No problem!  Check with your School Counselor to see which meets the transfer requirements for your school.

Infofact #2 Online Spanish classes offer instruction with an actual language Instructor.  So, no you are not stranded on a desert island!  Keep in mind that class size usually allows for more students to register than an on site class, which is really, really, fabulous if you've already walked and this is last clsss you need to get that diploma in your hot little hands!

Infofact #3  Online Spanish classes are not as hard as you think!  The course material usually mirrors the same difficulty level as the same level on site class.  The advantage? your favorite comfy chair!

Infofact #4  Ok, by now you are probably thinking 'where do I sign up?'  And I don't blame you!  Check out yiur local colleges as well as private colleges.  Definitely do your research and make sure that whichever program you choose fits you and not the other way around!!

So there you have it!  Remember, if the information isn't worth its weight in gold...... It wouldn't be here on my page!!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

4 Great Keys to Breathe, Embrace, and Enjoy your Spanish Class!

You know the feeling!  You are on a roll, you are finally "getting it", and now you want to eat, sleep, and dream Spanish!  How do you do it?  Read on mi amigo and discover four key elements to living the bilingual dream!

Key 1  Start using your Spanish with your tutor or instructor in class!  Any  thought that you have, "What was that homework?", "When do we turn it in?"  anything that you normally would ask in English, now ask it in Spanish!  Not only will you be making them work for their money but you will also undoubtedly make their day :) But the real deal** the more that you do it, the more that you lose the translation process and really turn on the Spanish thought process.  (Yes, it sounds deep and it is deep!)

Key 2   Hmmm....This next one is definitely for the 21 and over crowd!  Go "Old School" and get a pen pal.  A couple of ways you can do this, either scour your own facebook, LinkedIn, or Pinterest etc. Probably the, and I say this loosely, "safest" way to find a pen pal.  After you find one, email, im, chat, video chat etc. at least once a week.  and here I put a huge disclaimer! This is just a suggestion and follow your intuition! If the person sounds weird....they probably are!

Key 3 This next Key is one that I get very excited about!  Investigate Spanish speaking conversation groups.  I have one called Café y Español that is attached to my Spanish Tutoring program.  Not a plug! because I am opening it up to basically any Spanish student who would like to sit in and converse.  So, I periodically gather group of students with a fluent moderator  together at a coffeehouse to discuss an amazingly interesting theme.  The best part is that always there is open discussion time when students can chat on anything as a group.   Where can you find other groups?  Check the Community section of your local paper, call your local college or even go online!  Again, there are so many out there, so choose one to stick with that you feel comfortable with. Key factor, speak Spanish!

Key 4  Now is the time to embrace the cultural side of Spanish.  This will only increase your adoration for this beautiful, rich language.  Check out Latino art exhibits in your area, heck, outside of your area works too! Latin Literature and Multicultural classes have always been my favorite go to learning arenas.  If you are local, Palomar College  usually has both of those classes.  She makes the classes come alive and they will stay with you for a lifetime!

Okay, there you are!  Breathe, Embrace, and Enjoy!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Accessing Your Inner Spanish Accent or...Sound as Good as You Look!

It's a fact...If you do not like the way you sound in Spanish you are not going to speak it...chances are even if a mouth watering churro is at stake!

So let's fix that right here, right now with some fabulous tips to accessing your inner Spanish accent.

Tip 1  Get a Tutor!  I know, I know, but again ten fold, ten fold!  But this time choose a tutor based on their accent.  If they don't sound melodic when they speak Spanish then they are not the tutor for this mission. Keep in mind, your tutor does not have to be a native speaker just one that has taken the time to actually master the accent.  So when you are what I like to call "proofing" a tutor, close your eyes and ask them to tell you why Spanish is the Language to learn!  If you don't feel as if you have suddenly transported to the incredible beaches of Playas then again, this is not the tutor for the mission!

Tip 2  Start to really practice the vibrant pronunciations of the alphabet, numbers, and vowels in Spanish. These are at the core and heart of mastering the accent in Spanish and are never given enough tutelage.  You know you are almost there when you can say the alphabet forward and backward!

Tip 3  Now you must absolutely, no questions asked, start to read aloud in Spanish!  Anything and everything you can get your hands...magazines (revistas), newspapers (periodicos), you're getting the picture, right?  But here is the key, you must choose things that you, yes you, like to read!  I know, right?!  I am pretty awesome with the tips!  Really, the reason is that you will not do it unless it is something you enjoy.  So, if you like People in English then definitely pick it up in Spanish! and it will also give you something to talk about with your new Spanish speaking friends!

Tip 4  Spend at least one or two hours a week with your tutor working with you on all of these fabulous tips.  Remember, if you are taking a class at school there is usually a free tutorial program available or  check out the local colleges and of course social media sites.  One last word, if you work with a Spanish speaking friend on these tips, make sure that they are correcting you each and every time you need it.  Otherwise it's just a chat session!!

Okay, there you have it!  Let me know how it goes!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Where to begin........

So, you've just been handed the southern region of Mexico from your sales director and congratulated on your promotion!  There's just one don't speak Spanish!  and sure you have a pretty generous budget but does it include having an interpreter travel with you all expenses paid? Interpreters aren't cheap, I know because I am one as well!
     Let's start with..It's going to be okay!  We are going to talk about a plan that works if you work with it.  There are four major "must dos" to getting off to a good start to becoming bilingual and in this fabulous blog I am going to let go of those four secrets because it has been a really good day!!!

1.  Connect with your local college/university/professional social media site, immediately..right now! and find out "who is who", in the Spanish tutoring/instruction world!  I recommend a private tutor, and yes I know there will be a cost but  the investment is what I like to call "ten fold"
You want a comprehensive tutor or instructor for one on one instruction which will accelerate your studies yet still give you a great foundation! 
2.Check out reviews, personal referrals, in other words make sure that your tutor/instructor is worth their weight in gold so to speak.  Make sure that the tutorial time that you both mutually arrange is going to work consisently. Find out what cancellation policies, rescheduling of classes etc. policies there are and that they work for you.
3. Start to live, eat,and sleep Spanish!!! So......the minute you get home from the office,flip on the Spanish language station and unwind to Camila (an amazing spanish speaking singing group) or Miguel Bose ( a voice like pure butter yet grounded!) It's super important to start familiarizing yourself with the beautiful tones of Spanish..the melodic accent.  This is vital because you will start to hear yourself take on those tones the more that you listen to them.  Watch for future blogs on accesing your inner Spanish accent!
4. Let everyone know that you are studying Spanish...and I mean everyone!  Word travels fast and in this case it is a good thing!  People who are already bilingual native or otherwise will love to help you practice!  It is quite fabulous! how the world becomes a much more friendlier place when you start your Spanish studies!

Well, that's it!  There are other important "must dos" but these top my list!  Trust me I have been doing this for twenty years! Tutoring, I mean not studying Spanish :) just wanted to clarify!!!!