Los Angeles Area

IMG_2984

Venice Canals, Venice Beach

Although I am a self-proclaimed hater of Los Angeles (the traffic drives me insane) I did enjoy a wonderful Saturday afternoon in the neighborhoods of Studio City and Venice Beach. First stop was Le Pain Quotidien on Venutra Boulevard which had a plethora of beautiful pastries (even vegan options!) and a delicious variety of bread with fresh and flavorful jams. The restaurant has an adorable ambiance with quite a few vegan and vegetarian options for breakfast and lunch making it a place I would definitely return to if I lived close by.

Notable items:
Vegan Blueberry Muffin – would return to try this
Vegan Carrot Cake – tried and loved
Freshly Baked Bread (different varieties) – could eat every day!

Later in the day my sister and I explored the Venice Canals, a wonderful hidden gem in Los Angeles. Then we got a refreshing ice tea at the Toms Cafe at their flagship store on Abbot Kinney before a quick but mouth-watering bite to eat at Seed Kitchen vegan restaurant on Pacific Avenue. This place is located close to the boardwalk so the outdoor seating offers plenty of great people of watching. It may not be the prettiest city I’ve ever been to, but the food does keep me coming back every so often.

IMG_2983

San Felipe Tacos (Fried Zucchini), Seeds Kitchen, Venice Beach

Galería de Arte

IMG_1271

I started using ‘Real World Homework’ with my students this term (another thanks to creativelanguageclassroom) and I wanted to find a way for the students to be able to see each others’ artwork and also be recognized for effort that was put into some of their projects. So this week I planned a gallery walk for the students where I placed some of the best work on the tables before they came in, and for the first 5 minutes of class they walked around to see the artwork and then voted on the best pieces from the three different categories: Maps of Central América, Connect the Dots in Spanish, and a Cognate Sign for the classroom. I hammed it up with my ‘galería de arte’ sign and ‘frames’ on the back wall. I hope it inspires students to create some neat pieces for the next ‘real world homework projects.’

 

 

Dallas, Texas

Although skeptical about my long weekend to Texas, the city of Dallas was not half bad. Of course having my vegan partner in crime to hang with all weekend is probably what made it so amazing! A few highlights from the weekend:

A delicious Thai restaurant to start off our Saturday…gracaias a Noodle Wave.

IMG_1141

Noodle Wave Dallas, Texas

 

We also found a great coffee shop in Uptown and spent Sunday afternoon being dorks and grading papers together now that we are both teachers. 🙂 A very cute comfortable spot to do some afternoon reading.

And finally a VEGAN DINER IN TEXAS you say!?!? Yes, and they have absolutely amazing food! The vegan breakfast quesadilla was mind blowing, and even the non vegans who came with us were very impressed.

IMG_1126

Sprial Diner & Bakery Dallas, Texas

IMG_1128

Sprial Diner & Bakery Dallas, Texas

Tarjeta Postal

My department focuses a lot on the literacy of the Spanish language so I’ve been brainstorming ways to make writing more interesting for the students instead of just practicing simple sentences over and over. Two things I have tried to focus on is 1 –  creating prompts with a real world context and 2 – making writing more than just a pencil and paper activity. Here is an activity I did recently that the students really enjoyed and it took writing to a whole new level.

IMG_1161

I told the students to imagine they were going to be an exchange student for the next semester and they would be living with a family in Buenos Aires. The son in the family, Enrique Solano [a made up  name from actual friends of mine in Buenos Aires ;)] has sent them a post card and would like them to respond! I displayed the post card I had created through the doc-u-cam and multiple students kept asking, Is this a real person? Is that a real postcard? 🙂 I love lessons that require no classroom management because they are genuinely engaged in the activity and this one of them!

I printed the same exact postcard template on card-stock for the students to use and they each wrote their own tarjeta postal. I also gave them a real address in Buenos Aires for Enrique and told them I would put them in the mail that afternoon. Sometimes they are so gullible!

El cominezo de la escuela

Wow, I cannot believe how busy I’ve been with the start of school! But I guess that’s what happens at the beginning of school especially for a second year teacher…it has been a busy couple months but my second year has gotten off to a great start and I can’t wait to share some of my new ideas for the language classroom. A big thanks to creativelanguageclass.com where I stole most of my ideas.

One of my goals this summer was to create/buy decor for the classroom in order to make it as much of an immersion classroom as possible. I also wanted to inspire the students with culture in the classroom. Here are some pictures of things that I added to my classroom this year. These pictures were taken Day 1 of school and now everything looks a bit different but I will post some updated photos soon.

IMG_0954

I stumbled upon this fabulous shower curtain at Bed Bath and Beyond! I had seen the idea on creativelanguageclass.com and was stoked when I happen to find it while out shopping! I threw up a couple flags with it that I collected this summer from my travels and now I have a back wall that I hope inspires my students to viajar!

IMG_0956

Each table was labeled with a number which has turned out to be a great way for the students to learn the numbers 1-9 as I call on different groups to share out their answers. Also I created a baggie with materials for each table, although the bags are quite destroyed now. I am still trying to come up with a better solution for how to handle materials at the tables.

IMG_0955

The right side window has become my ‘calendario’ area with posters that I bought at Lakeshore Learning. I also ‘inherited’ the wonderful magnetic days of the week, and seasons from my master teacher who recently retired.

IMG_0957

I created this reading nook and stocked it with picture books in Spanish that I also got from my master teacher. The letters for LEER I bought at a craft store…still hoping to paint them…and the cuentame un cuento sign came from another colleague. In order to set the books up, I propped them up in an old cardboard box that held reams of paper, and I covered it in newspaper from my travels to Argentina this summer.

IMG_0959

I created some collages (some are still in the making) to hang above the windows. They let light in, block out some distractions outside and display the best part of Spanish – culture! I created 4 collages to display different topics: El Cine, La Música, El Deporte y El Arte. They’ve been great to use as a reference in the classroom when we talk about different aspects of the Spanish language or culture.

IMG_0962

I love the greetings and goodbye sign on my door! It gives kids a great way to diversify the way the greet me and each other. 🙂

IMG_0968

 

IMG_0963

The best thing about the new decor in my classroom is how useful it is to incorporate into lessons. I find that I can speak more Spanish from the start (even in Spanish 1-2) by using the decor/signs as visuals for the students to learn words they’ve never even heard before. Can’t wait to add more adornos y letreros!

 

Más papas fritas por favor

IMG_0911

Gilroy Garlic Fries at AT&T Park, San Francisco, CA

Happy to announce that the delicious garlic fries I have loved for so long at AT&T park in San Francisco are in deed vegan! Maybe not the healthiest choice, but definitely one of the most delicious. Nothing like a summer day at the ballpark with mi familia and some papas fritas.