More news from the classroom

My students have begun their final 4 weeks of the term, and with that comes the choice of a final project and then the completion of the project.

The school where I teach is famous (infamous?) for the students who study here…they are all extraordinarily intelligent, and then extraordinarily interested (and passionately invested) in many many things. My hope for their projects is that each of them taps into that passion so that the time spent working on these things (and blogging them in their blogs) is well spent.

This is a Spanish conversation class… roughly the equivalent of the 5th semester of college Spanish. Students have either been abroad or are going abroad or have a hankering to go abroad. The use their blogs to write about themselves, engage in conversations with each other, and to have conversations with Spanish speakers from outside of our campus.

For those of you who don’t read Spanish…here is a listing of the topics they want to pursue, and a link to his/her individual blog…each student is required to speak with several native speakers as part of this process…

Claire: graffiti in Latin America/Anna: she will create a series of podcasts in the style of “This American Life” about people in our community (in spanish)/Ariana: will create a series of materials to help Spanish speakers adjust when coming to our campus/ Jenny: will interview Mexicans from different regions about their perceptions of Americans (in particular American women) /Oso: is learning to play the charango and learning to play Andean music…is forming a band (of Spanish speakers) /Zach: is interested in luthery (la lutería)/ Karin: current events in Guatemala, in particular, the candidacy of Rigoberta Menchu for president/ Sean: is creating a series of study guides, in Spanish, for spanish speakers on several topics in contemporary music/Colin: current events in Venezuela /Alex: public opinion of Almodóvar /Luke: the poetry of Borges/Emily: the Jewish diaspora in Argentina/Christina: learning Portuguese as a Spanish speaker/ Alana: creating language exchanges in order to accustom herself to speaking Spanish with Spaniards /Caitlin: current topics in psychology…in Spanish speaking countries /Kirsten: current political trends in El Salvador/ Robin: would like to read short stories in Spanish with a native speaker.

Their assignment is to use their blogs to chronicle their progress in their “research”, but also to “metablog” or to talk about the process of doing the research.

Feel free to click and take a look…post a comment or two!. The front page of the class blog (el blog central) is where EVERYone in the class can post…their individual blogs are available in the left hand margin.

And if you are in my HISP 305 class and want to comment on this…please be my guest. You are welcome to comment anonymously. Your voices are even more important than mine in this process of finding tools to promote language learning….

Barbara is a Lecturer in Hispanic Studies at a small liberal arts college in Maine. Rumor has it this was also her alma mater. She used to work for a small liberal arts college in the cornfields of Ohio for almost 20 years as a teacher and language center director. Prior to these adventures in higher ed she taught high school Spanish and loved it. She wishes she had more time in her life to play with her dogs, write, read, swim, do yoga things and making stuff out of clay. To see her online portfolio please click here!


  1. Spanish Assist · April 30, 2007 Reply

    Could you please help me conduct some research? If you are a bilingual Spanish/English speaker could you please fill out the questionnaire at
    It shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes and I would appreciate it greatly. THANK YOU

  2. Christina · May 2, 2007 Reply

    Una cosa cómica – en buscando por blogs sobre mi tema, ¡uno de los blogs primeros que apareció en era (¿fue?) esta entrada de su blog!

  3. Christina · May 2, 2007 Reply

    También en buscando blogs, encontré este blog:

    Creo que le interesa a Ud. Tiene mucha información sobre los podcasts y las usas del ipod en el aprendizaje de las lenguas.

    (Voy a crear una entrada en mi blog sobre esto también.)

  4. Barbara · May 6, 2007 Reply


    Gracias por dejar estes commentarios. Me interesa mucho el sitio de “oculture”…¡Gracias por contármelo!

    Espero que vulvas pronto este blog…


    And Cris…the link you left for me does not work 🙁 I would be happy to fill out the questionnaire…


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