Suggestion and Invitation to Bilingual (Spanish and English) Parents and Educators

I am writing this note because I want to find a way to help my kids advance in Spanish. I am a world languages educator with many (successful) years of experience as a teacher, curriculum developer, published author, organizational leader, and many other hats that I wore during the years. Pero… I am at a loose with my own children. Yes, they speak Spanish fluently (albeit with mistakes) and they can read and write texts that are not too complex (so I guess I have done something right after all). However, it is hard for me to motivate them to bring their skills to the next level.

I am a book worm and an educator, so we have plenty of books and materials to try at home, but I can see that this is not working… I suspect that the fact that I am the mom doesn’t exactly help (homeschooling parents should receive medals--I don’t know how they do it!). In case you are wondering, there are no bilingual Spanish-English schools in my area (Princeton, NJ, believe it or not). To me, not having bilingual schools (dual-language schools is really what I mean) is shameful, here and anywhere. I am among the ones who think that the world is the future, and the more languages, international education, and technology the better. One of my kids is learning Mandarin and the other French in school (their own preference).

So my idea is to create a wiki or some sort of collaborating space for them, as well as for other children in the same boat, where they can practice their reading and writing skills (speaking too) and socialize as well (which I think is an important ingredient). I have some ideas about the ‘page,’ for example, I would also like it to have an area for bilingual parents. As a matter of fact, I would like other bilingual parents to be the learning facilitators with me.

Unfortunately, I am a newcomer to the 2.0 classroom and I am going to need some guidance on what are the best tools to start this project. I am quite clueless about technology and I could spend hours and hours looking for information online—but I know that someone out there will read this and maybe want to help me… I believe in the long run this could be a great community for the… really millions… of families like mine (and maybe other families who are learning Spanish).

A little bit about me: I am from Spain and my husband is from the USA. We met in Spain and he convinced me to come and study here (it only took about a second to convince me because I always wanted to study abroad). The plan was for me to stay for the duration of the masters and then go back, but life had other plans for us... We jokingly say that if he--who attended NYU because at that time there wasn’t a language requirement--could learn Spanish, then anyone can learn a language. Therefore, in this house we are great believers that everybody can learn a language (except for cases like my third child, who does not speak at all due to her special needs).

I work independently in my company, Ana Lomba Early Languages LLC, creating curriculum and materials for language schools and for everyone else. I am also a grad student in bilingual education at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Ed. Hey, now that I think about it, maybe I could research the results of this project for my dissertation!

If somebody would like to be my guiding star, please write in this wiki (I guess this is what I am doing, right? A wiki) or write to me at ana@analomba.com

Ojalá que haya alguien interesado en el proyecto que me pueda echar una mano.
Un saludo,
Ana Lomba

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Saludos, Ana! We are in this together! What age/grades are your children? I am a bilingual-trained teacher for 8th grade students teaching Spanish. We are using wikis to make it more interesting. My students' wikis may look like MySpace, but they are also teaching them Spanish. The studnets don't really realize it, but when they podcast in Spanish they are getting practice in the target language. I am looking for studnets about their age and ability to converse with them in Spanish. If your kids join wikispaces.com, they can contact me and I can put them in touch with my studnets. Then they can email each other through wikispaces messages and you and I can view their emails! What could be better than that? See my wikispace at

Ciao,
Lisa
¡Hola Lisa! Encantada de conocerte. My kids are younger, 11 and 9, so I wonder if they would feel funny interacting with big kids (and in reverse for your students). We could try and see how it goes. As I learn more about how to do things, maybe we could record and share with you videoclips with everyday Spanish... My kids have good speaking skills, but they need to practice reading and writing.

Déjame saber qué piensas. Por mí adelante.

Un saludo,
Ana

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