Monday, January 25, 2010

Peru presentation at Reunion en Espanol, NVPL

Last week Reunion en Espanol member, Betsy Ballard, (see photo) gave a brief presentation of her recent trip to Peru. She passed around a book of photos taken by her brother, John, while on the same trip. The photos are outstanding images of the indigenous people of Peru specializing in the traditional art of weaving. Betsy will be preparing a more formal presentation, to be given hopefully this fall in celebration of Spanish Heritage Month, September. This week plans are underway for Susie Brown to host a game she created similar to "Concentration." What a fun way to improve our Spanish language skills. Our Spanish Language Outreach continues as last week we added two new members, Kim & Ron.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Surveys and Drinks and Games - OH, MY!

Hola, Amigos of Reunion de Espanol! It will take a bit of "getting used to" until our new name rolls off our tongues easily. Recently I conducted a survey of our group members to get a feel for how things were going and what people's expectations were currently. I posed three questions: Why do you come to this group? What would you like to accomplish here? What can we do at NVPL to make your experience better? The results were very positive and encouraging. For the most part people attend our Reunion de Espanol to practice their Spanish language skills, to learn more about Hispanic cultures and to socialize with others with similar interests. The one thing suggested for improvement was to serve beverages such as coffee or tea. So, we now serve tea and coffee! Last week one of our native speakers, Erika Schumann (Chile), suggested we increase our vocabulary and fun by playing word games. This idea was warmly received and we began by playing a recognition game with flash cards. There was lively discussion about various games that would be appropriate and practical for our group of approximately 15 with varying degrees of competency. So, we all went home thinking of possible games. We shall see what this week brings! Here is a photo of Catalina and Amalia, having fun! Both are from Mexico.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

New Happenings at North Valley Public Library!

Hola, Amigos. NVPL Spanish Language Outreach program reports that their Spanish conversation group now has a new name! The group is now called "Reunion de Espanol." Facilitator, Amy Ling (that's me!) has begun to write a weekly email in Spanish (translated in English) which is sent to all group members. Members love this informal method of brushing up on their language reading and vocabulary skills; this also provides ideas for the upcoming weekly conversation. "Reunion de Espanol" is planning a trip to nearby Missoula Public Library Spanish Conversation Group, "Hispano Hiblantes,"on the 20th for a travelogue presentation on a recent trip to several South American countries. Reunion members, Erika Schumann and Oscar Macz, continue to increase the number of students they are tutoring in Spanish. More to come next week. Until then, Nos Vemos!

Hola - Holiday Fiesta at Stevensville Hotel

Monday, January 4, 2010

Holiday Fiesta for North Valley SLO and Friends

The highlight of our holiday season was a grand fiesta at the gorgeous, historic Stevensville Hotel to celebrate the return of Caitlin Reilly, my daughter, who has been living in Nicaragua for the past three years. Caitlin was working for the Peace Corps there for 2 1/2 years and has been working recently at the American Nicaraguan School, one of the International Schools. Hispanic music kept the party mood lively and Oscar Macz played guitar music and sang songs from his native Guatemala. There was a wide variety of foods to sample along with punch, wine, and many, many desserts. The hotel was "jam packed" with people who were all eager to talk with Caitlin about her adventures in Nicaragua and her plans for the future. Our Spanish Language Outreach group sure does enjoy planning and hosting celebrations. A grand time was had by all!
Until next week, Nos Vemos! Amy

New Year brings new ideas

Hola! After our busy holiday season, it is time to get back in the swing of weekly blogging about our Spanish Language Outreach at North Valley Public Library. Our eclectic group has been referred to as the NVPL Spanish Conversation Group (SCG) but we are endeavoring to create a formal name. The SCG recently reviewed reading lists recommended from Criticas and Reforma, national groups promoting Spanish Language Outreach. SCG recommendations and requests were submitted to NVPL Director, Renee McGrath, who purchased many new materials of expressed interest for NVPL Spanish collection development. Three members of NVPL SCG are not only native speakers relocated from Mexico, Chile, and Guatemala but all are also certified teachers. What excellent resources for our program! Many of our less fluent members have moved beyond juvenile onto young adult materials. Among the most popular items are audio books in Spanish and the "Destinos" video language program in the format of a TV novella or drama series popular in most Hispanic cultures. It is so exciting to watch people progress! Our English as Second Language gatherings have been inactive recently due to work related obligations; however, our ESL instructor is making plans to begin new classes soon. Adios!