Thanksgiving Activities for the ESL Classroom

There are few holidays that leave this expat soul feeling as sentimental as Thanksgiving, which is kinda peculiar since it never used to be a holiday I cared much about. Of course I’d get down on some sweet potatoes and stuffing, but even as a child I didn’t buy into the whole pilgrims and “Indians” holding hands and singing kumbaya.

ESL Activities: Native American History Month

It all began when the main English teacher insisted that I plan a “fun” activity for Columbus Day. After all, what’s more fun than genocide? Nope. This guy was already not on my list of favorite people, so I wasn’t completely surprised with the way the situation went down. I (politely) explained to him that…

Halloween Fun in the ESL Classroom

Kid’s love Halloween, and I love to get them excited about learning. There are literally thousands of ways to bring spooky Halloween fun into the ESL classroom, combining culture, relevant vocabulary and even grammar into haunted activities that naturally spark interest and curiosity.

La Fiesta de La Rama: Agaete’s Premiere Summer Party

We arrived around two and the fiesta was already in full force. Squeezing through the mobs of sweaty fiesteros and fishermen selling eucalyptus branches for 2 bucks a pop, we made our way through the crowded, narrow streets to Plaza de la Constitución, the heart of enchanting Agaete.

Language Assistants in Spain: Getting Ready for the Big Move

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably received your regional placement as a Language Assistant in Spain… congrats! If you’re like most first-time auxiliares, this will be your first time living overseas for more than a just study abroad stint, and let’s just say… it’s different. Different in lots of good ways, and a few stressful ways, but absolutely different.
The truth is, there’s quite a bit that you won’t be able to do until you arrive – finding a piso (apartment) you love, setting up a bank account, securing a Spanish SIM card, etc. There are, however, a few things you can do now to make the transition a whole helluvalot easier when you arrive, and here are my top 3: consulates, cash & communication.

Day of the Dead Lesson Plans & Activities

As much as the littles (and even not-so-littles) love Halloween, it can get pretty tedious making the same old skele-pumpki-spiders every year.

Coming from Los Angeles, I’ve always been mesmerized by the colorful Día de los Muertos celebrations that are held all around the city and throughout SoCal. Especially when teaching in countries with less diversity, I think it’s imperative that we make an effort to showcase our rich cultural diversity.

Back to School: Easy, No Prep Activities for Your First Week

Even experienced teacher’s get first day of school jitters when starting a new gig. Not only do you have to meet a dozen or more new colleagues (in your second language), you also have to introduce yourself to anywhere from 300 – 1,000 (not exaggerating) new students who may or may not understand anything you’re saying.

The Shelter Games: Finding a Flat in Spain

Apartment hunting isn’t usually considered fun. Throw in a different language in a different country with different customs and it’s, well, different. Luckily, you’re not the first guiri to make the move to sunny Spain, so save yourself the stress of making all the mistakes yourself and learn from some of ours before you.

No One Says Apartamento: A Piso Glossary for Spain

When I first moved to Madrid, I absolutely thought my Spanish was on point… until I started looking for apartments and had my potential compañeros de piso rambling on a mile a minute about fianzas, ascensores and gastos aparte. ¿Say what? For starters, you’re not looking for an apartamento. You’re looking for a piso. Well,…

A Burning Ring of Fire: Las Fallas in Valencia, Spain

I Fell Into A Burning Ring of Fire: Las Fallas in Valencia, Spain Ear-splitting explosions, blazing bonfires, enormous burning effigies and packs of feral children playing with matches. Nope, it’s not a war zone or the latest post-apocalyptic blockbuster. Welcome to Las Fallas; Valencia’s premiere party and one of the biggest, craziest festivals in all of…