Since arriving in San Diego on Thursday, Bela and I have seen Old Town (with Lila), explored a bit of the Gaslamp Quarter and had some great meals.  Sunday after I went to the convention center one last time, we ate brunch at the Broken Yolk Café.  The waitress (Hannah) was super and the food was abundant.  I couldn’t finish it all.  They have a challenge meal of a 12-egg omelet with four biscuits and more that you have to eat in one hour.  By yourself.  It costs $26.99, but the bragging rights might be worth it.  (Not to me, though!)

Sparks Gallery was right across the street from Hotel Z, so we had to see everything in there before we left.


I didn't know Bela was stalking me.

I didn’t know Bela was stalking me.




Thanks to a few tall students, I now have my new posters on the walls in my class room.  I wanted them up because I took the time to cover every inch of the exhibition hall (at least twice!) in San Antonio at the ACTFL conference in November looking for free stuff for my room.  Then I packed them carefully in my suitcase and carted them all home.

The Petra poster is my favorite, so it is near my desk.

The Petra poster is my favorite, so it is near my desk.

I had this one put near the door.  One student is going to Japan this summer, and I knew she would love it.

I had this one put near the door. One student is going to Japan this summer, and I knew she would love it.

Maybe one day I'll visit Peru!

Maybe one day I’ll visit Peru!

Simply Amazing

I attended several sessions at the ACTFL conference, and I learned quite a bit. The most stressful part was practicing Friday night for the presentation Carolina had put together. Basically all I had to do was explain my own assignments while they were on the screen. I didn’t really feel that prepared, though. My biggest fear was that I would somehow embarrass Carolina after all her hard work. (I was also feeling a bit guilty about snoring so much the night before and disturbing her beauty sleep.)

We ran through the presentation (quickly) at the hotel, but we still needed to add a bit more, so we decided we’d go in early the next morning to have one last practice session before 10. Alas, it was not to be. We hustled (due to a light rain) to the convention center, found our room…and discovered there were a few people already waiting for the session to begin! Practice was not possible at that point, so we just gave each other a look and hoped for the best. We paced and chatted until almost 10. Nick, another of Carolina’s tech class students, was there to support us. It was awesome to see a friendly face in the front row. He was also sweet enough to take some pictures for us. (Thank you, Nick!)

Carolina was ready to present.

Carolina was ready to present.

In spite of talking to a full house (Carolina stopped counting at 60.), my nervousness disappeared once the Prezi started and I had to explain my work. Once I got into it, I was fine. I looked around the room and saw smiling faces; some people were even taking pictures of the screen as Carolina and I clicked through the Prezi! It was amazing. (Just to give you an idea, there were about 6000 teachers there. One lady commented that she counted 65 sessions offered in one time slot, so there were plenty of places for people to go.)

My nerves were under control.

My nerves were under control.

When we were done, Nick spoke for a couple of minutes about what he learned in the Spanish Web 2.0 class with Carolina. He went from teaching Spanish to being an ESU technology person! Carolina concluded the session, and her business cards disappeared like candy at Halloween. I didn’t think I would need any, but what I had with me went fast as well. It was so nice to be able to chat with the attendees. One fellow named Martin said he came to the conference specifically for our session! The title was Analysis of “Cajas de carton” and “Senderos fronterizos” Using Web 2.0. Martin had been teaching those books for the last five years.

Carolina thought it all went quite well, and I agree. She even suggested that I submit a proposal of my own for next year’s conference. I’m not sure I’m ready for that, but I’m thinking about it.

ACTFL Conference

I was lucky enough to go to my very first ACTFL conference last week in San Antonio. It was the result of an interesting chain of events.

In 2012, I had taken a class taught by Dr. Ali Moeller and Carolina Bustamante. It was a technology class taught in Spanish focusing on the books Cajas de carton and Senderos fronterizos by Francisco Jimenez. I learned more in that class than I have in any other. I worked hard, but I feel very competent with technology.

The best part about the tech class was that the participants took the it free due to a grant! At our first face-to-face meeting, we were told the funds would be disbursed to keep us from having to pay for it and then receiving a check back. That was the greatest gift of all because I had no idea how I was going to come up with $1200 up front. I cried all the way home. I didn’t know it then, but that tech class was the first step toward my Master’s degree. I got the news today that I passed my comps, so I am on track to graduate next month!

I sent a thank-you email to both Dr. M. and Carolina to let them know what the tech class meant to me. I received a gracious response from Dr. M. followed by a an invitation from Carolina. She asked me to be a co-presenter at the ACTFL conference. She wrote an amazing proposal, and it was accepted! That was my path to my first ACTFL experience. For those who are not aware, it is the largest gathering of foreign language teachers in the United States (that I know of). There were approximately 6000 teachers in attendance in San Antonio. The icing on the cake was the mariachi band competition in the same place! The group of students from Roma, Texas won. I know that because the abuela (grandma) of one of the students was at our hotel.

Carolina and I met up at the airport and took a taxi to the hotel she had booked. Red Roof Plus was a better deal than other hotels closer to the Henry Gonzalez Convention Center. It was about a 10-minute walk. Denny’s was the mid-point, so I had a couple of meals there. 🙂 The prices were reasonable, and I could rest my poor feet. My feet were killing me Saturday, but I’ll get to that later.

The exhibitor’s section was huge. I spent all evening and part of a day there just getting free products and making contacts. I picked up a French book for Ysabela and some candies to share with her as well. The attendees are expected to get a lot of samples because when we all checked in we received a large red bag for all the loot! We also got our official badge that could be scanned at vendor booths for more free stuff. The badge had ribbons that we had to attach. I got three for mine: pink, red and blue. Carolina had two on hers.

We got to the convention center right at 6 p. m. when registration was about to close for the day. Getting checked in at closing time was not so easy! Carolina made sure the harried clerk took care of us, but it took some persuading. Two other women got in line behind us. The clerk wasn’t going to check me in until we promised to make sure others knew the line was officially closed after those last two ladies behind me. More came, but we told them the line had already been closed, so they would have to come back in the morning. I think they were staying at the hotel next to the conference center, so it wasn’t such a big deal.

The scene outside the exhibitor's hall....

The scene outside the exhibitor’s hall….

The Texas CANdelier at the convention center....

The Texas CANdelier at the convention center….

To be continued….