Apr 172014

Anki-Spanish Progress

    Current Stats:
    • Vocabulary
    • Active Cards: 2103
    • Reviews Pending: 748 (too high – see note below)
    • New Cards Waiting: 694
    • Total Cards: 9943
    • Conjugations
    • Active Cards: 255
    • Reviews Pending: 96
    • New Cards Waiting: 25
    • Total Cards: 2091
    • Grammar
    • Active Cards: 161
    • Reviews Pending: 1
    • New Cards Waiting: 0 (need to activate some of my old cards)
    • Total Cards: 221
    • Total
    • Active Cards: 2544
    • Reviews Pending: 845
    • New Cards Waiting: 719
    • Total Cards: 12255

I have been working on my Spanish again for just over 2 months now. Wishing I had documented some of my progress along the way and changes I have made in my study habits. Better late than never!

My Anki Spanish deck is divided into 3 groups: Vocabulary, Conjugations, and Grammar. The vocabulary deck was created from an Anki deck I found that had the 5000 most frequent Spanish words. I first activated the top 500, and after working through those, I activated the next 500. I will keep adding the subsequent groups of 500 as I master the active cards. Right now I have too many cards pending for immediate review. I had Anki set up to give me 20 new cards a day and did not realize I was not clearing my older cards as worked on learning new cards. The new cards are visible as the blue portion of each days progress bar.

The Conjugation group is also from an Anki deck I found online. This deck allows me to learn regular and irregular verbs in all the tenses. I currently have only activated the Present Indicative, Preterit, Gerunds, and Participles. I will add the Imperfect once these are mastered, then another tense.

The Grammar group are cards I have developed myself as I read my Grammar book. This group has the least number of cards since I have to create them myself. I just make questions based on the text of the book.

Mar 302014

People Led Into Captivity

A verse from this last Sunday’s sermon caught my attention:

But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.
2 Corinthians 2:14 NIV

When I think of Christ’s triumphal processions, I don’t imagine myself, as a Christian believer, in among the captives; in chains and defeated. No, I want to be among the victors, one of those being cheered and praised. The apostle Paul, though, says Christians are the captives. Maybe he means our past lives? Maybe once we are saved we get to move to the front of the line?

Sorry. Notice the word ‘leads’ is present tense. Not ‘he led us’ but ‘he leads us.’ Now throw the word ‘always’ in the mix and we see this is not talking about some past condition but rather that he is speaking of his own position at the time as well as our current status.

Should this discourage us? Doesn’t the gospel promise us health and wealth? No, it doesn’t. The only people who believe that the Bible promises a carefree life have not read their Bibles or at least have chosen to ignore large portions of it.

As a side note, the verse continues with a discussion of our aroma. Our aroma as captives. It would be interesting to see what some commentators make of this portion of the passage. It brings back memories of driving into my wife’s hometown of Lewiston, Idaho and smelling the paper mill. I would make derogatory comments about what it smelled like but my father-in-law would retort that it “smells like a paycheck.” And so, our ‘aroma’ as Christ’s captives smells like death to the dead but to those who are alive in Christ it is the smell of life itself.

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Mar 292014
Level 1 Spanish Readers

Level 1 Spanish Readers

As part of my Spanish 2.0 learning program, I am immersing myself in Spanish, yet at a comprehensible level. To do this I have found these ‘graded’ readers that limit the Spanish vocabulary to fewer than 400 high-frequency words plus some cognates that are easy to guess since they are so similar to English.

I read through all 4 books and then read them again, picking up more the second time. I am trying to follow the Extensive Reading model, not attempting to understand every single word but getting a feel for the story and the language by immersing oneself.

What do you do when you encounter an unfamiliar word? I am following Stephen Krashen’s Word Attack Strategies as summarized on the bookmarks provided by Bryce Hedstrom:

  1. Skip it. Just keep on reading if the word does not seem too important to understand what is going on in the story. Stopping just breaks the flow of the story.
  2. Guess. Check to see if your guess fits with the meaning of the sentence and the paragraph and keep on reading.
  3. Guess again. Take another guess if your first one doesn’t seem quite right and keep on reading.
  4. Look it up. If the word keeps on appearing in the story, or if it seems like an important one to understand, go ahead and look it up or ask somebody what it means. But don’t get in the habit of doing this too often because it will slow you down and break your concentration

It is difficult to just ignore a word that is not understood but usually the story still makes sense and if it does keep popping up, rule 4 allows you to look it up. This is also why graded readers, designed for second-language learners are important. Books designed for kids, who already know the spoken language are not ideal for this method. Kids are expected to know a the definition of a word once they decode it.

I have now started on the four Level 2 books in this series and once I have gone through those twice I will probably return to these to see how much my Spanish has improved.

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Mar 212014
Boys Pole Vault

Boys Pole Vault

Always fun to see the AutoAwesome magic that Google+ will do with a set of photos. I have some better sequences of the girls’ pole vault. Can’t wait to get those uploaded.

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Mar 122014

Kennewick First United Methodist Church

This gorgeous old church in downtown Kennewick is where my oldest daughter got married a dozen years ago.

I took this picture back in 2012 but realized I could make the sky pop a little bit better than I had back 2 years ago. I did not swap it out but just found a way to pull the blue out from sky rather than the default gray that the HDR process likes to create.

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