Category Archives: Duolingo

escuchando español (listening to spanish)

This week was the first time that I felt I faltered a little bit with my Learning Project. I still continued doing daily lessons on Duolingo and Drops (I’m at a 38 and 22 day streak, respectively), but often it was just the bare minimum needed to keep my streak going. I also engaged with users on Tandem a few times.

I believe my Duolingo stats for this week are the lowest they’ve been since I started

As for my goal of doing more listening and speaking this week, I did check out some Spanish TikTok videos and one podcast, but my Spanish learning took a bit of a back burner this week. Here are some brief details about both of these platforms:


Scroll through the images above to see some recommendations of helpful accounts I came across.

Trying out some different search terms in TikTok helped me to see an array of content. With minimal effort, I came across several interesting accounts. A few of them offered everyday tips for how to sound more conversational or avoid making common mistakes when speaking. A couple were bite-sized lessons that had text on the screen to teach conjugations, vocabulary, etc. Overall, I found TikTok to be an additional platform that has lots of learning content, but you would have to diligently write down the terms you want to practice and keep reviewing them in order to retain any information (or re-watch videos multiple times over a longer span of time than a usual TikTok scroll entails).


Unfortunately, I didn’t get around to listening to as many podcasts as I had planned. I have several that I’d like to try out, but only managed to squeeze in the time to listen to one this week. It actually happened to be by News In Slow Spanish, a website I tried out earlier (and talked about in a previous post). Turns out the ‘podcast style’ lessons that I referred to are actually podcasts! I listened to the next episode from where I had left off (now that my free trial with that website has ended). It was good to know that they offer their content as a podcast for free, so I can continue with these later on if I want to. These lessons are great – and offer a mixture of English and Spanish, so you are able to follow along fairly easily.

I think the reason I had difficulty finding time to engage with podcasts is because it still requires a lot of my focus and attention when I listen to them, so it is not a podcast you can put on in the background while you’re doing something else. At this juncture, I still need to think hard to translate in my head, so I had to focus solely on listening to the podcast and couldn’t multitask. That being said, I do think it’s a good way to learn if you want to develop your listening skills, so it is something I am interested in exploring more in the future as I continue my Spanish learning journey!

Unexpected Learning

Before I began formally learning Spanish for this class, I enjoyed Spanish music and have a playlist of Spanish music on my phone. As I was driving home yesterday, some of these songs came on and I found myself recognizing some words being sung in the songs. I also realized that I could get a general idea of what the songs titles meant because some of the words were familiar.

For example, with the song in the images below, I recognized “Olvídate” as “forget” and knew “El” meant “he or him,” so was able to guess that the song meant something like “Forget About Him” (see reveal of the translation by moving the divider line between the pictures to either side).

This happened again in another song that came up. I knew that pueder/puedes/puedo were conjugations for the verb meaning “can.” Verbs ended in ‘o’ (puedo) are in first person (so = I can). In “Enamorarte,” I saw the stem ‘amor’ and guessed that it meant something about love. See the full translation and song title in the images below.

Also, I recommend you check out these two songs – they are great!

Final Evidence of Learning

In a week that felt like a bit of a fail, my biggest win was demonstrating/documenting where my Spanish skills are currently at for my final evidence of learning. More details to come next week in my last post, but I will tease it by saying I’m super proud of what I did and where I’m at!

Until next time,


“drops” in the bucket – testing out another language-learning app

Hi everyone! I’m back with another update on my Learning Project of taking up Spanish. It continues to be ‘muy divertido y interesante’ (very fun and interesting).

I am still keeping up with Duolingo, and am up to a 23 day streak! I continue to enjoy this app. Check out my previous blog post for my review of Duolingo.


This week, I have also been focusing on another app: Drops. This app was suggested to me by Mike A. in a comment on my blog – thanks so much for the recommendation, Mike! Here are a few details about Drops and my thoughts:

  • a language-learning app (acquired by the famous Kahoot! educational platform) with different vocabulary topics you can explore – ex. Counting, Train Trip, Pronouns, Shapes, Food
  • you play on the app for intervals of 5 minutes with a visual timer counting down in the corner, which I like
  • there are a few different screens that pop up during the 5 minute learning intervals; they can get a bit repetitive and a particular one (picture below) where you have to maze your way through spelling the word feels a bit more like a word game than a useful language learning activity to me
  • the app incorporates multiple modes of learning: when it introduces a new word that “drops” in, it will show the written word, play audio of someone saying it, and have a visual picture to represent that term
  • Drops has a daily streak, as well as displaying other stats, such as how many new words you’ve learned, your total accuracy percentage, and accuracy on individual words
  • this app is great if you’d like to expand your vocabulary on specific topics; however, it only involves spelling words, listening to/reading words and then matching them to the correct visual
  • as far as I can tell, there is no speaking element to the app and it only deals with singular words or short phrases, not full sentences
  • there is a paid version called “Premium” that offers some additional perks (like unlimited learning time each day); I signed up for a free trial that lasts for 2 weeks

In conclusion, I will continue to use Drops to keep expanding my topic-specific vocabulary, but I don’t like this app as much as some of the other online tools I’ve tried because of its lack of speaking opportunities and full sentences.

Writing in Spanish – Three Weeks In

One exercise I tried out was writing as much as I could about myself in Spanish without the use of any tools. I did this in a few small chunks of sentences and then inputted my writing into Google Translate as a way to self-check. I had a few small errors and one verb I didn’t know yet (see images below), but overall, I was very impressed with how much I could write after only 3 weeks of wholeheartedly diving into Spanish.

Moving Forward

After completing the writing exercise above, I felt that my writing ability and vocabulary in Spanish were coming along nicely. However, I would also consider these to be the easier skills in a new language, whereas understanding spoken conversations and speaking yourself are more complex and difficult, as they are happening much faster. With that in mind, I’d like to focus specifically on more listening and speaking activities in the weeks ahead.


For listening, I mentioned previously that I could try out some Spanish language-learning podcasts. I have yet to delve into this and would still like to give this a shot. I could also try to watch a show with Spanish subtitles or dubbing, but feel this might be a big jump in difficulty for my current level of understanding. There are also some listening comprehension activities I found here that I could explore further.


In regards to speaking, this is the aspect of Spanish learning that I am most struggling with where to go next. Lingoda was an awesome tool to promote both listening and speaking, but my free trial has ended and I don’t want to dive into the paid version at this time. This is an area that I will have to do some more research into moving forward. If anyone has any suggestions of tools to try, or knows someone who would want to speak a bit of Spanish with me, please let me know!

Hasta luego,


aprender español – número uno (learning spanish – number one)

Hola amigos! Yo soy Kara y buenas noches!

(Hi friends! I’m Kara and good evening!)

I had a LOT to say about my first few weeks learning Español and didn’t want to have a novel of a blog post, so decided to try my first ever vlog – I even did it in one take! Feel free to watch it on double speed if you want to skim through – no hard feelings here! Or check out my TL;DW (Too Long; Didn’t Watch) summary below.



  • Online language learning course (offers multiple languages, not just Spanish) where you take hour-long classes on Zoom with native Spanish speakers and others who are learning Spanish at the same level as you
  • I did a 7 day free trial, which offered 3 free classes (one hour each)
  • I took an Orientation class first, then a class called “Hola!” (Hello) where we learned to introduce ourselves and say hi, and the final one was “¿Cómo Estás?” (How Are You?) where we learned to say how we are feeling and ask others how they are doing
  • You can book classes at virtually any time of the day (various offerings of different classes at every time of day)
  • Slides for the classes are available ahead of time to preview and download with instructor annotations afterwards
  • Materials are 100% in Spanish and instructors speak mostly Spanish (unless you ask what something means in English), so you are fully immersed in the language
  • I’m hoping to try a Sprint (more intensive learning for a short period of time) in the fall – option to get 50% or 100% of your money back if you attend all of your classes
  • Pros: immersive experience, lots of speaking Spanish, helpful materials, easy-to-use website, lots of options for bookings,
  • Cons: pricey if you want the paid version, free trial only had 3 classes available


  • Popular language-learning app that is designed to feel like a game to keep users engaged
  • Get a ‘streak’ for consecutive days spent completing lessons
  • Free trial available for “Super Duolingo” (paid version of the app with unlimited hearts, no ads, additional features like previous mistakes you can review) – lasts 2 weeks
  • I finished the first Section called “Rookie” (level A1 of Spanish – very beginner) and am currently at a 15 day streak
  • Learned mostly basic sentences and words (I have, I want, foods, clothing, places, travel-related words, etc.)
  • Pros: engaging and fun, various kinds of challenges (writing, speaking, reading, listening, etc.), streak helps keep you motivated to keep at it, can follow friends who are also using Duolingo
  • Cons: can get repetitive, will be hard to get used to the regular version once my free trial runs out

I have, honestly, gone pretty hard the first two weeks of my project, so am feeling a bit lost of where to take my Spanish learning next. Here are my goals moving forward:

  • Keep my streak going on Duolingo for the duration of this project
  • Try out some other Spanish learning resources (websites, games, YouTube, podcasts, TikTok?)
  • Record a brief video of myself speaking Spanish at the end of this project (maybe see if my sister or someone else I know will do a basic conversation in Spanish with me?)

Muchos gracias por leer mi post!

(Thanks so much for reading my post!)

Until next time (Hasta luego),