dreaming of summer

This past week, I spent a good amount of time thinking back to the summer.

Not because I needed a reminder of glorious warm weather, or of many hours of freedom (though I do find myself getting lost remembering those good ole days!), but to reconnect with some language learning goals and approaches that I'd wanted to focus on this school year.

While I was studying in Kampala, I tried to focus my attention on the classroom work as well as the art of conversation and engaging in daily activities in Luganda. I did not do a lot of independent vocabulary memorization and written grammar practice because I knew that those activities were something I could focus on in the US, when I had less access to Luganda in daily life. However, I did create a mental list of things I wanted to practice when I was back in the US.

Although I've been implementing bits and pieces of the mental list in my language study this semester, this week I refocused my attention on it.

For example, one thing I wanted to do more intensive work on the verb tenses that I learned, such as the conditional, causative, reflexive, and reversive. In the past, writing a long list of sentences using one grammatical concept in different ways has been really helpful for my learning. So, on Friday, I spent a long time writing out a range of sentences using the causative tense. The causative is a tense I have a particularly hard time with, so it felt good to just use it over and over and over again. I definitely think it helped me work towards mastering it - though I definitely still need more practice.

This week, I plan to do more of that kind of work with some of the other verb tenses. I also want to dig into some of the resources I brought back from Kampala. I purchased a range of children's books and also brought back a few newspapers, and for some reason I've been putting off using them. I think it's because I've felt like I need to ration them off for some reason; if I used them up at the beginning of the year, I'd have nothing left by the end! I realize that this sounds sort of silly, but for some reason I have been saving these resources for some kind of mythical rainy day. In any case, the time is now! So I plan to pull out these documents and get the most out of them that I can.

In that vein, I am thinking about different ways I might use a physical newspaper for my learning. For example, I might take one news article and highlight all the words that I understand as I read it, and then come back to it later and highlight in another color to track my progress. Or, I might underline all the examples of a particular tense that I identify, and ensure that I know all of the verbs being used. If anyone has any other ideas for how to creatively use a newspaper for learning, I'd love to hear them!

It's so nice to have the summer to look back to for inspiration and a bit of guidance! I'm hoping it can continue to sustain me throughout the year.


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