Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Spanish for You (Schoolhouse Review)

PictureSpanish for You! is a Spanish curriculum that aims to be “simple, effective, and affordable.” It is designed for grades 3-8 and has several very unique features.

  1. Spanish for You! can be used with multiple grade levels. Separate lesson plans and worksheet are available for grades 3-4, 5-6, and 7-8. All students use the same text book, but the lesson plans beef up the program for older children.
  2. The program can be used with students of varying Spanish ability levels at the same time.
  3. The various units can be used in any order, according to interest.

The program includes these components:

  1. Softcover book or e-book
  2. Audio download of the entire book
  3. 24-30 week lesson plan guides
  4. nearly 200 worksheets with answers
  5. pictures for making flashcards

Two themed packages are currently available: Fiestas and Estaciones. A third unit, Viajes, will be available in June. We received the Estaciones (Seasons) package to review.

How the Program Works:

We used the lesson plans for 7-8th graders. Each day, several activities were assigned that included:

  • listening to audio from the audio files
  • making and drilling flashcards for the lesson vocabulary
  • doing a worksheet
  • playing a game to practice vocabulary
  • spelling words using Spanish letters
  • asking and answering questions using the lesson phrases and vocabulary
  • writing a short story using specified vocabulary

I thought that the activities were varied and interesting. The lesson plans were a tiny bit awkward to use, involving flipping around in the lesson book to locating files on the computer, etc. It would have been easier to have the plans directly in the lesson book. However, the plans are designed as they are  because the plans are different for different age groups.

I especially like that verb conjugation is taught starting with the first lesson. So many Spanish programs for children just teach words and phrases, but don’t teach conjugation. I feel like Emily is not just learning vocabulary and phrases, but she is learning the tools she needs to use the language.

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Playing “Burbujas” (Bubbles)—One player blows bubbles and calls out a verb. The second player has to fully conjugate the verb before all the bubbles pop.

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Playing “Que Falta?” (What’s missing?)

We typically spent about 20 minutes a day doing the assigned activities. Some days, Emily worked on her own, and some days, I supervised her, played practice games with her or had her read the lesson aloud to me.

When I first looked at Spanish for You!, I was afraid that it would be very teacher intensive, with lots of games and activities that I’d have to plan. That turned out not to be the case. Although there are some games, and certainly some degree of interaction is needed when studying a foreign language, once we got started, Emily was able to look at the lesson plans herself and do most of the assignments on her own. Certainly, that would not be the case for a much younger child, but I only had to spend about 5 minutes a day with my middle schooler checking a worksheet, asking her a few questions in Spanish, or quizzing her on vocabulary.

Cost:

  • $39.95  Grade level package (3-4, 5-6, or 7-8)
  • $64.95  Package including lesson plans for all grades

 

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I recieved a free copy of this product in exchange for my honest review.

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