Thursday, May 9, 2013

Product Review: Spanish for You

 When I was homeschooled, my mom found a sweet Argentinian lady to come and teach us Spanish in our homeschooling co-op. And having lived in California all my life, I will say that knowing bits and phrases of Spanish has been very helpful at times. I want my children to have the same advantage of a year or two of a foreign language, but I have found that you just can't hand them the text book and expect them to have the correct pronunciation. And this is where Spanish For You is very useful.

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What It Is:

Spanish For You is a Spanish curriculum meant for grades 3rd-8th, and if the schedule is followed, takes 24-30 weeks to complete. I received the Fiestas curriculum, which is exactly what it means, festivals and parties. The book has the following themes incorporated into each of the sections:

  • Birthday Parties
  • Day of the Dead
  • Carnival
  • Holy Week
  • April Fair
The curriculum is set up to be used 4 days a week, for about 15-30 minutes per day. This is flexible; you can go faster if you have older children and slow down the pace if you have younger children.

First of all, you will learn the vocabulary words. These are true to the topic being studied; for example in the section about Carnival some of the words are el desfile (the parade), la rosquilla (the doughnut), and de muchos colores (multi-colored). And how do you learn these words? You print out the pdf flashcards and play fun games and activities with them. The teacher guide has many different game ideas, which are included in the daily schedule. Some of these include Simon Says, Bingo, What's Missing?, or Word Scramble. Each section has a Mandantos (things to tell someone) section to learn too. These range from 2-4 phrases, some of which are hable (talk) or baila (dance).

Another section of each lesson is The Verbs. Spanish verbs are conjugated by changing the last syllable, so each lesson focuses on 3-4 verbs and shows all 6 conjugations. Some of these verb phrases are I eat, you dress, or we walk.

The final section is Grammar and each lesson focuses on a different aspect of Spanish grammar: some are the demonstrative adjectives (this, that..) and the personal pronouns (I, you, he,...). This section is especially helpful when putting sentences together.

Each section comes with a downloadable audio MP3 files, which are extremely helpful. The MP3 files are extensive; all of the vocabulary words and verbs are pronounced, plus practice sentences, interactive questions, grammar words, and a final file for each lesson which helps to put it all together.

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What You Get:

In the Fiestas package you will receive a soft back book, which lists all of the vocabulary, verbs, and grammar words. There is a reference section which has a list of common words, the colors and numbers, ideas for making flashcards, and the suggested games and activities. The bulk of the curriculum are pdf downloads and include all the lesson guides, worksheets, printable flashcards, and all of the MP3 files. The lesson plans are specific to each grade level and are divided into 3rd-4th grade, 5th-6th grade, and 7th-8th grade. You can purchase them separately for $39.95, or you can get the entire grade set for $64.95. You can see a sample of the teacher manual here.

How We Used This:

Most of my children fit into this age range, so I decided to use it with all of them during our Together School Time. I printed out the lesson plans and worksheets. I did look at some of the games ahead of time and so I printed a couple copies of the flashcards on cardstock. Each day I would use the lesson plans to guide our Spanish time....one day we reviewed our flashcards and then listened to an MP3 file with sentences that contained the words. The younger ones drew quick pictures of what they heard while I had the older ones copy the words in Spanish. We also played the game Memory but with a twist; One card had the Spanish word on it and the other card had the English word written on it. This really made them think hard and before they knew it they were learning the Spanish words by heart.

Another day they all had worksheets to do. The worksheets range from translating words, to filling in the correct verb form, to drawing a picture to show word meaning. They were all age appropriate and 1 page long. In a week of work, there are usually 2 worksheets to do.

Each day is varied, and has 4 to 5 different things to do. There is usually a section to review, something to listen to, a game to play, and words to study. The lesson guide is very helpful and tells you exactly what to do each day.

What We Thought:

There were some components that I loved about this program. First, we really had fun doing the games. They are varied, easy to play, and really help to teach the vocabulary words. Even 7 year-old Nutsy was telling me what cake and candy meant in Spanish. I also liked the theme of our program. Studying about fiestas made it even more interesting and brought some culture study into our language learning.

The amount of work that is expected of each age group was appropriate. As the teacher I appreciated the daily schedule and I was VERY thankful that there were MP3 audio files that we could listen to. When you are learning a language it is a must to be able to hear it spoken correctly and having the audio files was an indispensable part of this curriculum.

The one thing I struggled with was the way that all of the MPS and pdf files were organized. It took a bit of hunting to find the correct worksheets and files; but on a positive note I know that the author of this curriculum knows that this is a problem and is taking steps to make the downloads more organized. The other thing that I also found was that at times the audio sections were said too fast for my kids. They are asked to repeat after each word, and there is barely enough time to say the word before the next one is said. This can be easily remedied though by pausing the audio after each word is said.

Overall, I really liked this program. It was well rounded with worksheets, games, varied vocabulary, and audio files. I plan to continue to use this with the girls and teach them the beautiful language of Spanish.

Other members of the Crew received Fiestas as I did, and still others received another Spanish program called Estaciones, which focuses on the seasons. Check out what they thought by clicking below.


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1 comment:

  1. Loved your review! I had a very similar experience with this one!

    Blessings, Laura

    ReplyDelete