The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews
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The Educator's Spanish Collection (Whistlefritz) Review by Melissa BataiSpanish Lesson Plans for Kids
Spanish for Kids DVDs
Spanish for Kids CDs
Spanish Matching Cards
Krista Hope Lambert
Silvia Goncalves Holman
P.O. Box 363
Glen Echo, MD 20812
Whistlefritz’s Educator’s Spanish Collection ($165) includes everything you need to teach your children 40 beginning Spanish lessons ranging from colors, shapes, family, clothes, seasons, foods, drinks, animals, and many more. This set is recommended for children in preschool through early elementary and includes four components: lesson plans, DVDs, CDs and matching cards.
The lesson plans clearly lay out a description of the lesson, the goal, the objective, the vocabulary, the materials required, and the estimated time the lesson should take (usually 30 to 40 minutes). The lesson plan also includes the focus of the activities, teacher’s input, guided practice, independent practice, closure, and extension activities. This activity-based curriculum is suitable for homeschoolers though it appears to be designed to be used in a traditional school setting. Because it offers a wide variety of activities including speaking, watching educational DVDs, and creating, this program would appeal to all learner types from auditory to visual to kinesthetic.
My children loved this program. They liked learning Spanish, but they loved that learning was fun because they were also doing other activities while learning Spanish. For instance, in one lesson, they practiced learning the names of colors in Spanish, but they learned while they were experimenting with primary and secondary colors. That particular lesson combined Spanish, science, and art lessons. All of the lessons we tried integrated a variety of subjects, so my kids weren’t bored with the material; they never knew what to expect! An extension activity for each lesson was to watch the corresponding DVD that reinforced the lesson learned. My kids loved the DVDs because they were fun and specifically appealed to kids through use of animals, bright colors, music, and child actors. The CD, which contains 15 songs as well as English translations for each song, could be used in place of the DVD for some lessons. We played it in the car when we were driving. The upbeat, fast-paced music had my kids asking to hear it often. The matching cards are a fun way to play and learn Spanish, but young learners who can’t read will have to rely on the pictures rather than the words.
As a busy mom, the biggest drawback to this program is that it’s not necessarily open and go. The lesson plans are very thorough, but I still had to take the time to gather, or in some cases alter, the materials before each lesson. For instance, the lesson that taught primary and secondary colors required a provided balloon image be copied or traced on to a transparency and three additional balloon images were needed in blue, red, and yellow. Not having a transparency, I instead altered the activity to use finger paints. For lesson 6, using a shape collage, the teacher needed to print the shape templates onto card stock, and then use the templates to trace shapes on different colored construction paper. Per student, 20 to 30 shapes were required. This program also might be difficult to teach for homeschoolers who have never learned Spanish before. I have had Spanish in high school and college, so I was fairly comfortable with it, but some might not be, or the parents might need to spend extra time learning the vocabulary before teaching their children.
If your children love hands-on activities, and you don’t mind the prep that is required for each lesson, this program offers a solid, fun way to learn Spanish. As a parent teacher, some familiarity with Spanish may help.
--Product Review by Melissa Batai, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, June, 2015