I am all about working smarter and more effectively, not harder.
This year, I had chosen a popular computer-based curriculum for my 11th and 7th graders to learn Spanish. While I knew that my 12 year-old girl was getting something out of it, I could sense that maybe she needed something with a different approach. So, needless to say, I was really blessed when I was asked to use and review Spanish for You by Debbie Annett.
Spanish for You is the brainchild of Debbie Annett, who has taught Spanish for 14 years, from kindergarten to the high school level. She wrote this curriculum for several reasons, including helping to make the transition easy from the younger ages to any high school Spanish course of study. Debbie has a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction, and Spanish for You is the wonderful convergence of her passion and skill!
I was given the digital version of this curriculum, the Fiestas unit. It was fairly easy to download the materials to my desktop, and my set included an e-Book, a lesson plan guide, audio files in the authors voice, worksheets and flash cards. Although its digital, I found it way easier to print everything, punch holes, and put create a dedicated 3-ring binder for it (best way to stay organized). All the materials are neatly typed in an easy-to-read font.
My 7th grader immediately gravitated towards it, and she began to show an enthusiasm for learning the language that I hadn’t see before. She told me that she likes SFY much better than the other curriculum for a couple of reasons. Firstly, she doesn’t feel badly when she doesn’t get the pronunciations right the first time, so she is less discouraged (and more encouraged) about her progress. Secondly, she likes doing it with me and having that one-on-one time learning her Spanish lessons.
The Fiestas unit is broken up into Lessons (Lecciones), and those lessons span a couple of weeks. Debbie gives you a guide on what to cover each day so that what s being learned in reinforced. The design of Spanish for You is such that it makes it really easy for a homeschooling parent to facilitate the learning of the Language. Debbie includes audio files in her own voice, and it’s good to hear pronunciations from someone who isn’t a native speaker. Because I am comfortable with speaking spanish, I didn’t have need of using the files, but it’s great for those who want to incorporate them in their lessons.
I have really enjoyed using this curriculum for several reasons. After having used a totally computer based system for a couple of years, it is refreshing to switch it up a bit and use this one that is a book and hands-on approach. Secondly, I enjoy the more traditional approach to learning Spanish, instead of a total immersion experience. It think for the younger ages, hearing both English and Spanish simultaneously works well, at least for us anyway. My daughter has enjoyed having the worksheets and the flash cards to do – it helps mix it up for her and helps her to remember things better. Also, Debbie includes historical information for the different fiestas that are discussed, something that I haven’t had access to in other curriculums. The only room for improvement that I can readily see is making it a little easier to keep the materials together, especially the digital version.
Overall, Spanish for You is a fun and effective way to teach and learn Spanish! Debbie has done a fantastic job in making it easy to learn the language as well as interesting to learn (she includes several games and such to engage children, from one child to several). We are working smarter and more effectively because of it…please check out Spanish for You for yourself!
[4.24.13 Update: As of today, Debbie has fixed the organization issue with the digital files and worksheets ;-)]