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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Spanish for You!- Fiestas Review

Today, I'm excited to introduce you to a new (or at least new to me) Spanish curriculum: Spanish for You!


Spanish for You! was written by Debbie Annett, who has a Bachelor's degree in Spanish, and taught Spanish for 14 years in the school system.  She's now a homeschooling mom, teaching Spanish both in a co-op setting and while tutoring students.  She has fully used her Spanish for You curriculum for 4 years while teaching her co-op, so while it is designed for home use, you can purchase her teacher's plans for a co-op setting if you want to use it in a co-op.

So what makes Spanish for You! unique?  Debbie's heart for the homeschooling family, for one.  She was determined to create ONE curriculum that a) could be used across multiple grades, b) wouldn't break the bank, c) included a recorded audio component, and d) allowed it to easily flow into any high school Spanish curriculum.  The books are also centered around themes such as Fiestas (Celebrations) and Estaciones (Holidays), with Viajas (Travels) coming soon.  The books each have 5 lessons, taking roughly 4-6 weeks each to complete.  Each book then takes between 24-30 weeks to complete total, depending on the grade level.



The lessons center on a theme.  We reviewed Fiestas, and the first lesson was on "The Birthday Party".   Each lesson begins by teaching vocabulary and "mandatos", or commands.  In our case, for that first lesson, the vocab words were things like song, music, drinks, friends, etc. and the mandatos were sing, talk, open, and eat.  Then a few verbs and their conjugations are taught.  Again, the first lesson verbs for Fiestas were to sing, to talk, to eat, and to open.   After the verbs are taught, the next part of the lesson focuses on usage of the verbs with the vocabulary.  Finally, each lesson has a grammar component.  In our case, that lesson taught the pronouns this/these and that/those as well as the question "which one?"  At the end of the lesson, there is a "Let's put it all together" section with a few simple questions to test the students on what they have covered in that lesson.

The Pros:  While we're not supposed to compare, I have to say that this is the first Spanish curriculum that I've ever used that I get.  I mean, I really have found myself learning Spanish in spite of being an "old dog" when it comes to new tricks.  I like that the work week is broken into 4 days, and that the lessons are not too long.  I love that each book has audio files of Debbie Annett reading each page of the lesson in Spanish, and that there is also a file with a native speaker saying each Spanish word.  The illustrations that go with each vocab word were done by the author's daughter, with I think is sweet, and also helps to keep the cost down.  Plenty of games are incorporated into the schedule so that students can work with the vocab and verbs in a fun manner, but there are also worksheets that accompany some days' scheduled work.  And the price is great.  You can buy a year's worth of curriculum for $39.95 if you only want the curriculum for one specific grade range (3-4, 5-6, or 7-8) or for $64.95, you get the all the plans and worksheets for all three grade ranges.

The cons:  My cons are really organizational items, and several have been addressed already.  When we received our downloads, some files gave error messages, but Mrs. Annett was very quick to resolve that and actually resent the whole download.,  And the files within the download are not organized sequentially, meaning you have to hunt around for what you need.  But after only a few people mentioned that, Mrs. Annett has gone through and reorganized them, so I would assume they make more sense now, although I don't have the newest download.  My last organizational comment isn't so easily resolved since it deals with the printed book, but my students found it confusing that the first lesson is actually about 17 pages into the book.  Before that, there are resources like pronunciation guides, the Spanish alphabet, numbers and colors, etc.  I solved this problem by putting a binder clip on the first 16  pages, but then discovered we actually needed some of them as we got into the curriculum, so I just marked the start page with a paperclip.  It made it easier for them to find where the actual lesson started.

The bottom line:  We are almost at the end of our school year, so we won't continue Spanish for You! right now, but I do plan to pick it up again in the fall.  And I think I'll join them doing it, as speaking Spanish in Florida is a good thing!

 Here's the link if you want to purchase, or just check out Spanish for You!  To read what others had to say, go to the Mosaic Reviews blog.


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