My kids have really wanted to learn Spanish this year. So we were pleased to review Fiestas by Spanish for You! This was a very thorough, yet simple, Spanish program developed by a Spanish teacher with loads of practical experience. The program teaches the students speaking, reading, and writing skills, as well as grammar. Fiestas taught these things by learning about various Spanish celebrations, such as a birthday party, Day of the Dead, Carnival, Holy Week and April Fair. The program is broken down by grade level, and we used the Grades 3-4 lessons.
How We Used the Product
At the beginning of each week, I would pull up the provided Lesson Guide and print off all necessary text pages and worksheets and clip them together for use later in the week. Each day the kids and I would do the assigned lesson (again, following closely the provided Lesson Guide), by listening to the provided audio versions of the text. Then the kids would do the worksheets. Additionally, they would play suggested games and/or practice with flashcards. We made regular ol' index card flashcards, and then I also made some on a free website where they could practice and play games with the vocabulary words. Their favorite game to play was Hangman on the white board. They would take turns choosing a vocabulary word and the other would try to guess it by guessing letters.
You can see the Sample Lessons for Fiestas by clicking HERE.
There were positives and negatives to this program. The Lesson Guides provided in the program were excellent. They very clearly indicated which lessons should be followed and completed on which days. We reviewed a downloadable version of the program, so the negative for me was that after the materials were downloaded to my computer, I had a very difficult time finding which one we were supposed to be doing which day. The lessons are labeled in Spanish and, well, I don't know Spanish, so I spent quite a bit of time locating which pages of text we would be using, which worksheets to print, and which audio files to que. It wasn't very "download-and-go". It took much more preparation on my part than I prefer. I do believe, however, that the author has made some changes to this part of the program already, so hopefully it is easier to use once downloaded.
I loved the audio versions of the text and the audio pronunciation guides. Yeah, the way I pronounced the words wasn't going to work. That's the hard thing about teaching a Spanish course. It's hard to teach if you don't know Spanish! But, Spanish for You! made that part easy by providing an "audio teacher", of sorts, to help out.
The program is designed for children Grades 3-8, and you teach your child according to more specific grade levels ... 3-4, 5-6, or 7-8. We definitely chose the 3-4 grade level materials. However, it still seemed a little much for my 9 and 7 year old students. The lessons were a little long for them. We tend to do fairly short daily lessons, but cover a lot of subjects. I found us spending quite a bit more time on Spanish each day than we normally spend on a subject, and the kids started to dread it. We always do our essentials in the morning when their minds are fresh, so by afternoon they were dragging and just didn't want to put the necessary time and thought into the Spanish for You! lessons. That wasn't anyone's fault. It is just a personal preference thing.
I didn't really care for learning about Spanish celebrations. For me, I just wondered when we would ever use any of that Spanish in a practical setting. I would have much rather received a program that taught the basics. Maybe such a program will be in the works in the future. But I'll hold onto the program! If we are ever going to be visiting a Spanish speaking country during one of the celebrations, I have no doubt that Spanish for You! would have us prepared to participate fully.
Customer service on this program was fantastic! The author sent several personal emails to members of the Review Crew with troubleshooting ideas and improvements already being made to the program. You can tell that she wants her customers to be completely thrilled with her product!
Overall, I think that the Spanish for You! program was EXTREMELY thorough and my kids DID learn many Spanish words and proper grammar usages.
Spanish for You! is available in three themed units: Viajes (travel) coming in June 2013, Fiestas (celebrations), and Estaciones (seasons). They are intended for students Grades 3-8.
(From the website) ALL Spanish for You! packages come complete with:
Each unit study can be purchased by grade level for $39.95 (i.e. 3-4, 5-6, or 7-8), or the entire Grade 3-8 package can be purchased for $64.95. This includes a Lesson Guide. The full Teacher Lesson Plans are sold separately ranging from $12.95 to $14.95. You can read about this by going to the Spanish for You! Class Use page.
Members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew reviewed Fiestas and Estaciones. To read other reviews on these two products, visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.