Friday, February 15, 2013

REVIEW: Song School Spanish by Classical Academic Press

My daughter, Haylee (8), and I had the pleasure of reviewing Song School Spanish Book and CD and Teacher’s Edition by Classical Academic Press.

What Is It?

Song School Spanish is a program that engages early elementary students in grade K-3 with 30 lively lessons that include songs, vocabulary, illustrations, handwriting practice, stories, games, and activities.  It includes a mild introduction to grammar, and its CD of 42 songs and chants gets auditory learners motivated to learn and remember Spanish words, phrases, and pronunciation.

The complete curriculum consists of:
  • Song School Spanish student workbook with CD – $24.95
    • Includes 30 weekly lessons including review chapters, CD of 42 songs and chants, over 100 everyday vocabulary words, lots of activities and workbook pages.
  • Song School Spanish teacher’s edition – $24.95
    • Includes the entire student text, answer keys, additional teacher’s notes, and fun ideas for interactive activities.  It also includes over 40 pages (plus answer keys) of additional workbook pages and activities for advanced students or for those wanting additional practice.

Spanish Amigo Match$26.95
  • This is a suggested supplemental activity that is not required to complete the core curriculum, but can enhance learning through flashcard and matching activities.

All 3 of the components listed above can be purchased in a money-saving bundle for $66.95.

In addition, the Classical Academic Press website provides you with some very nice downloadable bonus tracks to aid in teaching and learning.  These are available at the bottom of this page under Bonus Files:
    • Pronunciation Guide
    • Bonus Songs

They also suggest heading over to the HeadventureLand website to have your student play games, read stories, and watch video adventures that correspond to Song School Spanish materials.

Our Experience:

I used the teacher’s edition and student workbook with CD with my 3rd grade daughter, Haylee, during the review period.  The text laid out a suggested schedule for me that seemed really reasonable.  It went something like this:
Day 1:  Haylee would read through the list of vocabulary words or phrases for the week.  She would then listen to the pronunciation guide audio file, which we downloaded from the website.  (This is nicely catalogued and easy to use.  I was really thankful for this resource, because I have never engaged in any Spanish studies myself, so it was important for her to hear the words spoken by a native speaker.)  Then she would listen to the corresponding song or chant on the CD.
Day 2:  Haylee would read through the list of vocabulary words or phrases again and speak them aloud to me.  Then she would listen to and sing along with the song from the CD again.  She would then read the chapter lesson in the workbook and do the exercises that followed it, stopping when she reached the Show What You Know section. 
Day 3:  Haylee would say all of the vocabulary words or phrases aloud, sing the chant or song along with the CD, and practice singing it without accompaniment.  She would review previous words/phrases and songs from other chapters, and then complete the Show What You Know section to finish out the chapter.
We did not own the Spanish Amigo Cards, so I can’t attest to those personally, but I can imagine they would be a great supplemental activity, allowing the student to match together Spanish and English phrases and words that they’ve learned.

We found the lists of vocabulary words to be just about right in terms of the amount of material to work with at one time. 

Haylee enjoyed the songs/chants very much and found herself singing them randomly around the house!  In fact, both of us had the tunes stuck in our heads from time to time.  Each tune repeated the lyrics 3 or 4 times before the song ended, so you were able to practice the words a number of times without replaying the song, but we didn’t find the repetition annoying. On the contrary, we found it helped us to master singing along by the time the songs came to an end, and then we’d usually repeat it again for good measure once we’d gotten the hang of them.

The workbook activities provided a wide range of varying pencil assignments like matching, fill-in-the-blanks, circle the best answer, and direct translation.

The review chapter that we did included all of the songs and words from the previous 3 chapters, a short play, and a chapter story that used the words that had been learned.  The Chapter Story provided a wonderful opportunity to see the words and phrases used in context, which helped solidify what we’d studied.

Overall, we found the Song School Spanish program to be fun, engaging, highly interactive, and effective in teaching practical everyday Spanish vocabulary.  Haylee enjoyed it so much that she has decided to continue using the program to the end.  I can definitely recommend it as a way to make basic early foreign language learning fun and memorable!

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   Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed are mine or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC Regulations.