Tuesday, September 29, 2015

REVIEW: Elementary Spanish 1: Grades K-2 Second Semester by Middlebury Interactive Languages

Holden was really, really excited to get to review Elementary Spanish 1: Grades K-2 Second Semester by Middlebury Interactive Languages.



Middlebury Interactive Languages offers a variety of digital language courses for grades K-12.  Languages offered include Spanish, French, Chinese, and German. 

This time, we received the second semester of the Elementary Spanish 1: Grades K-2 language course, as we reviewed the first semester late last year. 

This course is specially designed for younger students and provides a great first exposure to a foreign language.  Each unit is comprised of a series of lessons that are based around an authentic story, myth, or legend from the Spanish-speaking culture.  The main goal of the elementary level course is to build vocabulary.  This is accomplished through a variety of stories, games, songs, and practice activities.

Each semester is available for just $119 without a teacher, or $119 plus an additional $175 with a teacher.  These are online digital courses, so you’ll need internet access in order to use the program.



Holden enjoyed the first semester of this course last year so much that he continued working on it regularly, even after the review period was over, until he’d successfully completed it.  In fact, we replaced the program he was already using with this one!  He was so sad when it was all over, so of course, he jumped at the chance to get to work on the second semester of the course this year.  He’s is 2nd grade this school year, so the timing was perfect for him to wrap up this level.

The first semester covered Units 1-6 of the complete course, with unit 6 being a review.  This second semester continued the course with Units 7-12 and included the topics of body, animals, calendar, food, descriptions, and a review. Units 7-11 were comprised of 6 lessons each, plus 3 review lessons in Unit 12, for a total of 33 lessons.  When you enroll in a semester course, you have 6 months in which to complete your material.  The recommended pace for this level is 2 lessons per week, so there’s plenty of time to complete all of the coursework within the allotted period.

Holden really enjoyed the videos of Spanish stories.  They are narrated by a native speaker who speaks entirely in Spanish with the words shown on the screen, so it gives the student a completely immersive experience.  That may sound difficult, but I was really surprised by how well Holden understood the meaning of the story without already knowing the language.  The animations are really interesting and engaging, and through repetition, the student picks up on a lot of the language.  Words that pertain to the vocabulary for the lesson are highlighted so they stand out and the student can see them used in context.  There are also optional coloring pages and printed activities that students can complete in some of the lessons.

Through the repetition of the stories in Spanish and the English translation available for review near the end of the unit, Holden was able to recall the details of the stories and answer questions about them at the end of the units, applying the vocabulary learned in the lessons.  There’s also a spoken language quiz at the end of each unit, and Holden got to listen to the native speaker pronounce the vocabulary words and then record his own voice repeating the words.  He loved playing back the recordings and hearing himself speaking Spanish!  It works with the microphone built into my laptop, and it’s very easy to use.  He can even do it by himself!

Holden loved the variety of activities, from matching to multiple choice and various other formats.  There were alsDSCF4438o lessons where he could see images, click each one to hear them spoken in Spanish, and then switch back to English and hear it spoken again.  Switching back and forth this way allowed him to verbally say the words that represented each image in both English and Spanish and then check the audio for verification that he recalled them correctly.

When your student completes one of the oral lessons in the course without a teacher, the lesson goes into a cue for you as the parent to review and grade.  This is done in the dashboard.  Also for the parent’s convenience, you can view the student’s quiz and test grades and see when they completed each lesson so you can monitor their progress.  In addition, you can view the table of contents in the dashboard at any time so you can see what lessons have been completed and what the upcoming lessons will be about.  The course is also easy for students to navigate, as the welcome screen after login shows them the next lesson to be completed.  All they do is click it to begin.  That way, they don’t have to remember where they left off the last time they used the program.

I continue to be amazed at how well Holden retains the vocabulary words he has learned with this program, and he is more than willing to do the lessons.  He often asks if he can do more than one lesson at a time!  The bottom line is that this is a fun, engaging, and very interactive course that allows students to build their beginning language skills through a variety of activities and methods of presentation.  There’s plenty of practice built in, and students get to practice verbally, as well. 

With a program that my child looks forward to using and a wonderful rate of retention of the material he’s learned, what more could I ask for?  Give it a try and see for yourself!

Check out what other Crew members have to say about various language courses from Middlebury Interactive Languages by clicking the banner below.