Saturday, February 16, 2013

Review: Classical Academic Press Song School Spanish

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My very first review with The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew was the Song School Spanish textbook, CD, and teacher's edition book, from Classical Academic Press.

I waited with great anticipation for my first set of books to review. I was not disappointed!

Since we already have a high schooler in the house studying Spanish, I thought it would be a neat idea to bring in some elementary Spanish instruction for my younger kids. Not only would they be able to communicate a little bit with their older sister, but we would also have some in-house 'tutoring' if we needed it, for pronunciation or anything else we might get stuck on.

This was the first elementary level foreign language program I have ever used, or even looked at in depth. 

For this review we received the following items:

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The Teacher Edition

 

A softcover book teacher's edition that reproduces the student workbook pages but has the answers filled in, as well as teacher notes and teaching tips. It also has a sample weekly schedule, and a number of reproducible extra worksheets in the back, that coincide with each lesson.





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A softcover student workbook. It has 173 pages, that includes 30 lessons plus a review lesson. Each lesson is about 5 pages long and includes vocabulary words, activities, and writing.





There is a CD included with the student workbook. It came in a small clear holder attached to the inside back cover of the book. The CD has about 40 songs and chants, that coincide with the weekly lessons.

These can be purchased on the Classical Academic Press Website: The student book sells for $24.95 and the teacher's edition also sells for $24.95.  The CD is included with the student book, but can also be purchased separately for  $12.95.  Also available is a card matching game called Spanish Amigo Match for $26.95.  The company sells a nice bundle for $66.95 that includes both the teacher and student book, as well as the Matching Cards game.

Spanish Amigo Match

I read that this program was geared towards K-3rd grade. Since I have a very willing 2nd grader who is interested in learning Spanish, I thought this would be a perfect fit for her! I was right. She really enjoyed the activities, the worksheets, the songs....pretty much everything about this program!

I tried to include some of the older children in the lessons, but they didn't care for it as much. It seemed too young for them, which was fine, because it is a very good fit for the age it was intended to be used for!

We worked at a pace of one lesson per week, and will continue working through the rest of the student book through the end of the year. By the time we are done, Kelly will have a beginner's vocabulary of about 100 words, and be able to say small phrases in Spanish, as well as be able to ask and answer simple questions or commands.

When we first put the song CD in, we all laughed because the songs and singers are....shall we say, very exuberant! The funny thing was....that as we played it over and over, all of us became completely hooked on the songs, and I even find myself continuing to sing them at random times! So even though I was a skeptic at first about the songs/chants, I found that they really are quite effective, and it is always good to hear pronunciation for new words in another language from a native speaker.

Another perk of this curriculum that we enjoy is the website that the company has, with games for the kids to play for extra vocabulary practice.  Headventure Land has a game for this particular Spanish program called "Flash Dash". Both girls really enjoyed playing this game, reviewing their vocabulary words. In fact, they really pushed to get through the first four lessons so they would get a better score on the games. (The first level covers lessons 1-4).


The Headventure Land website also includes some extra coloring page printables that we can use to make the lesson stretch the entire week, and review the concepts on the days when we can't do as much together with the workbook.

There was so much to like about this program. So much is done right! If I could change one thing, it would be to make the tracing exercises writing (or copying) exercises instead. Kelly doesn't care much for tracing printed letters anymore. I would imagine that would be very helpful for a younger student using this workbook though.

I learned something new when reading over the teacher notes for this workbook, before starting it with the girls. This program is based on a language learning system called "Code Switching". What this means is that the student learns the language by switching words in mid-sentence, and substituting the foreign words for the English word they already know. They may say most of their sentence in English, and then substitute a few choice vocabulary words into the sentence at the appropriate places. I found this very interesting. I think it is a very gentle way to ease into learning a language, and I also think the vocabulary words "stick" better in our mind, because we are actually using them the way they were intended, as opposed to just memorizing lists of vocabulary words and confusing them when trying to remember them. 

As you can probably surmise, I am very pleased that we had the opportunity to start Song School Spanish, and I am looking forward to finishing the rest of the program, and giving Kelly a little head start in learning Spanish. I am pleased that she is enjoying learning Spanish! I think the methods in this program will help what she is learning stay with her over the years, until she is ready for a more in-depth study of the language!

If you would like to read some other reviews of this program put out by the Schoolhouse Review Crew please click the banner below!


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Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Song School Spanish 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 my own, or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC regulations.

5 comments:

  1. We enjoyed it too! Stopping by from the crew...

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  2. This looks like a really great program. I'm filing the idea away for when Jude is a little older -- he's having enough trouble with English that I think we'll wait a bit for Spanish! LOL

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    1. LOL....Yeah I think he might need a year or two before starting on the workbook, but the CD alone might not be a bad idea for him, if you started him on listening to it even before you started the workbook. The songs are easy enough that he would probably get them nailed down pretty well, then maybe you could add in the writing/tracing part later on when he has those skills down better. I don't know...I do know that I was pretty impressed with this and how well it is put together for younger kiddos. Now...if only they would develop it in Japanese for you....right? ;-)

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  3. Great review! That looks like such a fun program. I wonder if Lauren wants to learn Spanish.

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  4. Thank you for stopping by my blog - fellow crew reviewer visiting so I can hear about your experiences. Great review! My daughter really likes this curriculum - it was a great fit for us. We will use it for the rest of the year too.

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts!