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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Schoolhouse Review: Spanish For You!

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This is a review for the Fiestas paperback book and downloadable curriculum from Spanish For You!  The curriculum is written by Debbie Annett, MSEd., Illustrated by Amanda Annett.

The book is intended to be used for students in Grades 3 to 8, and is broken apart specifically for Grades 3-4, 5-6, and 7-8. I focused on the Grade 5-6 level.  I found this to be very appropriately divided by age/grade level in how it is presented with more detail for the older grades.

Spanish for You - Fiestas photo spanishforyou-fiestas_zpsa80f3c2a.jpg

Find sample pages of the Fiestas book here!

I received the teacher guide paperback book, and downloads for the student worksheets and flashcards. I also received mp3 audio files to refer to for proper pronunciations.

For review, I received:
  • -A paperback teacher’s guide
  • -Audio mp3 downloads
  • -Student book PDF file downloads for Grades 5-6 and 7-8
  • -Worksheets and tests PDF downloads
  • -Flashcards PDF file

Prior to receiving this for review, The only exposure to Spanish that my children have had is through preschool years of Dora the Explorer along with a trip to Walt Disney World where my 11-year-old, Fifth Grade, middle child, whom I mainly focused these lessons toward, was enthralled at the bilingual overhead speaker announcements on the monorail and before and after the shows.  By the end of our trip to Disney, she could fluently ask you to kindly not smoke and to stay clear of the closing doors:

Por favor, manténgase alejado de las puertas

After this informal "Spanish immersion camp," compliments of Disney, I was curious to see how she would take to a formal attempt to learn the language.

As a teacher who has had just the bare minimum instruction myself on the Spanish language, I spent time looking over all of the materials to become accustomed with the teaching approach. I was impressed with the way it presents so much information in a way that even I could teach it lesson by lesson.

The Teacher guides and the learning packages are sold separately. The teacher guides cost:

$12.95 for Grades 5-6 (24 week lesson plans)
$12.95 for Grades 7-8 (24 week lesson plans)
$14.95 for Grades 3-4 (30 week lesson plans)

All Spanish for You! Learning packages come with:
  • -paperback book or e-book
  • -24-30 week lesson guide PDF download (24 weeks for Grades 5-6 and 7-8, and 30 weeks for Grades 3-4)
  • -Self-checking PDF download worksheets
  • -mp3 audio file downloads Flashcard/activity pictures PDF download
The packages are sold as follows:

Grades 3-8 - $64.95
Grades 3-4 - $39.95
Grades 5-6 - $39.95
Grades 7-8 - $39.95
Extra books - $12.95

I especially love how it comes with the sound audio files, so this Midwestern with a slight northern accent could refer to the tracks to make sure of a pronunciation. I found the materials to be thorough, teaching sound Spanish language, with a fun approach that introduces students to how they might use Spanish in real-life situations.

The lessons are broken down into bite-sized, easy to follow instruction by the week. There are 24 weeks of lesson plans, plus the mini lessons, to keep you busy for a full school year worth of Spanish.

Each week consists of four days’ worth of lessons that are broken down into bite-sized, easy to follow instruction by the Lesson for the day.

The lessons cover major Spanish fiestas:

Lesson 1 – Birthdays (La Fiesta De Cumpleanos)
Lesson 2 – Mexican Day of the Dead (El dia de los muertos)
Lesson 3 – Carnaval
Lesson 4 – Holy Week (Semana Santa)
Lesson 5 – April Fair (La feria de abril)

Each week’s lesson begins with New vocabulary and new common words and phrases, and pronunciations written out as well as suggestions to listen to the audio. I presented it to my girls, and they were very excited about it.

I think they really liked that it specifically approaches the Spanish language while interweaving the Spanish culture of various fiestas. I also like how it includes hands-on activities, not just sitting at a desk conjugating verbs, though the teaching does include the basics as well, but it suggests activities to make this fun.


There are Happy Birthday songs, a study in the difference of how birthdays are celebrated in the Spanish culture compared to American culture, Bingo, Tic-Tac-Toe, Simon Says, Memory and Hangman games to learn words. There are also descriptions of listening and drawing activities to learn the words.

The materials also come with a mini lesson of Spanish words for colors and numbers, and the Spanish alphabet song.

I also like how it’s more than just learning a language, it is also a Social Studies lesson of cultural studies.

Though I was thrilled to have any audio and didn't find it to be presented in any kind of a confusing manner, the publisher is always striving to make the materials more presentable and easy-to-use.  During the time I was reviewing this product, the publisher of this curriculum has revised the audio downloads to be better organized as follows:

1. All worksheet files are now in folders according to grades: Grades 3-4, Grades 5-6, and Grades 7-8
2. All audio files (native and non-native) are now in folders according to lessons – Leccion 1, Leccion 2, etc.
3. She divided the non-native audio file into 2 parts so that downloading is faster and easier.

You can find Spanish for You! Now on Facebook

Please read more Schoolhouse Reviews about this company and their curriculum here, or click on the picture below:

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