Sunday, September 28, 2014

Calico Elementary Spanish Level I Review

I am very excited to offer a review of Calico Elementary Spanish Level I, which I have been using with my kiddos for a couple of months.  Calico's Elementary Spanish program is an immersion curriculum, and is designed to be used by instructors who speak Spanish comfortably.**  It consists of two levels.  Level I targets grades K-5, level II grades 2-6.  Calico offers 3 separate pricing structures for this program, depending on use--schools, homeschool groups, and individual homeschool families.  Contact for pricing details.

** For non-Spanish speakers, Calico also offers a Spanish for Homeschools Learning Series program.  This is a DVD program created for instructors who do not speak Spanish.  Checkout the Calico website for more information on this exciting new product.  Back to the Elementary Spanish review...

What's included?

  • Teacher's manual
  • Bulletin Board Set
  • Calico Flash Cards
  • Los Verbos Flash Cards
  • Mi Guitarrí CD
  • Student Activity Book
  • First Thousand Words in Spanish
  • ¡Corre, perro, corre!
  • Supplemental videos online through Youtube (anyone can access)

The Lessons

The Teacher's Manual contains 15 chapters and a small introductory lesson.  Each chapter has an optional 5 day/60 minute and 10 day/30 minute schedule.  Lessons for each chapter include songs, games, calendar, numbers, the alphabet, verbs, colors, and animals.  An optional script is given for each activity--no long prep time needed!  

How We Use the Program and What We Love About It

In our homeschool, I use the 5-day schedule.  My kiddos already know much of the number, alphabet, colors, shapes, and animal vocabulary, so I use those portions of the curriculum as a quick review.  I spend most of our time focusing on conversation, comprehension, the verb activities, songs and games.  I take full advantage of all the dialogue samples given in the teacher's guide.  The sample dialogue gives so many ideas for conversation that I would not have come up with on my own.

I love that verb conjugation is (gently) introduced right away in chapter 3.  Often times elementary Spanish programs focus solely on vocabulary and ignore actually trying to form sentences and learn basic grammar.  Students begin by learning the difference between I need  and you need.  The next chapter teaches we need and s/he needs.  By the end of Chapter 15, they will have completely conjugated necesitar, and also learned conjugations for poder and querer.

My kids love the songs from the Mi guitarrí music CD.  We have tried other Spanish programs with music in the past, but my boys disliked the songs so much that they refused to listen to them.  I find them walking around the house singing the songs from Mi guitarrí and putting on the CD when we're not even doing school.  The songs from the disc are also available as videos online through Calico's Youtube channel.  My boys also very much enjoy watching the videos online.

The Calico flashcards are really well-done, colorful, easy to read, and sized appropriately.  The bulletin board set is also visually appealing and appropriate for elementary-aged kids.  The bulletin board headings and months of the year have sticker backs.  I chose to laminate them instead of using the stickers to be able to move them around if necessary.

The pictures below show how I have my Calico bulletin board set up.  I bought a tri-fold display board from the Dollar Store and covered it with white contact paper.  Then I created little pockets for the flashcards using old file folders and clear plastic from the pouches curtains and sheets are packaged in.

I created a few of the items on the bulletin board, such as the "Hoy es (día), el (fecha) de (mes) de 2014.  I printed the colorful hundreds chart from the web (sorry, I can't remember which site).  Click here for a printable of the days of the week.

Overall I highly recommend Calico Spanish.  At first the price can seem very expensive, but with the quality of the materials and instruction, plus everything that is included with the program, I feel it is well worth the investment.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Shapes in Spanish--Figuras Lesson Plans

Here are some fun ideas for learning about shapes (figuras or formas) that we have been using.

Introduce Vocabulary

  • Introduce figuras using shapes you have around the house, your own flashcards or print the flashcards sheet below.  Say the figuras while pointing, then have the students repeat after you. 

  • Ask the students,"¿Dónde está ________?" and have them point at the figura you name.
  • Have the kids go on a scavenger hunt around the house looking for as many figuras as they can find, and then sort them.  Encourage students to use complete sentences as they sort, such as "Esta figura es un _______." For extra practice have them say the color after the shape name.  Model for them, as necessary.   

Art and Literature Activities

  • Read and discuss books about figuras.  Here are some suggestions:
Figuras del desierto by Elizabeth Bennett  
      Mi primer libro de figuras by Eric Carle

¿Qué forma tiene? by Bobbie Kalman

Games and Activities

  • Using the Figuras Flashcards page, play BINGO.
  • Hide (or have one of the kids hide) a figura flashcard.  One student looks for the hidden figura while the others give clues by saying frío or calor.
  • Have your students draw a picture of a face (a clown face works well) or a house using basic figuras.  You can use the printable below as a guide for drawing a face.  
    For this activity, use as much language as possible.  You can say things like, "Para la cara, se pueden dibujar un óvalo, círculo, o cuadrado." Muy bien, ______, me gusta tu cuadrado.  You can also dictate different colors for different parts of the face to practice colors.  For more advanced students you can dictate shapes/colors based on various criteria.  For example "If you have brown eyes, draw a brown oval.  If you have blue eyes, draw a blue circle.  If you have green eyes, draw a green square."  "Si tienen ojos marrones, dibuja un óvalo marrón." etc.

  • Play I Spy, (Yo veo con mi ojito...) in Spanish using figuras instead of colors.
  • Play figuras Pictionary.
  • Play the LEGO dice game.  Directions: Each child gets a LEGO figure, a die, and a pile of LEGO bricks.  Take turns quizzing the children on the names of figuras, asking "¿Cuál es esta figura?" or "¿Cómo se llama esta figura?"  If the child answers correctly, s/he may roll the die.  Whatever number comes up, s/he may put that many bricks under the LEGO figure.  The person with the tallest LEGO figure at the end wins.

Enrichment Activites

  • Go on a nature walk and have the students find as many figuras as possible in nature.  You can use the printable found below for the students to draw the objects they find.  Students can use a dictionary to look up the Spanish names for the objects they find then label them on the page.
  • Make figuras sugar cookies, decorate, and enjoy.  While you're eating, ask the students, "¿Qué comes tú?" and have them answer, "Yo como ________."  For a yummy, healthier sugar cookie, click here.