Disclosure: Whistlefritz sent me a copy of Spanish Lesson Plans for Kids so that I could write the following article. All of the ideas and opinions are my own.
I am so pleased that Whistlefritz has created lesson plans to use with their wonderful videos and songs. This award-winning company is known for engaging, effective materials to teach children Spanish. Now, in the new book Spanish Lesson Plans for Kids, they offer a pre-K and early elementary curriculum. With an emphasis on speaking and listening, these 40 lessons create a rich language-learning experience as children use Spanish in carefully designed hands-on activities and games.
These are a few of the features I like best about Spanish Lesson Plans for Kids.
Emphasis on hands-on learning
These lessons are designed so that children spend a significant amount of class time hearing and using the language as they do hands-on activities like crafts, sorting, coloring, and playing games. Each class begins with a short review and the introduction of new vocabulary. Next, the teacher models the activity, which provides exposure to the new words in context. Then, as children do the activity themselves, the teacher continues to provide comprehensible input.
I like the percentage of class time that the Whistlefritz curriculum dedicates to hands-on learning; it is the most effective way for children to engage with Spanish. By keeping the review and initial input short and focused, and devoting more time to carefully designed activities, the Whistlefritz lessons make the most of a child’s energy and attention span. Through spiraling lessons, the Whistlefritz curriculum also incorporates review into the hands-on learning. This maximizes the effectiveness of class time without sacrificing necessary repetition.
The materials for the activities support all the key vocabulary with pictures, so a few of the lessons require quite a bit of cutting. Everything you need to cut out is provided (except for some magazine pictures), but if you have a big class, you will want to be sure to leave preparation time.
If you have seen the Whistlefritz DVDs, you know that they are fabulous language learning products. Some of these lessons include a video clip to show at the end of class. I have to say, this almost feels like cheating! Having the DVD is like having a magic second act – a team teacher who comes in and reinforces exactly the right material, is wonderfully entertaining and never uses more than her share of class time.
Although the lessons stand on their own, having the video creates an excellent learning experience. It also takes pressure off teachers and parents to provide all the input. In addition, the DVDs can be used at any time as an efficient, effective and fun way to reinforce what kids have learned. If you are not familiar with the Whistlefritz videos, you can learn more about them in this post: Las Estaciones by Whistlefritz.
Language support for teachers and parents
The lesson plans include what teachers will say to children in Spanish as they interact and explain activities. The English translation is also provided. This is great support for teachers and parents who are not sure of the most natural way to create comprehensible input and give instructions in Spanish.
Concise, compact presentation
The lessons and all the reproducibles are in one book, so it is easy to find what you need to copy. Any additional materials you need are clearly listed, as are suggested picture books.
Spanish Lesson Plans for Kids is a complete curriculum, but would also be an excellent supplement to an existing program. These lessons, with the focused activities and games, would be useful to anyone teaching young Spanish learners.
The Whistlefritz book Spanish Lesson Plans for Kids is a valuable addition to the growing collection of resources for teaching Spanish to children. Using engaging activities, the lessons introduce basic Spanish and then spiral through the material to ensure that children retain what they learn. The well-structured curriculum can be adapted to different schedules and would be excellent for home school families. To learn more about Spanish Lesson Plans for Kids and the available DVD and book collections, explore the Whistlefritz website. You can also visit them on Facebook.