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Creating Spanish Immersion Program


srtabaker
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Buenas tardes a todos,

 

My name is Katie Baker. I am a Spanish teacher interested in creating a Spanish immersion program for homeschoolers and their parents. I became interested in this project after my sister, a homeschool teacher, mentioned to me that there were very few Spanish programs for kids geared toward full fluency in the language.

 

My colleagues and I are practitioners of Comprehensible Input methods of teaching language - we believe that students can acquire a second language through immersion in COMPREHENSIBLE language input. This means simplifying the vocabulary used to the bare basics at first and gradually adding more vocabulary and complex structure as the learners grow and develop. The formula is input before output - students must hear and see the language before they can produce it themselves.

 

I am posting here because I am in the process of creating a curriculum, but I want to tailor it to the particular needs of homeschoolers. I don't want to duplicate a program that is already out there, and I want to create something that people could really use.

 

Ideally, what would you like to see in a Spanish curriculum for your kids? I am open to all sorts of ideas.

 

Mil gracias,

Srta. Baker

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I think this is brilliant. Perfect! The biggest challenge I see is that many times the homeschooling parent is also not fluent and would need to learn along with the child. In all honesty, it seems that many posters here are interested in their child learning a foreign language but appear to have no real interest (and time, energy, etc. ?) for learning the language themselves. I think you might need to market yourself as a family homeschool Spanish curriculum, if that makes sense. I am unclear about any other way immersion would work.

 

I have tried to create an immersion environment in our home. I started by labeling everything in the house and working on everyday phrases, starting out as if my kids were toddlers, learning one word at a time and building upon that. I think whatever you design, it should come with pre-printed household labels because that project was a bear. :tongue_smilie:

 

I'm all ears for more conversation on this topic.

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1. A step by step workbook that doesn't require a teacher's manual (similar to Hey Andrew! Teach me some Greek! And Latin's Not so Tough!"

 

2. Daily DVDs which complement the workbook ...so the student watches a lesson and then does the workbook with the parent.

 

However, unlike Hey Andrew (mentioned above), the workbook should have Spanish reading exercises built in as soon as possible.

 

Homeschool parents like books where everything is in one spot. Homeschool parents do not like big teacher's manuals. We also usually don't enjoy doing "classroom type" presentations on white boards. We like to sit next to our kids and learn with them, explaining what's on the page and discussing it as necessary. We like to interact with our kids, but not as a standing-at-a-chalkboard-teacher.

 

And we love lessons on DVDs.

 

Oh and lots of us live on one income. So usually we can't afford to pay more than about 100.00 per year per subject and even that is a stretch.

 

But I think many of us would be thrilled to have more Spanish choices. The pickings are very slim!!

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A way to easily print labels for all common household objects would be really, really nice. Honestly this would be nice if it were on a website where you could click your way down a list and have it auto-generate labels and/or flashcards for you to print.

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1. I'd be interested in some Total Physical Response activities.

 

2. A deck of flashcards (both text and photo based) for Anki or another spaced repetition system would also be great.

 

3. Pimsleur type audio lessons for kids to listen to in the car would be useful. Many parents spend lots of time driving their kids to activities so a progream that can make good use of this time would be helpful.

 

4. Lessons that coordinate with the TV show Pocoyo would be amazing. At higher levels, lessons that coordinate with watching The Flintstones or other cartoons in Spanish would be nice. Watching Pocoyo has helped my Spanish a lot.

 

I think it's great you want to emphasize input before output. Most language programs and teachers expect students to start speaking before they've heard much Spanish. We'd never expect a baby to start speaking before hearing thousands of hours of their native language, so why do we expect students with little listening experience to be able to speak a new language?

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Many of us here have our children do lots of copywork and slowly progress to dictation before we expect them to write their own content. This gives them a chance to become familiar with grammar rules (like punctuation, capitalization, comma useage) and spelling before having to write on their own. This could also be incorporated into a Spanish program.

 

I think a really top-notch program would include movement, visual, and auditory components. Most adults probably cringe at the way they were taught, which probably was to spend most of their time learning rules to conjugate verbs, while rarely heaing anyone speak the language, and learning little vocabulary of everyday items.

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Ooh. Another thing that would be really nifty to have in a program (where we may not have native speaker access) would be a set of carefully graded readers with an audiobook that read along.

 

Didn't think to mention this before, but if you're looking for something now, I bought this giant box of Spanish resources a few years ago. It has fabulous bilingual fairy tale and science readers, with audio. My kids LOVE them.

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ooooo i LOVE the idea of the readers!! I've been wanting to buy the REAL Homeschool spanish curriculum for a while, but have hesitated because it seems really really REALLY teacher intensive, which i guess you can only expect from a foreign language program, but still. I can't see myself having that kind of time to dedicate to spanish. (i work from home and homeschool lol) Maybe something really super simple, like a lesson plan/workbook kind of a book that has some simple worksheets (copywork with the words? matching, maybe when it comes up to include the instructions in spanish?) corresponding with a set of vocabulary and ideas on how to integrate the vocabulary into daily living (like colors or shapes, etc) and some simple phrases to use with them... (que color es.., etc.). the readers would be awesome too, with the very beginner ones with just the "known" vocab in them (Spot played with an azul ball) and increasing with each set of words. Even if they weren't ACTUAL readers, maybe a super short, few sentence story for the kids to read and feel accomplished about? Maybe some hands on games (with little to no extra supplies needed) for the more tactile learners??

 

Sorry this ended up being so long!! :)

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Buenas tardes a todos,

 

My name is Katie Baker. I am a Spanish teacher interested in creating a Spanish immersion program for homeschoolers and their parents. I became interested in this project after my sister, a homeschool teacher, mentioned to me that there were very few Spanish programs for kids geared toward full fluency in the language.

 

Mil gracias,

Srta. Baker

 

 

:seeya: Just posting really quickly to say hi to my sister, who is putting together this Spanish program! She really is quite a brilliant Spanish teacher, and I am so excited that she wants to adapt her fantastic classroom teaching methods to a homeschool curriculum. (Can I also say that it is completely awesome to have her support our homeschooling! :001_smile:) She is definitely proposing much more of a comprehensive program than anything available, incorporating activities for active vocabulary learning through listening activities, reading Spanish "readers" together, and a variety of games/activities with both audio & visual components.

 

I know that she will do a much better job than I ever could explaining her methods to you guys! Please continue to give her feedback about what you are looking for. I really love several of the ideas that have already been proposed, and I know that this is exactly the kind of specific information she needs to really get her curriculum ideas really going.

 

Thanks again to the Hive! Y'all are awesome as always!

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I think this is brilliant. Perfect! The biggest challenge I see is that many times the homeschooling parent is also not fluent and would need to learn along with the child. In all honesty, it seems that many posters here are interested in their child learning a foreign language but appear to have no real interest (and time, energy, etc. ?) for learning the language themselves. I think you might need to market yourself as a family homeschool Spanish curriculum, if that makes sense. I am unclear about any other way immersion would work.

 

I have tried to create an immersion environment in our home. I started by labeling everything in the house and working on everyday phrases, starting out as if my kids were toddlers, learning one word at a time and building upon that. I think whatever you design, it should come with pre-printed household labels because that project was a bear. :tongue_smilie:

 

I'm all ears for more conversation on this topic.

 

 

I love the idea of families learning Spanish together! I know the reason many Spanish teachers are hesitant to switch to immersion or comprehensible input methods is because they are unsure of their own language skills. Surely this would be even more difficult for a parent who only had a couple of years of language classes.

 

Since, as you say, many parents may not want to learn the language, it might be better for me to create a program in which parents CAN learn with their kids, but do not have to devote extra hours learning the language beforehand.

 

As far as labels go, DEFINITELY. Labeling just my classroom took hours.

 

Thanks for the input!

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1. A step by step workbook that doesn't require a teacher's manual (similar to Hey Andrew! Teach me some Greek! And Latin's Not so Tough!"

 

2. Daily DVDs which complement the workbook ...so the student watches a lesson and then does the workbook with the parent.

 

However, unlike Hey Andrew (mentioned above), the workbook should have Spanish reading exercises built in as soon as possible.

 

Homeschool parents like books where everything is in one spot. Homeschool parents do not like big teacher's manuals. We also usually don't enjoy doing "classroom type" presentations on white boards. We like to sit next to our kids and learn with them, explaining what's on the page and discussing it as necessary. We like to interact with our kids, but not as a standing-at-a-chalkboard-teacher.

 

And we love lessons on DVDs.

 

Oh and lots of us live on one income. So usually we can't afford to pay more than about 100.00 per year per subject and even that is a stretch.

 

But I think many of us would be thrilled to have more Spanish choices. The pickings are very slim!!

 

 

Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is exactly the type of information I need, because I didn't realize any of those things about homeschool parents. Would other parents agree? :bigear:

 

I was already thinking of DVD + Audio + reading as a winning combination, but I wouldn't have thought that it's preferable to have everything in order and in one place. And ditching the teacher's manual... I like that. Perhaps the teacher's suggestions could be printed right in the same workbook? It's not like you need to keep your methods a secret from your kids.

 

One other question - I completely understand about limited funds. I, too, have limited funds at the moment. ;) What would you (or anyone else) think of home-produced videos? Obviously, I would make sure the sound quality was good, but producing videos myself would reduce costs for me and for parents.

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1. I'd be interested in some Total Physical Response activities.

 

2. A deck of flashcards (both text and photo based) for Anki or another spaced repetition system would also be great.

 

3. Pimsleur type audio lessons for kids to listen to in the car would be useful. Many parents spend lots of time driving their kids to activities so a program that can make good use of this time would be helpful.

 

4. Lessons that coordinate with the TV show Pocoyo would be amazing. At higher levels, lessons that coordinate with watching The Flintstones or other cartoons in Spanish would be nice. Watching Pocoyo has helped my Spanish a lot.

 

Most language programs and teachers expect students to start speaking before they've heard much Spanish. We'd never expect a baby to start speaking before hearing thousands of hours of their native language, so why do we expect students with little listening experience to be able to speak a new language?

 

You're a lady after my own heart. This summarizes the theory just perfectly. I love TPR and TPRS and would certainly use them (or a version of them) in any program I made.

 

I also think Pocoyo is great, but I think I could run into copyright issues if I tried to use it in a comprehensive program.

 

I wouldn't have thought of lessons for the car! I guess a lot of parents probably do spend a lot of time driving around with their kids. Smart idea!

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I would like to see a program for young children that covers more than basic vocab and a couple of phrases. My daughter knows colors, numbers, basic objects, and a few dialogues. I haven't seen anything out there that teaches more than this without requiring advanced reading and writing skills.

The things I could adapt would be very teacher intensive and very expensive. Right now I am using free resources from the internet and a picture dictionary to keep track of what basic vocab we know.

Things I would actually pay for:

- picture flashcards (I can make my own that are just words. I wouldn't buy them)

- songs integrated into the program that directly teach something

- cd with stories and songs intertwined

- phrases and commands to use at home on a daily basis

- lesson plans to keep us going and a separate teacher's guide to explain the Spanish to parents who do not speak the language or older kids who do not learn well by immersion. It is frustrating to not get something when you know it is supposed to be aimed for children.

- a basal reader that builds vocabulary gradually. I would prefer all Spanish. Perhaps with picture clues in the beginning?

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So, I guess I should explain a little bit more about what I'm envisioning.

 

In my head, I see this as a multi-modal learning experience. I did some formal research about vocabulary acquisition, and found that students who used more than one "mode" of learning (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, etc) acquired vocabulary better and retained it for longer.

 

I would like to create something that incorporates movement, pictures, listening, reading, grammar, and speaking.

 

Perhaps the format could look something like this:

-a list of vocabulary words for the unit with audio pronunciations

-a video of me telling them a story with gestures and props, with pauses for student responses to verbal questions

-a follow-up reading passage or two focusing on the same vocabulary words, with audio and accompanying comprehension questions

-a short grammar page, using examples from the reading

-suggested additional practice activities for using and studying the vocabulary

 

That would be a basic unit, and then occasionally I would include a game, a purely audio story, or a "conversation" practice recording. After a few months of learning, I would also provide some speaking and writing prompts and practices.

 

I would like to theme each unit around the adventures of two or three characters. Right now I'm throwing around the idea of two kids and their pet penguin/monkey/chinchilla. This would keep the lessons contextualized and I believe it gives students a little more intrinsic motivation to learn than your typical foods/colors/clothing textbook.

 

This is very similar to how my classroom functioned. I taught mostly 9th-graders, and my students were listening to me speak 90% Spanish on day 3 and reading on day 10. By the end of the year they could speak for about 2 minutes without prompting and write a couple of paragraphs independently.

 

Specifically, I need to know:

1. What kind of time would you want to spend on Spanish each day?

2. How much of the time would you want to spend with your kids during the Spanish lesson?

3. How important is culture for you? Would you want cultural information provided in the book?

4. Would you rather have everything in order in a book, or would you rather choose the order of activities yourself?

5. Would you rather have a professionally bound book, or a less-professional binder full of individual sheets of paper that can be removed, copied, moved around, etc?

6. What sort of topics are you and your children most interested in? What do you talk about a lot? (NOTE: CANNOT be copyrighted characters like Disney cartoons or specific superheroes, but could be general ideas like "princesses" or "superheroes".)

 

Can't wait to hear more wonderful ideas!

:bigear: :bigear: :bigear:

Edited by srtabaker
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Homemade video of you teaching would be fine. I think some of the latin programs do that. I would look up on the forum what people's complaints on these videos are and try to avoid those mistakes. Please try to keep the videos short. Most parent's will need to preview them, and simply do not have the time.

I would like to spend only about 30 minutes/3 times a week with optional worksheets,games, reading, etc for the other days.

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Yes, the directions and explanations can be printed right into the student workbook. The student and parent read them together, and then the student completes the page.

 

You could look at Latin's Not So Tough, Math Mammoth and Growing with Grammar to see what I mean.

 

Also, I personally, would not mind home produced videos at all. We are always looking up educational videos on You Tube. Our favorite grammar song is done by a 12 year old kid. :)

 

I don't know about others though.

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I also think Pocoyo is great, but I think I could run into copyright issues if I tried to use it in a comprehensive program.

 

I was thinking the Pocoyo lessons would be about vocabulary to watch for in a particular episode. The parents would still have to find a legal way to watch it. I don't see how lessons to do before and after a certain episode would violate copyright.

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I'd definitely be interested in a dvd-based curriculum, and I wouldn't mind if they are homemade (but would prefer pressed dvds to burned -- last longer, less issues). So that's something to consider...

 

30 minutes a day is about what I'd like to spend on a Spanish program. Definitely interested in what you come up with! :)

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So, I guess I should explain a little bit more about what I'm envisioning.

 

In my head, I see this as a multi-modal learning experience. I did some formal research about vocabulary acquisition, and found that students who used more than one "mode" of learning (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, etc) acquired vocabulary better and retained it for longer.

 

I would like to create something that incorporates movement, pictures, listening, reading, grammar, and speaking.

 

Perhaps the format could look something like this:

-a list of vocabulary words for the unit

-a video of me telling them a story with gestures and props, with pauses for student responses

-a follow-up reading passage or two focusing on the same vocabulary words, perhaps with audio

-a grammar page, using examples from the reading

-suggested practice activities for using and studying the vocabulary

 

That would be a basic unit, and then occasionally I would include a game, a purely audio story, or a "conversation" practice recording. After a few months of learning, I would also provide some speaking and writing prompts and practices.

 

I would like to theme each unit around the adventures of two or three characters. Right now I'm throwing around the idea of two kids and their pet penguin/monkey/chinchilla. This would keep the lessons contextualized and I believe it gives students a little more intrinsic motivation to learn than your typical foods/colors/clothing textbook.

 

This is very similar to how my classroom functioned. I taught mostly 9th-graders, and my students were listening to me speak 90% Spanish on day 3 and reading on day 10. By the end of the year they could speak for about 2 minutes without prompting and write a couple of paragraphs independently.

 

Specifically, I need to know:

1. What kind of time would you want to spend on Spanish each day? 20 minutes to an hour

2. How much of the time would you want to spend with your kids during the Spanish lesson? My dc are 7 and for the next couple of years I expect very little to get done unless I am seated next to them, so while I might prefer to move the laundry along, I assume I will be with them the whole time.

3. How important is culture for you? Would you want cultural information provided in the book? I want minimal cultural information, between the internet and the library I can find and supplement this as needed.

4. Would you rather have everything in order in a book, or would you rather choose the order of activities yourself? Because we have done some study for 2 years now, I want to be able to choose a fair amount.

5. Would you rather have a professionally bound book, or a less-professional binder full of individual sheets of paper that can be removed, copied, moved around, etc? I don't care, but I read a lot of comments from people who want to use curriculum on their Kindle/ipad/etc. or want to print out just what is needed or want it to lay flat when they are using it, etc., etc.

6. What sort of topics are you and your children most interested in? What do you talk about a lot? (NOTE: CANNOT be copyrighted characters like Disney cartoons or specific superheroes, but could be general ideas like "princesses" or "superheroes".) Superheroes, princesses, mathematics, science (like parts of plants or a discussion of seasons and the Earth's rotation) would make great stand-alone subjects, like a Friday Fun day or something for various ages. In general I want the topics to be progressive and focused on things we will use. For instance, start in the kitchen with vocabulary, including parent command/requests and appropriate responses. Include more vocabulary than we need, highlight the ones to focus on (but the rest make conversing easier) and then move to the bedroom, etc. in subsequent weeks or months.

 

Can't wait to hear more wonderful ideas!

:bigear: :bigear: :bigear:

 

There have been similar threads to this in the past, you might want to try some searches to see if you can find them. The best way is to use Google search and type something like "well trained mind spanish"

 

Here are some of my random thoughts from reading previous responses here.

 

Check out the way Maria Miller has set up Math Mammoth. She has full curriculum available, or you can buy topics of interest. This might be a nice way for people to customize their program - some folks are starting at the beginning, some of us will poke out our eyes out if we have to even skim past uno a diez again. :) This is just a suggestion since you are just getting started - I don't know how it would fly from a business point of view.

 

Reading Spanish at the elementary level seems to be accomplished with a syllabary, like the one published by Rod & Staff. Many of us are working with children who already know how to read, but the syllabary is a nice, easy way to practice proper Spanish pronunciation and it is giving us a nice base in short vocabulary words. Perhaps this could be an optional part since not everyone would be ready for it at the same time. You could make it more workbook-y in order for it to stand alone.

 

One thing I have borrowed from our English work is to read a short selection and then ask comprehension questions. It would be great if something like that could be incorporated in the curriculum. It forces them to listen, think and speak. The reading, questions and answers can be of appropriate difficulty for what ever "level", or maybe there could be two or three options. I like to do this orally since my dc have enough trouble coming up with the answer (often in English), then casting about for appropriate vocabulary, I would get nothing if they also had to write it down.

Edited by SusanC
Forgot to answer your actual questions...
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I love the idea of TPR videos. We were involved in a TPR co-op spanish class and it was AWESOME (until the teacher moved. :001_unsure:)

 

I like the idea of the homemade videos to keep the price down. I would rather my kids learn more vocab, and hear native speakers while they are young, than a program with a huge focus on worksheets, grammar, and cultural info (although all of that is important and has its place.)

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Something like the series Practice Makes Perfect but with larger font and audio for every word. Teacher text should be within the workbook, similar to Math Mammoth or Getting Started with Spanish.

 

We like Breaking the Barrier, but it doesn't have enough practice pages, it's mainly for middle school and higher, and not everything is in audio.

 

I love the idea of level readers with accompanying audio.

 

I would like it to be focused on grammar, but at this point, we've learned enough Latin and French that a Spanish immersion program would work for us.

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So, I guess I should explain a little bit more about what I'm envisioning.

 

In my head, I see this as a multi-modal learning experience. I did some formal research about vocabulary acquisition, and found that students who used more than one "mode" of learning (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, etc) acquired vocabulary better and retained it for longer.

 

I would like to create something that incorporates movement, pictures, listening, reading, grammar, and speaking.

 

Perhaps the format could look something like this:

-a list of vocabulary words for the unit

-a video of me telling them a story with gestures and props, with pauses for student responses

-a follow-up reading passage or two focusing on the same vocabulary words, perhaps with audio

-a grammar page, using examples from the reading

-suggested practice activities for using and studying the vocabulary

Sounds good. Would the grammar be optional so I could include my 6yo? You might consider a "base" level for younger kids & beginners, and then having additional readings/grammar for me & any older kids.

 

That would be a basic unit, and then occasionally I would include a game, a purely audio story, or a "conversation" practice recording. After a few months of learning, I would also provide some speaking and writing prompts and practices.

 

I would like to theme each unit around the adventures of two or three characters. Right now I'm throwing around the idea of two kids and their pet penguin/monkey/chinchilla. This would keep the lessons contextualized and I believe it gives students a little more intrinsic motivation to learn than your typical foods/colors/clothing textbook.

 

This is very similar to how my classroom functioned. I taught mostly 9th-graders, and my students were listening to me speak 90% Spanish on day 3 and reading on day 10. By the end of the year they could speak for about 2 minutes without prompting and write a couple of paragraphs independently. That would be great! I wish I could take your class, I'm a language nut & have been trying to learn Spanish on my own for quite a while.

 

Specifically, I need to know:

1. What kind of time would you want to spend on Spanish each day? About 30-60 minutes, but I'd add time for (1) activities/video/readings/audio that can double up - maybe a literature / history / nature story IN Spanish or (2) immersion videos where I'm not actively teaching.

2. How much of the time would you want to spend with your kids during the Spanish lesson? 20-30 minutes of teaching, assuming it's for multi-ages. If I have to separate it would be 10-15 min. each.

3. How important is culture for you? Would you want cultural information provided in the book? It's somewhat important but not the main thing. I think cultural information would be great content for reading / hearing Spanish. (I linked the "Easy Spanish Reader" below, it has a section with Spanish history so I know it could be done.)

4. Would you rather have everything in order in a book, or would you rather choose the order of activities yourself? It would depend. Perhaps a "getting started" section with maybe 3 mos / 1 term of laid-out, step by step plans. Then after that modules to mix & match would be fine.

5. Would you rather have a professionally bound book, or a less-professional binder full of individual sheets of paper that can be removed, copied, moved around, etc? Either. I want to be able to afford it. Spiral binding is ~$3 so I can always have things bound myself. I really prefer consumables be a PDF, I don't generally use them otherwise unless they are very cheap including S&H costs.

6. What sort of topics are you and your children most interested in? What do you talk about a lot? (NOTE: CANNOT be copyrighted characters like Disney cartoons or specific superheroes, but could be general ideas like "princesses" or "superheroes".) Fairy/folk tales/myths like St. George & the Dragon, Puss 'n' Boots. Stories of famous people, or knights/kings/explorers in general. Introduce us to some new stories from Spanish cultures & history. Also things we see in our lives - maybe a story about a camping trip, or a vacation, or summer/winter activities. We spend a lot of time outdoors so animals & nature stories. Maybe something like Beatrix Potter or Thornton Burgess would write.

 

Can't wait to hear more wonderful ideas!

:bigear: :bigear: :bigear:

 

I'm getting excited now. I'm fine with home-made videos as well.

 

Check out the way Maria Miller has set up Math Mammoth. She has full curriculum available, or you can buy topics of interest. This might be a nice way for people to customize their program - some folks are starting at the beginning, some of us will poke out our eyes out if we have to even skim past uno a diez again. :) This is just a suggestion since you are just getting started - I don't know how it would fly from a business point of view.

 

Perhaps a beginning module with basic vocabulary, then other modules to be more 'story' focused. So maybe I start with the boys, and do the beginning module then some additional modules. When I decide to start DD, I can have her do the beginning module, and then join us in the current content modules.

 

Reading Spanish at the elementary level seems to be accomplished with a syllabary, like the one published by Rod & Staff. Many of us are working with children who already know how to read, but the syllabary is a nice, easy way to practice proper Spanish pronunciation and it is giving us a nice base in short vocabulary words. Perhaps this could be an optional part since not everyone would be ready for it at the same time. You could make it more workbook-y in order for it to stand alone.

 

One thing I have borrowed from our English work is to read a short selection and then ask comprehension questions. It would be great if something like that could be incorporated in the curriculum. It forces them to listen, think and speak. The reading, questions and answers can be of appropriate difficulty for what ever "level", or maybe there could be two or three options. I like to do this orally since my dc have enough trouble coming up with the answer (often in English), then casting about for appropriate vocabulary, I would get nothing if they also had to write it down.

 

The Easy Spanish Reader has questions like this in Spanish, I'm planning to use it with the kids after the holidays. Audio to match would make it even better (and a more child-friendly storyline!).

 

 

I agree with all this. :D

 

Oh, and please have a decent preview. I prefer to be able to see a table of contents/scope & sequence and a complete lesson (video, audio, text). It helps me get a feel for if a program will work for me, and gives me the confidence to actually click "buy".

Edited by mtcougar832
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1. Audio CD's suitable for children (or really as others said for whole family). (The theory of Pimsleur is good, but it does not really seem to suit us well.) I'd like this as a major component, but also to have written materials and DVD etc. if possible. The ability to act out the conversations in a little skit would also be helpful.

 

2. Oriented toward a conversational approach. Excellent pronunciation (probably I'd prefer a Latin American based Spanish, but it could be country of Spain based--anyway that is a consideration).

 

3. As with Foreign Services/ Peace Corps / Defense Dept etc. language training, an emphasis on forms that can be learned and then have other words easily substituted in place of some of the words. Example: Nos estamos chegando no Rio. (We are arriving in Rio.) Other verbs in gerund form can then replace "chegando/arriving" other destinations can replace "no Rio". etc.

 

I really don't know Spanish, but think similar would be something like: Tengo hambre. Tengo sed. Tengo frio. ???

 

I agree that using audio, visual, etc. learning modes is important, but I think foreign language programs that focus on conversation first--rather than readings and grammar--work best. You seem to be putting the conversation part as an occasional extra.

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1. Audio CD's suitable for children (or really as others said for whole family). (The theory of Pimsleur is good, but it does not really seem to suit us well.) I'd like this as a major component, but also to have written materials and DVD etc. if possible. The ability to act out the conversations in a little skit would also be helpful.

 

2. Oriented toward a conversational approach. Excellent pronunciation (probably I'd prefer a Latin American based Spanish, but it could be country of Spain based--anyway that is a consideration).

 

3. As with Foreign Services/ Peace Corps / Defense Dept etc. language training, an emphasis on forms that can be learned and then have other words easily substituted in place of some of the words. Example: Nos estamos chegando no Rio. (We are arriving in Rio.) Other verbs in gerund form can then replace "chegando/arriving" other destinations can replace "no Rio". etc.

 

I really don't know Spanish, but think similar would be something like: Tengo hambre. Tengo sed. Tengo frio. ???

 

I agree that using audio, visual, etc. learning modes is important, but I think foreign language programs that focus on conversation first--rather than readings and grammar--work best. You seem to be putting the conversation part as an occasional extra.

 

I really like the idea of skits - maybe based on the stories. :)

 

I am not sure how you arrived at the idea that I want to focus on grammar from my original post about creating an immersion program, but I would like to clarify - this is NOT a grammar-focused program. I think that grammar is an important concept that should be learned frequently in very small chunks (IE: identify the subject in each of these 6 sentences) to reinforce to children that grammar is simple and has everything to do with using the language every day. "Saving" it until the end only makes it seem like a difficult and cumbersome task.

 

BUT - the main focus of this program will be learning to speak Spanish.

 

I don't think that the Foreign Service method of teaching languages is appropriate for children at all. The government's goals are entirely different - they have a period of only a few months to get adults to a basic level of conversation before sending them off to another country. So of course it makes sense to use the adults' fully-developed sense of grammar to teach them sentence "formulas" that they can use in various situations. However, these adults are not truly acquiring the language - unless they spend a lot more time listening to and practicing the language once they arrive in their immersion environment, they will never be fluent.

 

The goal of comprehensible input is to provide children with real, contextualized language that they can understand from the beginning. This is similar to the period of your child's life in which he or she can understand you and follow directions, or even respond with hand gestures, but may not be able to produce full sentences or even clear words yet. After a period of hearing (and hearing while reading) the language, he or she will begin to produce on his or her own. This is very, very different from the "formulas" the government uses. Your child will begin to produce sentences that you never taught, because he or she really understands the language and can create something that just "feels right."

 

So yes, there is a lot of reading, because your child needs examples of correct language before producing his or her own. There is also a lot of listening and responding to stories with just one or two words, an action, or a hand gesture. The conversation will come, but not immediately.

 

I'm sorry this is so long, but I don't want you or anyone else to get the wrong idea about this program before I even begin. I hope this helps clarify.

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One thing I have borrowed from our English work is to read a short selection and then ask comprehension questions. It would be great if something like that could be incorporated in the curriculum. It forces them to listen, think and speak. The reading, questions and answers can be of appropriate difficulty for what ever "level", or maybe there could be two or three options. I like to do this orally since my dc have enough trouble coming up with the answer (often in English), then casting about for appropriate vocabulary, I would get nothing if they also had to write it down.

 

This is excellent. :iagree: With my classes, I would often ask for a combination of oral responses in Spanish and written responses in English. I can see why the writing would be more of a challenge with little ones.

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I'm getting excited now. I'm fine with home-made videos as well.

 

I agree with all this. :D

 

Oh, and please have a decent preview. I prefer to be able to see a table of contents/scope & sequence and a complete lesson (video, audio, text). It helps me get a feel for if a program will work for me, and gives me the confidence to actually click "buy".

 

 

Thanks for the tip. I will make sure to do that!

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Take a look at Lango. I am in a class with my 2 yo. It is a mom and tot class kind of like Kindermusik. I've only gone to 2 sessions, and in each session a teacher sits down on the floor with the kids and moms and talks completely in spanish while pulling out toys, and talking about what they are. She also does a few songs. I think the interaction and it being 99% in Spanish is really good.

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Personally, I would like a language program that uses easy to acquire picture books. Real books with real stories. An audio reading of the book (CD or MP3) would go with it. Like Sonlight preschool, but with the foreign language.

 

I've tried to do this a bit with a different language I know, but I can't peruse a childrens' section of a bookstore in that language and I really need books that are interesting but the vocabulary is easy and repetitive (so the kids pick up on it and enjoy it, instead of zoning out). I've found a few books, but what I would want would be a TON of books like this. I would think it would be easy to do if you could access a good bookstore in that language. You could make packs of 4 or 5 books with audio so people could invest as much as they wanted and build the size of library they wanted (or sample the style without too much investment). Maybe copyright issues get in the way of doing audio, but maybe not since you'd likely be increasing their sales (you'd just have to get permission).

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Take a look at Lango. I am in a class with my 2 yo. It is a mom and tot class kind of like Kindermusik. I've only gone to 2 sessions, and in each session a teacher sits down on the floor with the kids and moms and talks completely in spanish while pulling out toys, and talking about what they are. She also does a few songs. I think the interaction and it being 99% in Spanish is really good.

 

Oh, be still my heart. That is incredible. Just incredible. Sadly, there are no classes in my area. It does make me want to bring in a tutor though. Thanks so much for posting about this!

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Take a look at Lango. I am in a class with my 2 yo. It is a mom and tot class kind of like Kindermusik. I've only gone to 2 sessions, and in each session a teacher sits down on the floor with the kids and moms and talks completely in spanish while pulling out toys, and talking about what they are. She also does a few songs. I think the interaction and it being 99% in Spanish is really good.

 

This is a wonderful idea! I hope that you and your little one get a lot out of this course.

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Personally, I would like a language program that uses easy to acquire picture books. Real books with real stories. An audio reading of the book (CD or MP3) would go with it. Like Sonlight preschool, but with the foreign language.

 

I've tried to do this a bit with a different language I know, but I can't peruse a childrens' section of a bookstore in that language and I really need books that are interesting but the vocabulary is easy and repetitive (so the kids pick up on it and enjoy it, instead of zoning out). I've found a few books, but what I would want would be a TON of books like this. I would think it would be easy to do if you could access a good bookstore in that language. You could make packs of 4 or 5 books with audio so people could invest as much as they wanted and build the size of library they wanted (or sample the style without too much investment). Maybe copyright issues get in the way of doing audio, but maybe not since you'd likely be increasing their sales (you'd just have to get permission).

 

 

Oh, books. I love books. Children's books are often much more complex grammar and vocab-wise than you would think, but there are certainly options here, and that would be similar to the readers I'm looking to produce - real stories, real pictures, with questions afterwards to encourage comprehension and vocabulary acquisition. Have you looked online to find children's books in your language?

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Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is exactly the type of information I need, because I didn't realize any of those things about homeschool parents. Would other parents agree? :bigear:

 

Oh, yes! I completely agree that what Calming Tea described is not only true for myself but for ALL of the homeschool parents I have known in my seventeen years in the community.

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1. A step by step workbook that doesn't require a teacher's manual

 

2. Daily DVDs which complement the workbook ...so the student watches a lesson and then does the workbook with the parent.

 

Homeschool parents like books where everything is in one spot. Homeschool parents do not like big teacher's manuals. We also usually don't enjoy doing "classroom type" presentations on white boards. We like to sit next to our kids and learn with them, explaining what's on the page and discussing it as necessary. We like to interact with our kids, but not as a standing-at-a-chalkboard-teacher.

 

And we love lessons on DVDs.

 

Oh and lots of us live on one income. So usually we can't afford to pay more than about 100.00 per year per subject and even that is a stretch.

 

But I think many of us would be thrilled to have more Spanish choices. The pickings are very slim!!

 

 

:iagree:

 

 

Also, I would prefer NOT to have copywork. I think having copywork in English (and some people have it in Social Studies, Science) is plenty. Obviously you can't please everyone and copywork is easy to add/take out.

 

For Spanish, I also think reading and writing aren't as important to start out with, simply because it is so easy to sound out. So knowing the letter sounds is definitely useful, but reading/spelling is going to be pretty easy once those are known. I far prefer the immersion/TPR approach, with some reading and writing. But I would rather the emphasis be on speaking/listening - at least for the first level. Maybe reading/writing to solidify.

 

I would also love to see cultural knowledge woven in.

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Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is exactly the type of information I need, because I didn't realize any of those things about homeschool parents. Would other parents agree? :bigear:

 

Oh, yes! I completely agree that what Calming Tea described is not only true for myself but for ALL of the homeschool parents I have known in my seventeen years in the community.

 

:lol: Not me, or many of the homeschoolers I know. I love teacher's manuals, dislike (most) workbooks, prefer audio to dvd (except for documentaries), love my whiteboard and even "lecture" my pupils occasionally. :tongue_smilie: That's what makes the homeschooling world go 'round, though.

 

The truth is that no program is going to be perfect for all of us. We represent a broad spectrum of personality types, teaching styles, comfort levels... It is just not possible. Srta. Baker, my best advice is to do what you know best. People who philosophically agree with your vision will buy your program and be happy customers. I think it is always a good idea to solicit suggestions and compile a wish list. However, some of our wishes are going to conflict. We have strong opinions. :D In the end, trying to please too many people may have you pleasing few in the end. For what it's worth, I have loved everything you have said and would be very interested in your program as you have preliminarily laid it out. :001_smile:

Edited by Alte Veste Academy
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I just saw these questions:

 

1. What kind of time would you want to spend on Spanish each day?

 

About 30 minutes

 

 

2. How much of the time would you want to spend with your kids during the Spanish lesson?

 

I would spend the whole time with them.

 

3. How important is culture for you? Would you want cultural information provided in the book?

 

I would love that.

 

 

4. Would you rather have everything in order in a book, or would you rather choose the order of activities yourself?

 

I would prefer everything in one book.

 

5. Would you rather have a professionally bound book, or a less-professional binder full of individual sheets of paper that can be removed, copied, moved around, etc?

 

I would prefer individual sheets in a binder, especially if there are student pages.

 

6. What sort of topics are you and your children most interested in? What do you talk about a lot? (NOTE: CANNOT be copyrighted characters like Disney cartoons or specific superheroes, but could be general ideas like "princesses" or "superheroes".)

 

 

I would love to have everyday conversation. For example, if we are eating lunch I would want to be able to say, "Would you like more ...?" "Are you done?" "Pass the salt." :lol: Just everyday things.

 

Things the kids like to talk about: pets, science topics, sports, holidays, money

 

I don't know if this is helpful for you, but I found it helpful when planning second language study:

 

http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/st/ss/documents/worldlanguage2009.pdf

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I would like to theme each unit around the adventures of two or three characters. Right now I'm throwing around the idea of two kids and their pet penguin/monkey/chinchilla. This would keep the lessons contextualized and I believe it gives students a little more intrinsic motivation to learn than your typical foods/colors/clothing textbook.

 

I vote monkey. Kids love monkeys. :tongue_smilie:

 

ETA: I am changing my vote and doing a write-in on the ballot. :lol: I choose parrot. Please pick parrots! The parrot would be perfect because they REPEAT, so the lessons would be automatically reinforced. :lol:

 

1. What kind of time would you want to spend on Spanish each day?

 

30 minutes but I also like the idea of having an "immersion hour" during which we can only speak Spanish. Maybe the curriculum could work up to this as a goal?

 

2. How much of the time would you want to spend with your kids during the Spanish lesson?

 

The whole time. I really don't know how immersion learning could possibly be maintained/sustained without 100% parental co-learning.

 

3. How important is culture for you? Would you want cultural information provided in the book?

 

I would really prefer to cover this elsewhere. We do history/geography.

 

4. Would you rather have everything in order in a book, or would you rather choose the order of activities yourself?

 

Depends on how well I like your order. :tongue_smilie:;)

 

5. Would you rather have a professionally bound book, or a less-professional binder full of individual sheets of paper that can be removed, copied, moved around, etc?

 

The latter...although I would call it flexible, not less professional. :tongue_smilie: I would like three-hole punched loose-leaf to put in a binder and reorder as desired. However, if you do this (and even if you don't), it is imperative to check that things that would be better opened up as a 2 page spread are not instead printed back to back. HUGE pet peeve with me. Also, strongly consider selling on PDF. Many people love this these days. And I hear Santa might be bringing me an iPad this year, so...

 

6. What sort of topics are you and your children most interested in? What do you talk about a lot?

 

This is not a joke, but I want the same kind of real-life immersion that you would do with toddlers. Pretend you have a toddler following you through your day and think of the things you would need/want to say to them. Time to get up. Please get dressed. Here is your breakfast. We are having eggs, toast, and fruit. Did you like it? Would you like more? Please clear the table. Please wash your hands. Brush your hair. Time for school! Would you like a story? etc., etc., etc. Here, we have been putting these kinds of mundane phrases/words on index cards linked with a D-ring and carrying them around, somewhat ordered from morning to night. You could incorporate this into your plans, kid/Mom phrase cards that can be added when introduced and then subtracted when they are down cold.

 

ETA: OK, yes, this is what you need to do. And you could make categories of cards: grocery store, nature walk, getting ready for bed, making dinner, going to a restaurant, going to the movies, etc. Oh, you could even market this outside of your curriculum. :lol: This is what I've been trying to work up to with my kids, but always with a zillion books scattered about and dueling online translators. :tongue_smilie:

Edited by Alte Veste Academy
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I just saw these questions:

 

I would love to have everyday conversation. For example, if we are eating lunch I would want to be able to say, "Would you like more ...?" "Are you done?" "Pass the salt." :lol: Just everyday things.

 

Things the kids like to talk about: pets, science topics, sports, holidays, money

 

I don't know if this is helpful for you, but I found it helpful when planning second language study:

 

http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/st/ss/documents/worldlanguage2009.pdf

 

Money, huh? That's a fun one!

 

I have seen the California standards before, and they're good! I think I like the ACTFL standards best, personally, but the CA ones have a lot in common with them.

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I vote monkey. Kids love monkeys. :tongue_smilie:

ETA: I am changing my vote and doing a write-in on the ballot. :lol: I choose parrot. Please pick parrots! The parrot would be perfect because they REPEAT, so the lessons would be automatically reinforced. :lol:

 

This is not a joke, but I want the same kind of real-life immersion that you would do with toddlers. Pretend you have a toddler following you through your day and think of the things you would need/want to say to them. Time to get up. Please get dressed. Here is your breakfast. We are having eggs, toast, and fruit. Did you like it? Would you like more? Please clear the table. Please wash your hands. Brush your hair. Time for school! Would you like a story? etc., etc., etc. Here, we have been putting these kinds of mundane phrases/words on index cards linked with a D-ring and carrying them around, somewhat ordered from morning to night. You could incorporate this into your plans, kid/Mom phrase cards that can be added when introduced and then subtracted when they are down cold.

 

ETA: OK, yes, this is what you need to do. And you could make categories of cards: grocery store, nature walk, getting ready for bed, making dinner, going to a restaurant, going to the movies, etc. Oh, you could even market this outside of your curriculum. :lol: This is what I've been trying to work up to with my kids, but always with a zillion books scattered about and dueling online translators. :tongue_smilie:

 

Of course that's not a joke, it's a lovely idea! You are one smart lady. :D I really like the idea of theming units around daily life instead of lists of objects.

 

And the parrot... okay, that's just funny... :lol: Too perfect! I will make sure to keep the parrot vote in mind. Thank you!

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Oh, books. I love books. Children's books are often much more complex grammar and vocab-wise than you would think, but there are certainly options here, and that would be similar to the readers I'm looking to produce - real stories, real pictures, with questions afterwards to encourage comprehension and vocabulary acquisition. Have you looked online to find children's books in your language?

 

I have looked online, and bought some, but without the "look inside" feature like amazon has I run into just what you have said - there can be complex grammar and vocabulary, and that isn't what the kids are ready to listen to right now. They need the toddler-like repetitive books.

 

FWIW, flaps in books are fun at all ages. :)

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I think home made videos would be fine as long as you take care with quality. There are lots of instructional videos on youtube as to how to make great videos since the whole web tv thing became really popular (

has a good one on colour correcting). You can also shoot very high quality videos using a digital SLR.

 

Also it would be good if the course were available as a downloadable version too. I am in the UK and have had to give up on buying some resources because the price to post it here from the USA was like £100.

Edited by lailasmum
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I think home made videos would be fine as long as you take care with quality. There are lots of instructional videos on youtube as to how to make great videos since the whole web tv thing became really popular (
has a good one on colour correcting). You can also shoot very high quality videos using a digital SLR.

 

Also it would be good if the course were available as a downloadable version too. I am in the UK and have had to give up on buying some resouces because the price to post it here from the USA was like £100.

 

 

Wow! I had not realized that. I will keep that in mind as I work on this project.

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Wow! What a brilliant idea. I'm sure we're all thrilled someone is working on this. As others have said, so many programs are expensive, and a lot of them you can't even see a good example, or more than one level. I suggest you try making a video or lesson then try it out here and see how folks respond. Inexpensive is the key I think. I'm more willing to spend more money if I think I'm getting a 'steal' on multiple things. Funny how that works :)

 

I only have a 3-yr-old, so my responses are geared towards my experiences with her so far. I'm not fluent, but work all the time on my & her Spanish. That said, I'm NOT great at coming up with all the right words in Spanish when we're cooking together, or when we go to the beach, or I'm helping her get dressed, etc. And really, I can't stop every two minutes to look up a word :confused: (although she races to get the dictionary for me plenty!)

 

IMO, what folks do NOT need is more intro spanish programs. There are so many. What I have a lot of trouble finding is the next step. I think Ana Lomba's Play and Learn Spanish book and CD are on the right track, so I'd suggest theme-based concepts like that for your videos, plus some ideas for games/songs/additional conversations to use what you've learned.

 

As for time, 20-30 min would work, depending on your goal and style of teaching. Even shorter videos would be useful. This would keep parents more involved I think. Watch a little 7 min video together and then do a craft/game/audio practice/writing/etc together. If you're still up for it, you can follow it with another lesson.

 

My husband is taking a computer programming course online right now through MIT and he said that despite it potentially being a tough course, it's SO easy because there are short video lectures followed by thoughtful problem sets. Learning in short bursts like this is highly effective. Learn it, use it. Learn more, put it all together.

 

Another thought...I'm not sure how this would work, but it would be nice if we could use some resources that don't come directly from you. As a previous poster said, incorporating books or audio CDs or whatever from other programs would be nice. It's hard to purchase all these bits and pieces for studying one language and then try to piece them together yourself. Maybe they're only suggestions you make in your text (e.g., Read Clifford Visita al Hospital after you do a lesson about going to the doctor), but it sure would be nice to have a resource that points you in the right direction for additional or deeper learning. This might be a nice work around to engage multiple levels at once without building whole new programs.

 

Best of luck! I'll be interested in hearing how this goes. Feel free to ask us to try things out on our kids as you work out the kinks. :lurk5:

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Money, huh? That's a fun one!

 

I have seen the California standards before, and they're good! I think I like the ACTFL standards best, personally, but the CA ones have a lot in common with them.

 

 

Ha ha. Yes, somehow the topic of money never gets old around here. :lol:

 

I have never seen the ACTFL standards. I'll have to go check them out. Thanks!

 

I'm so looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

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