Learning Spanish with Middlebury Interactive Languages
Middlebury Interactive Languages is an online program which offers access to several different languages at different levels including Spanish, German, French, and Chinese. The girls and I have always including Spanish in our learning time therefore it was an easy decision to review the Middlebury Spanish Course for Elementary. This course is geared towards children in grades 3-5. All assignments for this program are online so one would need internet connection. Another tool that is recommended to accompany the course is a microphone for the computer.
About Middlebury Interactive Languages Spanish Courses:
There are several levels of the Spanish courses; since we have studied basic vocabulary and some sentence structure over the past few years I thought it would be best if our fifth grader used the Elementary Spanish I with our free six month subscription.
Elementary Spanish I has 16 units. Each unit focuses on a different topic or theme. Units include Family, Numbers, Greetings, Colors, Clothes, Calendar, and School. Each unit has six lessons. The format for the unit is consistent and has the same structure. Within each lesson there are eight components or sections.
The first lesson of each unit begins with a two to three minute video that is spoken entirely in Spanish. This program is a full immersion program. The English translation for the Spanish vocabulary is not shared until the second lesson. The video within the first lesson is viewed twice in the first lesson so by watching the video the viewer can often infer the meaning of the words that are highlighted. The highlighted words are the focused vocabulary for the unit topic. Although several vocabulary words are introduced during the video, not all of the words are taught at once. Each unit's vocabulary is broken down into two sections. By lesson six of the unit, the learner is reviewing all of the vocabulary from the specific unit.
How did our 5th grader use Middlebury Interactive Languages Elementary Spanish I?
Our daughter used the course several times per week, primarily Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Since she had prior knowledge of vocabulary used in some of the units, she would complete several lessons each setting. Most days she would complete three lessons from the current unit. Lessons are not time consuming. I would guesstimate that each lessons takes about 15 to 20 minutes based on understanding so on the days in which she completed three lessons, she spent approximately 45 minutes on Spanish. There were some days where she only completed one lesson because she didn't have prior knowledge, and I didn't want her to speed through just for the sake of speeding through.
Each lesson has one or two speaking labs where our daughter was expected to record herself. We currently do not have a microphone on our computer so this required me to be around during this part of her lesson. She would still say all of the vocabulary aloud as expected, but I would listen to her. I believe Middlebury knew this may be an issue for some families so they have an icon within the lesson that can be used to show that the student participated 100%.
Our daughter enjoyed that the program is interactive, and since she is also a person of routine the consistency in the way all units are set up similarly is a great feature.
What did I think of the program?
I like Middlebury Elementary Spanish I. Although our daughter does have some background knowledge of Spanish, she still is learning new things. I appreciate the way they not only teach vocabulary, but integrate it into a story. This allowed our daughter to hear it in context and not just a random word being matched to an English word. Another component that I liked about the program was the grade book which allowed me to see her progress.
The program overall is easy to use. There's not any guess work about expectations. As I have shared, we adapted for our daughter which makes it a gem for our family.
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