Review of Middlebury Interactive Languages

As part of the Old Schoolhouse Review Crew, our family was given the opportunity to review a semester of Elementary Spanish 1: Grades K-2, a completely online curriculum by Middlebury Interactive Languages. This program is very fun and interactive, and geared to younger students. Each unit takes a story from Spanish culture and uses various types of games and activities to help students learn the language AND the culture at the same time.

Each unit is broken into several lessons, and there is a lot of review of the small pieces of information that are given. It is definitely not overwhelming for young students, but instead helps them to really grasp phrases before moving on. The curriculum also includes quizzes and tests that help them see how much they are learning along the way.

As someone who learned sign language while immersed in Deaf culture, I know the value of being “thrown in” to the culture in order to learn. In the old days, we learned Spanish by copying words, repeating after the teacher, and we never used many visually stimulating and immersive techniques. Needless to say, I don’t remember a lot about Spanish. However, while in college, I became fluent in sign language by being thrown in and having to learn the language to survive. This curriculum reminds me of that (in as much as an online program can do that). The students watch and listen to stories in Spanish. While focusing on certain phrases, they pick up other words/phrases through context clues and pictures. It is awesome!

Here are a few screen shots of how the program works:

Here the students listen to the numbers 1-10 in Spanish as they click on fishbowls: 
Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 10.26.37 AM

Here the students click on each family member, which changes them from black and white to color. As they click, they hear the family members’ titles in Spanish (mother, father, sister, brother, etc.):
Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 10.28.08 AM

Here the students drag and drop the number words into the pictures that match:Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 10.27.07 AM

This is the Speaking Lab. Here the students record themselves saying the phrases, then listens back to see how closely they pronounced the words to the examples:Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 10.29.38 AM

Here is a shot of the welcome screen, along with the table of contents:Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 10.55.48 AM

As you can see, the students learn Spanish vocabulary for greetings, numbers, family, colors, school, the body, animals, calendar, food, and descriptions. It is a very comprehensive (yet again… not overwhelming) program for young learners. Even an older preschooler can follow along and pick up some vocabulary and culture.

So what do we think of Middlebury Interactive Language’s Elementary Spanish: K-2?

It is awesome! If you have children ages 4-8 and are looking for a Spanish curriculum that will hold their interest, I highly recommend this curriculum. It’s so hard to keep kids at this age interested in learning things that do not come naturally, but this visually stimulating, highly interactive program will keep them entertained and learning. As the kids get older, there are other more advanced programs, so they can continue on with the same program.

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