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Thursday, October 1, 2015
Schoolhouse Crew Review: Middlebury Interactive Languages
Middlebury Interactive Languages offers online elementary, middle, and high school courses in Spanish, French, Chinese, and German. Their courses use authentic materials and task based learning to immerse students in both language and culture. We recently had an opportunity to use and review Elementary Spanish 1, Grades 3-5.
Elementary Spanish 1 Grades 3-5 is split up into 2 semesters. You can choose to purchase one semester at a time ($119) or buy both at once ($238.) There is also an option to purchase the course with a teacher. Middlebury Interactive Languages are online courses. You do not need to download anything to your computer to take the course. They do recommend high speed internet with a minimum of 3 Mbps, but it can be used with slower speeds (more on that below.) The courses are self paced allowing you to move at your child's pace. Courses expire one year after your purchase date. Elementary Spanish 1 Grades 3-5 contains the following 16 units:
Unit One: The Family
Unit Two: Numbers
Unit Three: Greetings
Unit Four: Adjectives/feelings
Unit Five: Food
Unit Six: Community/professions
Unit Seven: Body
Unit Eight: Review (Units 1-7)
Unit Nine: Animals
Unit Ten: Colors
Unit Eleven: Clothes
Unit Twelve: Weather and Seasons
Unit Thirteen: School
Unit Fourteen: Calendar
Unit Fifteen: Months
Unit Sixteen: Review (Units 9-15)
Each of the units have 6 lessons except for the two review units which are split into 3 lessons, making a total of 90 lessons. Each lesson has several interactive activities that include listening, reading, matching, and speaking. On the left side of the screen several slides appear in a column. The child starts at the top slide and completes the activity. When they finish that activity, the slide turns gray and they click on the next slide until they have completed all of the slides for that day. A calendar view shows which lesson should be done on each day and checks off the lesson when it is completed. There are quizzes and tests for each unit. The grade book shows parents how their child has done on each quiz and unit test.
I have been using Elementary Spanish 1 with my 10 year old 4th grader. I mentioned above that the minimum recommended internet speed is 3 Mbps. I live in the middle of nowhere and my "high speed" internet that I pay for is 1.5 Mbps but I have never achieved that speed. I am lucky if I hit .8 Mbps on a good day. I decided to go ahead and give Middlebury Interactive a try knowing that it probably would not work as well for me as it would for someone with the recommended speed. The only issue we have had with the program is the videos at the beginning of the lesson. We have to pause the video for a minute or two to allow the whole thing to load. A minor inconvenience. We have had no other issues at all with the program.
One of the things that I liked right from the beginning was that Anthony could use the program on his own. All he has to do is follow the instructions and go through each section of the lesson. The instructions do not have to be read, you can click on them and have them read to you. I really like the teaching approach. Rather than have the children learn lists of vocabulary words and complete endless worksheets, it has them jump right in to the language by telling them a story in Spanish and then moving on to the lessons. In the lessons students have practice seeing, hearing, reading, and saying the words. There is plenty of built in review opportunities.
Anthony has really enjoyed the program. He does not enjoy the speaking part, but it has given him good practice.
To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!