Foreign Language has been one of those subjects that’s on my “list” of things I want to add but either haven’t found a good way to do it or made it a priority to research. I was excited when I was offered the opportunity to review one semester of Middlebury Interactive Languages’ programs. After a bit of agonizing over which language to choose, we settled on their Elementary Spanish 1, Grades 3-5.
Middlebury Interactive Languages offers a variety of digital language courses including Spanish, French, German, Chinese. For my 3rd grader, Super D, they currently offer 2 semesters of Spanish, French, and German and 1 semester of Chinese.
All the material is presented online. Students log in, and complete one lesson each time. We chose to do one lesson a day. Different units covere topics like Family, Numbers, Greetings, Adjectives/Feelings, Food, Community/Professions, Body, Review, and Animals. Their Elementary Spanish 1, Grades 3-5 program includes 16 different units.
Each unit is broken down into 6 different lessons, and each lesson has 8 different components. It took Super D around 15 minutes each day to complete his Spanish. Each unit includes an opportunity for some cultural immersion. The kids watch a video only in Spanish that tells a fun story. Both Super D and Sweetheart were fascinated by it, and didn’t care that they didn’t understand it all! The idea is to immerse them in the language and help them get familiar with it.
Each lesson also includes opportunity for the kids to practice speaking! The program utilizes the microphone on the computer, and the kids can record themselves. As you can imagine, Super D LOVED this. I had to remind him to listen to the example word given, to help him with the pronunciation. He just wanted to record himself saying the words!
After the student completes the lesson sections, a checkmark appears in the box. That is very helpful for tracking what they’ve done!
Each lesson also incorporates tests and quizzes, to evaluate their learning. Parents can click on the Gradebook section to see all their scores in one place.
I studied Spanish in high school and college, so I’ve enjoyed reviewing along with the kids. I quizzed Super D in the car one morning to see how much he’s retained – and it’s quite a bit! I’m impressed with the program and how much he is actually learning. Sweetheart often joined him for his lessons, and she learned quite a bit too! He is currently working on Unit 4, and he knows a lot of names for family members (mama, papa, aunt, uncle, grandma, etc), most of his numbers (1-10), and standard greetings (hello, how are you). Not bad for 3 units of Spanish!
I also appreciate it that he can do it without me! I created a link on my desktop to the program, so he can just click on it and do his lesson independently.
Middlebury Interactive Languages does offer an app for a tablet, and we tried it on our ipad. We sadly couldn’t get the speaking lab recording sections to work, so we just used the program on our computer. I like that there is an app option and hope they can get that adjusted soon!