Animo: Once A Week Spanish Class

May 20, 2014
Rating: 4.0. From 1 vote.
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Animo Spanish

Content: Foreign Language – Spanish
Grade(s): 3rd – 8th
Perspective: Secular
Prep Time: Minimal
Teacher Manual: Yes
Teacher Involvement: Moderate
Cost: $ || ?
Pages: 263
Publication Date: 2012
Publisher: Lulu
Date of Review: May 16, 2014
Reviewer: Alessa Giampaolo Keener

Animo is an elementary-level, introductory Spanish course. Like many foreign language classes for children, the focus is on helping students begin to speak about topics relevant to kids. The book is intended to be completed over two 12-week periods. By the time you finish, you’ll have learned over 300 Spanish vocabulary words and short phrases and be able to use them in the present tense.

Parents with little or no Spanish background may be able to use this curriculum, if they’re willing to learn a new language along with their kids. Previewing the book will be helpful for novice adult Spanish learners so you can highlight important pronunciation notes, as they are sprinkled throughout the book. For example, notes for handling tilde and accent marks are introduced in Chapter 2. Students learn how to properly pronounce the Spanish alphabet in Chapter 9. And, chapter 10 discusses stressed syllables.

What may seem like an odd approach to teaching pronunciation is made up by Animo’s more thoughtful attention given to grammar. Rather than just dumping lists of rules to memorize, students are given age-appropriate explanations that contrast Spanish grammar with English’s own quirky rules. Each chapter presents bite-sized portions with plenty of practice exercises. The grammar in Animo gets the job done, in terms of helping students actually learn the language rather than just learn specific phrases they can speak only in specific situations.

Animo is very writing-heavy, which is understandable as it was designed for a once-a-week teacher led class and four-days-a-week of self-study. As you progress through the lessons, the written exercises increase in difficulty. Students move from translating single words and phrases to entire questions and conversations. There’s some variety to the exercises, including word finds, crossword puzzles, and matching lists.

The Instructor’s Edition contains 22 quizzes, along with an answer key, that can be used to document progress and achievement in your Spanish class. The IE does not contain any additional teaching strategies. Families on a tight budget can find alternative resources, such as the free online Animo Quizlet that offers extra practice and quizzes for free.

The authors encourage families to use Jose’ Luis Orozco’s De Colores CD as part of their weekly lessons. While the music adds a cultural component to your Spanish study, no specific assignments work with the songs.

Overall, Animos: Once A Week Spanish Class is a sound introductory Spanish curriculum for elementary students. Its basic black and white consummable softcover textbook is an affordable way for students, ages 9 and up, to begin to acquire essential foreign language skills.

Chapter Summary:

1- Greetings
2- Introductions
3- The Class
4- Numbers 1-15
5- The Family
6- The Farm
7- Adjectives
8- -ar Verbs
9- The Body
10- The Weather

11- Telling Time
12- Days of the Week
13- Numbers 16 – 60
14- More -ar Verbs
15- -er Verbs
16- -ir Verbs
17- Questions in Spanish
18- Names of Places
19- Conditions & Emotions
20- House & Apartment

About the Author:
Meredith Wegbreit and Ekaterina Charland wrote Animo as a curriculum to use with once a week Spanish classes they taught at a homeschool co-op.


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One Comment

  • Gloria June 14, 2014 at 10:24 am

    I am using this book for a summer Spanish class for students with no previous Spanish who plan to take High School Spanish 1 in the fall. It is a perfect introduction to grammar and vocabulary without being as intensive as the high school class. Animo covers the most essential grammar and vocabulary that these students will be learning in the first 4 chapters of Descubre 1, the high school text book.

    For an inexperienced Spanish teacher, this book practically teaches itself. Each lesson teaches one short concept, the students practice this concept (answers provided), then they move on to the next concept. Finally, they have enough homework worksheets (answers provided) to master the material at home before the next class. Then, the next class opens with a short quiz, and we begin to tackle the next chapter. I only have the students do the even numbered items on the quiz to keep it short.

    The suggested songs from the Jose Luis Orozco music book and CD include the vocabulary students are learning, help with Spanish pronunciation, provide a musical learning opportunity as well as a little levity to a serious grammar class. We sing them all!

    Finally, the quizlet page is a wonderful way for students to memorize vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and practice spelling.

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