La Clase Divertida (The Fun Class)

Return to Categories
 

deannatoby

  • Reviewed on Sunday, May 26, 2013
  • Grades Used: 1st - 7th
  • Dates used: 2011-2013
La Clase Divertida (LCD) is a conversation-based introduction to Spanish for elementary ages, grades 1st through 6th. I use it with four students, one each in 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 7th grade. I am having great success with it without it requiring Mom time to do the lessons.

Having a mother who lives in a Spanish speaking country and having had a good grounding in Spanish myself, speaking Spanish is a high priority to me. I bought LCD Levels 1 and 2 in 2011, started the program, stopped in the middle of Level 1 due to some major life upheavals, and began again from the beginning of Level 1 in 2013. My two youngest, 1st and 2nd grade, have just begun Level 2. My mother is visiting, and they have retained at least 90% of what Level 1 taught. They are correctly asking in Spanish what time it is, mentioning colors, dates, etc. For us it is working wonderfully. I wondered if they might feel silly talking back to a computer screen, but the youngest two like it very much, and the older two handle it well. Spanish is not a chore to do!

But, I can easily see this program NOT working. Why? If you don't follow Sr. Gamache's recommendations there won't be retention. First, we watch each lesson at least 3 times. Second, my children MUST speak back as they watch the video at the appropriate times and interact with the video class. Third, they do the worksheet, I grade it and require corrections, etc. We have not listened the the CD in the car or at home this time around, and that is to our detriment as it would have only helped, but I will be immediately adding that for our Level 2 studies. I'll also add the my oldest in 7th grade doesn't as enthusiastically interact with the DVD and her retention is slightly worse that those of my 1st and 2nd grade children, but still very good.

How can it be improved? A better workbook would be a nice start. Student exercises are minimal, and having extra exercises for children who either can do them or need them would be a big plus. The worksheets are geared for very young children with basic writing skills and are clearly not adequate for a student in 6th grade. Also, adding more teacher notes for those unfamiliar with Spanish would be a help. I'm able to use my knowledge of Spanish to help explain details of some things to my kids. Having said that, though, you don't have to speak Spanish to use the program effectively. In all fairness, speaking Spanish will make ANY Spanish program more effective!

I'm very carefully choosing a grammar-based curriculum for my 8th and 5th grader (well, maybe not the 5th grader) to begin after completing Level 3, but I feel LCD has given us a great base from which to start. I'm excited about beginning Level 3 where there will be some grammar elements introduced. We have used it as prescribed by the author and are having definite results. My children are speaking what they've learned and are retaining their Spanish. I'm pleased with how my children are able to converse with my Spanish-speaking mother.

Diane

  • Reviewed on Wednesday, July 6, 2005
  • Grades Used: K-6
  • Dates used: 2004-2005
I have very mixed feelings about this curriculum.

Pros: It allowed for different learning styles. There was the video, the workbook pages, and projects. It allowed for a lot of repitition. I liked that it included information about Mexico in level I and the Spain in level II. The kids enjoyed it.

Cons: After using this curriculum for two years, my kids just aren't retaining any of the information.

Marsha

  • Reviewed on Sunday, April 3, 2005
  • Grades Used: 1st
  • Dates used: 2005
I speak Spanish and did not find this Curriculum kid friendly at all!

Janet

  • Reviewed on Friday, March 5, 2004
  • Grades Used: K-6
  • Dates used: 2003-2004
We started this curriculum in the middle of the fall, and it's my children's favorite subject! My children are 4, 6, an 7, and they have all enjoyed and learned from this. Sr. Gamache teaches on video with a group of students participating. He includes fun songs to teach vocabulary (with motions!), puppet shows to teach Mexican history, and lots of crafts and cooking activities to teach about Mexican culture (Level II focuses on Spain). He is careful to include conversation topics that are interesting to children (colors, age, animals, birthdays). The practice cassette tape is essential--my kids want to listen to it everytime we get in the car! Everything you need for all the crafts is included (except a shoe box). I ordered a student packet for my 4-year-old so we would have the craft items, but she doesn't use the workbook at all. My kindergartener has trouble with it also, as it is written practice--it's hard to learn to read and write Spanish when you're just learning English! My 1st grader reads very well, though, and the workbook is not too hard for her, and it does give them some experience with how Spanish is written. Spanish is obviously a secular subject, but I appreciate how Sr. Gamache has slipped in references to Christ (how the Aztecs worshipped false gods before knowing about Jesu Cristo). It's not a cheap curriculum, but I think it's well worth it. I think even older elementary students would enjoy it, but it's an introduction--getting students familiar and interested, but Level I does not include grammar or verb tenses. I have not seen Level II or III yet, but I highly recommend this program so far!

12