When it comes to helping my dual language immersion students make sense of a topic in Spanish (besides using teaching resources purchased by the school), the Internet is my first ‘go to’ place. While there are thousands of resources out there, one is often left wondering which ones are worth spending money on (if purchase is required) and which ones one could access for free and use without compromising quality.
I have come to narrow down a few sites/apps/resources, and while some require a paid subscription, many have certain units or topics for free so you can try them, assess quality, and decide whether it is something you really want. Without any particular order, here is a list of a few resources I find very useful:
- BrainPOP Español: I fell in love with the English version when I started teaching, so when I found out there was a Spanish version I did not think twice and tried it. The great thing about this site is that there are few units you can try for free (without a paid subscription). For example: ‘The Scientific Method,’ ‘Recycling,’ Sources of Energy,’ and ‘Ecosystems’ just to name a few. As a matter of fact, I am using the scientific method this week while introducing science to my class. Remember, here you can find math, social studies, and even art & music resources. Clicking here will take directly the Spanish version of BrainPOP.
- Club Leo by Scholastic: Finding well-written Spanish books can be a hassle, yet Club Leo by Scholastic offers new Spanish and bilingual books as well as other American, Latin American, and Spanish publishers. Sign up for an online account (parent account) so you can start browsing the catalog right away. And it gets even better because Scholastic has its own version of ‘electronic books’ which can be downloaded in seconds – no more waiting for the mail to arrive.
- Cricket Magazines: I saw the review from Betty Galvan some time back about Ladybug en Español. I was ecstatic (seriously!) because I have been a long time consumer of Cricket Magazines and they are outstanding. Their magazines are filled with great educational content and non-fictional material (HUGE nowadays with the majority of states adopting the Common Core Standards and the emphasis placed on informational reading). If this company was putting a magazine in Spanish, I knew it had to be great… Remember, reading can take many shapes and forms from books, to magazines – it all counts.
- Learn Spanish – MindSnacks: A video-game type of app with all the benefits of a full educational experience. I was introduced to this app by one of my parents not long ago. She could not stop telling me how amazing this app was. I explored the free version and was quite surprised. It is not a curriculum, but a great way to reemphasize what many students are learning in the primary grades (basic vocabulary). I understand though that reviewing Spanish applications could be an entire different post. I cannot wait to try the full version of this app once my project requesting iPads for my class under donorschoose.org/lfcsa gets funded. I am so close!
So, while I run around making copies, meeting new parents, and memorizing students’ names, I thought you might want to find out some programs/resources I use from time to time. Try them, experiment with them, and let me know what you think.
Ps. THANK YOU for all your emails. I have been busy chatting with people from all over the world. I am glad to be of help.
Photos by Tim and Selena Middleton