I have been using Sonrisas Spanish School level 1 for my little homeschool class of 6 and sometimes 7 students (ages 3 through 6.5). Sonrisas is a preschool and elementary Spanish curriculum. I teach my class once a week for about one hour. I have a ton of elementary Spanish materials that I have reviewed or purchased and Sonrisas is the one I use most often. It has provided me with a good back bone for structuring my little class. Each lesson has the same structure: Greeting and Roll Call, Circle Time which can include review games, poetry, songs, and dances, Story Time, Art Time and Good-bye. I will touch on each of these.
Greeting and Roll Call
I greet each student in Spanish as they come to class and look them in the eye, making sure they say a Spanish greeting to me. I only have 6-7 students in my class so our "roll call" often consists of us just going through the "me llamo" song which is taught in the first lesson. I change it up here and there and now ask the kids to tell me the names of other students in a complete sentence. So I might say, "Caden, ¿Cómo se llama él/ella?" as I point to another student in the class. If they don't tell me in a complete sentence I gently have them repeat after me and offer loads of praise. For the greeting I alternate between using their buenos días song and another buenos días song that I have from Ana Lomba. When using the Sonrisas "Buenos Días song" we usually sing it through twice. The first time when they get to the part where they ask "¿y usted?" I have them point to me. Then the second time around we sing "¿y tú?" instead of usted and I have them point to a friend. We've talked several times about the difference and we review it often.
We always sing at least 3 songs from their CD. Sonrisas includes very helpful suggestions for gestures and movements or dancing for each of the songs and poems on the CD (found in the back of the book). My students love singing and dancing! I think their favorite song from the CD is "Mi Cuerpo." Here are the lyrics and the suggested movements:
Mi cuerpo, mi cuerpo hace música.
Mi cuerpo, mi cuerpo hace música.
Put your hands on your hips and rock back and forth to the music. (I changed this in my class to point from head to toe, more or less, each time we sing "cuerpo" and then for "hace música" we do a quick "cha cha" or move the hips and a couple fake snaps with hands raised.)
Mis manos hacen...
Put hands in front of your body, then clap three times. (When my students were first learning this, and sometimes still, I got my hands ready really early to remind them what was about to happen...same with the next moves.)
Mis pies hacen...
Point to your fee, then stop them three times.
Mi boca hace "la, la, la."
Point to mouth while singing "la, la, la."
Mi cuerpo hace cha cha cha.
Point to your body and then do the twist to the words "cha cha cha."
Some of our other favorites are "El tren del los días de la semana", "Te Quiero" and "Gorra, camisa, pantalones, zapatos."
--Reading to kids in Spanish
I probably read a story to my students about every third class. If you feel a little strange reading a whole book in Spanish to your students who only know a few words check out my post here. Each of the 35 lessons in the Sonrisas Curriculum include several book suggestions. Obviously you are not going to buy them all (or if you're like me maybe you eventually will.) I have purchased a few to add to my already crowded Children's Spanish books library. If you do not have a lot of books in Spanish for kids try your library. I know my library has quite an impressive selection. Otherwise choose wisely and purchase 4-5 books to get yourself started. The great thing is that your students will benefit greatly from hearing the same story several times. Reading to your kids in Spanish is a powerful tool and I am glad that Blue and Brooks emphasized this in their curriculum.
The crafts are always a hit with my students. Each lesson has an art project to go along with the lesson. We have done several of these and I plan on doing more. These are something my students look forward to for each class and it gives me the opportunity to use the targeted vocabulary with them. After learning there colors I always make them ask for the color that they need in Spanish (a good reason not to provide each student with his/ her own set of crayons..) I alternate between doing actual art and doing a reinforcement activity on paper in which there is almost always some coloring involved, matching or even a small amount of writing.
I make sure to provide one last opportunity for my students to speak Spanish as they leave class. I like the suggestion Sonrisas gives to mix it up a little by saying "Nos vemos el jueves" or "hasta el martes."
I am not getting paid for writing this review. All opinions are my own. I did receive a review copy of the level 1 curriculum.