Movies Books Music Food Tv Shows Technology Politics Video Games Parenting Fashion Green Living more >

Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Avancemos Spanish curriculum » User review

Spanish curriculum for high school

< read all 1 reviews

This updated Spanish curriculum for high school is almost good enough...

  • Mar 29, 2009
  • by
The Avancemos! (the exclamation point is a bonafide part of the title) series of Jr. High and High School Spanish curricula are a welcome addition to the body of curricula available to Spanish language instructors.  While it is lacking in some key areas, Avancemos! provides an active, engaging format for beginning Spanish learners (particularly high schoolers) to acquire basic skills.

I have used Avancemos!  in my Spanish I and Spanish II classes with positive results.  I use the Cuaderno (workbook) and the DVD series that is available, and I probably should use the audio CD's that are available but I usually just read those from the audio text which is in the book.   The books are full color hardcover editions that cover the typical basic Spanish scope and sequence with perhaps a stronger emphasis on getting students up and speaking than on grammar.  I find the Avancemos series to be easy to use and fun for the students but there are a few annoying aspects of the curriculum, primarily the distinct paucity of grammar drill in the workbook and an over-emphasis on paragraph writing that appears to be thrown in to satisfy California public school requirements to "write through the curriculum".  The students need more grammar drill to become confident so I supplement the Avancemos Cuaderno with drill from various resource books I own.  On numerous occasions my students have thanked me for the classic drill sheets that I pass out since the workbook just doesn't provide sufficient practice for them to become automatic in verb conjugation etc.

On the positive side, the DVD is well-filmed, interesting and motivating for the students, and uses native speakers from a wide variety of Spanish speaking countries.  Students can hear Spanish from Spain, the Caribbean, South America, and Mexico with all the natural intonations.  Vosotros forms are taught from the beginning and throughout the series.  Each unit focuses on a different country, introducing various cultural and linguistic aspects of the country.  I usually assign at least two cultural research reports per year along with other supplemental activities. 

The teacher's guide has a very helpful teaching schedule for three one-hour sessions per week or two 90-minute sessions per week.  I teach two 90-minute classes per week using this curriculum and find it impossible to finish all 8 units per year.  The teachers' guide notes that a full year of Spanish is considered complete after Unit 6, however, so I consider us finished if we make it into Unit 7 by year's end.  I do believe 3 hours a week is the minimum optimal time for learning a foreign language if conversational fluency is desired.  Anything less really compromises students' exposure to listening and oral practice. 

Avancemos! receives a rating of 3 from me primarily because of the two issues mentioned above:  the lack of sufficient grammar drill in the workbook, and the overemphasis on writing whole paragraphs at too early a stage in the student's learning.  Paragraph writing is a worthy goal, but only attainable if students feel fully confident in their grammatical abilities.  In addition, the books are not cheap, and the DVD series is ridiculously priced at over $300, a price no doubt driven by a long-since corrupt public education system that rewards teachers for using all of their yearly budget lest they lose it the following year.  In the final analysis, Avancemos!  compensates for its shortcomings by providing a fun, educational, and real-world orientation to the Spanish language. 

ISBN-10:  0-618-68727-0
ISBN-13:  978-0-618-68727-5  (these ISBN numbers are for Level 2)

What did you think of this review?

Fun to Read
Post a Comment
About the reviewer
Cheryl Renee Nesbitt ()
Ranked #399
I love good company, good food, and a good laugh. When I am not teaching, cooking, cleaning, correcting papers, or trucking four kids around to sports and productions (all of which I actually enjoy), … more
Consider the Source

Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.

Your ratings:
rate more to improve this
About this book



ISBN-10: 0-618-68727-0
Editor: 978-0-618-68727-5
Publisher: Mcdougal Littell/Houghton Mifflin

© 2015 Lunch.com, LLC All Rights Reserved
Lunch.com - Relevant reviews by real people.
This is you!
Ranked #
Last login
Member since