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Comprehensive and Effective Spanish Curriculum

Comprehensive and Effective Spanish Curriculum

As experts in language acquisition and elementary Spanish curriculum, we understand the unique challenges and needs that schools face when selecting the right Spanish program for their students. It’s important to ask: What is really needed to teach Spanish to children?

From a practical point of view the answer is, lesson plans and the materials required to implement them. From a pedagogical point of view the answer is, an immersion environment with the opportunity for communication in Spanish along with cultural instruction. This points to the idea that curriculum needs to be both comprehensive and effective.

We know from talking to hundreds of elementary Spanish teachers every year that most of them piece together lesson plans and materials from many different sources. There is no need to do this with Sonrisas Spanish. Our curriculum stands out because it is comprehensive and effective for K-8 Spanish programs.

What Makes Sonrisas Spanish Comprehensive?

Teacher Manuals

Each level of the Sonrisas Spanish curriculum includes teacher manuals with easy-to-use lesson plans for teachers. The lesson plans enable teachers to establish a consistent routine and structure for daily or weekly instruction. Lesson plans include performance targets, explicit directions for lesson implementation, and diverse, age appropriate modalities to engage students.

Student Portfolios

Student portfolios provide several components for both students and teachers:

  • Portfolio activities give students independent practice with the performance targets for each lesson.
  • Home reports allow teachers to keep parents informed of what their child is learning in Spanish class.
  • Student assessments provide summative assessments to measure what students have learned.
  • In Sonrisas Level II, partner time activities engage students in the three modes of communication: the interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational.

Music CDs

These are provided in digital format (no one has players any more). The songs on the music CDs play an important role in student learning. They engage young learner’s strong musical intelligence. They also take advantage of young learner’s propensity to make connections between language and their physical bodies. Music plays a large role in developing student’s comprehension and familiarity with the sounds and structures of Spanish.


Our storybook sets provide teachers with a whole library of children’s Spanish storybooks. These are an integral part of the lessons, and they do several things:

  • They reinforce performance targets.
  • They give students an authentic experience with Spanish—exposing them to different voices and styles of Spanish.
  • They engage young learner’s imagination in Spanish.

Cultural Lessons

The Sonrisas Cultural Curriculum is a supplemental set of nine lesson in which students take imaginary trips to different Spanish-speaking countries. These lessons start students on their path to gaining cultural understanding and competence.

Calendar Time Guide

Calendar Time connects the Spanish language to student’s daily lives. Our Calendar Time guide provides teachers with over 70 activities which focus on the days of the week, months, seasons, weather, colors, numbers, the Spanish alphabet, and the Spanish-speaking countries.

Classroom Posters

Our beautiful classroom posters supply teachers with an engaging visual aide component. They include both small format posters and large format posters which are laminated for interactive use in the classroom.

Online Learning Activities

Available now for Level I (and coming soon for Levels II and III), the Sonrisas online learning activities provide technology integration for teachers. Students can do online activities and track their progress. Teachers can do assessments and record results.

What Makes Sonrisas Spanish Effective?

It Is Research-Based

We know from second language acquisition research that language acquisition occurs when the learner is immersed in the target language and has the opportunity for communication in the target language. This is the crux of the Sonrisas Spanish lessons—they provide an immersion environment with lots of age appropriate activities which provide the opportunity for meaningful communication in Spanish. Students build comprehension and speaking skills as they acquire Spanish.

It Is Standards-Based

The Sonrisas curriculum in Spanish correlates to the national World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages. Our standards alignment guide reflects the continuum of growth in communication skills, through the Novice Low and Intermediate Low proficiency levels, that learners can achieve with instruction in the Sonrisas Spanish lessons.

It Is Pedagogically Sound

The design of the Sonrisas Spanish lessons utilizes a variety of second language learning methodologies: TPR, The Natural Approach, Comprehensible Input, The Waldorf Foreign Language Approach, and the Theory of Multiple Intelligences all form the basis of instructional pedagogy for the Sonrisas lessons.

It Provides Routine and Structure

We know that young learners thrive with structure. Essentially, structure in the learning environment helps students to feel safe which in turn puts their brains in a receptive state for learning. This is especially important in a second language class which can be intimidating. The Sonrisas lessons provide a consistent structure of Circle Time, Story Time, and Art Time. Students become accustomed to and comfortable with this structure, empowering them to take risks with the language.

It Develops Cultural Competence

Instruction in culture needs to be an integral part language learning. The Sonrisas curriculum weaves cultural content into all of the lessons, and the Sonrisas Cultural Curriculum provides in-depth learning about different Spanish cultures. This helps learners develop cultural competence with Spanish-speaking cultures. Part of this competence is that it fosters more acceptance in students and enables them to participate more constructively in a diverse society.

It Is Fully Articulated for K-8 Spanish

Sonrisas Spanish provides a fully articulated curricular plan with all of the lesson plans and materials needed to implement instruction for preschool Spanish to 8th grade. Each level of the curriculum includes a scope and sequence which helps to guide instruction. Our Acquire, Develop, Learn methodology ensures a developmentally appropriate sequence of Spanish instruction, through the grades, for elementary and middle school.

It Is Fun and Engaging

Last but not least, the Sonrisas Spanish curriculum is fun and engaging for young language learners. Our lessons capitalize on the kinds of activities that young students love—games, music, stories, role-play, and art. This is of great importance. When students are engaged and having fun, the learning becomes effortless.

Let’s Create Life-long Language Learners

Choosing the right curriculum in Spanish is crucial for the success of any language program. You need one that is both comprehensive and effective. You do not need to settle for something that has lots of bells and whistles but does not offer sound pedagogy. One of the most important benefits of Sonrisas Spanish is that it creates a positive connotation with learning a second language. This, in turn, helps to create life-long language learners. Let’s create life-long language learners together.






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