Monday, September 23, 2013

Schoolhouse Review: See It and Say It Flip Flop Spanish from Flip Flop Learning

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My daughter and I recently had the opportunity to review See It and Say It Flip Flop Spanish from Flip Flop Learning as part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew. It was such a blessing! My husband and I believe it's important that Alyssa learns another language and has the chance to become bilingual. Her interest in learning how to speak Spanish has grown tremendously over the years. Read "Everyone Should Be Bilingual" by the author Suzane Gose on the importance of being bilingual in today's society.

See It and Say It Flip Flop Spanish is a complete two-year curriculum created by Suzane Gose that arrives three hole-punched and shrink wrapped in a ready-to-go format. The curriculum teaches 160 words and is suitable for learners ranging in ages from 3-93.
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 Package Includes:
  • Three Sets of Colorful Flashcards
  • Dry Erase Whiteboard Paddle
  • Dry Erase Expo Marker
  • Four Audio CD's in Plastic Inserts
  • 150-Page Manual
  • Two Card-Holder Pages
Other Materials Needed:
  • Binder (1-3")
  • CD Player
  • Index Cards (3x5)
  • Writing Tools
  • Spiral Notebook or Lined Handwriting Paper (optional)
  • Three-Hole Punched Pencil Pouches (optional)
  • Brown Paper Bag (optional)
Product Description
I want to describe a few of the package items in detail.

The sturdy flashcard sets come in three different colors azul (blue), verde (green), and rojo (red). There are 45 cards in each set which means you'll have a total of 135 flashcards in all. The card sets teach both words and simple phrases. The front of the card reveals a photograph of the word. The Spanish word and the English translation are on the back side of the card. The English translations are below the heavy colored line. Furthermore, the author made learning Spanish even more convenient by noting the pronunciation or phonetic spelling of each Spanish word. My daughter said that the phonetic spellings helped her correctly say the words when she was stuck. The colorful card sets are REQUIRED for all lessons.
Audio CD's
The four audio CD's were placed in clear pocketed sleeves that were also three-hole punched making it extremely easy to store them in the binder keeping all the necessary materials in one spot. The lessons were broken down by track numbers. Senora Gose clearly stated the pronunciation of each word or phrase. The kid-friendly instructions were stated in simple terms. She even tells the user when to pause the audio. The CD's are a very valuable part of the curriculum!

The well-organized 150-page curricula manual consists of 45 lessons which are divided into four semesters breaking the lessons down over a two-year period. The pages in the manual aren't numbered. A "Quick-Look Guide" is provided at the beginning followed by an introductory description on how to use the program. A "Spanish Enrichment Page" is included in the manual for CD 4 Track 31. The page explains the vowel sounds in Spanish and gives the user several conversational phrases that can be immediately integrated into the daily routine. A grammar point for parents is indicated by an egg head symbol. In this section, you will find pertinent information about the Spanish language that will be useful during lessons.
Lesson and CD track numbers are noted in bold print at the top of the page. Furthermore, the corner of each lesson is tabbed alternating tab colors between black and gray so that you can tell when a new lesson begins or ends. All lessons list the cards you need to pull noting a letter and a number in parentheses. The cards are mentioned in the same order as heard on the CD's. A vocabulary index can be found at the back of the manual indicating the lesson number and card color set for each word. The chart is available alphabetically by card set and by lesson number for your convenience. I photographed the back binder cover that lists the vocabulary categories so that you can see at a glance what your child will learn. They will also learn some body parts.

How We Used It
I don't have many before photos of how the package arrived, because we were so eager to begin the program. It came in a sturdy, colorful, and inviting box. I immediately placed the curriculum in a three-ring binder. The curriculum was used with my five-year-old daughter three to six times per week for 8-15 minutes a day. She has some prior experience with the language. We covered one or two lessons each week. We followed the program's recommendation of working through the same lesson three times during the week before moving on to the next. The manual provided ways to differentiate for older children by giving them the option of writing the sentences they created. Alyssa used lined handwriting paper for sentence work instead of a personal learning journal. She participated and wrote her sentences without any sign of hesitation. We completed the lessons at the table in our classroom. I also used the curricula to brush up on my Spanish skills.

I stored the manual in a 1" three-ring binder. A rubber band was wrapped around each card set and stored in a zippered pencil pouch.

Lesson Progression
The parent or child removes several cards. The cards to be removed from the packs are indicated by a star or diamond bulleted list. I kept extra rubber bands in the pouch, because cards for two-week increments were pulled out at a time. The child proceeds with listening to the audio CD. Senora Gose presents clear explanations for the activities and children are expected to follow the directions. The first activity introduces the new words. Alyssa repeated the stated words or phrases while touching the cards. Then, she eagerly created her own personal sentences in Spanish using the flash cards. A game of Speed Round may follow requiring her to touch and say the cards as fast she can. In the beginning, the pace during review sessions was a little too fast for Alyssa so I paused the CD and did several rounds with her increasing the speed each time. She now actively participates without frustration and learned how to be "listo" (ready). An additional game may be included in the lesson such as Paleta (Pictionary), Escondite (Hide and Seek), or Charades.

Weekly Lesson At A Glance
One lesson is divided over three days in one week.

Day One
I placed the audio CD in the player to start the first lesson. She placed the cards on the table horizontally with the photograph facing up. She would touch and say (toca y di) the word or phrase after the presenter stated them. We didn't use the card-holder sheets for sentence formation work. Alyssa began forming and writing short sentences during the first lesson. The audio CD's helped with correct pronunciations.  

Day Two
The same lesson is repeated using the audio CD. The script is available in the manual for use if needed. My daughter didn't use the curricula manual. However, I used it as a guide and followed along during lessons. It helped me know and prepare for what was going to happen next.
Me gusta la falda.
Beginning Sentences
More Writing
Day Three
The curricula manual will be used by the parent on the third day when the family works together to complete the lesson in a more conversational manner. The lesson isn't necessarily scripted word-for-word meaning you can't just read it aloud. You will need to eliminate some material and paraphrase. The audio CD is not used for this lesson. You are the teacher! I was thrilled that I could actually teach and be involved in her lessons.

Other Days
If we didn't begin another lesson immediately, then we played several of the games seen on the website such as Vocabulary Bingo, Fishing, Charades, or the Shell Game. You have the option of starting a new lesson or taking a few days off. My daughter often practiced words around the house in a conversational manner. Spanish words were often blurted out when I was cooking in the kitchen or when she was doing chores. For example, Alyssa was setting the table and she asked me how many forks we needed. She yelled out "tres tenedores y . . . tres platos" before I could even respond. She also labeled silverware with post-its after setting the table for additional practice.

Review and Brain Weeks
The brain week activities that occur after lessons 6, 14, 19, 26, 32, and 36 might suggest movie recommendations, flashcard review and practice, sorting words into known and unknown piles, doll props, use of personal learning dictionary, You Tube video skits and songs, word searches, and games. Sra. Gose also includes built-in review by reinforcing previously learned vocabulary through games and hands-on activities. You will also find a review crucigrama (crossword puzzle) with an answer key for lessons 1-12, 13-22, 23-33, and 34-45. Your child will translate the English word into Spanish disregarding accent marks.

What We Liked
  • This is, by far, the easiest Spanish program we have EVER used! My husband was interested in using the curriculum so that he could learn Spanish for his job, but he is currently studying for a work promotion test. He participated in a few lessons and commented on the simplicity and how easily he retained the information taught. 
  • You don't need any prior knowledge or experience with speaking the language. You can seriously learn WITH your child. The parent is just a facilitator or helper for the first two days. You don't have to be intimidated with learning the language because Suzane Gose makes it super simple.
  • The meaningful and age-appropriate lessons are short with a reasonable work load. Alyssa didn't get bored with the lessons. This curricula is definitely not time-intensive and won't take more than 15 minutes each day. 
  • There is no planning and very little prep work especially if you have all supplies gathered and in the binder. Make sure your CD player works and pull out the correct cards. I read the lesson ahead of time and gathered objects that may be helpful.
  • The audio tracks and lessons are broken up or split over four CD's so you can go directly to the tracks needed for your day's particular lesson. It's not just one never-ending track. 
  • I appreciated the fact that the curriculum incorporates the use of games and hands-on activities in the lessons. I love that Alyssa is learning how to speak, read, and write in Spanish. 
  • Visual, audial, and tactile learning styles are addressed making the curriculum more versatile.
  • The curriculum is flexible and adaptable. You can use it as often as you want wherever you want working at your child's pace. We held class outside on the third day on several occasions since the CD player wasn't necessary. You can differentiate learning by requiring written or verbalized sentences.   
  • I ABSOLUTELY LOVE the photo card set and how sentence formation is introduced to young children. The program offers suggestions for differentiating the activities for older students to include writing. However, please know that younger children could definitely write the sentences as copywork with additional help capitalizing the first word of a sentence and using punctuation properly. My daughter is only five and I required her to do the writing component and she was very eager to do it.
  • My daughter's favorite game was Paleta (Pictionary). We eventually found a brown paper bag and used it instead of tour green bag, because it could be stored in the binder for future lessons. The person drawing the picture will pull out one card from a bag without revealing it to their compadre (partner). After drawing the picture, the other person must guess the word in Spanish. If they are correct, then they get to keep the card. She also enjoyed playing the game Escondite (Hide and Seek), Compadres, and Charades (Act it Out).
Charades: Me duele la cabeza.
Possible Cons
  • I couldn't really find anything in the program that I would consider a possible con. We did have problems with the markers staining the whiteboard paddle so we started using our own dry erase board which gave us more drawing space. I did clean it with Expo whiteboard cleaner. 

Possible Vendor Suggestions
  • The flashcards ARE numbered, but I recommend indicating which color pack the card belongs to on the back side with a capital A, V, or R making it easier to put the cards back in numerical order and in the correct colored set. The cards could get easily mixed up and may be an issue for some families.
  • I would indicate the parents script in a different font or type (italics) so that when they are paraphrasing the text in the manual and presenting the material on the third day, they can easily eliminate unnecessary information. For example, the parent wouldn't need to ask the child to make another homemade card for the words "con" or "es."
  • I like the idea of the sentence card holders, but we never used them. Honestly, I forgot they were even in our binder. I quickly found out that my daughter wanted to create longer, more complicated sentences that would not fit in the holders. Is there a way to create an 8-10 clear pocket sentence strip card holder which would allow for longer sentences to be read from left to right without going to the next line. This is definitely a personal preference, but I think it would be beneficial for the youngest learners using the program and it would help keep the cards clean.
  • I suggest creating multiple curricula packages which contain 1, 2, 3, or 4 sets of flashcards at a discounted price for larger families. The price can decrease based on the number of flashcard sets included in the package. This may help reach out to larger families. Additionally, it wouldn't be a bad idea to create a classroom package containing multiple card sets with a few instructional adaptations or suggestions for use in a classroom.
  • A list of all the words studied is included before a review lesson or break week activity. However, I recommend adding the color pack and card number for each word. I had to flip through each lesson to gather all the cards necessary for the Lesson 6 Paleta and Speed Round game.
  • I prefer adding music, crafts, and literature into Spanish lessons. Therefore, one suggestion I would make is to supply a list of recommended musical CD's, picture books, and include a few crafts.
  • One of the "break week" suggested activities directed the parent to highlight or mark the card borders based on the part of speech. I couldn't draw on my beautiful cards. I suggest color-coding the cards in this manner and possibly laminating them for the consumer. I considered using colored mini star stickers. However, I ended up having Alyssa sort the cards on colored construction paper for that particular activity. 
Sorting Words
Overall Thoughts and Results
See It and Say It Flip Flop Spanish is an outstanding foundational core Spanish curricula for the whole family! We will definitely continue using the curriculum this year 3-6 times per week covering 1-2 lessons. It will not take us two years to complete the curriculum especially if we decide to speed up or continue at our current the pace. We didn't want to take a week off (break week) as indicated in the manual, so we decided that we will incorporate the suggested activities into our day for a week in addition to the new lessons. I look forward to the more advanced and challenging grammar lessons including preposition work and verb conjugations seen in the future. I can't wait to see the excitement on Alyssa's face when I tell her that she gets to write her own skit.

I felt like the complete curriculum was interactive and engaging. It is a non-threatening way to learn the language. My daughter's conversational Spanish has definitely improved during the review period. She is acquiring new vocabulary and utilizing the language with confidence. I was impressed with how quickly she understood the grammar points and used them accurately when forming Spanish sentences. I have to admit the curricula includes A LOT more grammar than I expected, but this unexpected surprise definitely pleased me. This unique approach works! Not only is she learning new vocabulary and pronouncing words correctly, but she is working on sentence formation at an early age while having a blast.

My husband and I agreed that we would take her Spanish curriculum on vacation. It would give us something productive and educational to do as a family. We knew we would spend some time indoors since it's so hot in Texas. During our camping trip, Alyssa met a girl who was using the SAME curriculum. They quizzed each other on words they learned reviewing material on their own. We also ate at a Mexican restaurant. Our waitress who spoke primarily Spanish enjoyed having a conversation with Alyssa. She was shocked and impressed with her vocabulary usage, pronunciation, and comprehension of what she was saying. My daughter is definitely more confident in attempting to verbalize specific sentences using the language.

See It and Say It Flip Flop Spanish from Flip Flop Learning currently costs $99.95 (retailing for $129.95). The curriculum is adequately priced when compared to others on the market especially since you'll receive two year's worth of lessons. At the time of this review, the website indicated that all orders of $45 or more will receive FREE shipping.

See It and Say It Flip Flop Spanish can be used in a variety of educational environments. I highly recommend this Spanish curricula for ALL homeschool families. The program could also be used as a family, in small group settings, at classroom learning enrichment centers, with a tutor, or for individual use. It's a wonderful program for busy families. It would be more difficult to use this system in a large group or classroom setting, because only one set of flashcards are provided. However, Spanish classroom teachers or large families could purchase multiple sets of flashcards having children work in pairs. If the children are taking turns, then the teacher or parent could play the audio twice during class depending on the number of paired students and the length of class time because the lessons are so short.

Other Products of Interest
The company offers products in several languages other than Spanish including French, German, and ESL (English as a Second Language). Here are a few products that you may find of interest. The first item is on my wish list, because I would like to add it to our morning calendar work.
More foreign language products are available through the website store. I also found the Tips and Games on the company's website useful during the review period.  

Social Media

Visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog to read more reviews about See It and Say It Flip Flop Spanish from Flip Flop Learning.
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  1. I wanted to let you know that the card decks have a colored line between the English and Spanish translation - azul, verde, y rojo --- so no need for your extra work identifying them with letters. :-) Hope this helps!
    Thanks for the thorough review!

  2. Sra. Gose I can't believe I didn't make the connection when I even mentioned the heavy colored line in my review as part of the flashcards details. I knew there was a purpose for the colored line, but when listing vendor suggestions I must have forgotten. That definitely makes it easier to figure which colored card deck it belongs to. Thank you for the reminder!

  3. What a great review! Sounds like you had a lot of fun with this!

  4. Hello again! Hola, otra vez. May I use a few of your pics from this review for my website? Your daughter's smiling, beaming face is EXACTLY our goal with Flip Flop Spanish. I, of course, will link to your site, and give credit! I hope you'll say yes! THANK YOU again for such a thorough review.