What distinguishes Risas y Sonrisas from other Spanish curriculums for elementary school?
Risas y Sonrisas is a unique and truly complete elementary Spanish curriculum!
- Developed by a native Spanish speaker with proper attention given to Spanish reading skills and correct pronunciation
- Taps into students’ natural language-learning ability to teach them real-world Spanish skills rather than just scattered vocabulary words
- Full of original songs, illustrations, games, skits, and activities that keep students engaged and minimize teacher prep time
- Reach students in their preferred learning style (auditory, visual, kinesthetic) to make learning Spanish fun for everyone
- Program includes detailed lesson plans that are also extremely adaptable to the needs of each group
- Gets kids moving and engaged! Encourages students to actively participate and use their imagination and creativity
- We provide all the tools you need to customize the curriculum to your classroom. Never go to class empty-handed again!
- We show you all of our materials on the website so you know exactly what you’re getting when you order anything from us
- We offer complete classroom packages in addition to selling each of our products on their own, and have the best value in elementary Spanish education!
- Check out our YouTube channel to hear some of our songs and see our program in action in actual classrooms! And like us on Facebook to get useful teaching tips, fun game ideas, information on discounts, and much more!
What are the goals of the Risas y Sonrisas program?
Our first goal is to give students a love for Spanish that they carry with them throughout their lives. We want to show children that learning another language is a fun and exciting adventure!
We also want to empower students to put what they learn into practice. Our program teaches vocabulary, but also gives that vocabulary a real, conversational context. We want students to take charge of their words, ask questions, and have real interactions in the language they’re learning.
Finally, we want to teach students Spanish reading skills and proper pronunciation. Because Spanish is a phonetic language, students who acquire these skills can read and say any word in Spanish, which gives them confidence and ability to keep practicing, speaking, and learning!
Is Risas y Sonrisas a Total Immersion program? Do you only speak Spanish in the classroom?
True Total Immersion requires several hours of a Spanish-only environment every single day. For almost all elementary-school-level Spanish classes, afterschool programs, and homeschool groups, this is simply not feasible.
Risas y Sonrisas adapts the spirit of Total Immersion to the realities of one or two class meetings per week. Our program is 10% dual-language and 90% immersion. When first introducing the vocabulary in each unit, we use English to help students make an initial connection to the Spanish word and avoid early frustration. As soon as that connection is made, the English disappears and students are immersed in the new Spanish vocabulary.
How much time does it take to complete the Risas y Sonrisas curriculum? How many lessons are included?
With no additional materials, each module covers one full year of Spanish instruction at 1 meeting per week and one semester of Spanish instruction at 2 meetings per week.
Although Risas y Sonrisas can easily be taught on its own, we strongly recommend bringing additional books, videos, cultural activities, and games and materials from other sources into the classroom. This gives students more chances to practice and can greatly extend the time of instruction of the program. Our Teacher’s Manual includes lots of ideas for additional practice. Also check out our YouTube and Facebook for all kinds of great tips and information!
What do students learn in your program?
Risas y Sonrisas focuses on correct pronunciation, reading skills, vocabulary, and practical conversation. In the first unit, students learn correct Spanish pronunciation. After that, each vocabulary unit introduces a set of new words with a song, reinforces those words with games and activities, and closes with a set of Q&A that gives the new vocabulary context and meaning.
Simple grammar concepts like masculine/feminine nouns, personal pronouns, and verb conjugation are introduced gradually and in an easy-to-understand way. As they move through the course, students learn to build picture sentences in the past, present, and future tenses.
For a full list of the units, games, songs, Q&A, and other activities, see the School Program Content page.
Do I need to speak Spanish, be specially certified, or have previous experience teaching children in order to teach with your program?
It’s very important for instructors to have good Spanish pronunciation, since your students will hear and imitate your accent. If you don’t speak Spanish already, use the Pronunciation CD to demonstrate correct pronunciation and learn right along with your students!
Because Risas y Sonrisas is an extremely interactive program, it’s also important to enjoy teaching with music, games, and other interactive materials. Your students respond to your energy and it’s important to keep them moving, engaged, and having fun.
Special certification can help, but is not necessary. In many schools, Spanish-speaking parent volunteers have set up after-school Spanish programs that use the Risas y Sonrisas curriculum.
Are the modules and workbooks divided by grade level?
None of the material is grade-level specific. Our curriculum follows the modules sequentially 1-4, but the order can easily be switched around according to what you think is important or what your students are learning in other classes.
We do strongly recommend beginning with the pronunciation unit and other very basic units (colors, numbers, opposites). These contain very basic vocabulary that is very easy to practice in Q&A in later units (What color is the house? How many legs does a cow have?).
For large bulk orders, we can customize the workbooks according to the order of units in your curriculum.
Does the program include assessments?
Assessments are not included as a specific part of the curriculum, but we give you all the tools you need to design your own assessments. The Teacher’s Manual includes ideas for assessing your students (how to make a vocabulary quiz out of the flashcards, for example).
We encourage instructors to rely less on formal assessment and instead “assess” their students by simply interacting with them and observing where they excel and where they need help.
How many vocabulary words are covered in the program?
The program includes original illustrations for over 500 vocabulary words, and also includes hundreds of other words that do not have an accompanying illustrations, but which form an integral part of the songs, Q&A, and skits.
Also, there are 10 extra vocabulary words at the end of 12 of the units (120 total). These are for students who are interested in learning additional vocabulary on their own.
Finally, there are about 200 cognates included in the program. Cognate words give students a bank of easy vocabulary and are also great for practicing correct pronunciation.
Why do you combine American Sign Language with Spanish?
Using American Sign Language while singing the songs helps students learn vocabulary faster by connecting physical movements to the new Spanish words. Instead of singing passively, the students engage their bodies and actively learn the vocabulary. This is an example of the Total Physical Response method and also engages students’ kinesthetic intelligence.
The program can also be taught without this element, but we strongly recommend you give it a try. Experiment and find our what works for your classroom!
What materials do you recommend for students?
We also recommend the Activity Workbooks in order to give students extra practice opportunities, the Cognate Folder in order to give them a set of easy vocabulary words, and a set of Student Textbooks for the classroom. Even if you can’t get a textbook for each student, we recommend you keep a set for the class and use them year after year.
What is your return policy?
If for any reason you are not fully satisfied with your purchase, you can return it within 10 days of receiving the product.
Please call (512) 219-0225 or send us an email and provide the reason for your return. Once we have received the returned product in re-selling condition, you will be refunded your purchase price minus the S&H charges.
What kind of discount do you offer for large volume purchases?
Our basic volume discount is to give 10% off when you buy 5 or more of the same item, 15% when you buy 20 or more, and 20% when you buy 50 or more.
Can I make copies of the program materials for students?
All Risas y Sonrisas materials are copyrighted. You may not make copies of any of them for any purpose.
The School Program and the Homeschool Program each come with downloadable Blackline Masters that may be reproduced and distributed among your students only. This is the only exception.