My kids, 15 and 12, both speak Spanish quite well. But I have to admit it is a struggle to have them practice it. I speak it with them and we travel to Spain whenever we can, but I still think we need a bit more practice at home to sharpen their skills. So, at the beginning of the summer we all decided to do something about it but that it would not feel too much like “Mom is giving us homework, AGAIN.” I then read this great review from @amor8 about an app for the iPad, “BrainPOP en español, película del día“, and we decided that we could do that every day, watch the 3 to 6 minute video, and then do the quiz. The quiz has 10 questions and you get a record of your scores (so my two boys can each do it and we can see that they’ve done it). We have really liked it so far. The topics are vary varied, each day is different, they speak very clearly and the transcript is at the bottom, so my kids can easily follow it. And although they seem to understand everything in the videos without a problem, it is in the “cuestionario” that I see clearly that they really need to work on their vocabulary. For example, they have asked what the words teclado (keyboard) or imán (magnet) are. The other day they also had an interesting question about El Chavo del Ocho, a Mexican television comedy show which is part of the Mexican psyche, in my opinion (our background is Spain, so a bit different). We then had a nice conversation about it. Here you have an example of the quiz from today’s video. As you can see the vocabulary is not something that you may talk about at home with your kids (at least, not in my house). One of my sons actually commented that he had studied all that in school this year, and that it was a nice to review it in Spanish.
I also wanted to do something else, so we decided we could watch some TV in Spanish, as there are now so many TV episodes for free on the Internet. This coincided with my birthday and my present to myself this year was an Apple TV, as I wanted to see those shows actually on our TV. I have to say, I really, really love the Apple TV. We are now able to show anything from the iPad (or an iPod or iPhone) into the TV, even FaceTime (which is very cool). So, both boys set to find a show they would want to watch over the summer. After trying several things, we have settled on Los Misterios de Laura, a kind of silly detective show in which there is always a case, several suspects and Laura, an investigative police officer, who always solves them at the end. They also talk about her life, as she is separated from her boss and they have twins. My kids like it because it is like the game Clue, and they always try to guess who is the guilty person. I even think this would be a fun series to follow in a more advanced Spanish course.
And because we can also “project” BrainPOP into the TV (you can do this only with the iPad), lately the kids have been watching it together and then they also do the quiz together, talking about each question before they pick an answer. I actually like it better this way as I can hear the whole thing and can help as needed.
Do you have other pedagogical or fun suggestions for Apple TV? Do you know any other apps that could help my kids? (And, I know “what about a book?” would be the best, I agree, but at least something).
Thanks for reading!