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Speekee TV {Schoolhouse Crew Review}

September 13, 2012

Speekee TV

Speekee Spanish is an immersion online Spanish program which features actors Jim and several children, as well as puppets Speekee, Dino, and Lupi.  Speekee TV Immersion Connect allows children “a multi-sensory Spanish experience”.  Once logged into Speekee TV,  Immersion Connect lets children earn points and level up, cash in points to buy items in the mercado (store), create their own virtual sock puppet, engage virtually with the Speekee characters, and listen, speak, read, and respond in Spanish.

Speekee Spanish TV consists of 40 weeks worth of Spanish instruction.  It has 10 movies ranging in length from 13 to about 20 minutes – totaling over 150 minutes of viewing time.  In each episode the children visit a new place.  Throughout the 10 shows, they go to the park, the cafe, the home, the zoo, a classroom, the market, the station, the beach, the garden and a party.  You can look at the “Fastrack” at the bottom of the screen to see lesson plans on how to use one episode’s content on four different days covering four different weeks.  This means that each movie will teach your child for 16 days.  For example, the third episode is “La Casa”.  With Fastrack, “La Casa” lasts weeks 9 through 12 with lesson plans for four days out of each of those weeks.  You don’t watch the entire movie every day.  Some days you don’t watch the movie at all and others you watch snipets of the show.  Also, when you sign up you can elect to have these Fastrack lessons sent right to your email inbox each week!

This program takes the Spiral Learning approach.  It adds new language while in the same presentation it reviews previously learned content to remind the learner.  This was a nice feature because I felt my children didn’t have to catch everything the first time around – there was a second, third, and possibly even fourth or fifth time for them to get it.

Speekee TV is designed to teach children ages 2 through 10 European Spanish.  It is filmed in Spain, mostly in Arcos de la Frontera.  (They have a picture of the town on their blog.)  This means the pronunciations for some of the words are different from the way I learned in school.  The “v’s” are pronounced as “b’s”, the soft “c’s” are said with a “th” sound as well as a few other sounds that took a little getting used to.  It really didn’t play a part in the kids learning Spanish though.  These differences are easy to adjust to and since the children didn’t know one way or the other, they of course didn’t even notice.

Speekee

How we used the program:

I decided to let all four of my children (ages 4 – 11) try out Speekee TV at the same time.  We usually sat through the video all together the first time.  This helped me to learn the songs and know exactly what the kids were seeing should they have questions.  As the days followed, I let them do what they were capable of for the extension activities.  There were many professionally done worksheets that the older three could do that my youngest, who can’t hold a pencil yet, was incapable of doing.  (I think given about six more months and he would be the right developmental level for the worksheets.)  Some of the activities included crafts and games – all an extension of the episode that was just watched.  These activities were a wonderful asset to the shows.  They helped reinforce all that had just been introduced as well as add an element of fun to the program.

What we thought:

My four year old son was mesmerized with Speekee TV.  I’m not sure how much Spanish he got out of it, but let’s face it, he still has a hard time speaking English!  He would dance with the music and loved watching the child actors on the screen.  His favorite parts were probably the Lupi and Dino scenes.

The seven year old really enjoyed watching Speekee TV the most out of all of my kids.  He wanted me to translate everything for him though instead of enjoying the immersion method.  He liked the catchy songs and I would hear him randomly singing them around the house.  He would mostly just hum the tunes, but if I helped him with the words a little he could belt those out as well.  ¡Muy bien!

My oldest two (9 & 11) liked the program but felt Speekee, the character, was a little young for them since he is a puppet.  That sure did NOT stop them from learning Spanish though!   My daughter did get frustrated with the closed captioning because she tried to read the English as it flashed on the screen.  It was just too fast for her.  She even wanted to know how Spanish was spoken so much faster than English since she couldn’t read the English as fast as they spoke the Spanish!  I found this comical and proceeded to figure out how to turn off the closed captioning.   (Which was super easy- just hover over the movie like you were going to fast forward or rewind and the closed captioning is a box in the upper right hand corner.  It toggles on and off with a click of your mouse and it tells you in the box what mode it’s set to.  Very nice feature.)

Likes:

  • The closed captioning can be turned on or off based on your child’s needs.  (See above for directions.)  Also, the closed captioning is written in Spanish and English simultaneously.
  • The Spanish verbs are all in the present tense.  This makes understanding and learning a new language so much easier. No conjugations needed!
  • The catchy tunes didn’t annoy me like some children’s programs can.  I was pleased to find that the songs were easy to remember even for my littlest guy.
  • Completely in Spanish.  This is a complete immersion program unlike other programs that teach foreign languages.  You will not hear any English and will only see it if you choose to turn on the closed captioned subtitles.

My opinion?  Speekee Spanish TV is a wonderful program filled with, well, Spanish!  Having Spanish in my background already was not necessary to teach this program.  It was filled with action perfect for children and contained delightful music.  My kids liked it and I was impressed.  And with two weeks free, how can you go wrong?

The first two weeks of Speekee TV are free.    Then it is available for $7.50/month or $60 for the year.  There are no minimums, so you can cancel at any time.  See a clip, learn more, and sign up for the free trial here.

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DISCLAIMER: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received a complimentary subscription to Speekee TV for the purpose of completing this review. All the opinions expressed here are my own and are offered honestly in exchange for the product. The receipt of the product in no way influenced my honest assessment.
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2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 15, 2012 12:07 pm

    This is a very thorough well done review. Thank you for the details and how it worked with your family! i appreciate being able to see how the product worked for the different ages of your children.

    Great work!

    Warmly,
    Kate

  2. September 26, 2012 12:18 pm

    “The Spanish verbs are all in the present tense.” Well spotted. Thank you so much for your very thorough and well researched review. Jim from Speekee TV

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