Calico Spanish Methodology

A Research-Based Classroom

Calico Spanish is designed to help your students enjoy the process of learning Spanish. Throughout Calico Spanish Level One students develop receptive language skills which are expanded through speaking, writing, listening and reading in Level Two.

The curriculum relies on proven research-based methodology, predominantly on Tracy Terrell’s Natural Approach to language instruction. Other key language instruction theories utilized throughout the program are Stephen Krashen’s language acquisition theories and James Asher’s Total Physical Response (TPR) methods.

Excellent Input Leads to Excellent Output

Current language instruction theories suggest that students learn best through exposure to messages they can understand. These messages are termed comprehensible input. Calico Spanish provides many resources to assist you as you present visual and audio input for students to help them understand messages naturally and without the use of English translations.

The needs of both visual and auditory learners are met as you present graphics, pantomime concepts and speak in the Spanish language. Furthermore, students are frequently encouraged to become actively involved in lessons through TPR-style responses and participation, which addresses the needs of kinesthetic learners.

Environment Impacts Language Learning

Language learning theorists say that students benefit most from instruction and comprehensible input when they learn in a comfortable, immersive environment. Calico Spanish uses fun graphics, engaging music and interactive lessons to increase students’ comfort with the Spanish language and thereby increase their acquisition and retention of the language

Engaging Students with Language Learning

Calico Spanish allows you to apply the best in language learning theories in your classroom as you engage in the following practices:


Before students can successfully produce Spanish, they need many opportunities to interact with the language in meaningful ways. With Calico Spanish, all the senses are engaged as students regularly interact with visual, audio and kinesthetic lesson components. This allows comprehension to build steadily and gives students opportunities to produce Spanish their own skill level.


Competence with Spanish is mainly achieved through exposure to the language through hearing, reading, writing and speaking. While grammar is very useful to improve the clarity of communication, an overemphasis on grammar can deter some young learners. Calico Spanish encourages teachers to focus on specific, simple grammatical structures and use them repeatedly to give students a sense of routine and increase their comfort with the Spanish language.


Mistakes are a natural part of the language learning process, and the mistakes that young students typically make are unlikely to prevent basic communication. With Calico Spanish, the goal is not to produce error-free Spanish, but to focus on allowing students to share their ideas and opinions in Spanish. This method fosters a positive atmosphere in the classroom as students gain confidence in their new-found language skills.


When students are comfortable as they are exposed to Spanish, language acquisition happens naturally. To increase student comfort, routines are established from the first lesson, and are varied from class to class. ?Students are also offered opportunities to produce Spanish in non-threatening ways such as singing, group response and memorization games.


Teachers will use Spanish as much as possible during lessons, supporting new concepts with Spanish-only visual aids, songs and activities.  Still, students are not required to limit themselves to Spanish. Students can ask questions in their native language and teachers are encouraged to respond with positive Spanish responses. Through encouraging feedback and direct language instruction, students thrive in the immersion environment.


Each lesson is full of visual and audio clues to help students understand your messages and create a framework for language learning. Students can easily build upon these basic skills as they are taught more complex language concepts.

Supporting Research

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