In Elena is all about Elena Colson. She is 7 years old and moved with her sister Sophie, her parents (Auguste and Marie Colson) and dog Misty to the country of the target language (the language that the children are learning), where her parents opened a restaurant. Elena quickly becomes friends with her new neighbours, the twins Max and Otto.
In the first theme , we meet the Colson family and their new neighbours. Elena makes friends with Max and Otto, two boys who live next door. In the second theme, Elena goes to school, where the teacher reads a story and the children choose an activity to do. In theme three, Elena, Max and Otto play outside, where they run, jump and throw a ball. Otto falls down and has to have a plaster on his knee. Theme four takes place in Elena's house. Where does she sleep? Who is cooking in the kitchen? Who's playing in the garden? In theme five, Elena goes to the restaurant with her father. The food is delicious, but Elena prefers chocolate paste sandwiches!< /p>
In theme 6 Elena goes to do the supermarket shopping with her friends Max and Otto. They look very good on the road. In theme 7 the teacher celebrates her birthday with Elena and the children in the classroom at school her birthday. The weather is getting better, so in theme eight, we go to the petting zoo. Elena rides on a horse and Sophie is afraid of the goats. Auguste and Marie look at the sheep.
Elena packs her suitcase and goes to stay with her grandparents in theme seven. In theme 9 Elena packs her suitcase to go stay with her grandparents. She packs her swimsuit, because she is going to the beach with her grandparents. The final theme is all about the weather. Elena is going on holiday. What is the weather like there? Is it warm or cold outside? Hopefully, it will be great holiday weather!
Theme 1: Hello Elena! (family)
Theme 2: Elena goes to school (at school)
Theme 3: Elena in action (body)
Theme 4: At Elena's place (around the house)
Theme 5: Enjoy Elena! (food)
Theme 6: Elena goes to the supermarket (shopping)
Theme 7: The anniversary (celebrating)
Theme 8: Elena on the petting zoo (animals)
Theme 9: What are you wearing Elena? (clothes)
Theme 10: Elena is on holiday. (the weather)
Each theme will last for five weeks and has 10 lessons, plus extra activities. At school, we expect that two lessons per week, each thirty minutes long, will be taught, but of course you determine the pace. In each theme, the children learn some basic words passive and active. This vocabulary is complemented by an extensive vocabulary that children need to know only passively.
The main character Elena "replaces" the teacher and leads the children through the programme: she explains, sings and dances with the children. She also helps the children to do TPR exercises. If the children have done all of the exercises well, she gives compliments.
The children can also work individually with the program, at school or at home with their parents or grandparents.
Elena is based on the natural sequence in which children learn language i.e. listening and understanding, speaking, reading then writing. When learning vocabulary, Elena works along the lines of the model described in "the four branches of vocabulary teaching" ("de viertakt van het woordenschatonderwijs") by Verhallen .The four branches are:
- 1. Presentation (a context is created that fits in with a child's perception of the world and activates the child's existing knowledge).The themes in Elena are in keeping with a child's perception and experience. Each theme starts with a digital story book, to activate the child's existent knowledge and to introduce new words.
- 2. Establish a semantic framework (explore the meanings of words, with the help of illustrations).
- 3. Consolidate (the new words are repeated as often as possible, in different contexts "repeat, repeat, repeat"). During the repetition phase, the material is presented in many different ways in order to stimulate multiple intelligences. The children can work in many different ways in Elena, either following a teacher-led lesson, working in pairs or alone, using different materials to learn vocabulary. The children may also work at home to learn words, with the help of a parent, by logging in to the system.
- 4. Evaluation (check the meaning of the words). This is the subject of attention in the final lesson in every theme. Through observation or a computer based activity, the teacher is able to keep track of progress.