Review by Dana Villamagna, Common Sense Education | Updated June 2012

Oh Noah!

Comforting character makes second-language mistakes no big deal

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • Social Studies
  • English Language Arts

Skills
  • Critical Thinking
  • Communication & Collaboration
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
K–3
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (5 Reviews)

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Pros: Videos are very short but still pack in lots of vocabulary and funny story lines.

Cons: Some games take a while to load, and some of the timed games move quite rapidly for young kids.

Bottom Line: Oh Noah! provides a solid start in Spanish while building self-confidence and relaxing kids through humor.

You can find suggested offline activities to support learning in a section specifically created for teachers via the link to PBS Teachers. Classroom options include lesson plans, webisode descriptions, and more.

Help students practice some of the vocab that Noah learns by planting the same objects in class or introducing students to similar experiences in school. Each time students come across the objects, ask students to name them. You could also reinforce the idea that it's okay to make mistakes in other contexts as students play, work, and communicate.

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Oh Noah! is a PBS-based website that offers students a multi-pronged approach to learning Spanish vocab. With its funny, story-based interface, kids are encouraged to take an easygoing, just-try-it approach to learning languages. Students who are learning Spanish, as well as Spanish speakers who are learning English (perfect for a multilingual classroom), could benefit.

The site is organized into four main categories: videos, games, activities (that include printables), and characters. Kids are introduced to Spanish vocabulary in the context of whatever Noah is experiencing in his entertaining mini-stories. Stories are told in three-minute, PBS-quality videos. As videos play, kids can move their cursors over objects on the screen to hear the Spanish translations. For example, roll over the word Games on the main menu and the word Juegos appears. You'll find six main games –- mostly focused on reinforcing Spanish vocabulary –- and even more games embedded in the videos and games specific to webisode story lines.

So much of learning a new language is trial and error and being willing to look a little silly. This is true of 9-year-old Noah. Short videos humorously show that his attempts at learning Spanish aren't always perfect. When Noah (who’s visiting his grandma in a town where most people speak Spanish) uses the wrong word or misunderstands something someone else says or conveys by gesture, kids watch as his newbie blunder creates a misadventure. The mistakes-allowed tone teaches kids that learning a language requires curiosity and confidence, but not perfection. Related games on the site help students practice Spanish vocabulary words and phrases and do other activities.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Kids learning a new language will immediately connect with Noah's challenges and amusing missteps.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Funny animated videos, embedded games, printables, and extension activities for parents and teachers all introduce, build, and reinforce Spanish vocabulary, while helping kids learn to pick up contextual language clues.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Excellent Oh Noah!-specific resources for parents and teachers are available through links to the PBS Parents and PBS Teachers websites.


Common Sense Reviewer
Dana Villamagna Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

(See all 5 reviews) (5 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Lisa L. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Sweet Home CSD
Amherst, United States
Oh Noah hits the mark with language learning

Oh Noah is a wonderful tool for any beginning language learner who is interested in learning Spanish.

There are four tabs that a student / parent / teacher can click on:

games, activities, videos, characters.

Once I clicked on the games tab, there are six games to choose from.

Each one has expertise levels within them.

A couple of them took a little long to load but overall, each game was enjoyable, creative, and educational.

The matching game and curtain call were particularly good games for any child.

They were engaging, funny, and motivational.

For the activities tab, you will need a printer attached to your computer.

Print the activity sheet and have your child / student complete it.

For the videos tab, each video is easy to load and has controls at the bottom for closed captioning or full screen.

You can even e-mail the video to yourself or someone else to capture the essence of your lesson.

For the characters tab, children can click on each character to find out more about them.

This is effective because it entices children to learn more about each character and get involved in the story.

There is also a parents / teachers tab which provides background for the specific adult.

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