miércoles, 6 de febrero de 2013


Like most Spanish teachers I imagine, I am constantly looking for new music to incorporate into my classes. I try to expose my students both to popular artists (Juanes, Shakira, Alejandro Sanz etc) as well as some lesser known artists that may be up and coming (Jesse and Joy, Banda Radial). While probably the most popular exercise to do with songs are cloze exercises, I find that for many students these exercises can take away some of the enjoyment of listening to the song in an authentic manner, which is to just listen and absorb. So, while I continue to use cloze exercises with songs, I try to only use a Cloze exercise with one in every three songs or so.

This year, I have been fortunate that my Spanish II class enjoys sappy music. Unfortunately for me, the first song I played for them this year was Qué tengo que ofrecerte by Banda Radial and they LOVED it. I say unfortunately for me because now every time that I play any song for them, they request that I play that one too. I did not use a Cloze exercise with this song, instead, I had students listen to the song twice and then based on what they heard and what they saw on the  youtube video, I had them give their opinion whether the song was happy or sad. Most of the students backed-up their opinion by using the video as evidence. However, the class was split regarding their opinion of the song. The next thing that I did was give groups of student the entire lyrics. The students read through the lyrics as a group to determine whether or not their opinion of the song changed. Then, each group shared with the class. While I did not do a cloze exercise with this song, I will admit that I strategically used it after the students had been studying Tener + que, and I listened in as students applied their grammatical knowledge to the task of reading and comprehending.

The second song that I used this year was Lolita Soledad by Alejandro Sanz. Once again, I used the official youtube video in class. With this song, I had the students watch the video and write the reflexive actions that Lolita did while preparing for the morning or evening. Then, I gave students the lyrics and had them determine the overall meaning of the song. Each student wrote a four sentence summary of the song and then a five sentences about their opinion of the song. I had different students share each of the three items with the class.

Most recently, I played Donde Estabas by Amaia Montero (the former lead singer of La Oreja de Van Gogh). I chose this song because she says the words rather clearly, it is the perfect song to hear the Spain Spanish accent, and my students have been struggling with the concept of incorporating and recognizing multiple verb tenses in a reading. Many of them are stuck in a Spanish I mentality of only using the most recently learned verb tense when reading/writing etc. For this song, I printed the lyrics for every student and then I had them identify the verbs by circling the ones in the imperfect, squaring the ones in the preterite, and starring the two commands. Additionally, I asked them to find where there was both a preterite and an imperfect verb in the same sentence and write and translate these sentences. Then I had students write five of their own sentences that could be "added" to the song. Each sentence had to use a different verb tense. While I didn't require that the students' sentences actually have any rhythm or a true place in the song, the students had fun writing and sharing a few "heart-broken" lines that allowed them to both play with Spanish and it accomplished my goal of having the students think about grammar in a more cohesive manner.

How do you incorporate songs into your classes? What songs do you find especially effective in the classroom as I am always looking for new ideas and new songs:) !

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