Yesterday, Kalee Stahr posted on twitter and in her blog, about the Maná song, Ojalá que pudiera borrarte, that uses Ojalá and the past subjunctive. Writing a post about Ojalá que llueva café has been on my list to do, and her post reminded me to do so. I’m pretty certain that there are a significant number of Spanish teachers who use this Juan Luis Guerra song when teaching the present subjunctive, as do I. However, I use the song several times during the course of the year.
It is in my “entering into class music” rotation fairly early in the school year, and at that point in time, it is just for enjoyment. Students usually respond favorably because the music is lively and upbeat. I really only tell the title, the singer and just the beginning lyrics.
As I am beginning the present subjunctive, it shows up again with a bit more focus. Since there are several references in the lyrics to unfamiliar foods, I use a power point that I created so that the words do not pose problems later on. I have struggled with the words pitisalé (a salted, pork like meat that is dried) and berro (watercress, or green leafy plant) and I really haven’t found images with which I am happy, so please understand if you choose to look at the powerpoint that I use for vocabulary purposes, with subjunctive slides at the end. Ojalá que llueva café prep I usually have students listen to the music before watching the video and ask them how the song makes them feel and what they might be able to predict concerning the meaning of the song. Almost everyone says that the music is happy music, and almost everyone hears the title as well as the vocabulary food words on which we had previously focused. We usually then do the first of two cloze type activities, at which point, several students will begin to question the strange lyrics.
The next time that I use the song we are in the “social awareness through music” unit beginning with the Dominican Republic. We will have done map work and a reading on Juan Luis Guerra in which they focus on what they can understand instead of what they don’t know: Juan Luis Guerra lectura y actividad . Students will also do a free write activity in which they will address some essential questions, such as “¿Qué quiere decir la canción? ¿Qué describe la canción? ¿Qué es el problema? ¿Qué quiere Juan Luis Guerra? ¿Qué opinas de la canción?” Using everything that they have learned, or are learning about the Dominican Republic, with a partner, each student will have a list of words associated with the Dominican Republic and they will work their way through both lists orally, listing as much as they know about each word or phrase: La República Dominicana intro compañero Additionally, as a homework assignment, continuing work with the present subjunctive, students will work with these phrases as they relate to the Dominican Republic Subjunctive sentences Has viajado a la R.D. And finally, once students are very familiar with the song, I have them work in small groups to dramatize the song with movement and hand drawn pictures. I assign each group a verse, and the group stands up to interpret their verse as the song plays.
As a contrast to the version by Juan Luis Guerra, I also use the Café Tacuba version of the song. By this point in time, most students will really like Juan Luis Guerra and we will also work with the songs El Costo de la Vida and La Llave de mi Corazón.