La Historia de Juan

I would imagine that the song La Historia de Juan by Juanes is known by many, many Spanish teachers.  I’ve been using it in my big music unit for 10 years.  Over the years, I’ve found wonderful resources out there from many other Spanish teachers.  Barbara Kuczun Nelson has a great site, Spanish Language and Culture, with a nice unit on the song.  I use the reading

Los Niños de la Calle—Una Historia from that unit.  I also use several parts of this terrific lesson created by Eva Sabate for La Historia de Juan. Additionally, I’ve created my own Photo Story for Colombia with the background music being La Historia de Juan and A Dios Le Pido.  The photostory showcases the beauty of Colombia as well as some of the social and political issues.  It contains some sobering statistics about the street children.

In my never ending quest of having my students speak more, more, more…and recycle what they have learned constantly, I have added the following activities this year.  After having worked with the song lyrics once, and doing some preliminary map review, I grouped students (I had decided on the groupings before class; many times I allow them to group themselves, but not this time.) and had them do the following activity:

  • Hablen de lo que saben de Colombia, de la canción “La Historia de Juan” y de la canción “A Dios le Pido”. Usen sus letras y el mapa. Inglés/español
  • Repasen la tarea, los verbos de “La Historia de Juan” en el pretérito. ¿Hay problemas? español
  • Lean p. 2 en el paquete: Los Niños de la Calle-Su Historia (just the first half of the page). ¿Qué significa? Hablen de las palabras nuevas y viejas. Inglés/español
  • Actividad individual (mini quiz de Los Niños de la Calle-Su Historia, consisted of 5 multiple choice, find 7 cognates and a free response with their personal opinion as to why these children are so vulnerable.)
  • Escuchamos “La Historia de Juan” otra vez y completamos Actividad 2 (p. 4 en el paquete).

The next day, in the same groups, they worked with these

  • ¿Cómo se dice?
  1. No one loved                                                 9.  It was
  2. He grew up                                                   10.  He cried
  3. The world forgot                                           11.  The light went out
  4. He asked                                                      12.  The world gave
  5. She abandoned                                           13.  The world denied
  6. The world didn’t listen                                  14.  He wanted/tried to
  7. He mistreated                                               15.  It took, carried
  8. The world hurt
  • Trabajo con los verbos

Escriban los verbos en español en las fichas:  ESCRIBAN GRANDE!!!!

Cada persona necesita 3 – 4 fichas

Retell the song using only the fichas……NO LETRAS!!!

Many of the cards need to be used multiple times!

  • Partido   This song, as you may know, is very serious and depressing.  We needed something to lighten the mood a bit, have some fun, but yet still work (unknowingly) with the past tense.  (I did several things with this.  First, in their groups, they spread their index cards out so that everyone could see and reach them.  I then simply said the verbs in English while they looked for the Spanish equivalent.  The goal was to grab the card before anyone else.  If you were correct, you kept the card.  At the end of the game, the person with the most cards was the winner.  Next, I said the line from the song that used that verb and they had to find the verb to complete the line (same process as the first game). Lastly, the cards that they had won were their assigned “part of the story”.  The group had to retell the story/lyrics, using the verbs in their hands from the game.)

If you are interested in seeing how this unit is unfolding, here is the link to that chapter in my wikispace. What other ideas might you have for this particular song?

1 thought on “La Historia de Juan

  1. Great ideas for how to use this song! Thanks for sharing. I really like the verb activity and then retelling the story of the song. That could be done with so many songs. This will be great to change up my regular activities!

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