Songs continue to be one of my favorite authentic resources to introduce, reinforce or enhance a grammatical concept. While this post is about a song that I used for work with the present subjunctive, the actual activities are applicable across the spectrum.
My three Spanish IV classes are about 8 days into intense work with the present indicative and present subjunctive. We have used many songs: Quizas( Enrique Iglesias), De Todo el Mundo (Enrique Bunbury), Azul (Natalia Lafourcade), La llave de mi corazon (Juan Lulis Guerra), Mi Princesa (Victor Cruz), and Inevitable (Samo). We have used authentic “clippings” from current events, exercises of rote practice, lots of picture prompts of incredible, bizarre or interesting situations, and even more speaking/listening prompts. Up next: another song, this time, Exigimos (We demand) by Doctor Krapula (from Colombia).
Exigimos was the song that was playing in class on Tuesday when the students were entering. I had also used it as “background” music while working on other activities last week. After the bell rang, we took a preliminary look at the lyrics for Exigimos and then quickly moved to something else. On Wednesday, I placed the students in groups of two and gave each group sentence strips (in vibrant colors) for the first verse of the song. They listened one time to the verse, putting the strips in the correct order. Next, they quickly discussed the meanings of the lyrics, identified the subjunctive verbs and the reason for the subjunctive verbs, and also the infinitive for each verb.
I then gave them verse two with 12 verbs on separate pieces of paper. The first thing that they did was divide the verbs into two columns: present indicative and present subjunctive. Again they quickly determined the meaning of the verbs. I then had them orally change the subjunctive to indicative and vice versa. I then played the second verse of the song (two times) and they placed the verbs in the correct places on the paper. Once again, they determined what the second verse was singing and the reasons for the subjunctive verbs.
As a class, we had a discussion about why the group would be singing about “demands” for Colombia. I taught about two thirds of these students in Spanish III, so they had a good background for discussion based on a big unit we did on Colombia in Spanish III.
The third part of working with this song involved the spoken part of Exigimos. The students definitely struggled with the first two lines in this part, so I had them determine for everything else first. As a class, we then worked with those first two lines. Individually, they completed the four questions based on this section. The last part of this marathon with the song was a Free Write that was completed as the song was playing again. Prior to beginning the Free Write, I told them that I expected to see subjunctive in their writing…that they could “bullet” items if they wanted to do that, but that subjunctive had to play a role in their writing. When the song was finished, they exchanged papers and had a peer read it, with the option of circling the subjunctive verbs they saw. I gave them an additional moment to correct or add anything. Finally, they completed a shorter Free Write (about 3 minutes) on the reverse side. This dealt with applying cultural knowledge to the song. I collected the paper and scored it for content (15 points) as well as subjunctive use (5 points). As a whole, almost every student scored well with the content assessment, and I was pleased with what they knew and were able to say. The use of the subjunctive was more uneven, with students who did really well, and others who did not. Below are some of their responses.
There will be another part of this lesson tomorrow as I will ask students (in small groups) to come up with a list of “demands” that they could create as students in our school. I will then ask them individually to write seven demands: Exigo que…..