Even more music for Vida/Muerte

I have blogged about the superb novel, Vida y muerte en la Mara Salvatrucha 13 from @fluencymatters four other times with the most recent post just from last month.  So how, you might ask, would I still have even more music to add to the novel?  Blame it on Sebastián Yatra…..

With his new song “No hay nadie más“, released on January 25, 2018 and already with 1 billion views, we have the perfect song for the relationship between our narrador and Analía.  When I heard it for the first time, three weeks ago, I literally said, out loud, “Oh my gosh! This song is incredible!” and I knew that I absolutely had to use it despite the fact that we already have SO much focus music with this unit (Casas de Cartón, Gangsta, Los Rakas, Así Crecí, Adentro, Nada Valgo sin tu amor and Princesa).

My only other decision came down to timing, and I admit I was a bit torn. Should I introduce the song after we have read about what happens to Analía or do I introduce it before, incorporating some foreshadowing?  I chose the latter.  Consider the opening verses of the song:

Recuerdo aquel día   ( I remember that day)  (the day he went to collect the payment from the viejita at the fruit stand)
Como si fuera hoy     (As if it were today)
No hay nada como ella  (There’s nothing like her)
Ni siquiera me encontró   ([she] didn’t even try to find me) (Analía arrived, strongly defending her grandmother and, unknowingly, opening the closed heart of the narrator)

Recuerdo todavía   (I still remember)
La vez que la besé    (the time I kissed her)  (their hidden dates, the trip to the beach, the intense, revealing conversation they had)
Fue mi primer amor   (It/she was my first love)
Y ahora escribo su canción   (And now I write her song)

Once we had read Chapter 6 “Mi Trabajo”, without telling my students that we were working with a new song, we started some prework.  I went through the lyrics and selected what I thought were, a) key phrases and, b) words that might interfere with comprehension.  We started with the key phrases first, making sure everyone had 100% comprehension of them.  I gave them about 10 minutes to incorporate as many as they could into a poem, in the shape of a heart: the document Chap 6 and Chap 7 No hay nadie masno hay 2

El narrador tiene 16 años y asiste a un colegio. También tiene trabajo. Pero, más importante, hay una muchacha. ??

Escribe frases, en forma de poema, usando las palabras en el banco de palabras.  Puede cambiar la forma de las palabras si quieres.


Recuerdo               Primer amor                La besé                 Inexplicable                 Cuidarte

Mil razones         Te voy a extrañar              Soledad                 Terminar                 Nadie más

Surprisingly, all of the students in all three classes plunged right into the writing.  After 10 minutes, they shared with their pod groups (the groups of 4 in the room), and then volunteered with the whole class.  We listened, did some “pop up” grammar, and basically, really enjoyed what they had written.  There were serious poems, funny poems, love poems, and more.  They really wanted to keep going, but that was day one.
The second day, after reading chapter 7 “Mi novia”,  we worked with the words that I felt could prevent some comprehension. Those words were:

Ni siquiera: not even, didn’t even
Todavía: still
Inigualable: incomparable
Cela: watches over
Disimular: hide
Extrañar: miss
Tempestad: storm
Aunque: although, even though
Renunciar: give up
Melancolía: melancholy
Lágrimas: tears
Risas: laughter

We went through the list and I then asked them to categorize those words as verbs, nouns or adjectives/adverbs/other.  WHAT AN ACTIVITY! I was not prepared for the discussion that followed as they discovered that there were words that could potentially go in more than one category and even more, that it depended on how the word was being used in English.  Example: still….. was it “She stilled the class with a glance” or “still water” or “I still don’t get this”. We had heated discussions in each class about “melancholy”…several didn’t understand the word in English and many wanted to argue that it was only an adjective. We had great discussion over the many ways to say watch/look/see and hide, in Spanish, and we even had some more “pop up” grammar as we worked , such as with the word tempestad….why is it feminine (other than they felt it sounded better that way!).  I then had them create sentences that used more than one of the words at a time, and what sentences they created!!! They did not want to stop sharing! This was a wonderful activity for my students and I believe that working with the two sets of “lyric” words greatly enhanced their subsequent comprehension and reaction to the song.

Finally, on day three, I told them that the words were part of a new song.  I did NOT use the music video; I merely gave them a traditional cloze activity.  We no more got through the first two verses when I had students in each class commenting on the sweetness of the lyrics and groaning (remember, they do not know that Analía is going to die) that the overall sad tone of the music better not mean something bad! We worked our way through the song in stages, the first two verses, the chorus, the next two verses and then for the last round of the chorus (there were no cloze blanks), I asked them to find the 4 ways the song was lyrically different from the other choruses, and asked why that might be. Each class reacted identically:  they loved it, they couldn’t get enough of it, they had to sing it.  Also, they began to question what WAS going to happen to Analía (was it going to be Analía who would be “watching over” the narrator….from where?) and tying the lyrics about how the person in the song changes the life of the singer to what Analía is doing for the narrator. Finally, I let them watch the entire music video, which is quite simple, but much may be read into it.  To reinforce how strong their reaction to this song was: I introduced the song last Tuesday, the students proposed their “favorite” songs for March madness on Thursday, voted on them on Friday…….No hay nadie más was in the top tier of vote getters!

On the fourth page of the document for the song, is an activity that I will use to open class on Monday: matching pictures/drawings to specific text from Chapter 7 and lines from the song. no hay 1

This one song is a classic illustration of how music contains the power to connect…..text with music, text with culture, text with emotions, text with our own identities.  It literally is the perfect song for the pivotal events in Chapters 6 – 9.


Locura de marzo 2018

My students have been looking forward to March since we finished the December commercial madness from Dustin Williamson. Also, for many of my Spanish IV students, this is their 4th time with a “madness” activity (I taught many of them last year in Spanish III)!  And, for that reason, I promised them that I would allow them to produce half of our song entries.  While I already knew that I have many students who LOVE Latin music and maintain Spanish playlists on their devices, I was not prepared for the sheer volume of their suggestions. We had to vote from their  list to get it narrowed down to their top 10 choices….and it wasn’t easy!  For some of them, it was sheer agony!  I gave each student 8 votes…..they could vote for 8 songs and even then it was difficult as they tried to weigh which song they like better than another!  What was even more satisfying for me, in addition to their passionate pleas about what needed to be included, was the diversity of their selections.  Here is their original list that they submitted to me:

Vote for NO MORE than EIGHT (8). If you vote for more than 8, your votes will not count.
_____ 1. Me Soltaste (Jesse y Joy)
_____ 2. Desencuentro (Residente from Calle 13)
_____ 3. Gangsta (Kat Dahlia)
_____ 4. No hay nadie más (Sebastián Yatra)
_____ 5. Robarte un beso (Sebastián Yatra y Carlos Vives)
_____ 6. Súbeme la radio (Enrique Iglesias y Gente de Zona)
_____ 7. Dile que tú me quieres (Ozuna)
_____ 8. Mientes (Camila)
_____ 9. Vivir mi vida (Marc Anthony)
_____ 10. Sofía (Álvaro Soler)
_____ 11. Sigo extrañádote (J. Balvin)
_____ 12. Mi gente (J. Balvin y Willy William)
_____ 13. Cómo yo (Silvestre Dangond y San Luis)
_____ 14. Livin’ la vida loca (Ricky Martin)
_____ 15. Corazón Espinado (Maná y Santana)
_____ 16. La Bamba (Richie Valens)
_____ 17. Me Equivoqué (CD9)
_____ 18. El Ganador (Nicky Jam)
_____ 19. El Amante (Nicky Jam)
_____ 20. La Bicicleta (Shakira y Carlos Vives)
_____ 21. Cásate conmigo (Nicky Jam y Silvestre Dangond)
_____ 22. Échame la culpa (Luis Fonsi y Demi Lovato)
_____ 23. El Perdón (Enrique Iglesias y Nicky Jam)
_____ 24. Lumbra (Cali y El Dandee)
_____ 25. Animal (Álvaro Soler)
_____ 26. El Mismo Sol (Álvaro Soler)
_____ 27. Como la flor (Selena)
_____ 28. Bailando (Enrique Iglesias, Gente de Zona, y December Bueno)
_____ 29. Soy yo (Bomba Estereo)
_____ 30. Caótica Belleza (Esteman)
_____ 31. Me enamoré (Shakira)
_____ 32. Chantaje (Shakira y Maluma)
_____ 33. La Cucaracha (traditional)
_____ 34. Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen (Santana)
_____ 35. Reggaetón Lento (CNCO)
_____ 36. Hey DJ (CNCO y Yandel)
_____ 37. La Gozadera (Marc Anthony y Gente de Zona)
_____ 38. Cuando me enamoro (Juan Luis Guerra y Enrique Iglesias)
_____ 39. A Dios le pido (Juanes)
_____ 40. La La La (Shakira)
_____ 41. La luz (Juanes)
_____ 42. Despacito (Luis Fonsi/Daddy Yankee)
_____ 43. Odio (Romeo Santos/Drake)
_____ 44. Fruta Fresca (Carlos Vives)
_____ 45. Se preparó (Ozuna)
_____ 46. El Farsante (Ozuna/Romeo Santos)
_____ 47. Dura (Daddy Yankee)
_____ 48. Odio por Amor (Juanes)

Many of the songs were songs that we had been introduced to in class, either as the “entry to class music” or accompaniments to our units; however, several others are songs that they have discovered themselves…..because they really like Latin music.  The only artist that I told them was off limits for ANY song was Bad Bunny, and I refused to include any of his music on their list.  I’m happy to say that I didn’t have to make that choice with Despacito because even though it was wildly popular last year, it didn’t make the cut for their top music!!

The top 10 songs, according to their votes, make up one half of the bracket and my own 10 choices complete the brackets.  I put all of their choices on one side (the left side below), and mine on the other (the right side).  I had just as tough a time choosing as they did.  I’m still not completely happy with my 10 choices and really wish I could add at least 4 more.  However, there are not enough days in March to cover more than the 20 songs.  Here are the brackets as they stand today:

Locura de marzo 2018 brackets

Still in the running for me, and maybe replacing Tu foto (Ozuna) and one of the HA-ASH songs are:

CNCO – Mamita
Nuestro Secreto – Carlos Vives
La Estrategia Cali y el Dandee
Princesa – Río Roma/CNCO
Esperándote – MTZ Manuel Turizo
Un poco loco/Recuérdame from Coco
Danza de Gardenias – Natalia Lafourcade

This year I will follow basically the same plan as last year:

  1.  Introduce 2 songs at the beginning of the period.  I use just a minute or minute thirty seconds of the song, making sure I include the chorus.  I do use the music video (unless it is entirely inappropriate), so for some songs, I have to be selective in which parts I choose.
  2. I give them a brief intro to the artists, where they are from, etc. and we look at the meaning of the chorus.
  3. Then we vote.  The whole process does not take more than 5 minutes initially.
  4. This year, I will do 2 songs from “their selections” one day and the next day I will do 2 songs from “my selections”.
  5. When we are ready for round two, I will use lyric videos for the songs moving on.  We will establish more meaning for those songs. For this stage, we probably spend about 7 – 8 minutes with the songs.
  6. When we are ready for round three, I will use the original music video and we will sing the choruses.  (This is NOT to say that we haven’t been singing all along….)  For this stage, we will be spending close to 10 minutes with the songs.
  7. For the final round, we will look at the lyrics again and watch the entire official video (as may be appropriate).

As Carrie Toth posted a few days ago, I don’t do anything fancy with the brackets.  I print the song titles/artists on card stock and devote an entire board to posting them.  Each day I put the final vote tally beside the card stock, and move the winning song over to the next bracket.

I’m looking forward to looking at the brackets of many of your classes!  A huge, grateful THANK YOU to @spanishplans for creating this hugely popular activity!

Starting the novel, Frida

This week my Spanish IV classes are starting the novel, Frida by Kristy Placido. I’m posting very quickly (and probably with some errors! :)) how I am beginning it for the second time.cover I decided that one of the first activities that we would do would be to work with the song, Soy Yo by Bomba Estéreo.  Kara Jacobs has a great unit on her blog for Level I Spanish students with additional materials available on TPT (Sherry Nesbitt also has some materials here.). I took her basic google presentation or powerpoint and revamped it for Spanish IV.  It is available for download (free) below.

Bomba Estereo – Soy yo – revised for blog

Here is my three day plan:

Day 1

  1.  I used Kara’s original story and rewrote it for an upper level class. I am not sharing it because it is part of her unit that is available on TPT. Students read it aloud with a partner, answered questions, identified vocabulary. (I had previously assigned them a quizlet with key words from the song).
  2. We watched the video.
  3. We brainstormed what “belleza” meant.  In groups of three, they had 10 minutes to prepare a powerpoint (as a group) of things/people that are beautiful.  We did a quick gallery walk to view the finished products.  Each group then wrote a definition of beauty.  It is my hope to return to these powerpoints later and see if they would change anything.

Day 2

  1.  I used the powerpoint for Soy yo by Bomba Estéreo (Bomba Estereo – Soy yo – revised for blog).  We took the time to discuss the slides throughly.  When we got to slide 6, with the message from the group about the song, “No hay nada mejor que ser tú” I began to tie it into Frida. I referenced a poster of her in my room, and we talked in general terms about when she was born, what was happening in the world during her lifetime, the “unibrow” and facial hair, why she might want to look like that (in historical terms) and what people might say about her.  Slides 9 – 11 were crucial in continuing the discussion.
  2. Next, I gave each group of 2 students a set of cut up lyrics (printed on card stock and cut out) soy yo lyric arrange strips  For my own sanity, each set was printed on a different color in case any strips were dropped on the floor (!) they would be easily identified as to what group was missing the strip.  Within the first 10 seconds of the music, students identified how very difficult it was going to be to put the strips in order….but that was a great challenge that they really enjoyed.  I had to play the beginning three times before they got the order correct for the first 4 – 6 strips.  As we did it in sections, we also talked about what the lyrics were saying (quizlet came in handy!). Finally we had the entire first verse and chorus done.  I had them “make meaning” with their partner of the lyrics, and we checked our thoughts.  Then……we tried to “rap” it!  Such a blast!!! We did it several times.
  3. We worked with the first part of the Zamba: Excursión al Museo de Bellas Artes, Frida Kahlo. We watched it and shared what we saw and heard. There were MANY questions about it; I encouraged the questions but didn’t give answers yet.
  4. Finally, we played quizlet live with our Soy yo lyrics.

Day 3

  1.  I plan to open with a cloze of Soy Yo. Soy yo cloze day 2  The document also contains a space to write a 25 word summary of the message of the song. I’m pretty sure we will have to sing again!
  2.  We will work with the Zamba video again. Kara Jacobs has a great activity for this.  Arianne Dowd also has a terrific unit on TPT for Frida and the Zamba video!
  3. We will read chapter 1 of Frida

Looking ahead, we will begin working with Caótica Belleza on days 4/5.  See my blog post from last year here. Additionally, I hope to add this song in later chapters: Yo Soy Así by Redimi2 and Funky. I’ve already had it playing in the background and they are very “into” it.  When I get it done, I’ll post it here or on my wikipage.  A sampling of the lyrics:

Acéptame, recházame
pero no quieras cambiarme
Sé que mi estilo de vida
no se parece a tu vida pero
que le puedo hacer
Yo soy así

Yo no voy a hacer
lo que todos hacen
seré diferente
aunque me rechacen
conmigo mis amigos
no se complacen
quieren destruirme
pero no la hacen

Adding MIENTES to La Llorona de Mazatlán

This is now my fourth time using La Llorona de Mazatlán by Katie Baker with my Spanish IV classes.  While there are standard activities and creations that I use with all of our novels each year, I never do anything the same way twice. This year has been made a bit more complicated since I decided that we would start the year with both FVR and El Internado once a week (as opposed to just second semester), effectively eliminating one day of the week.  However, I still want to cover the same amount of material and novels as last year, so I have to really consider how much more I add to each novel! It actually has worked out well, as I have had the students read about half of the novel on their own, and half with the whole class and therefore still been able to add in all the little “extras”.  This past week we finished chapters 9 and 10 (the fracturing of the friendship of Laney and Desi and the gift of la pulsera from Luis to Laney). We also have begun our readings of other legends (El Sombrerón, El Cucuy, El Chupacabras) as well as the first versions of La Llorona (thanks to Bryce Hedstrom!).  The first part of Chapter 11 is the huge argument between Laney and Desi, when Laney lies about the giver of the gift. My students certainly know the nouns “mentiroso/a” and “mentira” but I did not feel that they were as familiar with the verb “mentir.” With oral assesments coming up, I really want them to be comfortable when talking about the people who lied: Laney and Luis. In addition to that, the lyrics tie in beautifully with the book and the legend of La Llorona: You came into my life to teach me; with eyes closed I followed you; you’re not the person that I thought you were; you hurt me; I’m better off without you. Last year, AFTER the chapter, I used the terrific song Mientes by Camila, and they really enjoyed it. However, I made a note to use it BEFORE the chapter this year, and it worked really well.  Note: I did not use the video at any point in time; it is not appropriate and absolutely not needed. Here is the order of what I did.

  1.  Quickly went over present and past tense of mentir, with some PQA 1
  2. Shared some memes and images 2.PNG
  3. Had some discussion about famous liars (I gave them a few, they added more). 3.PNG
  4. Had some discussion about our own lies, and why we lie 5.PNG
  5. Talked about consequences of lying; this was deliberate to incorporate some unfamiliar words in the song Mientes:  hace daño, conseguiste, quedan ganas6.PNG
  6. First listen to the song and work with a traditional cloze chap 11 MIENTES Camila
  7. After listening to it twice, checking the words that they filled in, and making sure that meaning had been established, most of them were begging to sing it. One of my classes had to sing it three times and we have decided that this week they will come up with gestures for the song.
  8. Read the first two pages of Chapter 11 (the fight) and was delighted when so many of them started yelling:  Mientes, Laney, mientes!

This upcoming week

  1.  Review the song again, singing with all classes, adding gestures with at least one of those classes
  2. Pull out specific lines to emphasize 7.PNG
  3. Use Pictograms Chap 11 Mientes picto  8
  4. And/or use Pictograms as a game (projected on SMART)
  5. Act out the fight scene between Laney and Desi, using the actual script in the book first, then creating their own script

If you are interested in seeing the rest of what I have done with La Llorona de Mazatlán this year, use this link.  The page is in chronological order so that the most current plans are at the top.

Cabaret, a celebration of cultures, languages and arts!

cabaretNine years ago, in 2008, I attended a world language conference in Maryland. It was in a session there that an idea was planted in my head. I wish that I could remember who the speaker was, but I don’t. She shared with us the idea of a type of talent show that featured talent in many languages.  The next year, in 2009, the first Cabaret at James M. Bennett High School took place. Indeed, it was a celebration of talent: singing, dancing, skits, poetry recitation and instrumental selections that came from a variety of languages and cultures.  Since then, we have held a Cabaret about every two years.  I feel very strongly that one of my major responsibilities as a world language teacher is to open a window on the world for my students of rural Delmarva (rural, but with a quite high immigrant population) and to build bridges leading to acceptance and understanding of other cultures. Last night, we held a Cabaret that achieved that, and I will always remember it.  It was so very special that I will cherish the warmth, the love and the good feelings for a very long time.

This year, for the first time, my committee for the Cabaret was not just world language teachers.  Instead, it was made up of me, a Latin teacher, an English teacher, two science teachers, a history teacher, a media assistant and an ELL teacher.  We began our planning the first part of January, meeting so that I could explain what was involved and then dividing the work load.  The English teacher was responsible for decorations and theme (cinco de mayo, since it was held on May 5th), the science teachers were responsible for the international desserts, the history teacher was responsible for the beverages, the ELL teacher was responsible for tickets and finances, the media assistant was responsible for publicity and the Latin teacher and I covered auditions, program, power points, school promotion (morning announcements and videos), technical needs, and stage crew. We made a phenomenal team.

We charged $4.00 a ticket, which included a beverage and their choice of an international dessert.  Additional desserts were available for $1.00.  Since our principal assisted us with some discretionary funds, we were able to make almost $600. We decided at a planning meeting in early April that the profit would be used to begin a scholarship in memory of our guidance secretary who passed away suddenly in March.

We chose two outgoing senior students to be our emcees for the evening, and they were wonderfully high energy, involving the audience from the opening minute of the show. They introduced each act with information about each performer.  There were more than 62 performers in the show, and another 25 involved in decorating, baking, serving and stage crew. The event was well attended by our students, who were polite, receptive and enthusiastic in their support of each other.  We began promptly at 7:00 and finished at 9:20, including a 20 minute intermission break for more dessert and dance (described below).  I prepared two enormous power points, one that played for 20 minutes prior to 7:00 that featured music, pictures and quotes for all languages encompassed in our show and a second power point that had a slide or two for each act, featuring lyrics or trivia about each act and performer.  We used our Clipper Galley (the cafeteria) as the venue because we would be able to eat as students performed.  The very nature of a Cabaret is an intimate gathering with food and entertainment.  By removing many tables and chairs, leaving only 24 tables with 10 chairs at each, we were able to create a very welcoming environment. We did have to add more chairs due to a higher than expected attendance.

All of this years’ acts were by student performers.  In the past, we had several faculty participants, but none this year.  Here is the First Act:

  • Song, Wilkommen from Cabaret, in German, French and English
  • Song, Dana Dana, in Arabic
  • Instrumental (flute, violin, trumpet), Santa Lucia, Italian folk song
  • Dance, BBoy, American
  • Song, Fate, Korean
  • Song, Bulleya, Hindi
  • Instrumental (clarinet, flute, trumpet, trombone, french horn, tuba, saxophone) Serenata, Spanish American
  • Song, La Fleur que tu m’avais jetee from Carmen, French
  • Poem recitation, Fakat al tanfus, Arabic then translated to English
  • Song, Konfie m nan De, Creole
  • Instrumental, Sonata for Clarinet and Piano, Saint-Saens, French
  • Song and guitar, Malagueña, Spanish
  • Dance, Garba meets Bollywood, Hindi

Intermission featured the most popular Just Dance videos from my Spanish III Baila Viernes (Bailando, Limbo, Bailar, La Bicicleta) as well as an additional Bollywood and Korean Just Dance and a special tag team Free style by our break dancers. Intermission was an overwhelming success, with at least 50 students up dancing together in front of our giant screen.

Act II

  • Fashion show with narration and music with 17 models featuring attire from Ghana, Morocco and Algeria (all of the clothes belonged to students from Northern Africa)
  • Song, Como la flor, Spanish
  • Song, The Sound of Silence, English
  • Dance, original dance choreographed to Caótica Belleza, Spanish
  • Poem recitation, Y si el hombre, Spanish
  • Skit, Latin
  • Dance, popping animation, American
  • Song, Fotografía, Spanish
  • Dance, Bangra Bollywood, Punjabi
  • Song, O cessate di piagrarmi, Italian
  • Song, A Million Reasons, English
  • Dance, JMB Dance Team, street dance, American
  • Song with saxophone solo, At last, English

Conclusion of the Cabaret featured another 20 minutes of Just Dance videos as students were reluctant to leave and just kept asking for more! I lost track of the number of student participants (and parents) who thanked me profusely for allowing them to share their language and culture and the student audience members who said that they couldn’t wait to be participants in the next show!

The idea to embrace and celebrate our very diverse population at JMB is one that is of tremendous importance. It was more than just beautiful to watch the multitude of culture, language and art converge in our Clipper Galley, it was inspiring, and hopeful, and oh so very necessary. To present those cultures, languages and arts through song, dance, poetry and drama was more than entertaining, it was good for our hearts. I am so very, very proud of the representation of languages and cultures: Spanish, Creole, Hindi, Latin, Punjabi, Korean, Arabic, Italian, German, French, and English. Additionally, we embraced students whose cultural identity includes: the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Ghana, Sudan, Morocco, Algeria, India, Pakistan, Italy, Germany, France, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and the United States. It absolutely was one of the best nights ever of my long teaching career. Watching these diverse students support each other, cheer for each other and come together at intermission to fill the “dance floor” as they danced through at least 7 Just Dance multicultural videos (and to do the same AFTER the show was over) was something that I know had to impact those in attendance. If you don’t already have such an event at your school, I would encourage you to consider doing something similar. It is so very worth it.  I will leave you with the following message that a student emailed me last night:

“Everyone was so supportive and kind and light and friendly that everyone else just couldn’t help but let their guard down and relax with them. I 100% believe that without this, without multiculturalism among the Stars and Stripes of our American flag, we would not enjoy life to the fullest extent. Whatever help you need in planning future Cabarets, I’m on board. Here’s my email. My phone number is (443) *** ****. I would hate to see people of future generations miss out on an opportunity for something as amazing as what we all witnessed tonight. ESPECIALLY considering the giant thumb known as Donald Trump, is constricting every piece of diverse culture America contains into boxes marked “over the wall, you go.” You have provided me with a window into these lives, a door into different cultures, and a way to immerse myself in all of their beauty. Thank you so much for that. Your hard work and effort really glimmered tonight, my family and I send our thanks and appreciation to you and the rest of the participants/teachers/staff.”



fashion show

Locura de mayo 2017


And back, by popular demand from my Spanish IV students, is their third round of musical mania. And this is a TOUGH one!!! I had a very, very, very hard time getting down to 26 titles. Latin music has just exploded the last few months with songs and styles that have  captured the attention of my students.  All of the songs in my playlist are songs that I have already played at least once as our “starter” music each day (the music that is playing when they enter class) so nothing is brand new to them. The only clear cut favorite that I can select right now is the Justin Bieber version of Despacito with Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee. (And I am hoping it is just because it IS so new.)  Another that has really stood out for them is Desencuentro by Residente (Calle 13) which I first introduced at the end of Vida y Muerte en la Mara Salvatrucha.  Did I hear you say “What??????”  For those of you familiar with that novel, the narrator and Analía encounter a crisis with critical action. The lyrics from Desencuentro include:

Dentro de los accidentes, imprevistos y las posibilidades
Eventualidades, choques estelares                                                                                                 La casualidad de poder vernos se escapa
Somos diferentes cielos en un mismo mapa
Y tú aquí y yo allá. Y yo aquí y tú allá

When I introduced it, there was no official music video. Now there is…..and it is NOT at all what we expected…..but they LOVE IT!

CNCO is also a huge pleaser, and I have used both Reggaeton Lento (from last year) and the just released Hey DJ!

Nicky Jam has been prolific in releasing videos for his new album, Fénix.  I have included El Ganador (which we also used in Vida y Muerte) which appeals to many of my “trap loving music” students and El Amante.

Juanes is tremendously active right now, too (Mis Planes Son Amarte). I must say that I have not been entranced with his new music, but they have been interested in Hermosa Ingrata and on Friday immediately responded to the just released El Ratico. I also added the very unusual  Amárrame with Mon Laferte which has puzzled them.

Shakira is all over the charts, so I’ve included the older (last summer) La Bicicleta (with Carlos Vives), the newer Deja vu with Prince Royce, and the just released Me enamoré. I could NOT bring myself to include El Chantaje.

It will be interesting to see how less famous groups fare. Most students love the voices of La Marisoul from La Santa Cecilia and Jesse y Joy, so I’ve included two selections from them.

And of course, there are the eternally popular artists like Enrique Iglesias (Súbeme la radio) and Gente de Zona (Si no vuelves) and Nacho, from Chino y Nacho (Báilame).

There is music that my students really like that I will not use because of the lyrics or because of the videos. I have REALLY struggled with including the Despacito video because of the nature of some of the dancing. I also struggled with the lyrics to Súbeme la radio (Traiga el alcohol), among others.  Many times I will only “selectively” play sections of these videos, but in the case of Súbeme la radio, the alcohol line is part of the chorus, repeated and repeated.  It’s a fine line, for sure.

Here is the link to my playlist for Locura de mayo 2017. Round one of the contest will feature 2 minutes of 2 videos followed by a vote.  Round two will feature the winners from round one, but using the lyric videos, followed by a vote. Round three will feature the winners from round two with both the lyric and music videos, followed by a vote.

Predictions? Either Enrique Iglesias, CNCO, Nicky Jam or Despacito……..  LOL!

Setting the Stage for Bianca Nieves y los Siete Toritos (Carrie Toth)

We are beginning Bianca Nieves y los Siete Toritos by Carrie Toth very soon. It will be my second time using it and there are AWESOME resources out there for it. Check out Kara Jacobs, Carrie Toth, Cindy Hitz, Allison Weinhold, Kristy Placido and Dustin Williamson. There are also some great bullfighting resources from Elizabeth Dentlinger. I will use ideas and resources from all of these wonderfully creative people, but I’ve also created some of my own that I will share. Of course, there is also the great teacher’s guide!!!

This year, my Spanish III students have been immersed in Guatemala via Esperanza, Costa Rica via Robo en la noche and Colombia, which is my own unit which I hope to put on Teachers Pay Teachers this summer.  Since my Spanish III students have had very little exposure to Spain, I knew that I wanted to begin with a “look at Spain.” The very first thing that we did was a game about Spanish culture.  I put the students in groups of 4, gave each team a whiteboard/markers/eraser and projected questions in 4 categories.  There were 8 questions in each category and they wrote their answers to all 8 questions before we exchanged boards and checked the responses.  Each team scored a point for each correct response.  The first category is just general knowledge, the second is famous people from Spain (with their faces distorted), the third category is multiple choice cultural trivia and the fourth category was preliminary knowledge of bullfighting (they know nothing!). The power point is something that I discovered somewhere many years ago and I unfortunately no longer know where it came from. I have modified and changed it significantly, but I would still like to credit the original.  If you know, let me know! The students really enjoyed this opening activity and it was successful in triggering interest in Spain.Intro a Espana Spanish game teams 2017 short version

We next worked with a preliminary map of Spain Spain first look map 2017 and some general knowledge of Spain.  To do this, I used a lot of pictures in a SMART notebook presentation, lots of videos, and had students work with a partner in a timed activity to discover specific items (such as churros y chocolate, paella, currency, pipas, the Osbourne bull, etc.). This turned out to be a wild activity that led to enormous interest and questions from the students.  We got sidetracked quite a bit but I did not mind at all since their interest was so high. Qué sabes de España 2017 If you have access to SMART and would like to see the notebook, just email me and I will send it to you. Opening.JPG

I also introduced flamenco to them using a lectura that Kara Jacobs originally created but that I modified and added to. We looked at flamenco from a Spanish, Arabic and Hindi perspective with several videos (here are a few of the links, but not all: flamenco India ComparingComparing 2) Most of the students were very interested. Flamenco lectura 2017flamencoThis led to David Bisbal and the famous Bulería.  I created this powerpoint, David Bisbal, to introduce him. The next day we reviewed what we knew and began to work with the lyrics in a brief cloze, which of course led us to singing! Bulería David Bisbal first cloze We will continue to work with this song periodically eventually discussing the bullfight/fight imagery.

To review all of the work we had done, I made this Salad Bowl game. For directions on how to play, check Carrie’s post.  Here is a quick Assessment que sabes of what we were exploring.

This next week, a week that is destroyed by PARCC testing, we will be working with Ferdinando via Kara. I can’t start the actual novel yet because of all of the disruptions due to testing, but I can continue the front loading of information with Ferdinando and extension activities! One significant difference from last year will be that I will reserve actual discussion of the parts of the bullfight, additional readings and activities until we are at least through chapter 5 of the novel.  I’m doing this because the pre discussion of that material led my students last year to believing that we were going to immediately be immersed in bullfighting when we started the novel. Of course, that wasn’t true. This year I will spend much more time on activities from the teachers guide, particularly the Picasso plates and the fan activity as well as our own creations.

Some early chapter 1 material:

Quizzz created by Dustin Williamson


Opening Quizlet

Preguntas preguntas 2.JPGchapter 1