The songs that anchor my units

ship-anchor-red-clipart-1  I have written so many times about music and my teaching.  I literally have been using music in my classes for the past 37 years!  Yes, I know, I’m ancient. What doesn’t ever get ancient is the music.  This post is going to be a bit different.  I’m trying to consolidate; instead of writing a post about a specific unit I am going to simply list all of my units and the music that anchors each of them.  There is NOT ONE unit that doesn’t begin with music, not one. Music is always part of my “hook”.  It may not be the only hook, but it always is one of the hooks and the music “plays” on throughout the entire unit.

Spanish III

  1. Esperanza, the novel, written by Carol Gaab

2. La comida (Puerto Rico), story and unit developed by Sharon Birch

3. La ropa, story and unit developed by Sharon Birch and Megan Matthews

4. Robo en la noche, the novel, written by Kristy Placido

5. Colombia, Juanes y Los Colores de la Montaña, stories and unit developed by Sharon Birch

  • A Dios le pido, Juanes
  • La Historia de Juan, Juanes
  • Segovia, Juanes
  • Minas Piedras, Juanes
  • Sueño Libertad, Juanes
  • Bandera de Manos, Juanes
  • Odio por amor, Juanes
  • La Tierra, Juanes
  • No queremos minas, Yerson y Stuard
  • Los Caminos de la vida, Los Diabolitos

6. Bianca Nieves y los siete toritos, the novel, written by Carrie Toth

Spanish IV

  1. La Llorona, the novel, written by Katie Baker

2. El Arte (Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Picasso,Dalí), stories and unit developed by Sharon Birch     I hope to add the novel, Frida, written by Kristy Placido

3. La Comida de México y Perú, stories and unit developed by Sharon Birch, original ideas from Kara C. Jacobs  and Cristina Zimmerman

4. Las Metas y los Sueños, stories and unit developed by Sharon Birch

5. La Guerra Civil en El Salvador y Voces Inocentes, stories and unit developed by Sharon Birch, original ideas from Kara C. Jacobs

6. Vida y Muerte en la Mara Salvatrucha 13, the novel, anonymous

7. La Inmigración, unit developed by Sharon Birch

8. La Narcoviolencia, unit developed by Sharon Birch, original ideas from Kara C. Jacobs, Cristina Zimmerman and Zachary Jones

9. Bianca Nieves y los siete toritos, the novel, written by Carrie Toth     I taught this in Spanish III and IV this year due to some extenuating circumstances (having to pick up a 6th class in March, no more funding for a new book, etc.)  Next year I hope to have the novel Felipe Alou, Carol Gaab, here.

 

Music without the cloze……..

Yesterday, one of my Twitter colleagues remarked how much she enjoys using music in her Spanish classroom.  She continued by asking what else could she do with a song other than have students complete a cloze activity.  It’s very hard to give an answer to that question within the 140 character limit. Therefore I am going to share some of the ways that I have used a song recently. My Spanish III classes have just begun a Colombia/Juanes/Social Awareness unit and my Spanish IV classes have just finished the novel Vida y Muerte en la Mara Salvatrucha.

An oldie, but a goodie…..La Historia de Juan (Juanes).  Everyone has heard this song and knows that it is filled with preterite verbs.  There are several activities that I do with this song, but one of the newest is this document La Historia de Juan que representan las fotos (see the pictures below).  After we have worked with the songLa Historia de Juan retell, I will have the students first identify what the pictures mean in relationship to the song; next I will have them attempt to recreate a line from the song; finally, they will have to attempt to put the pictures in some order, with lyrics, that will make sense.  It may not necessarily be the same order as the song.

For another old song, A Dios le Pido, BEFORE my students had any exposure to it, I gave them 12 strips for the first part of the song.  Working with a partner, they read through the lyrics, in whatever order they got them, and tried to understand as much as possible.  We shared this in class and then made guesses as to what the song might be about. A Dios 1 A Dios 2

Their guesses ran basically along these lines:  someone is in love, someone is sick, someone has Alzheimers, etc.  Without watching the video while we listenend, they next tried to put the 12 strips in order.  I recommend having the students derive some meaning before ordering, otherwise trying to order an unfamiliar song can be a bit daunting.  It took two times listening, and they had the order.  Then we watched that part of the video.  It didn’t take much discussion to determine that the song was about more than they had originally thought.  The second day with the song I did a type of go/stop activity (similar to MovieTalk) with the video as we identified what it was that we were seeing.  We then listened again, identifying, by circling, which word was in the song (despertar, despiertan, despierten; recuerde, recuerda, recordar) A Dios part 2. A Dios le pido day 2 Next, I had them,without looking, attempt to write down 5 things that Juanes had asked for in the song.  They shared with a partner, and together, as a class, we listed as many as we could.  We looked at the lyrics again and I asked them if they noticed anything different about the verbs that we had circled (brief foray into the world of present subjunctive, and I do mean brief: they have “opposite endings” and there is a “que” before them). Finally, the students determined what three things they might ask for.

Enrique Iglesias and Nicky Jam released the official video for “El Perdon” last Wednesday.  It was a song that had been on my radar for about a month, as I waited to see what the video would be like to determine if I was going to use it.  The video is mostly decent, there are a few things that might be inappropriate depending on your school situation and level. I played it for my students as the opening music last Thursday, and predictably, they really liked it.  Sara Elizabeth Cottrell posted some wonderful ideas for this song on her blog Musicuentos and I strongly encourage you to explore her blog!  I did something else with the song. First, we identified every word that they knew after only listening once.  We listened again, and added to the list. It was great because we have certainly been working with “estaba buscando, gritando, matando, tomando etc.”  They really felt good about what they understood after just those two times. Then, I had them listen to the way Enrique and Nicky pronounced words, asking if they were the same.  Of course, they are not.  This led to a good discussion about the difference in Spanish from Spain and Spanish from the United States (Nicky Jam was born in Boston) when your parents are from the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Their listening was intense as the picked up on the “decir” of Enrique Iglesias; the e’taba bu’cando of Nicky Jam, etc.

Finally, one of the songs that I used with the book Vida y Muerte en la Mara Salvatrucha (from TPRSPublishing, was Tu Carcel. I had read about the song in another blog, and I’m really sorry that I can’t remember where (if you know, please tell me and I will credit that source).  In the book, the anonymous author will eventually go to jail, but even before that happens, he is imprisoned in a jail that is of his own making/or of the gang.  While the song is technically a love song, it was really easy to reinterpret the lyrics so that they applied to the narrator, the disappearance of his father, the death of his mother, etc.  And that is exactly what we did with those lyrics.

So, there you have it, 4 different activities that are not cloze activities, that I have used in the past 2-3 weeks.

Whoops…updating…..

Spanish IV started the Immigration unit three days ago.  I introduced it with the very popular song, Wake Me Up, from last year.  It was done originally by Aloe Blacc and Avicci.  Aloe Blacc (whose parents are from Panama), made an acoustic version of the song with Immigration as the video context.  It was an immediate hook for my students because it was a song in ENGLISH that they already knew quite well…..but, they had never seen it from the perspective of immigration.  The lyrics are the same as the original version, but they take on a completely different meaning in the context of the song.

We also work very early in the unit with the Statue of Liberty. I adapted an English article to Spanish Inmigracion Estatua de Libertad 2015, added the poem by Emma Lazarus, and finished our brief survey with this music:

Beyond the basic clothing unit….with 3 CI stories

Spanish III this year has read Esperanza and studied Guatemala.  This was followed by an extensive food unit that I hope to blog about soon. According to the county curriculum, the food unit is followed by a clothing unit with a preterite/imperfect focus which has only been referred to as past tense….never separated.  There were three weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks….perfect to do the clothing unit.  This is NOT the basic, introductory unit that most students are exposed to in Spanish I or II.  It is greatly expanded, and for the past several years, I have let the students dictate where the bulk of our vocabulary is going to come from, based on their interests and questions.  Additionally this year, I decided that I was going to continue with the comprehensible input stories, and so I had to create stories to go with the unit.  (I also did this for the extensive food unit).  The inspiration for the stories came from the current popularity of Selena Gomez and Enrique Iglesias, a song by Selena Gomez (The Heart Wants What the Heart Wants) that was covered by Kevin, Karla and the Band, and the natural affinity of teenagers for shopping (or not) and the “love interest of the week.” When I wrote the first two stories (for the first two weeks of the unit), it was my intention that the students were going to create the conclusion…but they practically begged me to finish the story (hence story number 3).

Slide1

While I used many activities and creations from the past few years of this unit, such as the great song ¿Qué me pongo? by Mango Punch Qué me pongo Mango Punch 2014, a fun group creation activity with La Camisa Negra, lots of partner activities, etc. (as can been seen here), the primary focus was the stories, the repetitions, and a myriad of activities that went with the stories.

The story began: Había una chica que se llamaba Sofía. Sofía tenía 16 años y le gustaba ir de compras. Le gustaba ir de compras muchísimo!!! También había un chico, un chico de 16 años que se llamaba Enrique. A Enrique, no le importaba mucho la ropa….pero necesitaba la ropa confortable.   I introduced the story for the first week with this powerpoint version Ropa part 1 The student copy for the rest of the week is Ropa part 1 We read it multiple times, using various methods and ended the week with a “practice” free write that was completed with a partner then exchanged with another group who read it, underlined the words used and gave it a score. Practice Free Write

Week Two featured the second part of the story. Ropa part 2 and another version with many images replacing the vocabulary Ropa part 2 with multiple images.  We also used these story cards Sofia 2nd part story cards to retell the story (run off, cut and laminated) with a partner. The cards also lend themselves to a multitude of activities: vocabulary identification/description, sequencing, teacher read description with student “grabbing” of the correct card, etc. Part of the fun this week was the designing of the outfits that the students thought that Sofia and Enrique had worn to the dance.

Dibuja las prendas de ropa que llevaban Enrique y Sofía. Cada persona necesita tener 4 prendas de ropa y 2 accesorios. ¡Incluye los colores! ropa maleropa female

This was a multiple day activity…the creation of the outfits, the description of the outfits to a partner, and then an inner/outer circle activity where they received and exchanged and described multiple creations that were not theirs. There was also an assessed free write for this part of the story Sofia second part free write

 

Week Three brought the conclusion of the story. Ropa part 3, Sofía queria ir verb completion activity an acting competition, playing Kahoot with the story and also Triple Trouble Triple Trouble game.  Triple Trouble is played with groups of 2/3 students (each with their own color marker).  The teacher asks a question, and the first student has 10 seconds to tell/write the answer for his/her partner.  If correct, he/she colors in one circle, with the goal of getting three in a row as many times as possible.  Naturally, we also had to work with the song What A Heart Wants as covered by Kevin, Karla and the Band.

We ended the week with an Educreations project  Educreations 2014 for blog which really showed how much vocabulary they were using as well as a pretty natural use of the past tense.

Vazquez Sounds

vazquez

One thing that has remained a constant in my 33 years of teaching is music, and the place that I feel that it holds in teaching a world language.  From the years of those old vinyl 45’s and 33’s  when I used to have to listen to a song a million times (slight exaggeration) to get all the lyrics, to 2014 when all the lyrics are right at our Google fingertips, I have consistently used music as a “hook” in my WL toolbox.  While styles, genres, and tastes in music have all evolved over the years, and are constantly in a state of flux, I can usually (but not always) identify an artist that will appeal to my students.  Not quite three years ago, I became acquainted with Vazquez Sounds, a trio of siblings from Mexicali, Mexico.  At the time, they were 9, 12 and 15 years of age, and they had done a cover of Rolling in the Deep that became a youtube hit, it now has over 135,000,000 hits!!  I played it for my students and they were fascinated.

I then had to find more information about them, and we explored what was available.  Periodically over the next year, I updated about them with my students, and then I forgot about them.

Well, they have exploded onto my radar again with new videos, including an original instead of just covers. Ángela is even the Spanish voiceover for Disney’s new Tinker Belle movie (El Secreto de las Hadas). In 2014, Abelardo is now 18, Gustavo is 15 and Angie is 12…..ages that will definitely appeal to a broad spectrum of our students, and their music/musicality is GOOD!!! I think that there are many activities, applicable to novice and intermediate levels of Spanish, that could be developed from studying them and their music.  Their official website could be explored by students; novice students might look just for cognates or words that they could pick out that are related to music. The information about the siblings could be used by intermediate students for reading comprehension and an assortment of activities related to that.  It is of high interest, and extremely “readable”.  All of the music that they have released over the past three years is on the site, too.  Intermediate students could listen to Angie in an interview on Primer Impacto; there is also a great video that is labeled as Biografia from which different activities could be developed.

Then there are the two new original videos released this year.  The first one is Te soñaré.  So much could be done with these videos for novice or intermediate: infinitives, past tense, high frequency vocabulary words…..


The one just released a few days ago is Me Voy, Me Voy

Without a doubt I will be developing activities to go with these videos.  I’d love to hear from you…what ideas and suggestions do you have?

Follow them on Twitter @ vazquezsounds

 

La Copa Mundial 2014

FIFA 2014 official logo   I have been collecting resources for La Copa Mundial 2014 for almost a year on my Pinterest board…..and now it’s almost here.  I’ve also followed the incredible Zachary Jones, as he  has created activities for La Copa, and of course, the fantastic work of Kara Jacobs. I will be starting my World Cup unit in two weeks (really it is a unit on several World Cups and soccer in general), and have created a page on my wikispace with my essential questions (similar to Kara’s) and all of the resources now divided by category: essential questions, informal and formal assessments, videos to support the essential questions and soccer in general, focus songs, additional songs, and useful links to articles, infographics, etc. During the next two weeks, I will be creating activities and worksheets to go with my focus songs and the songs that I will be comparing/contrasting (such as the multiple versions of La Copa de Todos/The World is Ours and Shakira’s 2010 Waka Waka with her 2014 LaLaLa), and also for several of the videos that will support my essential questions.  All of the activities that I will create will be posted on that wikipage as I finish them and get ready to use them.  I’m really looking forward to sharing the excitement with my students, and I welcome any additional material you might like to share!

 

Unexpected additions to the Immigration unit

My Spanish IV students have been working in the Immigration unit for the past four weeks.  As I wrote in that earlier post, the basic framework of the unit is based on the great work of Kara Jacobs and Pilar Munday, with additional songs, readings and materials from me. It is taking a bit longer than I expected due to four snow days that have really interrupted the flow of the lessons, and also a few twists in the unit that I didn’t expect.  We spent quite a bit of time with the movie Which Way Home, much discussion, a wonderful Free Write, and a great search to see where the featured children from the movie are today (we found most of them!). We also spent some time talking about the American Dream:  what it means to Americans, to them as students, what it means to different nationalities, how it has changed, etc.  They wrote definitions of the American Dream, illustrating them and posting them in the classroom, and then modified them after watching these videos:

We talked quite a bit about the Statue of Liberty and what it represents. Because they really didn’t know much about the Statue of Liberty, and I felt that the symbolism was important to the overall unit, I used a modified reading Inmigracion Estatua de Libertad.  I discovered that we really had to work through the Emma Lazarus poem as the English language was difficult for them!  We watched this video and we also practiced reading the poem dramatically, which I believed really helped them to understand the significance of the Statue of Liberty.


We’ve explored Green Cards, Visas, the Dream Act, and related topics as I expected to do. We have used a lot of music, which brings me to the next unexpected addition.  One of the songs that we were scheduled to study indepth is Bandera by Aterciopelados.  We began by talking about what flags represent in general.  Since there are 10 flags hanging around my room, we had a lot with which to work. flags Again I was surprised about how little they knew about their own U.S. flag. Since they had done some preliminary work with a partner about the symbol on the Mexican flag as well as the Virgen de Guadalupe, I almost felt like they knew more about that flag! We watched the video several times, over the span of 4 days, working with different aspects of it.  We talked about what they saw in the video, what they heard in the video, and how they felt.  They completed a cloze activity as well as activities with specific lyrics, translating, ordering, etc. They read about the band and why they made the video Aterciopelados reading.  And of course we sang it! Next, I used information from The World Factbook to give them more background material on the symbolism of individual flags. After reading about the flags of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and the United States, they had small group discussions about what flags have in common, what information is available about a country based on its’ flag, and when flags may change and why.  I then asked them to create their own flags (keeping in mind the lyrics to Bandera) with the condition that the flag could not represent one country and they had to write a description of the significance of  the colors and symbols of the flag created.  I gave them 20 minutes.  To me, the results were quite impressive. Here are some examples of that work, unedited….so the descriptions are as they wrote and printed them.

flags 1flags8

flags 2flags 3flags 4flags 5flags 7We have moved on, completing a few days with ICE by La Santa Cecilia, among several other songs.  We have watched 30 Days, done another Free Write, and have had two oral evaluations.  I believe that my students have remained engaged most of the time.  This coming week I plan to work with Pa’l Norte by Calle 13 and Pobre Juan by Mana as well as have them create infographics about the Dream Act/the Dreamers.  I anticipate being in this unit 7 – 8 more days.  Here is the unit plan, and here is the daily plan.

 

 

 

 

New Unit: Immigration

Statue of LibertyThanks to the addition of another unexpected day at home (snow day #6), I’ve been able to devote quite a bit of time to the next unit that Spanish IV is going to explore:  Immigration in the United States.  Before I go any further, I must say that I am indebted to the great, original work of Kara Jacobs @(karacjacobs) and the additions of Pilar Munday (@mundaysa) and @cristinaZimmer4. Next, I would like to say that while this is a unit that I will be using with my Spanish IV students, I think that there is material here that can be used with all levels of proficiency, including novice.  I’ve created a database for 29 songs that deal with immigration17 videos that deal with immigration and 35 links on the web for authentic resources both in Spanish and in English.  This is my Pinterest board, where I have been collecting resources for the past several months. Here is the link to the daily lesson plans from my wikispace, El Mundo de Birch which are in development and will be added to on a daily basis for the next month that I am in this unit. As of this writing, there are three full days of lesson plans, with the outline for the next six days.

PREGUNTAS ESENCIALES (2-5 Kara Jacobs)

1     Define la diferencia entre “emgirar” y “inmigrar”. ¿Qué es el Sueño Americano? ¿Ha cambiado el Sueño Americano? Explica tu respuesta.

2     ¿Por qué emigran ilegalmente muchas personas a los Estados Unidos? ¿De dónde es la mayoría de los inmigrantes indocumentados? ¿Cómo llegan algunos? ¿Por qué vienen ilegalmente y no legalmente? ¿Cuál es el proceso de entrar legalmente en los EEUU?

3     ¿Qué pasa ahora con la reforma migratoria en los EEUU? ¿Qué es el DREAM Act?

4     ¿Quiénes son algunos cantantes que cantan sobre la inmigración? ¿Cuáles son sus perspectivas? ¿Cómo son diferentes y/o similares las canciones y los videos? ¿Qué opinas tú de las canciones?

5     En tu opinión, ¿hay una solución al problema? ¿En qué consiste?

EVALUACIONES FORMALES

  1. Evaluación Oral, basada en Pregunta Esencial #2 (el 17/18 marzo) 25 puntos
  2. Free Writes
    1.  Which Way Home (10/11 marzo) 20 puntos
    2. 30 Days Inmigración (13/14 marzo) 20 puntos
  3. Compara y contrasta dos o tres de las canciones en cuanto a sus perspectivas de la inmigración illegal. (I.C.E./Bandera/Pa’l Norte/Pobre Juan) En tu opinión, ¿qué es el mensaje de la canción ? ¿Estás de acuerdo con el mensaje? ¿Por qué sí o no? Apoya (support) tu respuesta conlíneas de la canción. (25 marzo) 30 puntos
  4. Evaluación Oral, basada en Pregunta Esencial #3 después de leer el artículo de CNN       Google Voice response (20 marzo) 20 puntos
  5. Interpretación dramática de una de las canciones ( I.C.E. por La Santa Cecilia, Bandera por Aterciopelados, Pobre Juan por Maná, Pa’l Norte por Calle 13)
  • a. grupos de 3-4 personas
  • b. escriben una “obra” (play) sobre la canción
  • c. presentan la “obra” en clase (sin apuntes)
  • d. 31 marzo, 1 abril,  guión (script) 20 puntos, presentación oral 25 puntos

The initial target vocabulary for this unit: (Quizlet)

  • 1. cárcel
  • 2. castigo
  • 3. ciudadanía
  • 4. ciudadano
  • 5. cruzar
  • 6. discriminar
  • 7. dispuesto a trabajar
  • 8. echar de menos
  • 9. el derecho
  • 10. en busca de
  • 11. extranjero
  • 12. frontera
  • 13. igualdad
  • 14. leyes
  • 15. mudarse
  • 16. país natal
  • 17. población
  • 18. preocuparse por
  • 19. prosperidad
  • 20. seguir las leyes
  • 21. ser testigo (de)
  • 22. tratar (de)