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.

 

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Updated music database

Music Artists WordleI began my formal music database (meaning in Excel format), three years ago. I created the formal document when I could no longer keep all the music that I was using in my head!  That first document had about 300 songs, organized by artist, title, grammatical point, vocabulary, culture, country and youtube link.  I’ve updated it regularly over the last three years, usually every month or so.  The latest update brings the total number of songs to over 1,080.  I’ve been contacted by several people who say that they can’t find the database.  Hence the reason for this post.  The latest document is available on this page on my wikispace: Spanish Music Database

Also available on that page are links to the workshop that I did for both MFLA and  NECTFL.  Those links have specific activities for using the songs for vocabulary, grammar and culture.  I’ve been teaching a long time, and I have picked up activities from countless people along the way.  I owe them all…..many times anonymously!

As always, I encourage you to add artists!  I would really like to know who your favorites are….who your students enjoy….and how you use their music!

Spanish Music for enjoyment that leads to……

Yesterday I referenced Prince Royce (real name:  Geoffrey Royce Rojas) in my blog post about Chino y Nacho.  Unlike the activity that I used with Chino y Nacho, I had no activity to use with Prince Royce’s song “Junto a Mí (Stand by me)”.  So why did I choose to use it as my warm up/students entering class song?  Primarily for sheer enjoyment, but also because:  I knew that the students would like it, the song is already familiar to them, there is a good video for it with a very positive message, and I knew the students would think that Prince Royce is really cute and he is only 21 years old (and yes, those are valid reasons!). Lastly, the song got their attention as they were entering class, and they were immediately switched over to “Spanish mode”.

The song is in English and Spanish….. how is that valuable?  Was there an ulterior motive in the selection of this song?  Well, of course there was!  The lyrics, though brief, contain several good teachable points without having to teach:

  • “Y la luna es la luz que brilla ante mí:  luna, luz, brilla all will be “new” vocabulary in an upcoming unit, but here they will be exposed to the words prior to that unit, and hopefully, the words will not be new when we get there!
  • “Y aunque las montañas o el cielo caiga”:  montañas and cielo will also be “new” vocabulary in an upcoming unit, and caiga….well caiga is subjunctive, and I like to teach subjunctive without calling it subjunctive (for a long time), and having it occur naturally
  • “Miedo no, no tendré, oh I won’t no me asustaré AND  no lloraré, no lloraré, oh, I won’t shed a tear: miedo is a word that they should have learned the year before, (Spanish II), but that we are reviewing with “tener idioms”; tendré/asustaré/lloraré, we learn future tense in Spanish III, so this is a good glimpse into it before we get there.  (They will have memorized these lyrics long before we get there.)

Additionally, although Prince Royce is from New York City, his parents both came from the Dominican Republic.  The Dominican Republic is part of a large music/social awareness unit later in the year (topic of a future post).  This becomes another link in the puzzle.  Also, I will be using the song “Corazón sin Cara” by Prince Royce when we get to the clothing/review of adjectives unit.  With prior favorable exposure to Prince Royce, students tend to view this song, which is not familiar to them, with more open eyes (or ears!).  This was just the case, too, when we got to “Corazón sin Cara”, which became a favorite of several students.

Once the students have seen the video a few times, over the span of several weeks, I eventually switch to a video that has just the lyrics, and they will pay just as much attention to that video as they did the actual official video.  Why?  Because now they are internalizing the lyrics.

My student last year liked this song so much that they requested to use it in our Spanish Honor Society induction (La Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica).  Two new inductees sang the song, and the members sang with the chorus.

There are quite a few artists who mix English and Spanish in their songs.  Nota, from Puerto Rico, is another group that my students really liked last year.  In December 2009, Nota won the top prize on The Sing-Off, a hit show on NBC that features a competition between a cappella groups and in late 2010 they released their first album.  One of the songs on that album is called “Te Amo (My Girl)”, another song that is instantly familiar to many. Additionally, it repeated many vocabulary words that we had been studying. It was also an introduction to a cappella music for many of them; it took some convincing that all of the sounds they heard were actually being made by the six men in the video!

However, though they like “Te Amo (My Girl)”, their favorite really is the Nota version of a Camila song “Todo Cambió“.  The song is useful for Spanish students because it is slow, easily understood and contains a lot of preterite verbs.  I used both the Nota version as well as the Camila original several times during the course of the year.

This past month, I discovered, through NPR’s Alt Latino Blog,  another artist using English/Spanish in her songs. Gina Chavez is new to me, but I will be using her song, Miles de Millas (2000 Miles)  with my students this year to see what they think.