Adding (more) Music to La Llorona de Mazatlán

cover la lloronaThere are so many wise and wonderful blogs out there adding activities to the ever growing selection of TPRS/CI novels, and I benefit from each and every one of them.  I so appreciate the tremendous sharing that goes on in our PLC!  I hope that what I will post here will be beneficial to those who may be working with the same novel.

This is my second year teaching La Llorona de Mazatlán ,  and as opposed to going faster since I am more familiar with it, it is very definite that I am going much, much slower! Some of that pacing is coming from the plethora of activities that are possible with each and every chapter and some of it is coming from the music that I have added (on top of what I added the first time around!). As I have stated many times before, when I am planning a unit, I always consider the music (my hook) from the very beginning of the planning stages. Each one of us has a passion to add to this TPRS/CI landscape, and mine is music.  Music has been a constant addition to my teaching for all of my 38 years!

Last year I shared activities for La Llorona with the great song Me equivoqué by CD9. The song was a favorite for my students last year, and it was no different this year.  It just resonates with so many of them. Many of them know the lyrics by heart and have downloaded it into their various music sources. Having previously posted about it, I won’t repeat.  This year I added several more songs, and each of them has been a hit with most of the students. I’ve written about Vasquez Sounds before, but this year I purposely inserted two of their songs into different chapters of La Llorona.  In Chapter 3, Laney leaves for Mexico and in Chapter 4 she has arrived.  I used the song Me Voy for two specific reasons: the past tense verbs and the act of leaving with the accompanying reasons/emotions of Laney.  She thinks that Norman, Oklahoma is dull and boring.  Using the lyrics to the song, I hope to support and help to reflect similar emotions

“Se pinta el cielo gris aquí “;                                                                                               “Me voy como un cowboy “;                                                                                             “Me iré por lo que quiero
Aunque hagan agujeros
En mi sombrero soñador “;                                                                                                 “Me voy con mis botas marrón ” and                                                                                    “Y cruzare el desierto
Veré estrellas sobre mi
Y así más días de color”

I feel that these lyrics accurately reflect some of Laney’s thoughts and feelings, and we were able to make those comparisons.  Additionally, the song lyrics include the idea of a love duel/dispute/figth which is an indicator for what will happen, more of less, in the story. Also, the lead singer (Angie) in Vazquez Sounds is right around the age of Laney! Here is the cloze activity with some verb work that I used  Me voy por Vásquez Sounds but the discussion and comparison was done orally. Here is the video for the song; you will need to skip the first 30 seconds of commercial that they inserted into the song.

My students enjoyed that song (and others from Vazquez Sounds) so much, that I decided to use Buenos días, Señor Sol at the end of chapter 4 (Laney has seen Luis)/beginning of chapter 5 (the sun is shining, it’s a beautiful day for the auditions, she’s feeling on top of the world in beautiful Mazatlan).  Again, there were several reasons for choosing the song: we’ve been “noticing” future tense verbs (there are several in the song), we’ve been focusing on two verbs (seguir/tratar) which are in the lyrics, and the song accurately reflects Laney’s emotions at this stage of the book.                                     Hoy como otros días seguiré tratando ser mejor
Y sonriendo haré
Las cosas con amor
Buenos días alegría
Buenos días al amor
Buenos días a la vida
Buenos días señor sol
Yo seguiré tratando ser mejor
I used this Chap 5 Buenos dias Vazquez Sounds to work with the song and discuss similarities. There are several videos for the song, my students enjoyed these two:

At this stage of the book, Laney has auditioned and the focus of the music switches to soccer.  I used several of the songs and activities that I have posted about previously for the World Cup unit. The songs included, but aren’t limited to, Waka Waka, Lalala, La Copa de Todos, Waving Flag, De Zurda, and La Vida es Tombola. In addition to this music, I try to find music most days that reflects what is happening in the book at that point in time, or that matches the emotions of the characters.

I am in the middle of one of my largest additions, musically, to the book this year. I have always loved the music of Gaby Moreno, and I have used her beautiful Ave Que Emigra to begin Esperanza. I decided that I wanted to do more with the actual legend of La Llorona and I wanted to include other legends, too.  There is a beautiful song, El Sombrerón, that Gaby sings and it is based, I believe, on the Guatemalan legend of the same name.  I feel that it is complementary to the La Llorona legend.  The two share some common elements: night, moon, shrouded faces/eyes, spirits that capture souls, etc. Additionally, it gives a legend with a male character to balance the female La Llorona, and this is a male character who is responsible for creating some misery for the female (some information even states that El Sombrerón comes from Mexico).  This may tie into the male figure that deserts or abandons La Llorona, prompting her actions. I’ve been proceeding slowly with the song, working with just bits and pieces for a few days as we are building up to the books’ version of La Llorona in Chapter 13.  At the same time, we are reading versions of La Llorona that are different from the version that they will get in Chapter 13 (thank you Bryce Hedstrom and Martina Bex ). This is the document that I have used, slowly, over the course of three days: El Sombrerón.  We have spent some interesting, productive time describing our illustrations to partners and creating/sharing sentences based on those drawings.  I have a SMARTboard presentation that goes with this worksheet, and we have only worked through the first two slides, meaning that we will get to the actual legend this coming week (the remaining files). Here are some of them:

Sombreron 1 Sombreron 2 Sombreron 3

Of course, once we read Chapter 13, we will also work with the various versions of the song La Llorona.

As always, if you find errors in my Spanish (I’m definitely not a native speaker), please let me know!! I hope that some of you who are using this great TPRS novel may find some of this interesting and useful.


Esperanza, year two……

So many people have been acknowledging the tremendous benefits and relevance of teaching with novels and CI, that there is no need for me to say more….other than I am 100% convinced that, for me, this is the way to teach.  I can not emphasize enough the phenomenal value of the TPRS novels and the novels being selfpublished (Mike Peto) as well as the original stories by people like Martina Bex.

This is my second year teaching with the novel Esperanza (written by the fabulous Carol Gaab) in my Spanish III classes. Last year, both the majority of my students and I loved this book and I wrote two posts about some of the things that we did: Esperanza y Gaby Moreno and Esperanza….the final assessments. However, this year I am even more pleased with what we have done so far…..and I am a little more than 2 weeks slower than I was last year!! Yes, it has taken me twice as long to cover the same material this year that I had covered last year at this point in time.  When all of those wise TPRS teachers and leaders say that “slower is better” and “make it personal”, they are oh, so right!  I know now that I did not do justice to the novel last year, nor to the great ideas in the teachers guide.

I am fortunate to be teaching Spanish III with a terrific colleague, Megan Matthews. We make a pretty good team, if I do say so! Between the two of us, we have 137 students in 5 sections of Spanish III, and we really try to plan and create together.  This year, we took many days to explore Guatemala: music, geography, history, etc.  We decided to really focus on La Guerra Civil before we began the actual book.   So far, it has really paid off. We have read, viewed, talked and used manipulatives to really understand the background of the book. Here are some of the things that we have used:

A brief “lectura”

Matarom a más de 200.000 personas.
Empezó en 1960. Duró por 36 años.
83% de las personas matadas fueron personas indígenas (mayas)
Los EE.UU. tenían intereses en Guatemala…..tierras de frutas, café, etc.
Los EE.UU. querían controlar la tierra. No querían a una persona comunista como presidente.
En 1960, los sindicatos empezaron a luchar por una vida mejor y los derechos de los mayas y los trabajadores.
General Efrain Rios Montt empezó los años más violentos. Mató a muchas personas en las montañas de Guatemala.
La Guerra Civil terminó en 1996 pero la lucha y la violencia siguen (continue).

La Guerra Civil Guatemala images



A Kahoot game

More information on General Efraín Ríos Montt, including a SMART presentation and more work with the vocabulary from the lectura (wordpress does not allow uploading this type of file).  Some of the things in the file are:

smart 1 smart 2 smart 3 smart 4 smart 5 smart 6























Another game, called Game Gritalo facts about civil war, where the class is divided into 2 teams.  Each team receives an identical set of cards (answers to the questions I will ask).  Each person receives at least one card.  I read the question or fact, and they had to recognize the answer, stand up and shout it! Noisy but a lot of fun.

Additionally, we have spent significant time talking about public transport, bus drivers and strikes.  All of this because Alberto, in the book, is a bus driver and we wanted our students to understand the significance of this, why it would be dangerous to be a bus driver (and why it continues to be dangerous) and why Esperanza and her mother have the feelings that they do about him/the job. Martina Bex has a useful product for the chicken bus in Guatemala and we used one of the readings from it. We also prefaced the entire situation with many personal questions about our students’ experiences with busses, whether they could identify the bus in Guatemala as the same school bus that they ride to school, etc. It was a very rich discussion in Spanish. We referenced articles that are relatively current that deal with continuing bus issues in Guatemala, such as this one. We used several videos: Just a bit of this one:

And finally, we have talked extensively about the crying of the baby due to hunger, the whining of Ricardito due to hunger, and their vomiting. We have discussed hunger (and vomiting due to crying and hunger) quite a bit.  I realize that I am taking liberties with the text, but I don’t feel that it is out of line.  We have talked about tortillas, bread and the staples of life for different cultures.  We have wondered and guessed why Esperanza was going to a tortillería in Chapter 2.  Would they eat just plain tortillas? What does a plain tortilla taste like? Would they add salt to it, such as in the documentary “Living on One“? On Monday, we are going to eat plain tortillas, salted tortillas, etc…..and they won’t be the American version “white flour tortillas.”

I hope these ideas may be beneficial to those of you who are also teaching with Esperanza. I’d love to hear more about what you are doing.