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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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:

Music Through Social Awareness….2015

Later this week I will begin my social awareness music unit again, but much altered from years past.  I have to shorten the unit due to 2 weeks of snow days and the 16 days of PARCC testing.  Therefore, I am only focusing on Colombia and the music of Juanes. Each year I have always struggled with a biography for Juanes….they were all either too long, too advanced, or too something for my kids.  So, this year, I wrote my own, with comprehensible input, and I intend to begin the unit with it! Juan Esteban…. It’s created, but I don’t have the followup activities for it yet.

I’ve also written a story that I will use prior to the song Segovia. I wanted to preteach some of the vocabulary in the song and the actual historical event,  as well as reinforce vocabulary that we will have done in the first two songs in the unit ( A Dios le Pido and La Historia de Juan).  I took the actual events, an actual survivor, and the record of those killed in the attack and created a story.  I added details to flesh out the story, creating a homelife, a job, feelings and background information. I have not used it yet, so there may be errors/typos, etc. and I will develop other activities to go with it.  I welcome any suggestions or activities.  Cuento de Segovia rev     and a ppt to preface it and use with it. Segovia    Here is an activity with the song SEGOVIA

My Essential Questions are based on those that @Karacjacobs created (thanks, Kara!)

PREGUNTAS ESENCIALES
1. ¿Qué pasaba en Colombia entre 1960 – 2014?
2. ¿Ha cambiado la situación en Colombia? ¿Cómo? Explica.
3. ¿Cuál es el mensaje y/o el propósito de las canciones de Juanes?
4. ¿Cómo se manifiestan las realidades de Colombia durante los 80 y 90 especialmente en las canciones Segovia, Minas Piedras y Sueños y en la película “Los Colores de la Montaña“?
5. ¿La música y el cine pueden ser promovedores de la paz? ¿Cómo?

Additionally, I have some new resources to add to the part of this unit when we study the landmine situation in Colombia (and the world), working with the song Minas Piedras. There is a website in Spanish, Suelos de Paz,  with current updates and statistics for Colombia. There is a new video, Ya Olvidamos, published in February 2015 and a great video with subtitles:  Qué es y cómo se hace el Desminado Humanitario

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If you are interested in following what we are doing, here is my wikipage that I use for daily lesson plans.

Metas y Sueños…..culminating student projects updated 2/28

Spanish IV has spent almost 5 weeks in this unit.  This week, in addition to the activities for #SOS Venezuela, students have been working on their PBT (performance based task).  The task was to choose one of the five songs that we studied in detail and “reinterpret” it.  They were free to use any visual means to do this.  Many of them chose Powerpoints and PhotoStories because that is what they are most familiar with, but several branched out into different territories.  The actual presentations of the projects will be tomorrow and I will be posting several examples of them, but one was submitted today, and it just blew me away.

These two young men chose to interpret the Juanes song, No creo en el jamás, using iMovie.  While the parameters of the assignment are listed below this post, briefly they were:

  • show me your understanding of the lyrics of this song, in terms of goals, dreams, obstacles, using a visual format
  • do NOT put the actual lyrics in your presentation, instead use our active vocabulary to create your own statements

Here is the link to their presentation.  I would love to hear your feedback (please ignore the error with the verb encontrar in their presentation…grammar is not the focus), and as I said, I will update this post this weekend.

Metas Presentacion de las canciones sobre metas y suenos-1

Here are a few more of their projects. The music probably won’t play in them because of the formatting, but you will get the idea (hopefully). I wish I could share the Powtoon and the Scratch videos that were made, but they are user/password protected. And, as always, gentle with the grammar errors….for me, the content is more important!

Metas Celebra D & J

Metas Celebra S & N    this one doesn’t have transitions in it, you will have to click through it

Metas No me doy E & M     no transitions, click through it

Metas Bonito H & W  no transitions. click through it

10 years of teaching social awareness through music….

I finished my 10th year of teaching social awareness through music with my Spanish III classes this week.  And, as has happened every year since I created this unit, it got longer and more involved, and the kids were terrific!  When I started 10 years ago, I used 3 songs (two from Juanes and one from Juan Luis Guerra).  This year, I used 15 songs (Juanes, Juan Luis Guerra, Carlos Baute and Yerson and Stuard).  I spent about 6 weeks in the unit full time, but I actually started the music as we were finishing a unit about travel.  Within the teaching of this unit, I also incorporated preterite and imperfect, present subjunctive, geography of the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Colombia and South America in general, history of the three focal countries and background information with authentic readings of all of the artists except for Yerson and Stuard.  I plan to post the entire unit here this summer, when school is done; however, you can see the bulk of the work here.

This year, as I have done for the past 6 years, the students all chose one song as their focus, and created their own interpretation of it.  This was the assignment: PBT La Música 2013.

With this unit, I give the only “test” of the year, which is essentially identifying the geographical and historical points for the 3 countries studied in depth, identifying positive and negative vocabulary, choosing their own vocabulary to show me what they have learned, writing what they know about Juanes, and using the lyrics of the songs to support the themes of the unit.  The last part of the “test” is to let me know what they may have gotten from this unit.  Here are some of their responses.

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Additionally, I had some students create extra things, and I had one class, my smallest, ask to create their own Bandera de Manos.  I’m posting some of the projects below as well as pictures of the Bandera de Manos and some shirts that students created.

Minas Piedras 2

Bandera 2Bandera 3bandera 4bandera 5bandera 6 groupbandera 7Bandera de Manossuenos

Q & A with song lyrics

I was wrapping up the very large Juanes section of my music/social unit with my Spanish III classes this week when I decided to include one more song, one that I had not used in previous years: Segovia.  I have used a different tactic with each song in the unit, so I wanted something new for this one, too.  The lyrics of the song include some words that were very new, but important to the song, as well as words that we had been including in our unit but may not have been fully grasped by everyone.  I’ve bolded the words we have been including in our study below, and I have italicized the words that were brand new.

Un once de noviembre a las siete de la noche
Hombres armados dispararon sin reproches
Contra la gente del municipio de Segovia
Llovía cántaros, la plaza estaba llena
Varias granadas estallaron en cadena
El nordeste antioque
ño todo rojo se tornó
Es una canción por los que se murieron allá en Segovia
Y por todas las familias que fueron víctimas en Segovia
No van a desaparecer
Nunca jamás de la memoria
No van a desaparecer
Aunque los quieran desaparecer

Since the song very specifically tells the story of what happened in Segovia on the 11th of November, and one of our goals in Spanish III is to be able to narrate a story, I decided to pull the details of the story out of the song that would then become the answers to a series of questions.  I first had my students watch the video with the lyrics.  When it was done I asked them what they knew.  They quite accurately were able to tell me people died in November (they mixed up Nov. 11 and 7:00 at night), that there were victims, that it was raining, and that armed men shot. A few in each class were able to guess that grenades were involved and that they didn’t want memories to disappear.  Segovia por Juanes

Next I gave them the paper on which all of the key information had been placed randomly.  Slide1They listened to the song again (just the first minute and a half) without seeing the lyric video, and I asked them to put a check by every phrase that they heard.  After that, I had them count how many they had heard.  While some had only heard 5 – 7 of the phrases, most had heard 10 -13 (there are 13 phrases in total).  We then went through the phrases and they told each other what they meant, checking with me when they were unsure.  I then finished playing the song while they answered the questions at the bottom.  After having done that, they were very capable of narrating the story of what had happened in Segovia.

I liked this activity, and the students were actively engaged in it.  I have decided to apply the same type of exercise to a listening activity that my Spanish IV students will be doing on Monday, using a news video from BBC Mundo.  Música para alejarse de la violencia

Slide2