Music……my top ???

musica_jkmlnI have so enjoyed reading through a large number of blogs where the authors have posted their top posts of the year.  It is illuminating to go back through the various blogs, read something again or read something I missed for the first time. Reading the reflections of the various authors of these blogs is helpful and certainly adds motivation for the coming new year.  I am very grateful to many, many teachers out there in the blog world who so freely share their thoughts, plans, lessons, motivation and inspiration.  Whether they blog frequently or infrequently, I learn so much from them.

I am an infrequent blogger, but I was inspired by all of those “top posts” and decided that I would blog about one of my biggest passions in language teaching: music.  I thought to myself, well, that is easy….I’ll post my top 20 songs of 2016!  And then I started creating the list, and it rapidly morphed into something very large, way more than what I originally planned.  My top 20 became 30, 40, 50 and more so fast that it caused me to reflect even more.  Sharing music in my classroom has been part of my teaching since I started many, many years ago….38 to be precise. However, in the act of trying to create a list of the top 20 songs from 2016 (in my Spanish III and IV classes), I realized that it is more than that. It is a part of my identity as a teacher.  I have known for years that the music is something that my students carry with them when they leave my classes.  They download it, create playlists, tell me about singing it in their cars, tell me about hearing songs we’ve studied when they are outside of class, tell me about driving their families crazy with their replaying of Spanish songs at home, and tell me when they see me years later, after graduation, that they still remember “X”.  But when I went to create the list of my top 20 songs from last year, I realized that my students, most of them, are internalizing a very large number of artists, genres and topics into their lives outside of class.  I tend to live in the moment, and I realized, in individual moments and individual units, that this song or that song was a “hit”.  When I reflected on the totality of last year, specifically, I discovered that it was so much more than just a song or two.

Disclaimer: Not all of these songs will be appropriate for all of your classes.  There are lyrics and/or videos that may not work for your situation.  I frequently have to make decisions on whether to show the music video or the lyric video…or to cut out certain parts. I am not endorsing this music.  I am simply sharing what has interested my students a LOT.

So how do I categorize all this music?  I could categorize by artist, or genre, or region or unit but I could not categorize by TOP songs for very long.  This is because so many of the songs were so well received. I’ve decided to categorize in a number of manners.  Here goes……

A.  I did a music mania/bracketology contest (inspired by Dustin Williamson, I believe) twice last year: once in May and once in December.  The top songs from those contests were:

  1. La Gozadera (Marc Anthony and Gente de Zona: Puerto Rico/Cuba)
  2. Sofía  (Álvaro Soler: Spain)
  3. Duele el corazón (Enrique Iglesias: Spain)
  4. Andas en mi cabeza (Chino y Nacho: Venezuela)
  5. Hasta el amanecer (Nicky Jam: United States)
  6. Caótica Belleza (Esteman and Natalia Lafourcade: Colombia/México)
  7. Reggaetón Lento  (CNCO: Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, United States, Cuba)

B.  Favorite Artists

  1. Gente de Zona: La Gozadera, Traidora, Bailando)
  2. Juanes (Fuego, Nada valgo sin tu amor, Segovia, Bandera de manos, Minas Piedras,  No creo en el jamás, A Dios le pido, La Patria Madrina with Lila Downs, Tu Enemigo with Pablo Lopez)
  3. Camila (Todo cambió, Mientes, Lágrimas)
  4. Il Volo (Grande Amore, Más que amor, La falta de tu Mirada)
  5. La Santa Cecilia (ICE, La Calaverita, Strawberry Fields Forever)
  6. Gaby Moreno (Ave que emigra, Guatemorfosis, El Sombrerón,Quizás, quizás, quizás )
  7. Nicky Jam (El Perdón with Enrique Iglesias, Hasta el amanecer)

C.  Themes

  1. Narcoviolencia:  Lágrimas (Camila),  México Instituto Mexicano del Sonido, Have you heard (Ceci Bastida)
  2. Inmigración: Ice (La Santa Cecilia), Welcome to America (Lecrae), Wake me up (Aloe Blacc), Ave que emigra (Gaby Moreno), Tu Enemigo (Pablo López and Juanes), Strawberry Fields Forever (La Santa Cecilia)
  3. Social Issues/Awareness: Casas de cartón (Los Guaraguao and also the version by Marco Antonio Solís), Segovia (Juanes), La Patria Madrina (Juanes and Lila Downs), Bandera de manos (Juanes), A Dios le pido (Juanes), Tu Enemigo (Pablo López and Juanes), Minas Piedras (Juanes), Gangsta (Kat Dahlia), Así Crecí (Farruko), Los Caminos de la vida (Los Diablitos), Duele Demasiado (David Bisbal), Yo soy yo (Ozuna)
  4. Food: No tengo dinero (Maffio), Learn Spanish Food Vocabulary (Basho and Friends), all of the Inca Kola commercials by Ñam Ñam Boys, Love you more than tacos (Carne Cruda)
  5. Inspiration/goals: Creo en mí (Natalia Jiménez), No me doy por vencido (Luis Fonsi), No creo en el jamás (Juanes), Vivir mi vida (Marc Anthony),Caótica Belleza (Esteman and Natalia Lafourcade), Puede Ser (Fonseca), Celebra tu vida (Axel), Caótica Belleza (Esteman and Natalia Lafourcade)
  6. Love: Tengo tu love (Sie7e), No tengo dinero (Maffio), Nada valgo sin tu amor (Juanes), Quizás (Enrique Iglesias), Más que Amor (Il Volo), Grande Amore (Il Volo), Llorando se fue (Cuarteto Continental), Mi princesa (Victor Muñóz), Me equivoqué (CD9), Mientes (Camila),  Bulería (David Bisbal), Todo cambió (Camila), El Perdón (Nicky Jam and Enrique Iglesias), Como te atreves (Morat), Nada (DVCCIO and Leslie Grace),  Caminar de tu mano Río Roma, Andas en mi cabeza (Chino y Nacho), Duele el corazón (Enrique Iglesias), Sofía (Álvaro Soler)
  7. Popular “Pop” songs:  Hasta el amanecer (Nicky Jam), La Gozadera (Marc Anthony and Gente de Zona), Duele el corazón (Enrique Iglesias), El Mismo Sol (Álvaro Soler), Sofía (Álvaro Soler), Nada (DVCIO and Leslie Grace), Paraíso (DVCIO), Reggaetón Lento (CNCO), Andas en mi cabeza (Chino y Nacho),  Bailar (Deorro with Elvis Crespo), Soy yo (Bomba Estéreo), Vivir mi vida (Marc Anthony), Fuego (Juanes), Bailando (Enrique Iglesias, Gente de Zona y Descemer Bueno)

D.  Songs I haven’t mentioned….don’t fit neatly into a category….

  1.  Feliz Navidad (Tito el Bambino)
  2. Mamacita Dónde está Santa Claus
  3. A la nanita, nana (Cheetah Girls)
  4. Tumbas, Tumbas (children’s song)
  5. Me voy, me voy Vazquez Sounds
  6. El Sombrerón (Gaby Moreno)
  7. La Llorona various versions but especially Dakota Romero
  8. Pura Vida (Percance)
  9. Vuelves (Sweet California with DC9)
  10. Stand by me (Prince Royce)
  11. Aire (Leslie Grace and Maluma)

E.  Endlessly requested….songs that my students request over and over and over again…..

  1. La Gozadera
  2. Sofía
  3. Andas en mi cabeza
  4. El Mismo Sol
  5. Nada (DVCIO/Leslie Grace)
  6. Hasta el amanecer (Nicky Jam)
  7. Vivir mi vida (Marc Anthony)
  8. Gangsta (Kat Dahlia)
  9. Bailar (for Baila Viernes) (Deorro/Elvis Crespo)
  10. Limbo (for Baila Viernes)  (Daddy Yankee)
  11. Stand by me (Prince Royce)
  12. Lágrimas (Camila)
  13. Mientes (Camila)
  14. Segovia (Juanes)
  15. Bulería (David Bisbal)
  16. Pura Vida (Percance)
  17. Me equivoqué (CD9)

I could continue to categorize music that we used last year that resonated with many of my students, but I think that this is already overwhelming.  Please forgive me for not linking all of the music with the videos…it would have taken so much time and I know that google is your friend 🙂 I hope that it is pretty obvious that the musical tastes of my students run across many genres, artists, and regions.  This has been an awesome reflection for me.  I hope that it may help someone else.  Also, I would love to hear your favorites….who knows what “top” song for 2017 you might be sharing?

One last thing……..Artists that I would like for my students to grow to appreciate

  1. Carlos Vives: probably one of my all time favorite artists.  I love just about everything that he sings but I haven’t managed to interest many of my students in his music!?
  2. Ha-Ash: this duo from Louisiana fascinates me
  3. Río Roma
  4. Los Ángeles Azules

Frida and Caótica Belleza

My Spanish IV classes finished the novel Frida, by Kristy Placido right before our Christmas/winter holiday break. It was the culmination to a large art unit that expanded due to the interest of this years’ students.  Originally I had planned to spend just a few days on the art for Día de Muertos, Salvador Dalí and Pablo Picasso before moving into the novel Frida and a study of some of her art.  However, my students, for the most part, were really interested in Pablo Picasso and Guernica as well as Salvador Dalí and the painting The Hallucinogenic Toreador.  I created many additional materials to go with our study, including two stories that I wrote for them (always keeping comprehensible input in mind!!!) as well as several SMARTboard presentations. What I intended to cover in just over a week morphed into three weeks, really cutting into my time for the novel Frida.

I originally thought that Soy Yo by Bomba Estéreo with great activities from Kara Jacobs was going to be a main focal song for Frida.  I thought that the fierce affirmation of “I am who I am” from that song would go well with the personality of Frida.  I did use the song, but minimally, as I discovered Caótica Belleza by Esteman featuring Natalia Lafourcade, at the end of October, just as I was beginning the art unit.  The song immediately struck a chord with me and my focus changed.  The video is sweeping, beautiful and mesmerizing, and the lyrics are profound. For me, the declaration in the lyrics celebrating diversity, individuality, and Latin American culture simply tied the song to Frida.   “Hoy puedo ver lo que yo fui, de donde soy de donde vengo”  and “Hay cosas en la vida que no se pueden cambiar” just resonated as part of the identity of Frida. Since we started our study of Frida with a discussion and defining of beauty, we were able to carry on that discussion/identification with this song called Chaotic Beauty. Most of my students enjoyed the song and internalized the lyrics. I even placed the song in our “Locura de diciembre” music contest in which it was a semifinalist, losing to the eventual winner, Hasta el amanecer.

Prior to exposure to Caótica Belleza we had briefly worked with the Lasso song “Como te odio” which included the lyric: “hay cosas en que uno se puede superar” (there are things in life that one can overcome)  which we were able to directly compare with the lyric “hay cosas en la vida no se pueden cambiar” (there are things in life that one can’t change) from Caótica Belleza. (The ever wonderful Kara Jacobs created some great things to go with the Lasso song.) Our first activity with Caótica Belleza was a partner organization of the first 10 lines of the song as we listened.  I gave each group of 2/3 a set of sentence strips that they ordered as we listened.  This was a very easy activity. I always run off the strip sets in different colors so that it is easy to match a stray lyric to the proper set.  After the students successfully ordered the lyrics, they worked to apply meaning to the lyrics. By this time they had quite a background knowledge of Frida from the Zamba video as well as the first few chapters in the novel.  The second day that we worked with a traditional cloze and then compared Spanish/English lyrics as well as how the lyrics might apply to Frida. Here is the order activity and the cloze activity, if you are interested: caotica-belleza-cloze-and-sentence-ordering-2  The third activity with the song, a few days later (when many had already downloaded and memorized parts of the lyrics) was another order activity, but as a large group.  I divided the class in half and gave each group a set of individual strips with the lyrics from the last verse.  Each person received at least one strip, some, depending on the size of the class, got two strips.  The groups listened to the song and attempted to create a single file line with their lyrics in order.  This was harder to do as I did not let them talk…only listen and push each other to the proper place 🙂  When they had the order we had a contest to see which group could get the meaning of the lyrics first.  I allowed them 2 minutes to discuss, but then they had to resume their line and each person was responsible for the meaning of the lyric strip that they held.  If that person stumbled, or couldn’t complete the lyric, the “game” passed to the other half of the class.  It took some time to actually get through this, too! I then gave them 30 seconds to memorize the lyric strip that they held.  They had to put it away, and each half of the class attempted to recite the lyrics, in order, in Spanish, with each person responsible for his/her individual strip.  Difficult, but fun, plus it helped to cement the lyrics/ideas/meanings in their heads…..turning it into comprehensible input!  Here are the strips for that activity: caotica-belleza-last-verse-group-ordering

Last item, here is a link to my youtube channel with music for the Frida unit, typically played while working on other things in class!

Overall, the majority of my Spanish IV students found the novel Frida by Kristy Placido an easy, very comprehensible read, and just as important…..they enjoyed it.  I can’t wait to teach it/share it a second time!

Esperanza…..4th time!

This is the 4th year that I have used the TPRS Storytelling novel, Esperanza (Carol Gaab) with Spanish III as the first novel of the year.  Although it may sound ridiculous, I am loving this novel more than ever! However, the point of this post is not to detail all of the things that I am doing the same as well as differently. Rather, I am going to share, once again, a favorite song that I use with the novel and the updates that I have done with it.  The song is Ave que emigra by Gaby Moreno (from Guatemala).

The previous three years the song was a hit with most of the students in my classes, but this year it became a guiding piece of pre-teaching as well as a continuing presence during the novel.  Additionally, there is a new Gaby Moreno song out called Guatemorfosis that will provide a hopeful focus as we finish the novel.

This year, in conjunction with my “Intro to Guatemala” cultural component, I used a story that I wrote that was based on the song.  We started this one the very first day of our Guatemala study.  I literally used the lyrics that Gaby Moreno wrote in the song to create the story, incorporating some of them directly into the story.  The results were wonderful. I spent 2 days with the story prior to introducing the song. Here is the story: ave-que-emigra-reading-2. The first activity with the actual song is to watch about a minute 10 seconds of the video, just checking what they see.  We briefly talk about the images that they have seen. ave-1  We then listen to the first part of the song, putting the first 7 lines in order. After that, we talked about what those lyrics meant. This year, there was no need to elaborate on new vocabulary or to explain what “Guate” was. The ave-2students knew exactly what the lyrics were saying because of the story that we had read.  Students answered some basic questions about the singer and the song, completed a simple cloze, worked with synonyms and antonyms, and did a personal reflection about what they thought the ave-3title of the song meant and what it might mean in terms of the novel that were going to be reading. We also did a partner ordering of the song lyrics on another day, using big sentence strips on cardstock. An additional homework assignment was to illustrate their choice of three lines of the song. I brought the song back again in chapter 4, as the family prepares to leave for Chiapas (we spent quite some time on Chiapas and its’ relationship historically with Guatemala/Mexico), using an interview with Gaby, a close look at the lyrics (especially Cansados de estar corriendo    En tiempos de cacería ) and the official video for the first time.

I was so excited this summer to discover that Gaby, as part of a Pepsi campaign in Guatemala, had released a new song. There is an entire site devoted to Guatemorfosis: El cambio #YosoyGuatemoforsis, with many stories from people in Guatemala who are creating change for the country.  The song is a HUGE hit in my classes. The kids love the music and her voice.  It is a really catchy tune! I have not yet worked with the lyrics with the classes yet since I want to keep this as an end activity when they know that the family has made it to the United States. I will use the song to bring the focus to present day Guatemala and the hopeful state of mind that is beginning to emerge after the decades of Civil War and the troubling years after that. One activity that I know I will use once the students have learned the lyrics will be this matching activity guatemoforsis-through-images. I will run off sets of the pictures for groups of two. They will be cut and placed in a baggie.  I will play the song and the students will arrange the pictures to go with the lyrics of the song. There will be other activities, I just haven’t gotten to that point yet!

The song is so new that the lyrics are not available on line yet, so here they are, to the best of my ability (which means there may be errors!):

Hay un camino que nos trajo hasta aquí
No conoce las fronteras esta pasion dentro de mi
Es anhelo el que me empuja cada nuevo amanecer
Con mis temores y ilusiones y los restos de ayer
uuuuuuuuhhhhhhhh
La esperanza nos acompaña
Con ella nada nos puede detener
Yo de tu mano
Tu de la mía
No hay nada que temer
Y río y bailo
Está en mis venas
Y libre sueño
Yo pertenezco aquí

Quién sabe
lo que el mañananos quisiera regalar
Hoy es todo lo que tengo
Y lo voy a atesorar
Poniendo en manifiesto cuanta luz puedo irridiar
Y ser feliz es el remedio
Que todo lo pueden mejorar
Y río y bailo
Está en mis venas
Y libre sueño
Yo pertenezco aquí
Y río y bailo
Está en mis venas
Y libre sueño
Hasta el final seguiré

 

Lágrimas, much more than simply a song, by Camila

If you are a follower of this blog, you know that I teach with music all of the time.  I recently started teaching the Narcoviolencia unit for the fifth time.  I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Kara Jacobs and Cristina Zimmerman for everything that they have shared with me in the past and this year.  The second half of the school year with Spanish IV has been transformed in the last two years with the addition of the novel Vida y Muerte en la Mara Salvatrucha. That has consequently changed the way I enter the Narcoviolencia unit.  We went from dreams and goals (right after the Christmas break) to the dreams and goals in El Salvador, via a study of their Civil War, the movie Voces Inocentes and then the novel.  This was followed, very logically, by a unit on immigration, which now leads into Narcoviolencia.  The unit this year was enhanced dramatically by two incredibly moving songs that were released in the last year and a half:  La Patria Madrina (Lila Downs and Juanes) and Lágrimas (Camila).  Kara and Cristina have created a spectacular study of La Patria Madrina (which is the second song in this unit). I am going to share how I have used Lágrimas, one of the most powerful, haunting songs I have experienced in Spanish, to make the transition from Immigration to Narcoviolencia.

This was the objective:

Students will identify the viewpoint and the perspectives in the lyrics and the video. Students will continue to add to and to refine their knowledge of immigration issues, roots, causes and impact while beginning to understand the depth of the violence in México and how it impacts the people of México and the United States.

These were the steps that I used:

Day One

  1. I made a Lágrimas with the images from the official video and inserted just the instrumental version of the song.  They did not know the title of the song. I had students watch and listen to it just once and had them react in small groups to what they had seen and how they felt.  We then shared as a class. Disclaimer: the images are NOT MINE.  They are taken directly from the official video released by Camila.
  2. We watched a second time, completing a Lagrimas chart for ppt that listed
  • Places
  • Colors
  • People
  • Feelings
  • Verbs
  • Words they wanted to know how to say
  1. We reviewed their charts.  Working with a partner, they wrote a brief response to the question “¿Qué está sucediendo en esta presentación?” I also asked them to create a title for the song. The results were powerful and impressive: Corazón roto, Quiero quedarme pero voy a huir, Amor traicionado, Involucrado, No hay nada que decir, Dolor que me mata, Tristeza sin palabras, etc.
  2. I intended for the next step to be a “free write”, but with a partner, using the images to create sentence fragments, poetry, or a smash doodle, to express what they saw and felt. However, the discussion over what was happening in the video, and the naming of the song with the resulting discussion, just took more time than I anticipated.                                                                                                                     5.  We then watched the official video.

Day Two

  1. We completed the first cloze (Lágrimas Cloze 1 and Cloze 2) for the song.  Working with a partner or two, each group created their own translation of the lyrics.
  2. We read one of the Lagrimas article and interview about or with, Camila.
  3. We sang the song.

Day Three

  1. We completed a second cloze (Lágrimas Cloze 1 and Cloze 2) for the song.  They worked revising their own translation of the lyrics.
  2. We sang it again.
  3. Working with the lagrimas images 2 from the opening day powerpoint, they selected about five of them and captioned them with detailed sentences using rich vocabulary.

The emotional impact of this song was enormous. Most of my students absolutely loved the haunting melody, and told me that once it was in their heads, they couldn’t get it out.  The imagery from the video and the discussions that we had made Lágrimas, for us, a very fitting, somber way to enter this unit.

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.

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: