I use music to welcome my students to my classroom. This week, I welcomed my second graders to class with “Vivir Mi Vida” by Marc Anthony. One of my students said he wished he knew how to dance to the rhythm of the song, so I took action! I took a few minutes at the beginning of the class to show them the basic salsa step. It was five minutes of fun and a chance to share some culture with them – plus they got to move a lot before settling down for class.
I found some videos on YouTube that might be helpful if you decide to teach your students some steps.
And if you feel like you want your students to learn a full choreography, here is Asereje.
Bringing the Winter Olympics to your Spanish class is a fun way to engage your students. This time the Winter Olympics will be in Sochi, Russia. What a great opportunity to pull out a map or visit Google Earth to locate the country and your current locations. Visiting an online gallery of Russia sounds very exciting and could be also used an a opportunity to invite your students to talk about what they see. You could ask you students to tell you about colors, clothes, weather and so on depending on their level.
The games will host athletes from 88 countries representing 7 sports divided in 15 disciplines:
For the purpose of the class I recommend you to use just the names of the sports: el esquí, el patinaje, el biatlón, el curling, el bobsleigh, el hockey sobre el hielo y el snowboard.
For this project you will need to have access to the internet to visit the website for the Winter Olympics. You will also need to download the printable for this activity HERE. Your students will need to visit the link where the athletes are listed. They will need to find the information presented in the sample below:
After completing their own cards, each student will need to get ready to be interviewed by other classmates. Each of them will need to use the information in the picture below to respond to questions that the other students will ask:
Coloreando is one of the newest music CD’s featuring Marta Gómez, a Colombian singer and songwriter. This music CD has 17 songs, all sung by Marta who, in my opinion, is the Colombian equivalent of Mercedes Sosa. Not only does her voice entertain children, but it’s also great for grownups. I have been a fan of Marta ever since her time filling the streets of Cambridge, by Harvard Square, with good music. At the time she was a student at the Berklee College of Music. I have been following closely and try not to miss any of her concerts in Boston. I am very excited to learn about this new album for children, created to support Global Language Project, a non-profit organization that helps bring foreign languages to public school children in the New York area. Coloreando has 17 traditional songs that any Spanish teacher from an ELE or bilingual program should have in their collection. If you are looking for truly cultural music to bring your students, this music CD is a must! One of my favorite songs is “Un Elefante,” not only because I have good memories from having grown up singing it, but also because Marta makes it very fun. I put together this set of props that go along with the song. You can download your own elefantes, telaraña and araña here! This song can also be used as a game where you invite volunteers to jump on an imaginary spiderweb.
I teach in a FLES program and have discovered that it is not an easy task to find the right songs which help teach in the target language. It’s common for a song to have too much vocabulary or to be boring or not engaging enough to maintain student interest. I am also a songwriter which means that I have my own collection of music for my classes, but I always like to try out new songs to incorporate into my curriculum.
However, this is not the case with RockAlingua. I was amazed by the engagement of my students when I taught one of RockAlingua’s songs called “Los Días de la Semana.” The song is very repetitive – in a fun and good way- so much so that children were singing along after a few seconds of hearing the song. I now use this song as part of my “warmup ritual” in class, and my students ask to sing many of RockAlingua’s songs everyday. The program has complementary videos for some of the songs, and the animation really commands my student’s attention.
I believe one of the main reasons RockAlingua works so well in my classes is that it was created by an elementary Spanish teacher who knows how important repetition and creating context are when teaching a language. Musicians who haven’t been teachers don’t always get this. RockAlingua creates meaningful context for your students. The children not only get to learn the songs, but the program includes complimentary materials to keep exploring the vocabulary and provide a space for practice: worksheets, videos, picture dictionaries, and games. Some of these features require a full membership, and others are free.
You can visit their website to learn more about the program and maybe even decide to start a free trial! You can also follow RockAlingua on Facebook to stay tuned and learn all about their new materials and freebies.
My students enjoy these songs, and since I own a CD, I would love three lucky readers to have a chance to win a CD for their classes. Just enter below to participate! Winners will be announced on Friday, January 31, 2014. United States Only!
While searching for apps to use in my classes I found tons of free ones. There is definitively a wide variety of apps for different levels. Some of the free apps might be a sample of a complete app, but it’s worth the try. I do recommend that you download the app and play with it before using it in class.