As a Spanish teacher, I like to look for opportunities to integrate culture into my curriculum. Sometimes this happens unintentionally, but I often have to look for opportunities to make it happen. I have found that music is a great way to bring some culture into my classes. This time I am sharing a song with you that is part of my music collection which is available on iTunes. Before you start dancing with your students you might want to share with them that cumbia is a traditional music that has its own dance and originated on the Caribbean Coast of Colombia. Cumbia itself has influenced other rhythms in Latin America. As a proud Colombian whose both parents were born on the Colombian Caribbean Coast, I grew up listening to cumbia and vallenato 24-7, so I have a special love for it.
What a great opportunity to pull out a map and locate Colombia. You can also show a clip of the Colombian cumbia dancers to your students. The song in the following clip is called “El Pescador” and is sung by Colombian singer “Totó la Momposina.”
Ready to try some cumbia in your class? This cumbia is perfect for teaching parts of the body.
This is a collection of songs that can be used with different grade levels. They include a variety of vocabulary to express weather in Spanish, so I recommend you listen to them all and pick the one that fits your curriculum or lesson the most. Here are my favorite seasons and weather songs for elementary Spanish from YouTube.
If you have ever taught preschoolers you already know that they need to move a lot! Moving is part of their learning and growing, so why not use it as a tool to engage them? Here are five songs that are part of my Spanish & Movement program.
La Pelota: I use a big inflatable beach ball with this song. I toss it around while we practice the phrases “pasa la pelota” and “tira la pelota.” I also have small inflatable balls for children to use in pairs. I do have to admit that it gets crazy, but children love it. Something that works great for me is modeling the phrases before playing the game.
Burbujas: Through teaching Spanish to babies and toddlers I discovered these awesome bubbles by Gymboree (please note that I am not associated with them or endorsing their brand, but the reason I do really like their particular bubble formula!). The best bubbles need to be light enough to float and hang in the air and not pop immediately when touching other bubbles. This is so that children can capture them and then pile them up on their hands in bunches, giving me time to count and also practice repeating “más, por favor.” I haven’t yet met a preschooler who doesn’t like bubbles!
La Batalla del Calentamiento: This song is great to practice naming the parts of the body while moving. I love adding other parts of the body that are not included in the song. I also sing the song without the music and ask the children to choose a part of the body they would like everyone to sing in class.
El Ritmo del Tambor: Use TPR to introduce the vocabulary of the song to the class. Start playing the drum. Have the group stand in a circle and follow every movement in the song: baila, camina, marcha, salta, corre, duerme and despierta.
Danza de Paracaídas: Nothing like parachute time! If you don’t have a play parachute, a big piece of fabric works well, too. Click here to find more ideas.
If you are looking for more tips for teaching Spanish to preschoolers, I have a whole post dedicated to that topic. Please click here to visit the link to it!
I consider myself lucky that I get to see my students for 5 days out of a seven-day cycle schedule. I see my Kindergarten students for 25 minutes per class session and my first graders for 40 minutes a class. I always start my class with a greeting song and since the school year has started I have now used about five songs. YouTube is always a great place to find all those songs. I am sharing with you the ones that I have used so far, and I know for sure that my students love, and some that I plan to use in the future!
¡Hola! I am Carolina, a Colombian elementary Spanish teacher based in Austin, Texas. Fun for Spanish Teachers is the result of my passion for teaching Spanish to children and my desire to inspire collaboration and creativity in a vibrant teaching and learning community. It’s the perfect stop if you are looking for songs, games, teaching tips, stories, and fun for your classes.