Canción de la Semana: “El Arrepentido” por Melendi y Carlos Vives

Happy end of the school year! El Arrepentido is a song I used earlier in the year with my students. It just came out in February, so it is relatively new.

Here’s what I like:

  • Hay que”: Expressions with hay que come up several times in the song.
  • Message: The message of the song, living with regret, is great topic to use to create group discussions in your classes about regret in our own lives.

Here’s the song. 

Have a great summer! You deserve a break.

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Canción de la Semana: “Soy Guapo” por Señor Wooly

Alright. I realize that this song is not by a native singer, BUT… it is awesome. If you haven’t heard of Señor Wooly before, you need to check him out. While he has several great resources and songs, “Soy Guapo” is my favorite, and the favorite song of several of my students.

Here’s why I like it:

Physical descriptions: My students are just finishing up with a description unit, where we practiced a lot with noun/adjective agreement. I played this song after we finished physical descriptions, because it is FULL of wonderful examples in just about every line. Not only could my students understand 90% of what was sung, even with their limited Spanish 1 vocabulary, but they also love the song and ask for it often. I even heard a fellow Science teacher mention that the kids begged her to play it in class!

It’s funny: The video is absolutely hilarious. It is an ironic song about a guy who is full of himself. Your students will love it.

Enjoy!

Canción de la Semana: “One, Two, Three, GO!” por Belanova

Happy Spring Break!

I hope that all of you who are on Spring break this week are finding it a restful and relaxing time to recharge batteries. I know I plan to use it as such.

The song of the week this week is one of Belanova’s songs. This is a really fun, Grammy award winning band from Mexico. “One, Two, Three, GO!” is a peppy Spanish song that my students really love. The song is in Spanish, even though the title is in English. If you use this song in class, make sure to show the music video, which has a fun cheerleading/battle of the bands theme. P.S. If you look closely you will see that all of the competing groups, and the judges, are the same people. Mind blown!

Enjoy!

Get Them Moving!

There are some areas in my teaching that I feel I could improve upon. I am envious of those teachers who use such great, authentic resources in class. Also, I am in awe of classes I see that are 100% in the target language. These are areas that I know I can do better, and am always working on in my own class.

However, there are some areas that I ROCK! I think my colleagues would agree that one of my strengths is using actions in the classroom. If you have never used this technique before here are some tips I use:

Keep it simple: I feel that actions work best in my classes with verbs and adjectives. Sometimes nouns work really well, but there are those nouns( like house, park, and computer) that are much simpler to use pictures for instead.

Get the kids involved: Some teachers like to create a set action to represent a word for each class, but I like to get their ideas. Almost always, their ideas are way better than what I was thinking. For example, yesterday my students learned the word “alegre”, which is the Spanish word for happy. One class came up with a clapping motion. Their thinking was that it reminded them of Pharrell William’s song “Happy”. Other classes came up with versions of smiling, but no two classes had the same action. They are all so creative!

Don’t be afraid to look stupid: I can safely say that I was definitely not one of the cool kids in school, and I for sure am not a cool adult. When I was told in high school that my shoes “look tight” I replied, “Actually they are kinda roomy”. That being said, I am not afraid to embarrass myself in front of my students. I will do any action they suggest, including the running man and duck face, because I know that it all helps them remember what I’m teaching. The dumber I look, the more comfortable all of my students feel in participating. If you look like you are having fun, they will too.

-Repeat, repeat, repeat: The purpose behind using actions to represent words is to help those kinesthetic learners, who are sometimes left out of traditional learning, to find techniques to learn new ideas. If I have a set of ten words to teach in a day, I will introduce the first word, ask for options for actions, have the class vote, and have everyone do the action. Then, I move onto the next word, repeat the process, and review the prior action. I keep doing that until I feel that I have gone over the same words OVER and OVER and OVER again. Even when I think we have practiced a word enough, it sometimes isn’t enough for everyone. So keep on repeating!

Not only are actions a fun way to learn new vocabulary, but it helps get the students moving and keeps the class in the target language. When using actions, there really is little need to speak English. Thus, it is a win-win situation!

Happy teaching!

Blofear

blofear

When I have time at the end of class, I like to play “blofear” with my students. I really like it because you can use it with verbs, vocabulary and almost any concept.

Here’s what you need:

-popsicle sticks with your students names on them divided in two groups

-2 equal groups

Here’s how you play:

1. Ask each side their own questions. Students may not talk to their peers and may not use their notes. When asking a group a question, students stand up if they know the answer.

2. Someone on the opposite side will randomly pull a popisicle stick from the side whose question it is.

  • If the person whose name gets called is standing and knows the answer, he/she gets a point for everyone standing on their side.
  • If the person whose name gets called is standing and does NOT know the correct answer, he/she LOSES a point for everyone standing on their side.
  • If the person whose name gets called is not standing, then another popsicle stick is drawn.

Here’s where we get the name of the game. Students can chose to be risky, bluff and stand up hoping that their popsicle stick will not be called. Remember that their team gets a point for everyone standing as long as the person who is called gets the answer right. However, if they are bluffing and get called on, then their team loses those points.

Enjoy!

Canción de la Semana: “Vivir Mi Vida” por Marc Anthony

Last chapter my students worked on the concept of Ir+a+raw or Ir+a+infinitive. Sometimes the students had a difficult time of remembering to leave the verb after the form of ir alone, so I went looking for ways to help them remember. While listening to my IPod, I heard Marc Anthony’s song “Vivir Mi Vida” and thought that this would be perfect for helping them with this concept.

This song is FULL of Ir+a+raw / infinitive examples. In fact the chorus, which plays a ton in the song, is almost entirely made of this concept.

Another great part of this song is that it has a nice, appropriate video to use in class. It also is a perfect way to discuss culture, especially Puerto Rican culture.

Enjoy!

Atleta Misteriosa

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As I mentioned in my last post, my students are just now starting a unit that deals with sports. One of the ways that I like to practice this is by playing “Atleta Misteriosa”. Here’s how it works:

-I divide the class into groups. I like to use 8 groups, but you can use as many as you want. Then, I pass out a card to each group with the name of an athlete and basic information on the person. I write this in English, so that it challenges them for the next step.

-Next, they work with their group to write a description of the athlete. I encourage them to use not just what we have learned this chapter, but past vocabulary too.

-Then, comes the fun part. I have each group take turns reading their description out loud while the other groups try to figure out who is being described. The winning group is the one with the most correct athletes at the end of the game.

Here are the athletes I used:

  • Aroldis Chapman (baseball player , Reds, from Cuba)
  • Joey Votto (baseball player, Reds)
  • Usain Bolt (runner, Olympian, from Jamaica)
  • Kevin Durant (basketball player, Oklahoma City Thunder)
  • Brittney Griner (basketball player, Phoenix Mercury)
  • Venus Williams (tennis player)
  • Rafael Nadal (tennis player, from Spain)
  • Kerri Walsh Jennings (volleyball player, Olympian)
  • Drew Brees (football player, New Orleans Saints)
  • Lionel Messi (soccer player, FC Barcelona, from Argentina)
  • Lindsey Vonn (skier, Olympian)

I also feel that this would work really well with anybody, not just athletes. You could use famous people or people in class.

Enjoy!

Canción de la Semana- “Hasta Que Salga el Sol” por Don Omar

Happy (Final?) Snow Day, everyone!

Welcome to my blog! I am a Spanish teacher who is happily teaching 8th graders Spanish 1. I feel fortunate to be able to share any tips I have learned with you and I welcome any ideas that you use in class. I hope to use this as a way to share all of the neat activities I have learned over my five years of teaching that I feel have worked well to keep my students interested and engaged in learning Spanish.

I also want to share what I have been working on a lot this year: songs to use in class! A few years ago, I went to the Ohio Foreign Language Association Conference and went to a great session on using music in class. I have experimented here and there with it in the past, but I wanted to really go full steam ahead this year.

So, each week I have been incorporating a Spanish song into my class. Usually, I try to find songs with appropriate videos to make it more interesting.

Here is what we used this past Friday.

“Hasta Que Salga el Sol” por Don Omar

I really thought that this was a great song/video to use in anticipation of the World Cup this Summer. Even though this video features clips from past Euro Cups, it was a great tool to use to show the importance of “fútbol” in Spanish speaking cultures and was awesome to use in our sports chapter we just started.

Feel free to use!