Música {and music videos} in the language classroom

Traditionally, music has always been a source of inspiration for world language teachers. Cultural themes, customs and rich vocabulary are useful tools within the songs created by various musicians around the world. The trick becomes how we as educators utilize this music to its fullest potential, making it not only linguistically appropriate/comprehensible but also fun to sing along to and learn!

There are a few free tools and websites that are out there to help us navigate through the millions of songs that are out there.

First, let’s talk resources; here are some of my “go-to” music websites for Spanish. Feel free to add your own comments with additional sources that you like to use.

For #authres:

Bilblioteca Musical: http://musicaenespanol.weebly.com/

LyricsTraining: http://lyricstraining.com/

Zambombazo {Cancionero}: http://zachary-jones.com/zambombazo/tag/cancionero/

TodoELE {Canciones}: http://www.todoele.net/canciones/Cancion_list.asp

El Mundo Birch: http://elmundodebirch.wordpress.com/2014/03/30/spanish-music-database-updated/

Youtube {different channels}: https://www.youtube.com/

MTVTres: http://www.tr3s.com/

Los40: http://los40.com/

For non-natives/ELE:

Rockalingua: http://www.rockalingua.com/

Senor Wooly: http://www.senorwooly.com/

Realidades I, II y III {Canciones de HipHop}

Next, my recent favorite, eduCanon. Recently shared by some of the teachers I have the privilege to work with, this website allows you to take ANY video (whether it was created by you or from any online video source such as YouTube) and the user can embed questions throughout. It takes a little practice initially to get the hang of it and there are other websites that are popping up which are very similar but in my opinion, eduCanon is the most user friendly. The teacher can set up videos in advance, to questions in the target language and as the student self navigates, he or she can select an answer and gain immediate feedback on whether or not they got it right. This tool can be used in any discipline, with any grade. What a neat way to begin class, end class or assign as an independent practice activity. By embedding music videos into eduCanon, the teacher can pose questions about the actual video or the music lyrics that may appear. Here is a sample video I created in English using a great silent film source: Simon’s Cat.

Once you have identified an appropriate song for your learners, begin to design your lesson around the text in the song. Let’s build in some {activities} to bring the music to life for students. Conduct a pre-reading/pre-viewing activity for the song, a while reading/viewing/listening activity and finish up with a post-reading/viewing activity.

Simple activities involving music:

-Have students describe how they feel when listening to the music, in #140charactersorless: write a mini story to go with the music & emotions, post to Twitter or a learning management site used {Edmodo, Schoology, Canvas, etc}, share their stories in small groups, collaborate using Google Docs to create a unique tale based on the music they hear, present their stories to the class {act it out, swap stories with another group, re-enact silently: have classmates reinvent the original story}

-Have students preview vocabulary by using two different colored highlighters to identify words they know and words they do not know, as a class, review meanings of new words through gestures, images, other definitions in the target language, listen to the song- fill in the blanks of missing, *key words, discuss theme of the music, create their own song based on the theme of the song, use musical instruments, come up with a dance for the new song, post new song on Google Slides and share with others, vote on favorite class song.

-Ask students an essential question involving the theme of the song: to help get a discussion going about what the song is about, use Padlet to share responses on a group discussion board, have students listen to the music or watch video: while watching, have students write two connections to the music on a post-it note, share as a group those connections with a simple inflatable ball toss, use lyricstraining.com for students to replay the video independently and choose the appropriate word individually/teams, use eduCanon to replay the video with questions embedded at teacher selected moments within the video, have students participate in a “lip sync” competition with “rounds” in small groups: using the same song (or various tunes from the school year) students lip sync to one song, “battle” individually against a different group member and/or individual lip sync by the “group leader”~ song to be randomly selected by the teacher.

So go ahead world language educators out there, embrace music & music videos and think of creative ways to structure a lesson & activities around this unique piece of text sure to engage your students & make learning not only meaningful but engaging!

Comments, ideas & suggestions are always welcome below! Collaboration is key! 🙂

PS- Kristy Placido has done an excellent job in compiling music and suggesting ideas for her Spanish I and Spanish II classes, check out her blog for more information: http://kplacido.com/category/music/

 

 

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Reading Strategies for the WL Classroom

   Our World Language standards: so much of what we already do are now “official” Literacy standards across the country. ACTFL published a document about two years ago, aligning the CCSS with the communicative standards we have had in place for a number of years. Click here for this document. World Language teachers, we have been ahead of the game! 😀 

   We all know and understand that READING is a fundamental practice in acquiring vocabulary and target structures than traditional rote memorization/drill practice. With this in mind, how do we as World Language teachers also take on the role of Literacy coaches in our classrooms? How do we navigate through all of the millions of authentic text and select the ones we feel are most beneficial to our novice, intermediate or advanced learners? And finally, what types of strategies can we incorporate to make the process of reading meaningful and valuable for our learners?

    I will be presenting next week in my district’s literacy workshop (#PVRSummerLit) and will be sharing this presentation (http://tinyurl.com/rodriguezreading) with my small group of attendees. This is information that World Language teachers should be familiar with and continue to practice each time they confront a text of their selection that will be valuable for their students.

    In my presentation, I plan to share on the criteria one needs to consider when selecting a text and of course, locating an accurate source. I created a collaborative document through Google Docs for educators to add to, if they would like, different sources available for either non-fiction or fiction text that they have found to be useful in the target language they teach. In exploring the different sources available, I plan to discuss how the website Pinterest has transformed how I search for materials for Spanish classes. And finally, I plan to have participants model & share different pre, during and after reading strategies as a whole group (many are listed within the presentation above). No matter which text is used, these strategies should be embedded throughout the lesson(s) involving the text. Text examples can be word clouds, comics, train schedules, tickets, info-graphics, memes, Tweets complied (#authres), simple articles, fictional stories, etc. There is so much out there- you just have to simplify and choose what is best suited for your learners. Also, you can transform a “high linguistic” level reading to novice level by using the embedded reading technique by Laurie Clarcq & Michelle Waley. Ultimately, I feel that “units” should be planned around literature and appropriate texts, as opposed to vocabulary lists and grammar points as many traditional textbooks structure their units.  

    I welcome any feedback or comments regarding “reading strategies” that you have used in the World Language classroom and your story on how reading has improved language acquisition in your classrooms.