21 July 2017

That's My Jam! Starting Spanish 1 in Style

David Bisbal, I still love you, but it was time to retire "Te mueves tú" last year. 

Last year, Nicky Jam took my pop latino novio's place (I am eternally grateful to Sra. Whisenhunt for the suggestion!) It was the perfect attention-getter all semester and beyond--they physically COULD NOT resist the call and response that we set up on their very first day of class! One of the students who was LEAST excited about Spanish--and school in general--rushed in before school one day to show me Nicky Jam in the 2016 YouTube Rewind video. What's more, I got tagged on Instagram months after class ended when the song came on at a student birthday party, and the girls going to Peru with me for the Sister Cities exchange this year still insist Nicky Jam is their favorite.

The high frequency vocabulary in Nicky's jam was especially handy last year:
  • ¿Cómo tú te llamas?
  • Yo no sé
  • Quiero

Even "ni pregunté" helped lay the foundation for perhaps the most high-frequency word in my classes (even my principal knows pregunta now).

I think starting with a chorus call and response chorus format was part of the secret to the song's success, so I want to do that again this year, too, but with a new song.
At first I read or played the white, then they read the yellow.
I like how each year has its own Spanish anthem, and I believe that keeping the music selection fresh is one of THE most important factors to effectively exploiting teenage musical obsessions. In fact, my selection criteria list is not unlike Sra. Stilson's:
  1. It must be CATCHY.
    It must be simple and appealing enough to never ever leave their head.
  2. It must be COOL.If it gets stuck in their head, but that doesn't make them go home and download it and listen to repeat, just dread class, then what's the point? Of course cool means different things all the time, so I've got to keep my ear to the ground.
  3. It must be COPIABLE
    We do it in English too--if we can't remember the words, we just kind of mutter them then say the last word we hear. So it needs to be words that are recognizable and paced in such a way that my baby parrots have some hope of, well, parroting them.
Ordinarily I'm partial to anything that includes essential verbs and insist on the highest of vocabulary frequency, but to set the tone for the class, I really just need the kids grooving.

So who else?

Alvaro Soler to the rescue.

The girls LOVE this guy, and EVERYONE digs his music. I confess "Animal" was not my favorite track, but I'm a sucker for the girl power in this video. And I cannot deny the cool, catchy, copiability of the chorus:
Llega el momento
Donde eres el viento
Hoy lucharé como un animal
como un animal, animal
Escucha el aliento
Solo silencio
Hoy lucharé como un animal
como un animal animal
There are certainly some useful words in there, if not the highest of frequency, words like donde, eres, hoy, escucha. Also repeating a cognate six times can't hurt the old baby parrot confidence Day 1 either, you know?

But what might be even cooler is how I can scaffold the call and response here.

Step 1: All they have to say is "O-O"
It sounds funny out of context, is super easy to imitate, and gets them to focus on listening for the end of what I say first without freaking them out about actually TALKING Spanish.

Step 2: Put it in order
We got hit hard on listening last year--the final exams matched the AAPPL results almost exactly. So I want them to just get comfortable hearing what they hear, matching sounds with letters.

Step 3: Matching to establish meaning
It'll be the first day--I'm okay with a little straight translation to make them feel safe the first day. So I'll have them match Spanish lines to English lines to figure out what's what and start building a word wall. I might mix some Instagram challenge type activities in to check for comprehension too.

Step 4: Two lines at a time
We'll probably practice with some more "O-O"s first, but then it'll be their turn to actually SAY some Spanish. I want to split this part up over 3 days, though, so they ease in nice and slow and have two new lines for sure each day.

And then everyone can sing!

It's too bad this year's song of the summer--and its video--would almost certainly get me fired, but I think "Animal" will make an excellent jam to continue the legacy begun with David Bisbal years ago.

1 comment:

  1. I had a student who always came in saying "Profe! Hasta el amanecer!" One day she asked me, "What do the lyrics mean?" I told her that if I told her, we couldn't play it again. But I told my heritage speaker to tell her after class when I wasn't around :P