10 August 2017

BRAIN BREAK - Name that Spanish cover!

If you could meet with all of your students before they got to your class, what would you do to get them pumped about Spanish?

My first thoughts were food and music--and keeping it as familiar and fun as possible. I didn't want them to Learn so much as I wanted them to observe, to realize. I wanted to get them thinking, "Hey, this could be fun!" completely sans stress.

So I kept it completely interpretive with no production, broke out the candy I brought home from Peru, and turned an activity I had previously used for a brain break into a little team competition. (They were in groups of 5-6, but it ended up being 45 + an English teacher against the 5 native speakers who tested out of Spanish I. They tied.)

Now this activity could be a whole game with 10 songs or just be a quick little break you keep in your bookmark bar at the top of your browser. You can even rearrange slides so songs you've used move to the end if you use your own copy of the presentation!

When I used this type of activity as a brain break in the past, I found 2 or 3 songs were pretty good--as long as they were easy.

I did hit some snags with my "sans stress" activity, so I have added additional slides with one key word highlighted that I think will be useful hints and replaced some songs entirely because they didn't have enough good clues. I think the 10 songs I have now should work, especially with the highlighted hints and perhaps a few high-frequency verbs under their belts as the year goes on.


  1. Split the class into teams: EVERYONE on the team must raise their hand to be called on.
  2. Project the chorus of one Spanish cover and read it out loud.
  3. Each team gets one chance to guess the original title (or artist if you like).
  4. If no one can guess in 30 seconds, show the hint slide and explain the highlighted vocabulary word (e.g. amar, hablamos, algo)
  5. When a team guesses right--or if no one can guess it--play the song (fast forward to the chorus if need be).
  6. Move on to the next song (or activity if you just want to do one.

Search tips

Now there are plenty of other covers out there, but they all have sort of a limited shelf life--though I have considered making an oldies version for my classic rock kiddos. Maybe some Taylor Swift songs can be resurrected in the name of nostalgia down the road, but I think it's important to keep this sort of activity fresh, so here are a few tips:
  • Filter searches with "This year." If someone is still recording them, they're probably still somewhat relevant songs.
  • Find versions that actually sound good (and familiar). Sometimes funny videos can make up for bad singing...but not usually. The instrumentation should be at least kind of close to help with that prior knowledge connecting.
  • Lyrics videos are handy. Some will spontaneously start to sing in Spanish if they can follow along, I kid you not.

Also, in my recent searches, I found some go-to Spanish cover artists. Of course everyone probably knows about Kevin y Karla, but here are a few more artists that seem to have a good Spanish cover repertoire:

And here's my actual updated playlist:

And updated presentation with lyric hints!


  1. Your playlist says it's unavailable :)

    1. Thanks for the heads up! It should be fixed now!

  2. Used this today and the students thought this was awesome. You are my queen!