01 January 2018

10 Songs for Spanish Class for 2018

Music is the magic bullet for all language learning. Whether it's my daughter's endless loop of counting and color and Christmas songs from her bilingual kindergarten classes or Sr. Wooly songs that end up in student presentations about the music that best represents them ("Puedo ir al baño"--not even kidding), the earworm always wins. I mean, Maná was better than my professors in college.

But for me and my classes, it has got to be the pop songs. I don't feel right recycling them year after year, though. I mean, I will still play on their musical memory with a non-icebreaker version of "Hasta el amanecer," but  I feel like I owe it to my students to find something fresh to tantalize them, to start the year off right, and to give them something to look forward to. 

Now I got away from the Instagram challenges of last year's songs, and I'm actually thinking about reviving some form of coros or coro roulette, maybe even some little listening drills, to build in a little more routine and maybe settle in after Puedos or even a kind of brain break.

Either way, I knew I had to have something new and rocking--and easy to get stuck in their heads! I only had a few NEW hits this year, so of course I hit Sra. Birch's Pinterest board *coughwhenIwassupposedtobegradingcough*

And I think next year's Spanish classes are in for a treat--10 treats, really!

~Top 10 for 2018~

"Libre" by Olvidate

Porque soy libre y hago lo que quiera.

Vivo la vida a mi manera.

Porque soy libre y hago lo que quiera.

Vivo la vida a mi manera.

Porque soy libre, porque soy libre.

Can I just say, this one checks SO many boxes. We've got a woman singer, a little cumbia, a super simple and catchy chorus, perfect non-love-song Friday feelings, AND it's from URUGUAY! Who knew, right? It's super comprehensible overall, but my plan is to get the chorus stuck in their heads and maybe discuss why a summer video like this came out in December.

"Toc Toc" by Macaco

Toc Toc, abre la puerta. 
Toc Toc, saca tu loco a pasear .
Abrelala Abrelalala.
Toc Toc, abre la puerta.
Toc Toc, saca tu loco a pasear.
Abrelala Abrelalala.

I really want to see the movie this is from (though some reviewers think it mocks the disorders it depicts), but it looks like it just came out a couple months ago in Spain. Still, it might help with some of the blank looks I get when I want to stay in the TL and need someone to handle the classroom door situation...

"Corazón" by Maluma (with Nego de Borel)

Tú me partiste el corazón, 

Pero mi amor no hay problema, no no. 

Ahora puedo regalar .
Un pedacito a cada nena, solo un pedacito.

First of all, I'm a little geeked out that there is some Portuguese in this song--and I understood it! Also, it's nice to find a Maluma song and video that won't get me fired. Who doesn't love a little clean Colombian reggaeton? Also, this could potentially lead to some interesting gender role/relationship discussions with the right comprehensible questions.

"Internacionales" by Bomba Estéreo
Yo soy un colombiano, yo soy americano
Yo soy un ciudadano del mundo
Yo soy un mexicano, yo soy dominicano
De la misma raza, el mismo color
¡Baila, baila! Qué para bailar no necesitas lengua
¡Baila, baila! Vamos a bailar en la misma fiesta

I mean, how can you deny the group behind "Soy yo," right? Also, again, what a fun message and video! Plus the repetitive, high-frequency vocabulary and nationalities with an infectious beat? I could see maybe imitating the green screen skater with a project if it takes off with this group. It went over reasonably well with this year's group, though not obsession level, I'll admit.

"Sólo amigos" by Adexe & Nau

Ella no comprende que yo solamente 

quiero ser su amigo y luego se enfada conmigo 

ella no comprende que yo solamente 
quiero ser su amigo y parecemos enemigos

 So how's this for a switcheroo? These sweet boys are "friend zoning" girls instead of the other way around. Again: RIPE for gender role/relationship discussion. Talk about your cultural practices and perspectives! Even their ages could make for important conversation. Also interesting to note their unusual names and that they're from las Islas Canarias.

"Tenemos historia" by Raquel Sofía

Y ahora me dices tú
Y yo te pregunto que cómo vas
Así nos fuimos de amigos a amantes
A seres distantes y nada más.
Y ahora me dices tú
Yo ya no puedo mirarte igual.
Así nos fuimos de amigos de amantes
A seres distantes y nada y nada y nada más.

Something a little slower, with a little plural past tense--but still plenty of cognates. I think object pronouns are going to be key in moving kiddos up the intermediate scale in the semester to come, and I think there are some constructions here that could help. Also, since "Agridulce," I have been absolutely unable to resist Raquel Sofía!

"Hey DJ" by CNCO

Hey DJ, póngale la música que le gusta
Una para que se mueva y se luzca
Y baile conmigo, sólo conmigo, ¡hey!

This was the runaway hit of Spanish I this past semester. I made a last-minute switch to make this our official call-and-response jam for the fall instead of "Animal" and didn't look back. I mean, we DID "Animal," but I think especially for level 2 it's worth having slightly higher frequency vocabulary and more relevant responses to my calls than "ooo-O". Also, I definitely got a few kiddos hooked on CNCO, so bonus!

"Tu foto" by Ozuna

Tengo tu foto para volverme loco
Pensando en ti, solamente en ti, 
Mi corazón roto.

CAUTION!!! This is the third song on the list that I've actually test driven in class and I LITERALLY had to let half the class go to the bathroom to clean themselves up each time. I did a story talk with the video--very successful from a CI standpoint--but OH MY GOD THE TEARS. I seriously only watch this when I'm ready for a good cry. It doesn't help that the little boy looks a LOT like my son. BUT, if you prep the class enough with some meaningful conversation and follow up with some serious emotional processing. These are not sexual situations, but they are VERY adult.

"100 años" by HA-ASH 

(with Prince Royce)

Yo quiero estar 100 años contigo 

Contigo la vida es mejor .
Yo quiero estar 100 años contigo 
Bailando la misma canción.
Bien pegaditos, 100 años contigo 
A tu lado el tiempo no depende del reloj. 
100 años contigo, lo medimos tú y yo 
100 años contigo.

A little more girl power, plus something a little more upbeat but still slow. Also, who can resist Prince Royce? Grammatically it could potentially help with those tricky auxiliary verb and infinitive combinations, perhaps PACE style.

"Casi humanos" by DVICIO

Y no hay remedio para esta enfermedad
Pero yo sé que tú te sientes igual.
Decir <<te amo>> no es nada original
Pero a tu lado, es mejor.

I feel like my list is a little Spain-heavy this year, but honestly, how can you deny Andrés? Also my kiddos this fall kept asking if this was the Spanish version of "Man in the Mirror" (WHAT??) Anyway, they enjoyed it musically, and how the video was made is super cool, could make a good movie talk too, right? I plan to stick to just the second half of the chorus for this one, though.

So those are my picks to play on repeat going into 2018. Did I miss anything (without Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee trying to get me fired)?


  1. Some great recommendations! Thanks! I'm a big fan of Raquel Sofia too.

  2. I'm surprised that La Santa Cecilia didn't make the list. My kids loved la calaverita for día de los muertos. https://youtu.be/yBSIyN1XuRo

  3. Thank you SO much!! Many of these are perfect for grades 3-5. I can't wait for my kiddos to listen & watch!!

  4. Tu foto de Ozuna!!! My gosh! You warned us about, but I cried... Love the song. Thanks for sharing.