Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Día 80 - music as an authentic text

This is in reference to something I started doing this year on Thursdays with a song of the day.  I wrote a post about song day here.

Last week, my students and I were telling a story via TPRS about a rich boy who had 1.5 enormous houses and 20 cars who got excited about seeing a girl with moose antlers.

During the story, the boy had to go to get romance lessons from James Bond and then he came back to the girl much more suave but without any money.  Somehow it clicked that he should tell the girl: "No tengo dinero ni nada que dar, lo único que tengo es amor para amar.  Si así tú me quieres, te puedo querer, pero si no me quieres, ni modo que hacer"  (I don't have any money or anything to give.  All I have is love to love you with.  If you can love me as I am, I can love you.  If you can't, no big deal.)

The neat thing is that was a chorus from a song we had done in class and we were able to simply incorporate it one day and the students could follow it and it helped establish another connection with the song.

Music has become such an amazing authentic text for my students.  We have started learning high frequency words such as love, heart, soul, etc just through going over songs.  It's great for certain vocabulary.  Not to mention it helps kids relate to class (as well as the language).

With the aforementioned post in mind, I actually had a student walk in just a second ago.  She told me that she has fallen in love with Spanish music.  Another student had some music playing in Spanish and had her listen to it and she asked what it was.  He told her they had listened to it in Spanish class and then he went on to let her listen to other songs by the same artist.  These other songs we haven't listened to in class but he's found a love for a band through the one song we listened to in class.

Do you see what is going on?  I'm not even exposing them as much anymore.  Now they've learned about a few bands in Spanish and they are exploring them on their own!  This astounds me.  I just started doing it as a warm-up and it became a half class period or more when we do it.  Some of the kids who usually are disengaged in TPRS (which is hard.., because TPRS is incredibly interesting), are all over the song on song day.  They memorize them and request we listen to the songs again days where we have extra time.  It's great.

I'm so glad I've stumbled upon this.

What's neat is in college we learned about providing authentic texts to the students.  I was never quite sure how to do that.  Sometimes it's hard to adapt an authentic text to a class' needs.  The teacher made sure to remind us not to change the text, but rather to change the task associated with the text.

So the task is to fill in some words (with a word bank) for listening comprehension.  Then after they listen a few times and watch the video we go over the blanks as well as the meaning.  Some students write down the whole translation, others probably throw their music sheets away.

But many of them have been telling me that they've been listening to music outside of class and it's such a neat connection to have with them. We are able to talk about certain cultural themes as well since the songs are poetry.

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