Bring your classes to life with MUSIC!

I LOVE using music in my classroom every day! It is motivating, cultural, popular, fun, and if you ask my students years later what they loved most about my class they will most likely tell you it was dressing up and acting things out and MUSIC! I’d love to share with you some of the ways I use music and hopefully you will leave a comment and let me know your favorite ways of incorporating music in your classes too!

People often ask me how I use music in my classes. My “Song of the Week” packets will make your life “Tan fácil!” I spend more like 3 weeks on each song. Here’s how it goes:

First of all, we do SSR 2 days a week, sometimes 3. So, generally I use a song as my “bellringer” twice a week, and I spend about 3 weeks on a single song. I am going to lay this out as day 1, day 2, etc, but remember these days are taking place separated by SSR days, so they are really every OTHER day. I also just play the song informally on the “off” days if we have time.

Day 1: Lyrics
We listen to the song, and then I hand out the lyrics. In upper level classes I give them the Spanish only and make them figure out what the lyrics are, or give them a Spanish/English lyrics sheet with strategic blanks on the English side. The level 2 students have some vocabulary in the song underlined. These are words that either they already should know or new words that are kind of easy. These are the words I will select from to have them translate when I make their quiz. My Spanish 3 and up students will have 5 words or phrases from the song to translate. They don’t know which words they will be ahead of time, but I usually make them a quizlet set so it isn’t that hard to figure out (I am Kristy_Placido on Quizlet if you’d like to steal any of my sets!)! Then, we go through it all together and I help them with the words they didn’t know. I sometimes do a word cloud activity on day 1 as well.

Day 2: Just listen
Students follow along with their lyrics and listen or sing along.

Day 3: Listen + activity
Cloze listening, lyric puzzle, reading about the artist, etc.

Day 4: Practice cloze quiz

Day 5: Listen + activity
Cloze listening, lyric puzzle, reading about the artist, etc.
This is where if we are learning the song “Tan fácil” I might revisit the reading about CNCO and have them do the “Which band member is being described” comprehension activity. At some point, I usually also throw in an online game such as a Kahoot (embed the video into Kahoot, play a snippet, students see a lyrics from the snippet with a word missing…the possible answers are possible missing words), or a Quizlet live. Scroll down for a long list of possible activities!

Day 6: Quiz
Students do a cloze listening with 10 words blanked out. I provide a word bank. In addition, they have a list of 5 words or phrases from the song to translate. Most students do very well on these. I make them pretty easy, they are not meant to be a “gotcha.”

Additional activities that I may or may not do for each song:

  • Extra cloze activity with a secret message
  • Matching lyrics to translations
  • Word cloud activities: Predict what the song is about, be the first in a pair to hear a word and highlight it as the song is sung (or as the teacher says a word in English)
  • Matching lyrics to target language paraphrases
  • Lyric Puzzles (put lyrics strips in order while listening – best in a small group)
  • Musical “Agárralo” game with vocab picture cards
  • Storytelling with the song or with a music video
  • Connect a song to something else we are studying
  • Use a song to highlight a grammatical pattern
  • Use a song to compare cultures or exploring a cultural element in a song
  • Read about the artist performing the song
  • A reading which turns the song into a story
  • Use lyrics to create a “found poem”
  • Matching vocab or lyrics with Quizlet live
  • Fill in the missing word in a line from the song using Quizlet live or Gimkit
  • Use Kahoot to make a trivia activity based on a youtube music video
  • Lyricstraining.com example with Yerbatero by Juanes
  • Dance contests or flash mobs (Waka Waka is a fun song to try!)
  • Use a song as transition or “worktime” music or during passing time between classes.

I’m trying something new! I made a MEGA bundle of “Songs of the Week”. Currently, there are 31 song packets (various levels, mostly geared toward Spanish 2-3) in the bundle, discounted at 20% off the list price. As I add new Songs of the Week to the bundle, you will not have to pay any additional money to download the FUTURE song packets! Cool, huh?

Do you have any additional ways you enjoy using music in your classes?

33 comments

  1. Hi Kristy, I’m very interested to see what you do with Spanish 1. If you have any time, I’d appreciate a list of songs that you use.
    thanks! Megan Hughes

  2. Kristi – I am LOVING these songs and your ideas! Today I put my students into groups of 3 and had them act out a short skit (just one line minumum per person) integrating their “favorite” line of the song into the skit and it was hilarious!!! One kid threw a stuffed ducky across the room for his “ave que emigra” (I was using the Gaby Moreno song) I am curious what your “quizzes” look like? Do you have them translate the underlined words/phrases into English – do you give them a word bank? Do you just give them a cloze activity? I’m not sure about the best way to assess their understanding of the song. Help!!

  3. I didn’t find this post until now, and I am blown away. Your talent is so inspirational! I’d love to hear what songs you use for Spanish 1, too. Thanks again for your blog.

  4. Thank you for the wonderful resources. I have been using format adopted from Lisa Reyes. Week long cloze activity with essential phrases given as translation. I noticed on some songs you had the translations listed. For others you had the students translating the lyrics. Do you ever find that students aren’t learning the essential lyrics if there is not a daily activity? I really like the Lisa Reyes format but I find that I let it take up TOO much class time.

    Best thing ever is to have students write the story from a different perspective. For example Espacio Sideral, Jesse y Joy. They were to tell the story (conversation) between the person singing the song and their intended audience. It was HILARIOUS!!!! Led to skits, then to 2 football players, one playing the girl with a wig and falsetto voice, reading a conversation and everyone will remember that for a long time!

  5. Hello!
    My students have been begging for shakira, so we’re going to do waka waka next week. Would you be willing to share your strips that you made? If not no big deal! Thanks! You are amazing! 🙂

  6. Me encanta el paquete, está fenomenal. Yo enseño español 1, ¿tendrías algo similar para este nivel? O quizás sugerencias de canciones.

    Mil gracias por compartir.
    Elena

          1. I absolutely LOVE this idea! I’m also teaching level 1 and 2 middle school students – is there any way I could see what you use for your level 1 students? I’ve been searching for months for some good music to use at that level. Love your blog!

  7. Every Wednesday is “Musica miercoles” in which we start class with a new song and activity. Also Fridays are “Baile viernes” where we start class with a zumba song, or other dance in Spanish. It is a great way to get the Friday wiggles and energy out at the start of class. The kids love anything that has to do with music! Thanks for sharing your packet!

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