A long-time friend of ours, occasional writer for Speaking Latino and Spanish teacher, Rease Kirchner, has created a song album to be used with kids who are learning Spanish, called Sing and Dance for Spanish Smartypants.
The Spanish Smartypants album has 11 songs which Rease herself wrote and sings. The songs:
1. Me Gusta
2. Ser and Estar
3. Learning AR verbs
4. Learning ER and IR verbs
5. En el Campo Estamos
6. Let’s Talk About The Weather
7. Where We Live
8. Learning Spanish Pronouns
9. ¿Cuántos años tienes?
10. Direction Words (ex. up above, down below, etc.)
11. The Clock Says Tick Tock
About the Album Sing and Dance for Spanish Smartypants
We interviewed Rease briefly about her new album:
SL: How did you come up with the idea for this album?
The two girls I taught always asked for more music, but I couldn’t justify re-playing a song about the colors. Sing and Dance for Spanish Smartypants made teaching more advanced things like Ser vs. Estar so much easier and way more fun for the girls. I saw a need for my students and when I didn’t find any good resources, I created them myself.
SL: Are there any songs that are completely in Spanish?
No, I purposely made these bilingual because one of the issues I had with teaching with songs is that they wouldn’t have the right balance. Songs that were completely in Spanish tended to be too difficult/boring for non-natives to latch onto (For children, I mean.) The closest to fully in Spanish would probably be “En el campo estamos” which only has one verse (repeated a couple times) in English.I also kept the animal sounds in English just because this is aimed at children learning Spanish.
SL: How are these songs different from other songs that are available?
They teach more than just vocabulary. One of the main issues I had with the songs I found available were that they mostly just taught vocabulary words, and usually really basic stuff like colors and shapes. Kids that are still learning Spanish but past the basics can greatly benefit from music too. Unfortunately most of the music for children is too basic for any kids who have advanced beyond basic words and phrases.
SL: What are your next steps for Spanish Smartypants?
For now, I will be working on creating complementary resources and the occasional activities/materials packs for teachers and parents to use with these songs. If Sing and Dance for Spanish Smartypants does well, I will definitely do a second album and take requests from customers about what sort of topics they’d like to see covered on the album.
Here’s a sample from the album (song Ser and Estar):
Review of Sing and Dance for Spanish Smartypants Spanish Songs Album
And here are a few observations we have about Rease’s album.
What we like:
• As Rease mentioned, it’s hard to find good songs for kids who are learning Spanish. We constantly hear from parents asking for more resources.
• The songs are catchy. We can see kids repeating them again and again.
What we would like to see in the future:
• Videos of the songs with kids singing and dancing would be great. This would also allow for visual cues for the vocabulary in each song.
• We always prefer native speakers when possible, to allow for people to hear native accents and learn from those accents.
• All-Spanish versions of the songs would be great for teachers looking for immersion as well as for more advanced students.
Thanks Rease, keep up the amazing creativity!