In a previous article I shared some tips that my sister, a Spanish 1 teacher, gave us on how to choose songs for classroom activities. In addition to cloze activities, she also shared with us other ideas that she actually does with any song she uses in class. The only skill the students need to know is how to use the dictionary.
3 Classroom Activities You Can Do With Any Song
Activity #1: What’s this song about?
1. Play the song and have each individual student create a list of words they understand.
2. Create a list (or have students come to the board and share their lists).
3. Ask the students to brainstorm what the song may be about, using the list that they have created.
Activity #2: Meaning of a song
1. Divide the class into groups of three (no more than four) students.
2. Jigsaw: Give each group a stanza or a portion of the song to discuss and translate. They may need a dictionary.
• Explain to the students that the translation does not have to be perfect. As long as they get the gist of the verse, they may move on to the next verse
• Model. Students should first list what they know or can figure out before moving to looking words up.
• Circle the room to assist the students, especially with idiomatic expressions and/or colloquial or familiar terms
3. Discuss the song as a class. Not only prompt for a translation of the words, but also the meaning of the verses. Here are a few possible concepts to discuss if they fit the song:
• Poetic language (similes, metaphors, personifications)
• Historical and cultural facts of background
• As grammatical patterns and vocabulary arise, review the topics or skills with the students
• Depending on the level of language of your students, you may conduct part or the whole discussion in the target language
4. Variation: You may have a whole class discussion about the meaning of the lyrics, poetic language and the background of the song and then have the students answer questions about the song independently. You may create a worksheet with questions about the song. Examples:
• What do you think the word ___________ means?
• How do you think the singer feels when she/he says_________________?
• Is there another meaning for ___________ that you have learned in class?
• How do you think the melody goes with the lyrics?
• Come back as a whole group to finish the discussion
Activity # 3: Create a product
1. Closing: Have the students create their own product after discussing the song. Examples:
• Draw a picture (Create a poster)
• Create a music video (Outside project)
• Design a T-Shirt
• Create a meme
2. Play the song regularly in class. You may play it while the students come into class or while they do independent work.
Check out our list of Spanish Class Activities.