Saturday, March 15, 2014

Getting them Speaking: Trick #1 The Singing Classroom

I am always looking for new ideas to get my Bilingual Brainiacs reading and speaking willing and excited about reading and speaking in their second language. My classroom is a two-way dual language model, meaning that we spend an equal amount of time learning in and through each language. The majority of my kiddos this year are Spanish Language Learners; very few come from Spanish speaking home environments. All of the activities that will be shared in this series could be used in the first or second language. I will try to show examples for both.

Although, it makes understanding city, state, and country more complex- living in a border town has its unique privileges.  This week’s inspiration comes from across the border. A few months ago I took some young friends to see Frozen, Una Aventura Congelada. If you haven’t seen the movie in Spanish, you need to! We left the theater singing “Libre Soy” throughout the mall. Once I crossed back to the States I got online, and did a quick Google search.  This is what I found:

Knowing that my brainiacs were also obsessed with the movie, I played the clip and had them hooked. All twenty-two of them (especially the boys) were belting out the lyrics as they read them appearing on the screen. I felt like a Genius. Not only were they reading, and vocalizing (to a sweet tune) in the second language, but ALL students were begging for Sing-A-Long breaks. So their reward for behaving like brainiacs, really does more than give us some needed variety in our day.

We have since branched out from Libre Soy, although it is still the number one requested song.  Now, we use all kinds of Sing-A-Long songs in the classroom. Here are some tricks I have picked up along the way.

  1. Searching for Songs. I usually specify “canciones infantiles” or “canciones Disney en espaƱol”. Try using the search term “con letra” instead of “karaoke”. Karaoke generally means no one is singing with you, and we definitely need to hear what correct Spanish sounds like.
  2. Find songs that they already know in the first language. I have found my brainiacs are more excited to sing in their second language, if they are already hooked on the song, movie or characters. It is also a lot easier to sing a song you already know the rhythm to.
  3.   Stick to singing one new song for a few days. Then once your brainiacs love the tune, introduce something new. You can gradually build your repertoire over time. Progressively increasing your song list will keep students confident, interested and singing.

Some favorites: Soy tu Amigo Fiel

Bajo el Mar

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