As I look out my window at the snow falling, I realize how long ago the World Cup took place, but I still want to share a lesson plan that uses this event. Our textbook has a thematic unit on competition and sporting events, and I wanted to pull some authentic material to practice the vocabulary. I was very surprised that only a handful of students watched or really knew anything about the World Cup, but most were familiar with Waka Waka, the 2010 World Cup theme song by Shakira and Freshlyground.
After explaining some key vocabulary in the lyrics that were not a part of my students’ working vocabulary, the students listened to the song in Spanish and completed a cloze exercise. Partners then worked together to figure out what the lyrics were saying. Together we went over some of the lyrics that were harder to figure out. For homework students went to Zachary Jones' site to view the official video in English. I printed out the song in English so that the students could compare it to the Spanish version as they watched the video.
In class the next day, partners discussed and described what they saw in the video. We then talked about how similar images or ideas in the song were expressed differently in each version of the song. For example, the Spanish version said “Quítate el polvo, ponte de pie y vuelves al ruedo”, and the English version said “Pick yourself up, and dust yourself off and back in the saddle”. The picking yourself up & dusting yourself was almost a word for word translation, but vuelves al ruedo and back in the saddle require cultural and idiomatic knowledge to make sense. I then asked my students to find other lyrics that had similar meaning, but the language used was different.
As my students move toward intermediate language proficiency, I hope to be able to come back to some of these examples when they run into idiomatic expressions or try to translate language literally. This kind of lesson plan is my favorite kind because there is so much going on, but it flows in a very organic manner. My students are practicing the lesson’s vocabulary, analyzing language, listening & reading authentic materials and enjoying the music all at the same time.