Cover of Caraluna by Bacilos
How are your students using their language skills over the summer? The end of the year is always bitter-sweet to me because I’m so proud of how far my students have come in a year with their communication skills, but I worry about how much they will forget over the summer.
My son took Spanish in a formal classroom setting for the first time this year. I was very pleased with his progress. His teacher did a fine job of including all aspects of the language learning while maintaining a rigorous and manageable pace. My son was able to talk directly to his step-mother in Spanish for the first time this spring, and uses the language with humor and creativity often. I want him to retain the vocabulary and language structures until next school year, so I’m working with him informally over the summer to practice and use his skills.
He loves music, plays several instruments, listens to all kind of genres, and blogs about his passion. So music is my gateway. I hope to share lessons that worked well with him, in hopes that you might use with your students.
Mi primer millon: Bacilos
I printed the lyrics to the song, and asked Nathan to read and get a general idea of what the song is about. I felt it was important to explain what “pegar en la radio” meant since it is idiomatic (maybe slang?), but holds the key to the song’s theme. Other than that I told him not to worry about the tenses or words he did not recognize and just get the gist of the story.
On the way to get ice cream later on that day, we heard the song in the car. He recognized the music because he’s heard me play it off and on for the last couple years. We went over the song lyrics together over a milkshake & sorbet (sound like bribery?). I let him explain what he understood from his reading, and I filled in the gaps. I explained some of the grammar he hasn’t formally learned but has heard (the nosotros command vámonos para Miami and the future tense in será mi primer millón). I also pointed out formal grammar that he learned this school year like ir+a+infinitive (Me van a escuchar en la radio) and direct object pronouns in comprarte una casa grande.
I could tell most of the humor of the song had been lost to him in his first reading, so I wanted to move up from translation to interpretation. I asked him some open ended questions.
Was the narrator a reliable narrator?
Did he really want to become rich & famous to buy his girlfriend a house or was he motivated by other things as well? What else motivated him?
Why would he feel the need to explain that Paulia Rubio is “sólo una amiga”?
Why does he feel he has to go to Miami to become rich & famous?
I asked Nathan to point out lyrics in the song to support his opinion as we talked about it. On the way home we listened to the song again, and I asked Nathan if he was better able to make out the lyrics this time around. He could.
His follow up assignment was to write a paragraph telling me what he is going to do with his first million dollars. We talked about using the “formulas” his teacher taught him like ir+a+infinitive and pensar+infinitive.
This morning I read a paragraph about a monkey he was going to buy... Hmmm...
Segunda lección: ¿Quiénes son Paulina Rubio, Alejandro Sanz y “Emilio”?