The season premiere of “The Sing-Off” is one week from today on NBC (Monday, September 18). If any of you are a cappella fans like me, this is good news! It offers a great opportunity to (Spanish) teachers to expose their students to the Arts and perhaps even spark a dream. Many of my students (being middle schoolers) have never heard of a cappella music before. They are familiar with beat boxing, so many of them are really interested in the genre once they realize what it is.
Oh, ya…so you are probably wondering what this has to do with Spanish class? The winning group of the first season (two years ago) was ‘Nota’, a group of men from Puerto Rico. Throughout the season, they performed many chart-topping English hits that they spiced up with some Latin flavor (salsa dance breaks, translated/interjected Spanish lyrics, etc.). Now, they have released an album and have toured. Their songs are great for any level, but especially for low level Spanish classes because many are (1) familiar and (2) in Spanish and English. Also, it’s very easy to introduce the song using basic vocabulary and cognates.
The first song that we listened to was ‘Te Amo’ since it’s familiar and has a manageable amount of Spanish in it. Also, it contains a target structure for the week, ‘quiero’, among others that we have already learned and that are good for enrichment (ex: siempre, sabes que). After we watched the music video for ‘Te amo’ (which I purchased on iTunes; but you could also use the YouTube downloader add-on for Firefox), I showed them ‘Down‘ just for fun, which was the song that they performed on the season finale.
Here is a lesson plan to teach a 45-minute lesson just on the song Te Amo and a capella music; I use it in my Spanish 1 classes after we learn the word “sabes” in the story Búscalo (because of the line from the song, «sabes que te amo»).