Spanish teachers all over the world use Cielito Lindo in their classes–simple, comprehensible lyrics; a traditional song; and gazillions of versions to choose from. What’s not to love? Songs are great for energizing students, generating enthusiasm, and sparking interest in the target culture. As with any authentic resource, however, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth discussing!”. There is some value in a song’s authenticity, but there is great value in the comprehensible input that it inspires, since that is what leads to language acquisition.
I use Cielito Lindo in my La corrida de toros unit, which I do at the end of our first month in Spanish 1. My students’ vocabulary is still incredibly limited, but you will see that you can do a LOT of comprehensible input with just a little bit of language. Two of the strategies that I use for this song are:
- Background readings: write brief song descriptions, histories, and artist bios that are comprehensible for your students. Circle the information that they contain as you read through them as a class.
- Multiple versions: Have the students listen to various versions of the same song. Not only do they get many repetitions of the song itself, therefore learning it better, but you are also able to discuss it better as you compare versions.
Click here to download the FREE song activity file that I created to teach this song. It contains links to two of the versions of the song that I use; however, the BEST (read: most fun) version of the song is MIA on the Internet. I use Justo Lamas’ ‘Cielito Lindo’ from his ‘En Vivo’ CD. All of the links to the CD seem to be broken. I’ve contacted his people to see if I can get a good link for y’all. In the meantime, you can use the YouTube video below. Stay tuned!