Following my recommendation regarding having a fun and “soft” opening week, here I recommend a song based activity that will bring energy, motivation and engagement to your students.
Working with a song on the second day of school
1- Choose a song related to a topic you will be studying this year, or related to a topic studied last year. The idea is to maximize the use of the song instead of working with random ones. NEVER CHOOSE A SONG BY ITS GRAMMAR FOCUS! It’s boring and doesn’t lead to acquisition.
2- Search for the right song googling in the target language : “song about family”.
3- Browse at least three but no more than four and male a decision based on:
a- How catchy is the rhythm
b- How appealing the video is
c- It´s appropriate to YOUR students and school
d- Has lots of repetition
4- For lesson planning:
a- Become familiar with the song
b- Make sure you watch the entire video
c- Make sure you know what the song is saying
d- Take notes of the story, the characters of the song.
e- Prepare a chat with your students based on the song.
5- During asynchronous or synchronous instruction:
a- Show the video muting the sound.
b- Listen with the intent to recognize: Ask students to write random words they recognize.
If working with novice low students, you will introduce a set of no more than 10 words of the studied topic and that you know that at least 5 of them are said in the video. Example: Family, dad, mom, son, daughter, uncle, ant, cousin, etc. Go over pronunciation and meaning and ask students to raise their hand every time they hear one of those words in the song.
c- Small talk: See what words the students recognized and start small talk using those words and in the context of the topic. Ask a variety of questions allowing many students to participate.
If working with novice students, ask questions like this: My mom’s name is Isabel, is your mom Isabel? Start with cognates, then move to non cognates but make sure students have a visual of the word both in their native language and the target language.
d- Watch video with sound.
e- Talk about the video in the same way Movie Talk is done. Pause, ask specific questions about specific scenes.
If working with novice students ask questions like: Is this the mom or the dad?
f- Read the song in the TL for students. Make sure to read in an articulated and appropriate way. Not too fast, not too slow.
g- Working in groups or breakout rooms, students get to make an informal translation of the song´s lyrics. This means that they will translate only based on the few words they know and on what they think the song says.
h- Allow groups to share. This can be done in their native language.
i- Show your students the actual translation of the song. They compare witgh theirs.
j- Ask questions based on what they thought the song said and what the song really said. This is TL with a small talk format.
11- Keep working with the song in different ways I will be suggesting soon.
12- The idea is to maximize songs in the world language classroom. Songs are not just for listening, they can help our students gain confidence with the language and acquire the language at a faster rate.