Vengo de Panama by los Rakas

We were beginning a unit on Panama in Spanish IV when Zachary Jones posted the Clozeline activity for Los Rakas Vengo de Panama.  I thought it would be a great opportunity to look at the cultural references in the song and the slang expressions that are unique to Panama.  I handed out the Clozeline sheet and they did the vocabulary matching section then I gave them each one of the places, foods, or people mentioned in the song.  They looked their cultural fact up and came back to class prepared to be the “expert”.  As we read through the song lyrics, the expert on each word would stand up, show a picture, and give a 2-3 sentence description of their item.  It was a great speaking assessment because everyone loved the song and was anxious to know more about Panama!  When everyone had shared their expert information, we read the lyrics in Spanish and English and then listened to the song.  I used their pictures to make this video:

 What a fun activity it turned out to be!  The music style was something that they really enjoyed and studying slang was fun for both my Spanish learners and heritage speakers!  The heritage speakers were surprised to see how different Spanish can be from one country to the next.

Author: senoracmt

I began teaching Spanish in Illinois in 1994. I have taught levels 1-4 in a small rural high school, 8th grade introductory Spanish, Biology 1, and 101 and 102 at the community college level. My Spanish classes are partnered with the community college to offer students 8 semester hours of dual credit on completion of Spanish 4. In 2011 I met Carol Gaab and Kristy Placido and have since co-authored the book "La hija del sastre" with Carol Gaab and authored the novels "La Calaca Alegre", "Bianca Nieves y los 7 toritos." "Vector," "48 horas" and "Bananas" through Fluency Matters. In 2006 I became National Board certified and I have been serving as a mentor both for candidates seeking certification in world languages other than English and a virtual mentor for candidates in all certificate areas. I completed my Masters degree in Spanish education in 2011 and did my research on the use of Understanding by Design to create meaningful cultural units for the language classroom. I am a frequent presenter on this topic, please consider me if you are interested in a workshop on backward design. In 2013 I was named the ICTFL Foreign Language teacher of the year and in 2014 I was selected as CSCTFL's teacher of the year. In November of 2014 I was lucky enough to be one of the five finalists for the ACTFL National Teacher of the Year in San Antonio, TX. What a "Cinderella" experience! You can reach me via email at senoracmt at

One thought

Leave a Reply