The Silly Effect and

I’ll admit it, I love deep thinking.  I have some units that dig deep into war, human rights, poverty, water crisis…. And at the end of it all, what did my seniors’ exit surveys say last year?  We need to lighten the mood a little… They missed the days of funny stories and silly songs.  So this year, I’m resurrecting the stuff that made them want to take upper level Spanish in the first place… the silliness.

They’re 16,17, and 18 years old.  They are still kids.  All the heavy content, all the deep discussions… they’re able but is that ALL that Spanish can be for them?  Can it not ALSO be something they really enjoy because they get to laugh and have a good time?

Our first week revolved around 3 favorites, el Banco, Qué asco, and Es una ganga.  In level 2 we have a great (and funny) song lyric full of past tense and direct object pronouns. Those fun little melodies help them get the song stuck in their heads and once it is in there, they are getting reps of the lyrics just because they can’t stop singing it themselves!  I used the song to create a class story about a boy whose pants were stolen!  We got some more direct object pronouns and past tense structures in context!

Spanish 3 watched Es una ganga so that we could work with a past narrative.  The video is light on lyrics but HEAVY on story building capabilities!  They did a great job telling me about the man working in the store and tomorrow we’ll be finding out a lot more about him!

Qué asco  was a targeted choice because I noticed in Spanish 3 that my now 4s were making a ton of Me gusta mistakes.  We listened for 3 days and when they wrote today, all that input that they had in the past plus that little bit of direction from the pop-up video… Oh yeah and the fact that the song is an earworm… was enough to get them using the gusta(n) construction correctly.  Plus they picked up the ever popular “no me gustas”.

If you’ve never give Wooly a try, it is  a great site.  There are songs for everyone and they lend themselves VERY well to a story-telling OR more traditional classroom because the videos provide just the visual every story-teller needs and the lyrics reinforce grammar that students are acquiring in class.

In September, keep your eyes out for the kick off of Señor Wooly’s new PRO site with some awesome upgrades!  Thanks Wooly for making music and reminding us we don’t have to kill them with “rigor”…

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","Bananas", "Sostenible", and "Papálotl" 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

  1. Carrie, Finding that balance between serious and silly is a good thing to find. And you just listened to your students to give them some of what they need and plenty of what they want!

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