Beyond the Cloze: Acquisition through Narrative

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What do you do when you introduce a new song in the classroom? The standard cloze activity can be great for stretching their listening ears, but is there a way to harvest more mileage from that ear worm of a song? I think there is!

When the video has a great story, I love to use a song to provide more input through different but related narratives! The song Sirena by Cali y el Dandee is perfect for this! The video has a wonderful story line (with only one little scene you may want to mute the screen for) and a powerful message. I can movie talk this video, tell a class story, and wrap it all in real world contexts like sign language, legends, and coding as a second language.

In this one week unit, I dug deeper into the song through the story in the video. I do this a lot! What better way to increase proficiency than with story? We are so innately programmed to respond to story.

Our narrative included input through movie talk and a class story but also included output based narrative as we retold the stories, read about and discussed examples of coding as a second language, and as we retold famous mermaid stories we knew. The unit was alive with story and that made it alive with participation and engagement. Learning feels good when it feels easy.

Other favorite story based song units of mine include: To’ My Love by Bomba Estéreo, and Educarse para superarse with the song Aprender a quererte by Morat.


If you are looking for great ideas, inspiration, and the work done for you, here are some great places to look for resources that turn authentic songs into comprehensible input!

Martina Bex’ store is The Comprehensible Classroom. Be sure to also like her on facebook and follow her amazing blog! Martina is “striking a chord” with the song Simples corazones by Fonseca. Her resource introduces students to the city of Bogotá through the landmarks shown in the music video.


Carrie Toth’s store is Somewhere to Share. Stop by and see her on facebook as well! Carrie is featuring the song Sirena by Cali y el Dandee. In this unit, Carrie goes beyond the cloze, providing acquisition through narrative with Movie Talk, and a class story. Students make connections to real-world issues AND enjoy this amazing song! Carrie blogs at Somewhere to Share. Carrie also shares resources through her facebook page!


Nelly Hughes shares resources at Comprendes Méndez SpanishShop as well as on Facebook. Nelly is proud to share the song Cuando nadie me ve by Morat. In this resource, she shares not only the song but also how she teaches Ollantay’s Peruvian love story as well as information about Ollantaytambo, Perú. Her resource features Picture Talk and a couple of CI games. Students form lasting connections between content and music!


Kristy Placido, of Placido Language Resources, shares her ideas on exploiting the culture in a song as a “hook” in this blog post. She demonstrates the power of connecting students’ own interests via music and culture in a music video through the Song of the Week resource Yo voy ganao by Sistema Solar. Kristy also shares ideas and resources through her facebook page!


Arianne Dowd shares her resources at her store CCC Spanish Store and is also an active blogger at Discovering CI. One of her favorite ways to connect students to music is through stories. She created this resource for the song Robarte un beso by Carlos Vives and Sebastián Yatra which features an embedded reading to help make the story comprehensible for students at all levels!


Kara Jacobs’ store is Comprehensifying and Extending Authentic Resources and she also blogs actively at CEAuthres. Her featured song is La cintura by Álvaro Soler. Kara’s specialty is creating great class stories leading up to a main story that is based on the song or music video.


Would you like to enter to WIN one of NINE TPT gift cards?


THREE steps to enter!


1) LIKE on Facebook or RETWEET a Strike a Chord post (at least one; or like/retweet them all!)!


2) FOLLOW these stores on TpT: Comprendes Méndez SpanishShop, Placido Language Resources, Somewhere to Share, Comprehensifying and Extending Authentic Resources, CCC Spanish Store, and The Comprehensible Classroom


3) COMMENT one way that you use music as a source for Comprehensible Input on a Facebook post of at least one of those stores.




Complete the form to be entered in the giveaway!  


2-$50 TpT gift cards

2-$25 TpT gift cards

5-$10 TpT gift cards

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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

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