Helena S. Belío-Apaolaza, Global Languages lecturer in Spanish, describes her experiences finding ways to make online (remote) Spanish classes engaging for students, using music. And she shares the impressive student videos that were responses to class assignments (videos appear with permission of students).

For a unit on Spanish in the Caribbean in my 21G.703 Spanish III class, we used René, a personal and haunting song by the Puerto Rican artist Residente. We explored the themes introduced by the song about life in Puerto Rico, but also to consider the grammatical points we could learn from the lyrics. We also used it as an inspiration for class projects and exercises.

We used the song to work on adverbial clauses. The song has different examples to illustrate the difference between the indicative, the subjunctive, and the infinitive. As an excercise, students practiced writing adverbial clauses in a manner similar to the song.

Students were also offered an option for their final project to create a video/song about their life experiences, about their experience in class, or about any topic that was important to them. They could sing, recite or rap. Although they could use music clips from the Internet, some students created their own music using different instruments such as the piano, ukulele or guitar. Two samples of the impressive results are below.

The first video is by Alan Zhu, 21S (18/21W) (class of ’23) from Rapid City, SD. The second video is by Casey McClenathan, Course 18 (class of ’21) from Coralville, IA.

By Alan Zhu

By Casey McClenathan