In our unit on “La Ropa” (clothing), Clemente’s Spanish II Non-Heritage students explored the question, “How do clothes define who you are?” Students were expected to be communicating in Spanish (written and verbal) what clothing they like, wear, buy and what it says about them as a person. For many beginning Spanish speakers, this was a terrifying task. However, through introducing karaoke in our classroom, it became a lot easier… and a lot more fun for us all.
Students were first surveyed to determine what factors contribute to the clothes they wear: price, name brand, etc. 40 % of the students surveyed stated that money was the main factor, buying whatever was on sale, 38% stated that they purchased their clothes based on the brand and 22 % said it was based on “other” factors such as their mood that day.
While learning new Spanish vocabulary and grammar, our students viewed the documentary, “The True Cost”, which explains the impact that clothing has on our economy. Students saw that some of the most popular name brands of clothing that they buy house businesses in other countries that employ people in extremely unsafe conditions and in most cases, for even more extremely low pay. After having their eyes opened to the impact clothing has on our world and where the often high costs of that clothing go, approximately 15% of our students stated they were no longer going to purchase those brands.
Students practiced listening, reading, writing and speaking in Spanish, incorporating vocabulary related to clothes, conjugation of verbs in the first person and how to utilize the verb gustar with the correct direct and indirect pronouns.
In an effort to conquer our students’ shyness, we introduced music into our classroom…and after hearing Rockalingua’s song “La Ropa” so many times, our students decided to take on the challenge of Karaoke.
Karaoke in our classroom has allowed all students at all levels to read along in Spanish, while hearing the lyrics to music. It has provided the foundation for our students of all language, and comfort levels to then take them to the next step of singing along…to then speaking in Spanish.
Learning Spanish isn’t a point that you arrive at, it’s a very unpredictable process. Hopefully in our classroom, the process is now more consistent and fun with incorporating karaoke as a way to develop verbal fluency.