March Music Madness 2017

As I mentioned last year, March is one of my favorite times of the year to be a language teacher. I love using music in my classroom. One of my students’ favorite things (and something that always gets cited highly for how they feel they learn the most) is our song of the week. Each Monday, we look closely at a new song, talk about what it means, etc. Often, this leads into excellent cultural comparison discussions, and although I sometimes lament the amount of English we spend doing this, ultimately I think it’s worth it.

However, one of my big struggles with using music in class is finding songs that kids will like. That is, after all, my number one priority when choosing music. Although I tend to like most of the songs they like, they simply do not love some of my very favorites. Many teachers blog their favorite songs from time to time, but you can’t beat March Madness time for dumps of many songs that students like that I might completely miss otherwise.

Every teacher (who does it) chooses songs differently, I think. Some like to pick all new songs so that they can expose their students to even more music. Some do a combination of student-chosen and teacher picks. Personally, I just let the kids choose. As I see it, a song that they have never heard before, even if it’s awesome, is unlikely to win over their favorite song from November, and they get so excited about voting songs into the bracket and following along with their favorite songs that I just can’t imagine taking that away from them by choosing all new music.

So I simply let kids vote. As a refresher of songs we have studied, I put together a compilation video for each level – just the chorus of each song of the week in order so far. They loved watching the video zip through the songs starting with the first song from last year (for my 2s and 3s) and going all the way up through our song from last week. Despite my rudimentary video editing skills (to put it kindly), every class asked me to link to my video on Google Classroom. Seriously, if there was any doubt that music motivates, it’s gone now. My original plan was to have kids vote for their two favorite songs (they don’t have to have been songs of the week, but these are always the most popular choices), but my 2s and 3s said that that was impossible, so Spanish 1 voted for 2 songs and 2 and 3 got to choose three songs each.

Like last year, my intention was to choose the top 16 songs. Last year a 5-way tie for 16th made our bracket end up at 20 songs, and this year I expanded again simply because I wanted more variety of artists. Next year I might limit the bracket to one song per artist, but I might face a revolt if they only get to choose one Chino y Nacho song.

Okay, you’ve stuck with me this far, so here we go. The top 20 songs in Spanish class this year, from most votes to least (of the ones that made the cut):

  1. Sofía by Álvaro Soler
  2. Vivir mi vida by Marc Anthony
  3. El perdón by Nicky Jam & Enrique Iglesias
  4. Andas en mi cabeza by Chino y Nacho & Daddy Yankee
  5. Darte un beso by Prince Royce
  6. El mismo sol by Álvaro Soler
  7. La gozadera by Marc Anthony & Gente de Zona
  8. Me voy enamorando by Chino y Nacho
  9. Tu angelito by Chino y Nacho
  10. Somos sur by Ana Tijoux
  11. Sola by Becky G
  12. Soy yo by Bomba Estéreo
  13. La bicicleta by Shakira & Carlos Vives
  14. Paraíso by DVICIO
  15. Lluvia cae by Enrique Iglesias
  16. Tengo tu love by Sie7e
  17. Niña bonita by Chino y Nacho
  18. Duele el corazón by Enrique Iglesias
  19. Madre tierra by Chayanne
  20. Me equivoqué by CD9

There you have it! We will start out next week by digging a little deeper into the songs and our opinions, and we will vote each day to see who advances. I’ll be sure to share the results when they are in!

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