Because it is sometimes difficult to pique students' curiosity and create excitement about a given topic, lessons need to be very interactive and engaging. Music is an excellent way to reach others, regardless of the language. Music can also provide opportunities to learn vocabulary and grammar.
I have designed this unit to use with my seventh- and eighth-grade classes (Spanish I). While the language focus is rather simple (present tense, general vocabulary), this unit may be adjusted to suit different students' needs. My students love music, and I know they will be excited to discover the connections between different cultures and languages through this medium.
Latinos now comprise the largest minority population in the United States. The music of the U.S. has not remained unaffected by the diversity of the American population, and has in many cases been irreversibly changed by it. I plan to integrate both Latino and Latino-influenced music into this unit in order to demonstrate the power of language to my students, and to relate the history and diversity of the Spanish-speaking world to them. My students will have a view of Latinos that is relevant, and will help them seek out comparisons and connections between other peoples and themselves.
(Recommended for Spanish, grades 7-12.)