Students practice reading and writing a foreign language by transcribing lyrics and creating a cloze activity for their classmates to complete. They also have opportunities to speak and listen to the language as their classmates “perform” the songs. And they learn about the culture of the country as they research the music and artist.
cloze, lip sync, karaoke, lyrics, culture, artista, music, theater, perform, foreign language, pantomime
Some useful Internet resources include:
In this lesson, students will work individually, or in pairs or groups, to select music in the target language; to transcribe the language by creating a cloze activity that will be shared with their peers; and by interpreting the song for the class. The teacher might model the activity so students have a clear picture of what is expected of them.
Assign students to choose (or the teacher might offer a selection of possibilities) a song in the foreign language they are studying. Students are to listen to the song and transcribe the lyrics, or they might find the lyrics online and verify them by listening.
For example, if you teach Spanish, a student might choose a song by Pimpinela. Their songs work very well for lip-syncing. Lyrics to their songs can be found here.
Students will use the lyrics to create a cloze activity. They should choose key words that are clearly audible on the soundtrack and eliminate those words from the lyrics, replacing them with a _________ blank line. (See a sample cloze activity.) You might also ask students to illustrate their cloze activity pages to help increase comprehension of the lyrics by their classmates. In addition, you might ask students to focus their cloze exercises on new vocabulary (with a Word Box provided on the page), or you might choose to have them target a skill they have been working on in class, for example, verb tense, nouns, or adjective agreement in gender and number.
When completed, students will turn in to the teacher two documents -- a sheet with the complete lyrics to the song and the cloze activity that was created. The teacher will edit the cloze activities before making copies for the class to use as they listen to the song.
While students are waiting for the teacher to edit their activities, they will be working at home or in class on developing the presentation of their songs. They can plan to lips-sync the song, or they can actually sing the lyrics along with the music. They might use song sheets as they perform, or you might ask them to memorize the lyrics in order to expand their vocabularies. In performing a song, students should be encouraged to enhance their musical presentation by bringing in props and accessories relevant to the lyrics. They should plan for all parts of the song; when there is a musical interlude without lyrics, for example, students should fill it with interpretive dance moves or acting that engages the audience and relates to what is being described in the song. The melodrama is a favorite aspect of this activity for all participants; the more exaggerated it is, the more the audience understands what is happening in the song.
When it comes time for the classroom performances, the audience -- the rest of the class -- will watch and listen in order to begin to understand the theme of the song as the performer(s) lip-sync or sing, and act out, the lyrics. Students might perform their songs twice.
After the two presentations, the performers will present some facts about the musical artists and/or the country of origin of the music. If the song is of a specific genre (for example, Argentine tango or Mexican mariachi), then the genre could be described in terms of instrumentalization or history.
This project is fun to watch and complete, and the acquisition of vocabulary and cultural information is immediate and unforgettable.
Assessment may be based on the following:
Written products (Cloze and Lyrics)
Performance (Lip-Sync/Karaoke Presentation)
This lesson was conceived because I was bored with the traditional teacher-created cloze activities that go along with music presented in the foreign language classroom. Students were very creative with their illustrations, and their performances were especially entertaining.
Tina Matic, Oxford Academy in Cypress, California
Copyright © Education World