La Manie Musicale de mars!

Confession time: I LOVE music. Always have. When I was a teenager, you could always find me singing or listening to it, and instead of doodling, I wrote lyrics in the margins of my notes.

Second confession: I have barely used music in my classroom this year. Last year, due to a whole host of factors, listening to music became such a chore that this year I just removed it. Now, almost through 3rd quarter, I am really sad that I haven’t incorporated it. I’ve seen SO MUCH great stuff out there for a Spanish version of Music Madness and decided to run with it!

The setup:

Since I haven’t used music in my class, I didn’t have students vote on their favorite songs to use; I picked them all myself. Since they don’t have the exposure, I limited it to one (of my favorites, I’ll admit) song per artist/group.

I used this great bulletin board template that I got from Andrea; I just changed the Spanish titles to French and changed the title/champion pages a little. Me, being me, I couldn’t just print them in white (though no offense if that’s what you do!) – we have an amazing variety of colors in our copy room, and since my third favorite color is “rainbow,” I went with it. Here’s the bulletin board at one of my middle schools.


Note: I did group my preliminary round in groups that are similar. For example, if it’s a slow song with a female artist, I matched it with another song with a female lead that was slow. There are a few that are male vs. female. I know this “stacking” doesn’t give me an accurate picture of preferences, but I wanted my students to have exposure to different styles. In one round, I think students will dislike both songs, but have to pick their favorite of the two … I’m “mania”cal, I know.

The execution:

Since I teach at three different schools, I decided that I’m going to do two potentially “different” brackets – I’m going to make the high school votes into one bracket there, and use votes from my two middle schools on the bracket you see above. I realize that this may be hectic for me, but my HS and MS classes have very different interests and personalities. I’ll let you know how that goes.

I plan on having students watch two videos (I picked all acceptable videos for my purposes; but if you use my songs, please watch through them to make sure they’re appropriate for you and your school!) per day for the first 8 days of the bracket, and voting via Google Forms. Since I’m doing two different brackets, it should be easy enough to “make a copy” of one voting form for my other schools!

Then, for the second “round,” I plan on doing one song/video per day with an activity (cloze, arrange the chorus in order, etc.) They’ll vote on the second day, after getting to know each song a little better through these activities!

For the third “round,” I’m going to have students compare the songs to each other to explain their preference/vote. We just learned how to compare in my French 1 classes, and I think comparing the songs will be a great extension to this activity. I plan on using something similar to “Be the judge” by El Mundo de Birch (author unknown?) which you can find in the middle of the page here.

For this to work, I will have to start this Friday, February 26th. It will end by crowning the champion the day we leave for break, Wednesday March 23th. I don’t currently have a snow day plan. :]

The aftermath:

I plan to do something cool with the Champion, but I haven’t decided what that is yet. Maybe for the week or so after spring break, we can use it as song kind of brain break? I’d love your suggestions here! :]


If you’re looking for French resources, here’s my variation of Andrea’s bulletin board bracket. Feel free to use my songs, pick different ones, or change up the pairs in the first round!

If you wanted to see what I’m using, here’s the song list.
Here’s my playlist of the songs and their videos on YouTube. (However, “non non non” is no longer available in the US; I’m looking for a fix for this!)

If you’re looking to edit, I used this pages file. I used the font “KG Drops of Jupiter,” which you can download here. I can’t recommend KG fonts enough!
If you don’t have pages, here’s the word document. The formatting might be off, and you’ll have to change the font.
If you want to use the same songs as me, here’s the PDF.

I’d love to see how your bracket turns out! Feel free to share on twitter or in the comments!


Let students create the input!

Wow. It’s been about a month since I blogged about my rough start, and first I just want to thank everyone who commented, tweeted, or otherwise supported me after I spilled out my thoughts and soul on the internet. I would have burnt out long before now if not for your love and support, #langchat.

Things those of you who read that post might be excited to learn:

  • THE RESA IS OVER. (Unless I don’t pass, but shhhhhhh!)
  • Setting a date for only French in my classes; eep!
  • Finding a sage/CI balance, at least for now
  • I’m trying my hand at “Music madness” this March. More to come on that later.


What I’m REALLY posting about today is my new-ish found revelation to use the things that students create as extra input for my classes. Duh!

Earlier this year during a chat, John (@CadenaSensei on twitter – follow him!!) and I talked about how this year, we want to get extra repetition of vocab/structures by using what our students create as secondary input. That way, I don’t have to create EVERY SINGLE THING that my students are doing, they get to see their work as an example used in class, and I can stretch the input of those structures without coming up with a million examples myself.

What do I mean by this, you ask? Well, right now in my level 1 class, we’re doing short comparisons. I’m following the Creative Language Class unit on homes (edited for French, of course) and the last I can we have is “I can compare homes around the world.”

For starters, we’ve been comparing two specific homes (House A is bigger than house B.) I asked students a lot of yes/no, true/false, and then “which is” questions about this topic: Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 10.29.11 AM

We soon move to making comparisons about houses from different countries, too, for example:

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 10.29.24 AM

After students get the necessary input on the “X est plus ____ que Y” structure, then I start letting them make comparisons on their own. One activity we did once I thought students felt comfortable was to find their own pictures and compare any two homes they wanted. They had to write two true and one false comparison about the two homes. I was able to wander and give individual feedback while students used their devices for this activity.

The best part of this activity? I have about 300 sentences with visuals that compare two houses and I didn’t make them myself.

For my next trick, I selected some of the examples that were submitted to me via Schoology, cleaned them up, checked for errors, and enlarged the text. Now, I have a TON of examples to use in class this week.

For starters, I’m going to have students read over these 9 student-created examples and highlight the true/false statements. I’m excited about this repetition of input, having students not only read each statement, but pick the one that doesn’t fit, and to showcase student examples. I specifically chose a lot of students who might not have their work used as an exemplar in other classes. Here’s the version I hope to have students highlight this week: Comparison quiz 9

How do you use students’ work to inspire new input? I’d love to hear about it :]