Musical March Madness–AP edition, part 1

This morning has brought a welcome dose of quiet after a few particularly hectic weeks. Some plans got cancelled for this weekend, everyone is still asleep, and I’m finally able to think through & share a unit I’m working on that I think will appeal to others–an upper level version of Musical March Madness.

Though I’ve worked with versions of MMM for several years–and live in basketball country–it’s also crunch time for AP & IB classes as we prepare for our final exams.  As a result, MMM has been something that I primarily did in lower levels.  However, this year I finally connected some ideas that will make it all work AND give us a lighter topic to discuss. Our last topic was free will, the film Mar Adentro, and assisted suicide–powerful topics, but also heavy!

The primary theme for this unit is Beauty & Aesthetics with the sub theme of Music.  However, we also touch on gender, identity, multiculturalism, science & tech (use of social media & intellectual property), and advertising & marketing.

In this post, I’ll share the resources that are key players in this unit.  I’ll do a followup post soon elaborating on the student-centered pieces.

As an overview, students will:

  • listen to a podcast & complete a listening guide
  • read several pieces from Punto y Coma magazine related to music, with a special focus on Rosalía
  • discuss views and opinions about music in their home cultures and in Spanish-speaking countries
  • complete an interpretive reading assessment
  • create and present a brief presentation about a genre of music in Spanish-speaking cultures
  • campaign to advance their entry in the March Madness bracket
  • complete a choice writing assignment
  • HAVE FUN WHILE LEARNING!

Resources for the above:

The first piece is the Paco de Lucía podcast from Spanishpodcast.net with the accompanying listening guide that I created.  Find it on TPT here.

Next is the incredible magazine Punto y Coma.  Every issue of this magazine is inspiring, engaging, teaches me something I didn’t know, and has become one of my primary sources for level-appropriate materials for AP/IB.  The cover story of issue #75 is about Rosalía, and also has a piece about cultural appropriation.  Issue #73 has a good article about Música Latina. Issue #74 has a mini debate structured over what is more important in a song–the lyrics or the music?  In addition to the print magazine, many of the articles have comprehension and vocabulary exercises already included.  There are extensive audio selections in multiple accents to support the text as well.

The article about Rosalía is the one that I found the most intriguing for this unit because she is an on trend rising star, young, and represents a multilayered identity that will create good discussion.  Find out more about her here and here.

Before reading the article, we had a series of brief discussions about music and style in a speed-dating format.  We also worked with Quizlet & Gimkit on vocabulary for the article.  After reading the article, students completed an ACTFL-inspired interpretive task.  The discussion questions are available here.

The unifying piece of the unit planning puzzle came from a comment by Katie Strand Carroll in an AP group on Facebook.  She shared that students had prepared slides on various genres of music in the Spanish-speaking world.  Students presented their slides and then also selected songs as entrants into the bracket.  Then they had to argue why their particular song should advance–this was the clincher for me!  We are working on developing their argumentative skills for the essay portion of the exam and this gives us a fun way to practice those skills with less stress and pressure.  You can see the slide show I adapted from Katie here.  It includes directions for students and genres to choose.   In keeping with the March Madness theme, students drew a number out of a cup to see which draft pick they would get, then I called the numbers in order for them to select the genre that they wanted.

In an example of working smarter, not harder, I’m going to adapt a template for describing a song that  I originally got from Natalia De Laat.  I used it in level 2, but will use it again in AP because while for level 2 it’s a lifeline to building a cohesive description, for AP it’s a springboard to a more complex task of defending their song’s merits for advancement.  You can find the document here.

Finally, WriteAbout.com is one of my favorite sources for finding thought-provoking writing & discussion prompts which are often paired with beautiful photography.  Here are a few that I’m adapting for use in class for this unit; I’ll offer all three as options and ask students to respond to their favorite.

Finally, if you have made it to the end of this long post and this kind of work intrigues you, I encourage you to check out the Spanish Teacher Success Academy conference next week.  It’s amazing, top notch professional development from the comfort and convenience of your home.  I’m presenting on March 11, and it’s not too late to sign up!

STSA19 March 11 Session Bethanie Drew 1024x512.png

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