Starting with authentic resources is great for helping students find new vocab, ask questions about culture, and stay in the target language. I’ve also found that using authentic resources helped me plan better ways to assess learning. That’s step 3 – Authentic tasks and assessments.

Here’s another Valentine’s day example of how to start with authres. If the focus is love – what better place to start than with love songs!


I learned so much Spanish on my own listening to the radio while studying abroad in Spain. Chayanne was my favorite teacher. My Dominican friend tells me that Madonna was her reason for learning English. Our students love music, too. I don’t have to pre-teach specific vocab or stick with only one song. I want each student to listen to what motivates them. They learn by starting with what they already know and seeing what they can figure out.

It’s fun to kick off the lesson with just the lyrics (authentic resource #1). It’s like a blind audition. Most students have no idea what the artist looks like or what genre of music the songs are. I came up with a big list of my favorite Hispanic love songs and pulled pieces from the songs like the two below.

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They looked for what they knew – descriptions, phrases, and love vocab – and tried to figure out the themes and predict the genre of the songs.

Next, we added a visual to better understand the lyrics – the music video! (authentic resource #2) What do people do after listening to new music and watching music videos? They usually give their opinion of it. It might be written – in the form of a comment on social media or talking to a friend. Our next move was a written review. It gave students a chance to figure out what they thought and how to express those opinions using language that they know.

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Now students have had time to investigate the lyrics, listen to music, and generate their own opinions. This is the perfect time for an interpersonal speaking activity. Find out how your classmates rated the same song. What’s their opinion and why?

Next, it’s time for them to connect the meaning of the song to their own life. What song speaks to them? Who does it remind them of? While dedicating a song can be a little cheesy, it’s perfect for Valentine’s day! So radio shout-out/song dedication it is! Here are a few tweets about the topic (authres #3).


So now it’s their turn. Based on the songs lyrics/videos they saw earlier – Which song would they dedicate to their special someone and why?


This lesson requires a knowledge of culture (songs and lyrics), gives them a reason to communicate, and a purpose to connect the culture to their own lives. Forget the Superbowl… that’s a win!

Interested in seeing more?

Note: These lessons (and a whole lot more) are included in the “Amor en el aire” unit on

Let AuthRes Take the Lead

Step 1 Unit Planning

Step 2 Daily Planning Process

Step 3 Leading to Assessment