January and February can be tough months to teach. It’s cold, the holiday fun is over, then mix in a few snow-days (or worse yet – a day you THOUGHT they would call off) to get everybody off schedule… sometimes you need something different to get their attention again!

Dance can do that… but if you’re like me, my dance skills aren’t good enough to get in front of my students and freestyle! Nope… just no.

German teacher, Candis Carey, shared this great idea at her TL music session during ACTFL 2018. She taught us about using “Just Dance” in the language classroom. It’s a video game that challenges you to follow the choreography to pop music and uses a camera to score you on how closely you match the games’ dancers. People started recording themselves playing the game with near perfect scores and put these recordings on YouTube. The YouTube version means you can’t actually get a score and there’s no camera – but it’s fun! Why is it good for a language class? Target language songs with the lyrics on the screen.

Here’s how it works:

Each person picks one player to follow in the video. Sometimes the players dance the same moves, other times they dance differently! Look at the scrolling images on the bottom of the screen for hints to help you get ready for the upcoming moves!

So, pick a video and try it out at your next department meeting or in your living room with your spouse/kid/dog. See if you don’t have a little fun AND feel more energized in just a few minutes! 

Again, huge thanks to Candis for sharing the idea and for forcing all of us teachers to actually dance during her session! We loved it and I’m sure your students will, too! 

Have you done this in class? Any tips for the rest of us?

Share your favorite target language videos to use in class below!