Latin Grammy Show” (November), “Premio lo nuestro” on Univision (February) or any other TL award show can be the focus of the never-ending music unit.

Most units about music and entertainment are endless! I found it difficult to narrow this in and put it all in a context. When do native speakers talk about music? Sure, everyday conversations, but I couldn’t find good samples to use as input. I found my answer one November day watching TV. During award shows! So many opinions were out there on social media. I decided to focus this unit even more on this popular music event.

I love to teach about music when awards show like the “Latin Grammy Show” (November) or “Premio lo nuestro” on Univision (February) are happening. There are lots of them in other countries. Just google it in your target language. Also there are ongoing competition shows like “The Voice” around the world, and for the younger ones- “The Voice Kids.” The fact that I taught the unit at the time these were actually happening helped to make the topic more real. Additionally, I didn’t have to be the popular music expert. The show provided that information for me.


The main culture goals:music-unit-3

Music and culture go together so well. Students went online to look at social media sites by the musicians. Lots of comprehensible input there! They learned about new genres. Some said they added music that we learned about in class to their playlists. Love that! Students actually participated in twitter conversations and voted online. My hope is to get that to be an in-person conversation with a native speaker next time.

Now the major communication goals:


Again, these were written with the purpose of being modified to different proficiency levels. I’ve done this in a level one, two and three class. With the novice students, I kept it very simple. For example, for the last presentational goal where they tell what happened, they only used a few verbs (won, nominated, said) as memorized chunks. Intermediate students were able to give more details and it sounded like a true narration of events with transitions.

And the remaining 3 C’s:


Getting the community involved is always my favorite aspects of the unit after I get through all the organizing parts. Our school had a Humanities Festival for classes to share their learning with the school and parents.

Here’s how we prepared:

  • A bachata instructor taught the students a choreographed dance to a Prince Royce song and some traditional drum rhythms
  • We researched Prince Royce, somewhat stalked him on twitter, analyzed the song lyrics, and watched his music video.
  • Several students performed the dance at the Humanities Festival for the school.
  • Some students worked with other teachers to create costumes.
    • The art teacher showed them how to sew some Caribbean-inspired costumes and makeup designs for the performers. Note: They researched, designed their vision, and then students voted for their favorite one to actually be used
  • Some worked with the culinary arts teacher to make Caribbean-inspired appetizers for the event.

There was a little something for everyone to do to make the event amazing!


Bachata Costume for Humanities Festival

This will be the last unit overview post for this series. Hopefully you’ve seen how culture can really lead a unit in these last 3 examples. Keep enjoying those summer days!

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Published on July 14, 2016