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Best of 2014: #1 Baile viernes

The most popular post this year was actually only my fourth blog post ever! Baile viernes was and still is one of the only things we do in class that I did not completely take from the idea of someone else. I presented on dancing in Spanish class at IWLA this year as well. Week after week I have students literally RUNNING to class on Fridays to dance. I love hearing "this is the best part of my week," and "I love Spanish class!" I recently had another teacher tell me that they wished they taught a "fun subject" like Spanish where we can dance and watch El Internado. What I told her was any subject can be a "fun subject" if you infuse your passions, interests, and find what engages the students. My Spanish class in high school was traditional textbook, workbook, grammer driven class and I could have just continued the cycle. Is baile viernes a communicate activity? No. But, if these 3 minutes a week are why a student takes Spanish class, then I think I have done my job. 

Best of 2014

#1 Baile Viernes


My new favorite class routine is baile viernes (dance Friday). Every day we start class with a Para Empezar bell ringer, which I glad I started at the beginning of my first year teaching. I create a powerpoint in advance with a task for students to complete including any of the following: reading and answering questions about a Spanish meme, video, teaser to new topic, or review from previous day's lesson. Slowly I started implementing a certain activity for each day's bell ringer. 


Last year my students' favorite day of the week became música miércoles (music Wednesday), where they would watch the video (or lyrics video for those with inappropriate videos) of a current or classic song in Spanish. I recently started a Youtube playlist to keep class favorites organized. Here is the powerpoint of Spanish bellringers if you are interested in implementing them.

I have a lot of very active classes who started wanting to dance to the songs, so I started playing videos with choreography such as the videos below. Once it became a weekly event know as baile viernes, it was the new favorite part of the week for many. We dance right at the start of class on Friday and do a mix of Zumba, Just Dance or other choreography videos we find on Youtube. (*Note I am not a certified Zumba instructor, but do enjoy taking classes and dancing in general). Here is my baile Youtube playlist or Baile viernes powerpoint if you are interested. 

How do you get high schoolers to dance in class you ask? First and foremost as the teacher I am the example and make a fool of myself learning the dances with them. Sometimes we try a song and part way through the students decide they are over it, usually because it is too hard, so we quickly revert to one of their standby favorites, which varies by class. I did have once class who was never as into dancing, but most classes come in excited and shouting baile viernes! I have found it is a great way to get those Friday wiggles out at the beginning of class, especially on game days and before long weekends like today. 
Try it out and let me know how it goes!
- Allison 


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