Top 10 Chart

As we had been marching through some novels with all of my classes I decided to give them a break and do a straight music day. Normally I’ll roll out one song every so often and spend the day on it; if necessary I’ll pre-teach the vocab a day before, PQA it, etc. so we’re ready to roll.  Not today, though.  I realized that I hadn’t been giving my students new ideas to branch out on homework for a while, so I decided to just show them snippets of a bunch of songs: the German top ten singles chart for April.

To be honest, I love seeing that chart (on for German teachers) whenever it comes out because I always learn about a couple new bands that I had no idea about.  This month’s crop was especially exciting for me as a teacher because I realized that the chorus to about four of the songs prominently featured a bunch of words from the vocab lists we’re working on this quarter.

Gotta love working with high frequency words; they’re–you know–high frequency.

So, we just started with Number 1 and worked our way to number 10.  Yeah, I should have gone backwards to build up the suspense thing, but this particular set got progressively wierder the later you went, so that’s what I wanted to end my class on.  We worked through the chorus of every song, and then I showed snippets of each song until I either got bored or the song got really interesting.  Often the calls would ring out: “Keep going!” “Why’d you stop it?”  Heh heh heh. Mission accomplished;  I was just trying to get them hooked anyway.

As it turns out the best song of the bunch wasn’t on the list, but rather a song that came out a couple years ago from an artist on the list (Stadt by Cassandra Steen).  We played that one all the way through and were able to get  a great discussion going about how sometimes life is tough and if you want something good you have to actively build it rather than just wait for it to come (this really came out in the video).

I ended the day with a quiz having them translate a couple lines from choruses that we had really worked with that day and that had several high frequency words from our word list.  As it turns out there was a huge range in the students’ favorite songs (which was the final question on my quiz) and it was kind of nice to have a little something for everybody.

We then finished the day with a quick comparison of  how the themes featured in this top ten list (making the most of life, dealing with problems) are different than in America’s current favorites (“They’re all just about partying!”).  That discussion could have–and should have–gone longer, but I’ll have to remember that for the future.

2 responses to “Top 10 Chart

  1. Nathan is such a real teacher. I’m inspired.

    Last week I was in Indiana for two days at a great “Music in the Russian classroom,” and the leader, Laurie Iudin-Nelson, shared the website for Moscow Radio, where we could find, in Russian, all sorts of interesting lists and cognates that could hook kids from the first day. She pointed out that a bunch of them will be excited to be able to “read” such words as “topten.”

    Finding this post makes me understand how I could insert that idea into my TPRS classroom and include our (typically quarterly) song days in the mix. Add that to the weekly song and the birthday song choice, and you’ve got a lot of motivation from music.

    I’m going to go turn on my Russian i-pod.


  2. Pingback: German Popular Music « TPRS Teacher

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