I bought a subscription to Senor Wooly (James Wooldridge, senorwooly.com) in October and it has proven to be money well spent as far as acquisition in my classroom.  I am teaching Spanish 1 and 2 this year, after years spent teaching Spanish 3, 4 & AP so every day is an adventure.  I am experimenting with ways to engage these squirrelly 9th graders after so many years teaching their self-controlled elder siblings.  Since fall I have used the Senor Wooly videos as a lure to get kids to class well before the bell. First semester I showed the videos only during passing period so students had to arrive early to see them.  Kids RAN to get to class.

I had no idea just how much they had been picking up until last week.  I have a student teacher this semester and she has been learning how to get kids to class on time with consistent consequences before adding the lure of the videos. Last week we added the Senor Wooly carrot.  Students had been asking for them, but we had held off till last week, so they had not heard or seen ANY of the videos since the middle of December.  The retention is amazing.  A large percentage of the students know ALL of the lyrics to EVERY song we have played so far–including the two Chinese exchange students that did not know the words “taco” and “uno” the first days of class.  On Friday, these two girls came to my classroom and sang almost all of the words to “Soy Guapo”, “La Confesion de Victor”, “Billy la Bufanda” and “La Dentista” to us in delightful Spanish.  Other students sing along with the videos as they are played before class and they sing the songs in the hallways during the day.

Students even recognize snippets of song lyrics out of the immediate context of the videos.  My student teacher was gone observing the amazing Michael Miller in Colorado Springs on Friday and I gave a different excuse for her absence to each class–excuses that were based on the Senor Wooly song “Las Excusas”.  In first hour I said that she had the flu and went to the doctor.  In third hour, that she vomited.  In fourth hour, that her car exploded.  In fifth hour, that it was against her religion to work on Fridays.  In sixth hour, that her cat died.  But by seventh hour, the game had been discovered–students had been comparing stories and they had figured out that I had been giving segments of the chorus of the song as excuses for her disappearance.  This was mainly Spanish I kids checking with one another and comparing the admittedly outlandish excuses all day long until they had pieced together the lyrics!  I had no idea that they knew so much, and all thanks to the videos.

Gracias, Senor Wooly!

(I am not affiliated with James Wooldridge except as a raving fan.)