One of my favorite ways to provide authentic listening practice for my students is through hit television shows in the target language. In my classroom, I have a few different shows and movies that I like to show for students throughout the year. Not only do the movies and television programs provide invaluable listening practice in an authentic way, but also the programs introduce students to various aspects of Latino culture that would be difficult to replicate through another technique.
My current favorite program to show students is the hit telenovela Celia. This television program depicts the life of the queen of salsa, Celia Cruz, beginning from her time in Cuba as a young woman developing her talent for singing. Celia broke barriers and overcame stereotypes in a genre that at the time was dominated by men. As a groundbreaking heroine and incredible force in the music world, Celia is an incredibly strong woman and musical superstar that you do not want to miss introducing your students to! (*As always, please preview each episode before you show it in class. There may be a scene or two that you will want to skip!)
Celia highlights the beginnings of Cruz’s passion for singing in Cuba in the late fifties and her recognition as the most decisive singer of La Sonora Matancera. After leaving Cuba with her husband Pedro Knight, the series showcases how her career conquered markets in many languages, as she became one of the most recognized Salsa singers of all time. After taking a group of students from our high school to Cuba two years ago, this program has also served as a wonderful to introduce my current students Cuban culture and accents, in the hope that they will have the chance to experience life in Cuba for themselves in the future.
All eighty episodes of the series Celia can be found free of charge online, streaming through www.telemundo.com, as well as Netflix. The first episode is also available through youtube at this link.
I have also created two activities to help your students to analyze the television program in the target language.
If you would like to access the activities, please follow this link to my TpT resources for the first episode and the second episode of the telenovela.
If you're a Celia fanatic like I am, I bet that your students will be big fans too. My students loved learning Celia's tune La Vida es un Carnaval, and it would be a great song to consider teaching in your classroom. I have created a warm-up resource as well as a corresponding song exam to teach students this optimistic, upbeat tune. It's been one of the favorites in my classroom for the last three years, so I feel confident that you'll have success with this tune. Take a look at the resource by following this link.
Enjoy! And happy teaching!