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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Corridos

by Celestino Fernandez, et al.
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4.75 stars
Content Quality: 4.75 stars
Effectiveness: 5 stars
Ease of Use: 4.75 stars
Reviewed: Jul 28, 2008 by World Languages Editorial Board
Overview: Corridos provides information and engaging exercises about key figures of the Mexican Revolution.This site allows users to listen to audio clips of traditional and modern Mexican corridos and read the lyrics that accompany them in English and Spanish. There are two lesson plans that are linked to the unit which are designed for students to examine the historical and cultural significance of the corridos and analyze the grammatical structure of the lyrics. The developer has utilized the content to inspire students to write their own lyrics and to compose narratives to their own personal corrido. The corridos stories are historical, fictional, and satirical and they narrate tragedies, love affairs, political events, labor migration and more. The music for the corridos on this site varies form historical to modern. The importances of the Mexican ballads have a great cultural significance. The stories told in the corridos use common everyday language in Spanish and English. Eight examples of corridos music are available on the front page through audio clips. Many links are provided to additional resources and examples of lesson plans. Students featured on this web resource were winners of the University of Arizona Poetry Center “Bilingual Corrido Contest” for High School students.
Learning Goals: The purpose is to expose students to the traditional Mexican ballad or corrido and to analyze its grammatical structure. Students learn, write, and understand the cultural significance of Mexican ballads composed in the common language used by the Mexican masses. Students learn to appreciate the corrido music, its content and they will learn to write their own lyrics. Heritage learners will benefit form learning about their historical past.
Target Student Population: This site is intended for grades 9-12 but the lessons that are linked to the main website are targeted for grades 11-12. However, the corridos and the lessons could be used for beginner or intermediate college level classes. It is appropriate for Spanish-language students, culture classes and those studying Spanish poetry and the history of music.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: No prerequisites are needed since the site is written in both languages. The site can be used for any class. However, the level of language needed is intermediate to high since students need good writing skills to compose lyrics in Spanish.
Type of Material: Historical and modern “Corridos,” Mexican ballads and reference material.
Recommended Uses: The material is ideal for language educators and students in grades 9-16 in culture classes, Spanish poetry, Mexican revolutionary history, and intermediate to advance Spanish. The author provides links and examples to student activities for analysis of the corridos from the language arts perspective to illustrate their cultural significance in the Mexican culture.
Technical Requirements: basic computer knowledge, Flash 7, web access and headphones

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: The modules are well written and they provide educators and students with information on how to write a corrido. There is a song for everyone, and tips on composing simple corridos. Through the corridos students practice their speaking, reading and listening skills by following along to Spanish lyrics while listening to the music. The lesson plans are for grades 9-12 but the modules can be adopted for college level students. The site lends itself for use in both beginner and intermediate classes. Also, due to the English translation of the lyrics, the website is not limited to Spanish classes; it could be integrated into culture and history classes. The module even provides students with simple guitar chords and a link to the web site of Ted Ramirez a real life troubadour from Tucson, Arizona.
Concerns: The main web page in which the corridos appear could be improved by adding a brief introduction or definition of a corrido so that anyone who finds the website may understand instantly what he or she is listening to and/or reading.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: Teachers will be able to use this website immediately due to the easily accessible lesson plans that are linked to the main page and the handouts which guide students to understand the historical and cultural significance of the corridos or the grammatical structure of the songs. Students will more than likely enjoy listening to authentic corridos rather than merely reading about them in a textbook. Through handouts that are provided by the website in the lesson plans, the students will incorporate the concept of “spreading the news” by word of mouth and demonstrate the grammatical concepts taught in the lesson by creating their own corrido. Educators can use the corridos to illustrate the revolutionary struggles in Mexican history. There is consistency with each of the topics presented and it can lead to discussions on the content of the corridos. The explanations are easy to follow and educators can use the tips on how to write a corrido and to practice reading, writing and listening skills. All the material is presented in order with links to other well developed teaching resources.
Concerns:

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: The web site is easy to navigate for educators and students. The top bar has good information to lessons, language standards, web links to PBS, the Smithsonian, and the How-to’s to other educational resources. The graphic design of the website is visually appealing and inviting.
Concerns: One suggestion for improvement would be to place the English and Spanish lyrics side by side. Also, the corrido that appears second from the right is not consistent with the rest of the songs in that it only offers the English version of the lyrics and not the Spanish.

Other Issues and Comments: This is a very rich site and the links lead to many educational resources one needs to take the time to explore in order for the site to get its maximum use.