Bailando by Enrique Iglesias has been the big Spanish-language hit on the recent charts. My students begged me to buy it and I read the lyrics and originally determined that it was not appropriate for the classroom. But, upon further thought, I changed my mind. Ultimately I decided that: 1) There probably wasn't a teen on the planet who hadn't already heard the song a hundred times already and 2) The mention of beer and tequila was no more of an endorsement than all the commercials my students regularly see when watching sporting events on television.
I have an adult class of beginners (novice low) in a local community college on Thursday nights, so I decided to use the song to make an activity for them on the topic of cognates. This activity is easy and it highlights a lot of cognates in the language, making the point that there is already a lot of Spanish that my students know before they even begin to study. (Even the wrong answer choices are cognates, so it will give you plenty of examples to work with.) You can download it here.
Is the activity appropriate for middle or high school students? Well, I deleted the words "cerveza" and "tequila" in the song; that helps. If you play it, there is likely to be someone in the room who either notices the words or knows the song well enough in English to point it out. And, I am not unaware of the fact (ironic though it is) that deleting something draws more attention to it than just leaving it alone in the first place. But, for better or for worse, there is nothing on the paper about alcohol.
One might argue that there is some sexually suggestive language in the song. Yes, and the counter argument would be that is only one interpretation of the lyrics and furthermore the song is in a language that the students do not grasp well enough for such things to come through.
Would I use this activity with my high school students? If I talked to my principal first, yes. I would lay out some ground rules and express my expectations to the students before we began the activity. (The same talk I give them when we have to deal with poner in the preterite.) Would I use this activity with middle school students? No, I would not.
Still . . . proceed with caution. No song, no activity, no lesson is worth your professional integrity. So, if you feel this song and this activity is not appropriate for your class and your students; do not use it.
All of that said, I love the song. I think it is very singable and danceable, and it has a tune that won't get out of your head. I love the repetitive "contigo" parts especially.
Have a great Friday and an even greater weekend, amigos.