Season 4, Episode 1: Music with Allison Wienhold

Welcome to Inspired Proficiency and thank you for joining us for the first episode of season 4! As always, please tweet any takeaways and inspirations to #inspiredproficiency.

Download the episode here or listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts here or find it wherever you listen to podcasts! 

Ashley is excited to be back and had a restful summer after dealing with some burnout at the end of last year. Now that the school year has started, she is energized and ready for the school year. Ashley is always working on work-life balance and hopes her listeners focus on that, too. Share out your ideas for work-life balance via Twitter with #inspiredproficiency. Also, think about checking out her interview with Christopher Morehead on avoiding teacher burnout and finding a positive work-life balance. It’s episode three of season one and here is a link.

Ashley always loves hearing from listeners about what you like about the podcast and what it has given to you. Ashley thanks all her listeners and those who have shared it with other teachers! Please continue to share your ideas via Twitter and keep telling her about it and sharing it with other teachers.

This season the energetic Sarah Breckley will be sharing a game idea on every podcast so tune in for our new game segment.

Shoutout AND thank you to Joshua Cabral at World Language Classroom. Through the support of our sponsors and supporters Ashley can hire Emily Loughlin to do the show notes, Narrative Audio to do the editing, and Sarah Breckley to research and share game ideas. It also makes the podcast completely free to listeners and allow Ashley to continue to advance and grow the podcast by attending conferences such as ACTFL in November.


Awienhold1Allison Wienhold, also known as Mis Clases Locas on social media, is our first guest on season four. Allison is going to talk to us today about using music in the classroom. She visited the podcast before on the Deskless Classroom Panel (which was part of the avoiding teacher burnout episode) and we are so excited to have her back to talk about music!

Allison is a department of 1 in a small town in Iowa. She has been teaching for eight years to levels 1-4. She loves being a wife and a mother to two little boys. Allison is always sharing tips and tricks for teachers to save time but she also keeps it real for her followers with #highlightREAL to make sure other teachers know not everyday is perfect.

Why should we use music?

  • Excitement and engagement
  • Hook them to want to be there in the classroom community
  • Lighten the mood

Have you always used music?

  • Something that has lasted her full career
  • Music fits into everything that you’re doing whether it be with or without a textbook or studying geography, culture, or just encouraging language use outside of the classroom

Allison and Ashley both teach Spanish but they want to always be helping and supporting all language teachers. If you have any playlists or music ideas to share, please send them to so we can reach out to listeners teaching all languages.

Musical Days like Wednesdays and Fridays (miércoles de música) (baile viernes)

  • Used a class starter during passing time
  • Play the video if appropriate
  • Song playing while students enter the class
  • Maybe they listen for a certain word or watch for a certain thing from the video
  • Activates the lesson for the day OR becomes the whole lesson for the day
  • Could be used to break up routine, especially on a block, play in the middle to break up activities
  • Use the same song for many levels and vary your activities and what each level is using the song for
    • Level 1- just focus on a high frequency word
    • Higher levels- focus on lyrics or grammar point
    • Bonds all class levels for using the same material
    • Saves time for planning
  • Dancing videos
    • Great way to engage kids
    • Some classes love and some classes don’t
    • Gets kids excited about class, especially if it’s on a specific day and part of the routine
    • Don’t force it for kids who don’t want to, just hope eventually they’ll want to

Brain Breaks

  • Song
  • Dance
  • Repetitions of high frequency target structure and students do something when they hear it
    • Move
    • Jump
    • High five
    • Run across the room
    • Clap 
  • Passing a ball to the music and stopping
  • Freeze dance 
  • Time fillers
    • That one class that finishes everything early, let them request songs to use class time for more input

Song as a Lesson

  • Kara Jacobs, per Allison, is the goddess of using music to tell stories and make into lessons within the classroom
    • She was on an earlier podcast episode 13 of season 1
    • Song of the week
  • Use the video
  • Make it a whole unit
  • Make it a one day lesson
  • Focus on the chorus or the whole story
  • Order the words
  • Practice listening comprehension


  • March Madness
  • Hispanic Heritage Month
    • There seem to be about as many school days as there are Spanish speaking countries.
    • She uses a song from each country.
      • Nationalities
      • Listen for accents
      • Videos from diverse places
      • Enriching Hispanic Heritage Month
      • Usually a mix of new songs and classic songs
      • Didn’t start as a bracket so you don’t have to do it as a bracket if you don’t want to
      • Doesn’t matter what language you teach, you can do this for any language whenever if they don’t have their own month
  • Getting ideas Allison chose her favorites the first time
    • She also uses social media to crowd source other people’s favorites and current popular songs

Movie Talks

  • Created by Dr. Ashley Hastings
  • Describing something BUT using comprehensible language
  • Some people pause videos
  • Some people take screenshots of videos (leaves the surprise that it’s a video at the end)
  • Using this video to get as much culture and language as you can out of them
  • The song may have really advanced language so you bring it DOWN to the level of your students
  • Can be open ended and can lead to great discussion and discovery of new words
  • You can also target specific structures


Playlist Inspiration

  • YouTube Playlists offer suggestions for similar songs
  • Follow people’s channels on YouTube
  • Look on social media for other teachers’ ideas
  • French teacher music exchange Facebook group
  • See if the kids have any suggestions or likes that you can engage them with


Game Segment with Sarah Breckley:

Sarah Breckley teaches high school Spanish in Wisconsin and likes to share ideas. She will be sharing games and ideas for easy to implement activities in the classroom. Ashley considers it the dessert of each episode.


Sly Dog/ Perro Astuto

  • From best party
  • Students try to force a secret phrase into classroom interaction.
  • Deliver it to students however you think is best.
  • They can be new sentences or old sentences.
    • From special person interviews
    • Newspaper articles you’ve read in class
    • Modify rejoinders or phrases you use everyday 
  • All students get different ones.
  • It’s a little bit off from a normal sentence but relates to class in some way.
  • You could do this certain classes OR one phrase for a week.
  • To win, kids need to say the phrases in context.
    • At least three people need to hear the sentence.
    • If nobody notices then the student needs to let the class know that they said their sly dog sentence but they need to wait a few minutes and then they get a point or whatever you want to do in your room.
    • When other students notice the weird sentence, you call that student the Sly Dog and you get a point for noticing your classmate being a Sly Dog.
  • If you don’t want to prep the phrases, the kids can prep them for other classes and think of phrases.
  • Tag @sarahbreckley and @profeashley and #inspiredproficiency if you have success with this game!

Resources and links mentioned on the show:

  • Emily Loughlin @laprofepina on Twitter and Instagram
  • Narrative Audio
  • Episode on teacher work life balance and Allison’s deskless panel interview
  • Allison’s YouTube Channel with playlists for Spanish and French
  • Kara Jacobs Comprehensifying and Extendifying Authentic Resources
  • Episode with Kara Jacobs
  • Allison’s Teachers Pay Teachers Store with March Madness Brackets and Hispanic Heritage Month Brackets
  • Article by Dr. Ashley Hastings on the origins of Movie Talk
  • Game ideas 


Allison Wienhold @misclaseslocas on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and TPT

Sarah Breckley 

Season sponsorship brought to you by:

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Episode sponsors:


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