Do I use Señor Wooly with Elementary students?

OF COURSE!!! …well kinda   …sometimes   …but sometimes not  … let me explain

I teach Kindergarten through 8th grade. This is my 11th year. One of the TOUGHEST parts of my job is jumping from one developmental stage to another and making sure my plans and materials are APPROPRIATE for each class of learners.

So what about Señor Wooly?

If you want to know which songs I use for younger grades but don’t want all the explanation then scroll down. THIS IS MY OPINION. As I will explain below there are LOTS of variables when it comes to deciding what you should or shouldn’t show your class.

But first, Señor Wooly has already included some HELPFUL TOOLS to help you make decisions for your class…

Did you know that you can search for videos by sorting them according to AGE APPROPRIATENESS?

Señor Wooly screenshot.001

So there is that…but this is a scale of his videos NOT an age recommendation. It just means OUT OF ALL THE VIDEOS this is how they would be ranked from the MOST appropriate to the LEAST appropriate.

————————————–

Did you know that if you CHANGE the view that you get LOTS more info, interesting facts AND for what ages can view it. (HINT – Make sure to hit the MORE INFO BUTTON.)Senor Wooly screenshots 2.001

Señor Wooly 3.001

So there is some information to help you to start making decisions on what to show in class. Here are some other things to think of…

The obvious…

This is the suspense/scary stuff. Will your kids be too scared of the DENTISTA? Yeah, younger kids will. In fact, the video for La Dentista starts with a message that reminds you that the video is for MIDDLE SCHOOL and UP. That is an easy one.

Amnesia and Ganga both have scenes that are in the horror movie category; sudden appearances, unusual behavior that can feel threatening etc. These are both a “no go” for my younger elementary kids but AWESOME and COMPELLING for older students.

So… maybe they aren’t scared of GUAPO.

GUAPO isn’t scary but …

Do they get the irony/sarcasm?

One thing I enjoy and look forward to in Señor Wooly’s materials is the wittiness, sarcasm, and irony.  GUAPO, for example, is about a man who believes he is incredibly handsome. He goes on to say he is surrounded by women and that he doesn’t need intelligence. He doesn’t need to read or help around the house because he is …GUAPO. The major joy and compelling part of this story is the ridiculousness of this. We discuss the irony and disillusionment of this man.

Can a 3rd grader pick up that?

I say no.

Is it scary? It is too suspenseful?

No

But the story is lost when the irony/joke is lost.

Other videos I put in this category – La confesión de Victor, Feo

Not to mention, I usually AVOID bringing up romantic relationships with kids 5th grade and under. It is just not relatable to the majority of my younger classes, and the students, who can relate, I am not excited about encouraging. This is my opinion. You may think differently.

Another one I wait on is “Las Excusas” (one of my personal favorites). My kids, 4th grade and under, don’t really connect with “my dog ate my homework” or “let’s trick the teacher” Not exactly sure why but this seems to be a more 5th grade and up thing at my school. Doesn’t mean younger students can’t understand the song or the story. My 4th grade students and down just can’t identify with it. It falls into that more angsty “me against authority” that middle schoolers do so well.

Are you watching it together as a class or allowing students access to the story?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t “teach” every Señor Wooly song. When my students get their student account (in third grade), the class can earn a “free day.” One of the options on “free day” is to watch Señor Wooly. They choose the story. They can watch the videos, play the videogame or complete nuggets. I allow access to different songs based on what grade. My 3rd grade students have limited access while my 8th graders have ALL-ACCESS.

When Dentista and GANGA came out, I showed my older classes those videos. But over the years, I have had students who LOVE these videos and some who really don’t want to watch them. So I rarely show these as a class activity. BUT students who love these stories can watch them on a free day, at home or for their homework. It is like FVR but with videos/songs.

So if you are allowing access then you can be less cautious about will EVERY STUDENT be OK with the song? Of course, I limit access to some STORIES for my younger kids because it is not about their preference but their developmental stage.

Can your students see past the bad choices of the characters?

This is one that is more of a personal preference. Let’s take “No Voy a Levantarme” A fun story of a young man who doesn’t want to go to school. My middle schoolers love it especially my boys who love hard rock. They recognize and empathize with the struggle, but also realize that the young man’s behavior is extreme and the mom’s actions are ridiculous.

I do not show this one until 5th grade. I have found that students under this age don’t quite pick up on the bad choices and can start to idolize this older kid. This song is the perfect match with angsty teenagers but younger than 5th grade kids haven’t quite hit that “me against authority” stage. It just doesn’t fit. Which brings me to the last thought…

What is your school environment?

I teach at a small, private K-8 school in a fairly small, conservative Georgia town. It is one class per grade. My students are sheltered. I don’t mean it as an insult. It is a reality that many parents seek out. It is why some parents chose our school. So there are videos that I might not allow to my young 4th graders or 5th graders that might seem like I’m being overly sensitive. I have made those decisions based on my students and my parent’s expectations. I have made those decisions because I have been burned in the past.

What songs work WELL in elementary?

With my younger students, I allow ACCESS to these songs and use them in CLASS…

Billy la Bufanda (goes well with “El rey no tiene una boca”)

Billy la Bufanda enseña los animales

El recreo ha terminado (extremely relatable)

La invitación (discussion of friendship not romantic)

Los quehaceres (use it with 4th grade – very relatable. ¡No es justo!)

No lo tengo

¿Puedo ir al baño?

La canción original

 

WHAT ABOUT YOU?? What do you use?

 

 

3 comments

  1. Hi….Thank you !! excellent analysis. Yo estoy indecisa si me suscribo o no? yo enseño en una escuela católica, de un pequeño pueblo desde k-8vo grado. Estaba pensando usarlo solo para 8vo grado. A los chicos les encanta puedo ir al baño, pero siendo honesta haya algunos videos que parecen divertidos, algunos sarcásticos y. no se si deba enseñar bajo este tipo de videos.

    Help…

    ________________________________

    • Rita, I highly recommend the subscription. Even if you feel like you can’t use all the songs. All the songs come with SO MUCH extra content and support materials. There are compelling, comprehensible and worth every penny.

  2. Great post! I have unlocked them all for 5th, left a few off for 4th, and a limited selection for 3rd, I only gave 3rd their own student accounts during Wooly week this year. I also have other choices for at home activity and I don’t show the scariest ones in class. Honestly, some kids avoid Wooly outside of school because of the fear factor or the inability to relate. So it is never their only option at home and at school we use the “less controversial” ones.

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