How to Organize a World Language Lip Sync Night!
Here’s a quick overview of how it works. The whole department works together to create a World Language Lip Sync Night of music, dance, and entertainment in French, Spanish, German, and whatever other World Languages your school offers. (If you are a department of one, hang on, I have suggestions for you, too.)
Each junior and senior class (or just seniors if you have a huge school), picks a song, combines movement and props to go with it, and presents it on stage. Freshmen and sophomores are encouraged to attend with free homework passes. Most of them secretly want to attend anyway, but a free homework pass never hurts. The older students have a blast performing songs in the target language and the younger students love watching the older students having such a good time on stage.
Here’s How It Works
At my previous school, students went all out and created matching shirts, skirts, etc., but if you’re at a school with more limited resources, students can basically use what they have by wearing a similar color, making good use of hats, or creating paper mâché or cardboard props and signs. Nothing fancy is required – just some effort to represent the song. Some of the best simple props I’ve seen are tissue paper flowers worn in their hair, and homemade signs with keywords.
Students can choose their own music, but be sure to listen to it first to make sure it’s appropriate.
Each group prepares a paragraph describing the artist with a short biography that also explains the meaning of the song.
How to Draw a Crowd
1. Fill out evaluation forms without giving any feedback to the audience.
2. Hold up cards with numbers 1-10.
3. Provide funny commentary after each act American Idol-style.
If you do this, be sure to keep it all as positive as possible since parents will be watching. Be aware that if you choose to allow the judges to provide feedback, this will add a lot of additional time to the show. You may want to consider having silent judging if you have more than 10-12 acts.
Have the crowd vote. Pass out small, colored sheets of paper and have the crowd vote. Collect the ballots at the end and count them up to determine who wins.
As a surprise and to keep the audience entertained while you count, you may wish to recruit a group of teachers to perform a lip-sync. The kids think this is hysterical – I still remember when my teachers got on stage and danced to the rap song, “Bust a Move”, in high school.
If you’re awarding really cheesy prizes, talk them up beforehand and at some point during the show. I have seen a crowd go wild over a blue toilet seat cover with a yacht on it and a super-cheesy-looking plastic mirror. You might pick something cheesy that’s language-related – who knows what your fellow language teachers may have in their closets. It’s all about how you present it. ex. Tonight we have some absolutely AMAZING prizes! Straight from the runways of Fashion Week in Paris, we have this custom-made, authentic sombrero. Folks, this is not something that you can buy at any tourist location in Mexico. This is a genuine original. Look at the gorgeous embroidery and gems on this beauty, etc., etc. The kids think it’s funny and actually will display proudly even the cheesiest of objects.
4. Find 3-4 guest judges.
5. Get 2 stage managers (other teachers) to coordinate the students behind the scenes.
6. Ask a teacher to sit by the front door and pass out entrance sheets. This person should make sure that the student writes his/her name in pen on the sheet and that students only take one slip per person.
7. Have a student or parent volunteer create a program with the names of the acts and student names. Include any special thanks to people who helped with the show.
But I’m a Department of 1!
Two Weeks before the Show
1. Remind students of dates and times for dress rehearsal and performance.
2. Lower-level students can make posters announcing the show in the target language perhaps as an extra credit project.
3. Print entrance slips for free homework or extra points on a quiz.
Stamp them beforehand with a special stamp for authenticity if you’d like.
4. Double-check with all the people who are helping to make sure they’re still available.
Double-check that you still have the space available.
5. Tell the local newspaper about the event that you have planned. They can even announce it beforehand in the paper and will perhaps write a little feature about the show.
The Night of the Show
1. Bring entrance slips and leave them with the teacher by the front of the auditorium. Set up a small table for this person.
2. Get change beforehand and bring a money box if you will be collecting a specific entry fee.
3. Reserve seats for the judges in the front row by taping off chairs.
4. Students arrive 30 minutes before showtime and wait backstage.
5. Test the mics, lights, and sound equipment.
6. Back Stage: Have a teacher who is coordinating the groups and making sure they’re ready to go.
to get a better idea of how it runs.