Locura de Marzo: Building Strengths and Expanding Worldviews through Music Videos

We all know about March Madness, but have you heard about Locura de Marzo? Instead of NCAA basketball teams, students in Shipley’s Upper School Spanish classes filled out a different kind of bracket this past March. Don Omar’s "Pura Vida" beat "Qué Tienes Tú"  by Dvicio in the first round to top "Oye" by Tini Stoessel and "Cun Cun Prá" by Cimafunk, finally going head-to-head against Sebastián Yatra’s "Runaway"  in the final.

What are these, you may be asking? They’re songs by popular artists from Spanish-speaking countries, with music videos watched and voted on by students in the Upper School Spanish classes. Music is an important tool in language learning and is used from PreK through Spanish V Honors to help Shipley students with language acquisition, but there is a lot more to be learned.

For teacher Heather Riley, Locura de Marzo—like all learning in her classroom—is also about helping students build their character strengths. In this unit, she says, “Students are strengthening perspective, seeing that there are singers around the world getting 500 million views on songs that they have never even heard of. They are strengthening perseverance by trying to understand the lyrics. They are also strengthening hope and open-mindedness through exposure to the often positive and optimistic global themes embodied by the songs.”

At Shipley, expanding students’ worldviews is just as important as equipping them to harness their strengths. In watching the videos, students catch a glimpse of life across the globe, from Puerto Rico and Cuba, to Argentina and Colombia, getting exposure to artists beyond The Weeknd and Billie Eilish. Building cultural awareness is an important part of Shipley’s Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion work—and this is just one of the many ways our teachers incorporate it into their classrooms in fun and meaningful ways.


The Shipley School is a private, coeducational day school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. Through our commitment to educational excellence, we develop within each student a love of learning and a desire for compassionate participation in the world.