Locura De Marzo musically motivates Spanish teachers, students at Archer, around world

By Emily Paschall, Senior Reporter


Music is a language we all speak. According to Her Culture, music has been and remains a key part of the evolution of existing societies in our world today. It unites people and can shed great insight on diverse cultures. World language teacher Talia Geffen said the new Spanish music tournament Locura De Marzo brings more interest and passion to students learning Spanish and offers teaching resources for teachers around the world.

Locura De Marzo directly translates to “March madness,” like the NCAA college basketball tournament played annually during spring in the United States. But what makes this “March madness” vastly different from the basketball March Madness is that Locura De Marzo is a Spanish music tournament. According to Spanish Mama, “teachers across the world coordinate to pick 16 Spanish songs. Throughout March, students listen to the songs and vote between two of them. The winning song advances, and the losing song is eliminated.”

The creator of this music tournament is Señor Ashby, a Spanish and P.E. teacher from Michigan. He has a Facebook group for Locura De Marzo, where many teachers from schools around the world gather to share lesson ideas and discuss Locura De Marzo.

Geffen began using music tournaments created by Señora Ashby during the start of the pandemic in 2020. She started with Locotubre, similar to Locura De Marzo, because she wanted to include more interactive and exciting activities into her lessons to keep students engaged during online learning.

“I really enjoy utilizing those resources to enhance my teaching, giving me ideas — just the kind of camaraderie of feeling like you’re part of a larger group. I have an amazing team here at Archer, but I like seeing what people across the country and across the world are doing too” Geffen said. “I’m pretty sure that the idea [of Locura De Marzo] stemmed from one of those kind of Facebook groups online. I think it may have been back then, but now I’m a part of the official Locura De Marzo teaching group that has over 8,000 teachers in it, which is just insane.” 

Eighth grader Maya Hernandez has attended Archer since sixth grade, and she has been in Geffen’s Spanish class for two years. Hernandez was in Spanish 1A last year and is in Spanish 2A this year, where she participates in Locura De Marzo. Hernandez said she has enjoyed having this Spanish music tournament in the curriculum.

It gives students some sort of individual connection, passion or excitement for the language.

— World Language Teacher Talia Geffen

“I think it’s nice to see what other students are interested in across the world and students within my class as well,” Hernandez said. “I think it’s a great way to learn more about Spanish culture, especially because we learn a lot about the artists as well. 

Geffen said that although Locura De Marzo can make it challenging for her to balance the content of the unit in each hour class period, it is worth it as it brings so many benefits to the students overall. Geffen listed four main benefits in fully incorporating Locura De Marzo into her curriculum.

“Number one is reinforcing the grammar and [vocabulary] that we’re doing in a more fun and more…interactive way. Two is the opportunity to utilize music, the musicians themselves and their lives to teach culture in the classroom and show more representation than what often a textbook can show,” Geffen said. “The third point is relevancy…Locura introduces me to new artists and songs and pushes me to different genres that I might not be listening to…The last thing is the interactive fun portion…It gives students some sort of individual connection, passion or excitement for the language.”

Freshman Vivianne Arnold was a student in Geffen’s Spanish 1A and 2A courses. In addition to learning Spanish at Archer, she also speaks Spanish at home with her family. Arnold said she loves having Locura De Marzo in class and spoke about how it has served her as a student learning Spanish.

“I think it definitely helps students remember things,” Arnold said. “Once you get a tune to go with it that helps with the memory process because you’re not just trying to remember the words you have a guideline almost.”

Hernandez said the tournament helps her fluidity when speaking because she can hear conversational ways of speaking in the songs. She also said it has helped her become more accustomed to Spanish culture in todays world.

“I think it’s a great way to learn and familiarize yourself with different cultures, especially from the language you’re learning” Hernandez said. “That’s probably my favorite part about it — learning new words and learning things that are more common.” 

Geffen said that one of the songs she loves in the 2023 Locura De Marzo is “Me Liberé by Evaluna Montaner. For the final results, Geffen, Hernandez and Arnold all predict that “Music Sessions #53” by Bizarrap and Shakira will be the winner.

Arnold said Locura De Marzo has been a reason for her to come to each Spanish class with excitement and joy.

“No matter what, I’m always excited to go to Spanish class,” Arnold said, “because even if it may not be the most exciting lesson, it’ll still be fun because there will be Locura De Marzo.”