It’s a hit song that’s climbing the charts and is on track to be the highest-charting song in Disney history. And we can’t get it out of our heads. (Oh, Lin Manuel Miranda, how do you do this to us?) We’re willing to bet that your students are singing “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” from Disney’s Encanto. Why not take advantage of their latest obsession and turn the viral hit into some great lessons? Check out our ideas for teaching with “We Don’t Talk About Bruno.” Shh.
Teachable Moment #1: Hyperbole
Ah, the art of exaggeration. Dig into those Bruno lyrics for some great examples of this particular type of figurative language. (Hint: listen closely to Camilo’s description of his tío).
Activity: Have students brainstorm hyperbole they’ve heard in everyday life (think: I’m so hungry I could eat a horse) and write them on an anchor chart. Then encourage them to write their own and insert them into their own writing (hyperbole can be equally effective in expository, persuasive, or narrative text).
Teachable Moment #2: Simile
More figure of speech fun. If you listen closely, Isabela sings, “He told me that my power would grow/Like the grapes that thrive on the vine.”
Activity: We love this T-chart from Drop Your Anchor in Fourth. You’ll need to come up with a topic and then invite your students to brainstorm a list of adjectives that describe your topic on one side of the chart. On the other side, they’ll come up with additional nouns that these adjectives describe. Then they can put them together in a simile using the word “like” or “as.” Want more? Check out these other figurative language anchor charts!
Teachable Moment #3: Rhyme
What makes the song so catchy? We happen to think it’s LMM’s masterful use of rhyme. Check out Dolores’s section for a nice AABAAB pattern.
Activity: Take this opportunity to teach about different kinds of rhyme (end rhyme, internal rhyme, consonance, assonance) and rhyming patterns. Allow each student to pick a favorite, school-appropriate song and analyze the artist’s use of rhyme.
Teachable Moment #4: Point of View
We hear from a lot of different voices in this song, and they each have a story to share about an encounter with Bruno. But, as we learn throughout the movie, people’s perspectives are anything but objective.
Activity: Read a fairytale written from a different point of view (we like The True Story of the Three Little Pigs). Discuss how the story changes when told by a different character. Invite students to do some perspective-taking by rewriting one of their favorite stories from another point of view.
Teachable Moment #5: Myths and Legends
Bruno: the man, the myth, the legend. “Seven-foot frame, rats along his back/When he calls your name it all fades to black/Yeah, he sees your dreams and feasts on your screams.” That’s quite the legacy. It’s also not totally accurate.
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