Talking Football in Spanish Class
Get students actively engaged and learning numbers up to 100 in Spanish!
Updated February 2022
I love looking for ways to bring football into Spanish class. Not fútbol, but fútbol americano! As a girl brought up in the south, I was raised watching football. So when it comes to teaching numbers 1 to 100 in Spanish, I turn to football.
Have you ever had a class that is so quiet? I mean, you cannot get them to talk. I am having conversations with myself in front of them, trying to figure out a way to get this early morning class of middle school students to engage with me. Our usual warm up topics (like the date and weather) is just not that exciting. It's football season and many students are wearing jerseys of their favorite players. I love football. I love talking about football with students before or after class ~ but during class? Students know if they want to get me off-task they can simply ask if I went to the game on Saturday. And I can talk football. But I'm thinking to myself, "I need to stay in the TL. I need to focus on our objective. It's not part of the curriculum. I should be teaching about fútbol instead." But I have got to generate some enthusiasm here and get these kids talking about something! So I pull up ESPN Deportes and start asking questions about the game on Saturday.
That really wakes them up. Students who rarely participate in class begin to speak - in Spanish! This is something new, something that appeals to many of them. They love talking about football outside of class so why not bring football into Spanish class? So I decide to review numbers using scores from college football. Light bulb moment.
Football season is the perfect time to talk numbers! I have created many activities each season using jersey numbers from local college teams and NFL teams to get students excited to use numbers in Spanish. They have been such a hit with my students that I've continued to create them to promote my love of football & Spanish! Hopefully you will experience the excitement in your classroom that comes from talking about football in Spanish! (And you don't need to know anything about football to talk about scores!)
So, are you ready for some football?! It is time to talk about the top two teams in the NFL. This year it's the Cincinnati Bengals and the Los Angeles Rams. My favorite? I'm pulling for the Bengals! The Super Bowl is always a hot topic, especially in the days leading up to kickoff. You can talk about your favorite teams, players and make game day predictions. ¿Quién va a ganar?
My favorite activity for reinforcing Spanish numbers use team rosters. I find rosters for each team, project them onto the board and ask who wears which number. "¿Quién lleva el número dieciséis? or ¿Qué número es Joe Burrow? The boys in the room light up! The competition to answer the question is intense. Students love to show off their football knowledge. The girls get into it as well. I love this activity because everyone is engaged, learning, & having fun.
As a written activity, students choose their favorite of two teams and use a roster to write the jersey numbers of popular players. This requires a lot of prep work for me. So, I do my football homework ~ with a little help from my husband! I look over the team rosters to find popular players from each team and create a worksheet. (Not your ordinary worksheet!) Students beg for this activity. They get great practice writing numbers up to 99. For me, it's worth the work because students love it. I made an update for Super Bowl 2022 to save you some time!
Team rosters are packed with information! (See links below.) There are so many interesting things to talk about. You can review descriptive adjectives and comparatives while talking about height. ¿Quién es más alto? ¿Tee Higgins o Ja'Marr Chase? Or compare ages. ¿Quién es mayor? ¿Thaddeus Moss o Riley Reiff? Practice tener with ¿Cuántos años tiene Joe Mixon? Students really engage.
The Monday following the big game, the topic is still hot. I project the final score on the board and ask, "¿Cuántos puntos tienen?" and ¿Cuál es tu equipo favorito? During the regular season I pull up scores from other teams around the nation. This is a regular Monday warm-up each fall (especially with college football!) If I forget to bring it up, students remind me.
There are so many variations you can do with these activities. When football season ends, switch to basketball to practice numbers over 100. Talk about the teams from your school. This communicates that you're interested and paying attention to the things that matter to them. The goal is to find what interests your students and make a way to talk about it in Spanish.
What I love most about these activities is they're a great way to connect with students. It's fun to find things we have in common (favorite teams, players or sports) and have something to talk about - that is interesting to them. Topics like these build relationships. As my favorite coach says, "Football unifies. In a world that is very divided, nothing brings people together like football." -Dabo Swinney
There should be a lot to talk about after all of the commercials and the halftime show! Be sure to check out ESPN Deportes for authentic resources. I hope you enjoy these ideas and have fun implementing them in your classroom! I'd love to see how these activities work for you. Tag me on social media: @senora.lee on Instagram or @SenoraLauraLee on Facebook.
Thanks for stopping by and for spreading the LOVE of Spanish (and football!)
Ready Made Resources: Students LOVE these football activities! Use them throughout football season and into February as it gets time for the BIG Game.
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