La Copa Mundial 2014

FIFA 2014 official logo   I have been collecting resources for La Copa Mundial 2014 for almost a year on my Pinterest board…..and now it’s almost here.  I’ve also followed the incredible Zachary Jones, as he  has created activities for La Copa, and of course, the fantastic work of Kara Jacobs. I will be starting my World Cup unit in two weeks (really it is a unit on several World Cups and soccer in general), and have created a page on my wikispace with my essential questions (similar to Kara’s) and all of the resources now divided by category: essential questions, informal and formal assessments, videos to support the essential questions and soccer in general, focus songs, additional songs, and useful links to articles, infographics, etc. During the next two weeks, I will be creating activities and worksheets to go with my focus songs and the songs that I will be comparing/contrasting (such as the multiple versions of La Copa de Todos/The World is Ours and Shakira’s 2010 Waka Waka with her 2014 LaLaLa), and also for several of the videos that will support my essential questions.  All of the activities that I will create will be posted on that wikipage as I finish them and get ready to use them.  I’m really looking forward to sharing the excitement with my students, and I welcome any additional material you might like to share!


Ejercicios para escuchar…..

As language teachers, we spend a lot of time trying to give our students ample opportunities to speak as well as to listen.  We know that listening is the crucial skill that leads to language acquisition.  Perhaps some of you have reached the point where listening activities in your textbooks just are not adequate, or they are boring, or they are not relevant and certainly not authentic.  This post is to share some different types of listening activities that I have come to rely on.  In no particular order:

1.  Take any group of related vocabulary that you may be working with and create a document with a word bank and pictures.  My example is something that my Spanish III students were working on toward the end of the year, a unit on bullfighting in Spain.  La Corrida de toros La corrida 2There are many options, and I used just about all of them with this particular document. I retold all of our information about bullfighting, and as I did this, the paired students identified which picture I was talking about.  When I was done, the paired students then identified the pictures, in random order, saying the vocabulary word that is listed in the word bank.  The paired students can ask each other to indicate which picture goes with a specific word.  Finally, the paired students can recreate all of the information that they know about bullfighting by using the words in the word bank and indicating the pictures.

2.  Use any SHORT (no more than a minute or so) high interest video.  My students are really into sports, and we were learning about all types of sports.  I took a clip from ESPN called las mejores jugadas de la semana and created three different types of listening activities from it. Sometimes students worked individually, sometimes with a partner.  Play the video at least once prior to working with it.  I actually played it the day before I intended to do anything with it, and asked students to tell me what they knew from the video.  The next day, with a partner, I asked them to focus on a very limited range of information: what country each ball player was from and to complete this chart: ESPN 2Individually, the next day, I played the clip again, and asked them to attempt to identify/answer 5 pieces of information.  Again, the listening focus was very narrow, and they had now heard the clip at least three times.

  • 1.     Hace su novena jonrón del año.  
  • 2.    ¿Qué es un campo corto?  
  • 3.    Bateó un jonrón larguísimo que llegó hasta el agua.  
  • 4.    Tenía una gran atrapada.  
  • 5.    Llevó la cuarta victoria de la temporada, 7 strikeouts y permitió 2 hits.  

Another activity, again with a partner, was to identify the team of each player mentioned.  For this activity, they are listening as well as reading the information on screen. 


Colorado Rockies


New York Mets

Gigantes de San Francisco

Azulejos (Toronto)

Medias Blancas

Texas Rangers









































De la Rosa
















Crédito Extra:  ¿Qué significa?  Perfecto hasta la séptima entrada

Some sites with great short clips:  BBC Mundo Noticias en 60 segundos  ESPN Deportes    Video      Video y Fotos-BBC Mundo

3.  Use a song to introduce a unit.  In this case, I was beginning a unit on sports, and decided to focus on this great song by Huecco.

The first day, the song was playing as the students entered the classroom.  They immediately requested that I play it again after the bell had rung!  The second day, we took a more focused look at it, as I asked them to attempt to complete this chart:

Escuchas muy bien!!!  Huecco……….                          

Sustantivos (Nouns)


Time Expressions















Q & A with a videoclip

A few weeks ago I wrote about a question and answer activity with a song.  This time, I’m using the same technique with a short video clip.  My Spanish III classes are studying Spain and sports, as well as reviewing preterite and imperfect and beginning to work with the present perfect.  This week we are going to focus on Madrid and Barcelona.  I’m introducing Madrid with this short clip done by Real Madrid players.

I’ll have my students watch the clip first, do a short share with partners about what they saw and can remember, and then we’ll watch it again, using this: Madrid video clip, soccer players Real Madrid Slide1After briefly reviewing their answers with their partner, I’ll have the students combine to make groups of four, and ask them to retell the information in the video.  They will fold their papers so that they are only able to see the answers (pictured above, with two foils).  They will not see the question prompts.

Hopefully, this brief introductory information will stimulate some natural curiosity, and will lead us to a deeper investigation into tapas, flamenco, and famous sites.

Madrid video clip additional script material.


Every year, after I finish the big music/social awareness unit with Juanes, Juan Luis Guerra and Carlos Baute, my students fear that the most compelling part of the curriculum has been covered.  Fortunately, we go right into a unit about Spain that has several really interesting components.  Yes, it contains grammar (preterite/imperfect yet again and the present perfect), but it also has a great deal about sports and culture of Spain.  I get to introduce them to David Bisbal and his ever popular Bulería, Macaco, Jarabe de Palo, and Pablo Alborán, among others.  We get to discover El País Vasco, Andalucia, Galicia, Cataluña, Castilla La Mancha, Madrid, etc.  AND, we also get to talk about jai-alai and la corrida de toros.

They are always interested in jai-alai, so I’ve tried to expand that part of the unit over the past several years. We will start by taking a look at
El País Vasco with this video:

and probably a bit from the Aventuras Vascas series:

For background information on jai-alai, I use these videos:

The Fastest Game in the World

For sheer silliness, I will include the infamous Steve O and Johnny Knoxville adventure into jai-alai   and also a brief Simpsons clip:

I created a powerpoint on jai-alai Jai- Alai-1-2 and I can share my own personal stories and pictures from games that I have attended. Somewhere along the years, I also was given an actual cesta, pelota and sash.  We leave the classroom, and I always let several students in each class attempt to throw  a ball (a koosh ball, not the actual pelota), with the cesta.  It’s usually something that they enjoy trying.

If you have other jai-alai resources, I would love to know about them.  Or, if you have other favorite activities from teaching about culture in Spain, please share.

Sports, Friends and the Present Perfect

I believe that all language curriculums cover similar vocabulary units, including units for sports and friends.  As students progress through the levels, the topics basically remain the same, but the vocabulary becomes more extensive and advanced.  Such is the case for my Spanish III students.  The curriculum for our textbook (remember that I don’t use the textbook, but do follow the curriculum) combines some advanced vocabulary for sports and friends, producing an enjoyable chapter.   Most of my high school students are either student athletes or very interested in sports, additionally,  most of them are quite interested in acquiring new vocabulary so that they can describe their friends as stubborn, “got my back”, “stood me up”, and trustworthy, etc.  In this post I’m going to share some of the activities that I used this past year working with this vocabulary as well as the present perfect.  The chapter also focused on Spain for the “cultural element”, but I will save those activities for another post.

We started with a review of sports they already knew from earlier levels; I did this using a partner conversation with this Conversación Repaso de los deportes que ya sabemos We then made lists of sports we didn’t know how to say, but would like to know.  To keep them thinking, I showed a couple of videos.  For the Doki Descubre video, they were listening for all familiar words related to sports.   Of course we also had to talk about Fútbol and the huge success of Spain, so I showed parts of this video Continuing with Spain and sports, we also looked at these videos, sharing words we knew, and words we were learning.  

The next day I started class with an activity that I call “Levántate”, where everyone must stand up.  Before they can sit down, they have to give me a sport (in Spanish, of course) without repeating what has already been said.  To keep everyone focused on the task, if they have given me a sport and have taken a seat and I feel that they are no longer paying attention, I call on them and they have to repeat the last sport said.  If they can not do that, they must stand up again.  Obviously in this activity all hands go up immediately because they are eager to say one of the easier sports before someone else can say it.  Depending on the size of the class and what has been shared, when we get to the last 2 – 3 people, I allow their classmates to help, as necessary.  We then go into a conversational type activity combining sports and the present perfect, but I do not refer AT ALL to the present perfect.  They just talk with their partners using the paper as a guide.  It has been my experience that they do not question an unfamiliar structure as long as there is a model to use. Another partner activity is having students work with a page of sports pictures, and practice completing the sentences orally,  using the new vocabulary, as in these examples:

An activity that I use several times during the course of a school year is Walk Around Bingo.  Everyone has a bingo sheet, no English is allowed, and I give the class 4 – 5 minutes to literally walk around to classmates and ask a question on the bingo sheet to another classmate.  If the classmate is able to answer the question affirmatively using  Sí, he jugado/escalado/comido, etc., he/she write his initials in the box.  If the answer is no, he/she may not write initials in the box. Depending on the size of the class, a student may only write his initials on the paper of that particular student once (larger classes) or twice (smaller classes). I walk around the room monitoring the use of Spanish.  If I hear English, I write the name of the student on my paper, and they know that they will receive a zero for the activity.  After 4 – 5 minutes, I call stop, and have them count how many boxes have initials, and have them check if they have a bingo (vertical, horizontal or four corners).  If many students have bingoes, I collect the papers and randomly draw “winners”.  Of course, I also have to verify with the students who have initialed the boxes if they indeed have done what the box says. Sometimes it turns out that the initialed students did not do what was in the box, much to the dismay of the student who asked the question, because then they do not have a bingo!  Present Perfect Walk Around Bingo 

Another activity I used, one that I’ve talked about before is Toca ( span 3 chap 2A TOCA ) In this game, played in pairs, I call a vocabulary word/phrase and the first partner to touch the picture scores a point.  Partners alternate taking turns.  I described it fully here

Students also enjoy playing this board game with sports (full directions here) :Los Deportes game board Question-Card-Template Set A Los Deportes  Question-Card-Template-set B Los Deporte

Continuing with sports, I then did a full presentation of jai-alai and then a mini lesson on la corrida de toros, but they will have to wait for a later post, since the amount of material I created and covered would make this already very long post, really long!

For the friends vocabulary, we first discussed with partners what makes a good friend/bad friend.  As they talked, I kept a running list of words that they were requesting for which they didn’t have the vocabulary.  I introduced new vocabulary with this powerpoint: Span. 3 Chap 2B Vocabulario…pictures2  

Another topic for conversation, which incorporated both the new vocabulary as well as continuing work with the present perfect,  was “¿Qué has hecho con tus amigos hoy?”

Once students had become familiar with the new vocabulary for friends, I projected this image on the SMARTboard and had them discuss their friendships in small groups, using the words on the board.

Individually they worked with a friend survey, modeled on an activity in the text span 3 chap 2 Una encuesta de amistad-1 and shared results with partners. Working again with a partner, they talked about qualities for good friends and bad friends, and completed this:

Additionally, there are so many wonderful clips and songs in Spanish that relate to friends.  Here are several that I used, some with cloze activities, some just listening for specific words, some just for enjoyment.         

There just is so much we can do with this great topics.  I’ve shared some things that I like and with which I have found success.  I’d love to hear from you.  What activities have you used?