‘Tis the season for sports to be underway in high schools and colleges. What about trying to catch some of that fever in your English language arts classroom? Here are a few “slam dunk” sports-themed lesson ideas for English class. Vocabulary, reading, & writing are even more fun when sports are involved.
1) Vocabulary: Do you have a set of vocabulary words that you teach each week? Try having students make spirit posters for their favorite sport at your school using vocabulary words!
2) Figurative Language: Maybe students need to brush up on their figurative language terms. Assign groups different terms (or let them choose) and ask them to make a poster describing their favorite sport or team using the figurative language term. Try my FREE sports-themed coloring by figurative language sheet to add more creative practice!
3) Fiction and Nonfiction: There are plenty of short stories, poems, and even nonfiction on the topic of sports about which students can READ! A couple of my favorites are my “The Boys of Fall” by Kenney Chesney poetry lesson and my hot topics info text lesson on hazing. My novel guide, Bleachers, is perfect for those who have time to squeeze in a novel this time of year! I’ve even provided a set of close reading excerpts with ELA skills for those who don’t have time for a complete novel. These close reading exercises would be perfect in learning stations as well. Here’s a creative activity from my Bleachers unit that requires students to consider color and number symbolism. (By the way, my teaching English Facebook group received this activity free! Click here to join.)
4) Writing: Score big with a writing prompt or task on the topic of sports. A creative narrative writing task where students tell the story of a heroic athlete on and off the field would be fun and inspiring. Need to bring in a little more argumentative writing? Try a prompt where students argue the advantages of one sport over another or whether sports should be included in the school day. Tackle a quick lesson on claims, counterclaims, and rebuttals while you’re at it.
5) Research and Presentations: Have a little longer or access to technology? How about a short research-based project where students research the number of injuries in high school sports and create a media show to present their findings. Throw in a little MLA 8th edition review to exercise and stretch your students’ brains a little more!
Bridging the gap between academics and sports isn’t always an easy task, but when you can make connections like with these sports-themed lesson ideas, you open up the opportunity to reach more students. That is definitely a win-win!
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