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Teaching Foreign Languages K-12: A Library of Classroom Practices

German: Sports Stats

German I, grade 5: In Amy Garcia's German class, students write in journals, listen as classmates share their sports preferences, take a poll on sports likes and dislikes, and record the class results on a graph. Using a chart showing the favorite sports of young Germans, Ms. Garcia makes connections to math by having students analyze the data.



Amy Garcia






Brockett Elementary School, Tucker, Georgia

Lesson Date

March 26

Class Size



30 minutes, four days per week

Video Summary

In this lesson, students talk about their sports likes and dislikes. They begin by reading their personal journal entries to review the previous day’s vocabulary. Then students share their sports preferences in groups and put the information on a class graph. Next, they interpret an article about the sports interests of young Germans; they scan the article for familiar words and then listen as Ms. Garcia reads the text. Finally, students work in groups to describe the contents of a sports photograph.

Standards Addressed

Communication: Interpersonal, Interpretive, Presentational

Connections: Making Connections, Acquiring Information

Communities: School and Community


Foreign Language in the Elementary School (FLES)
This elementary school model organizes instruction around a scope and sequence taught by a qualified foreign language teacher. Its goals include developing language proficiency with an emphasis on oral skills, as well as providing a gradual introduction to literacy, building cultural knowledge, and tying language learning to the content of the early grades’ curriculum. FLES programs vary, especially in the number of meetings per week or minutes per session. See also Foreign Language Exploratory Program (FLEX).

Connecting to Your Teaching

Reflect on Your Practice
As you reflect on these questions, write down your responses or discuss them as a group.

  • How do you use modeling when assigning tasks?
  • What do you do when students want to go beyond the types of responses you designed the activity to elicit?
  • What instructional support is needed for students to be able to work successfully with authentic or content-rich materials?
  • What kinds of activities do you use to connect language learning to other curricula such as math or social studies?
  • What are some ways to encourage beginning writers to extend their ideas?

Watch Other Videos
Watch other videos in the Teaching Foreign Languages K-12 library for more examples of teaching methodologies like those you’ve just seen. Note: All videos in this series are subtitled in English.

Creating Travel Advice (Spanish) illustrates reading strategies for challenging authentic materials, and Communicating About Sports (Chinese) features students expressing their sports likes and dislikes.

Put It Into Practice
Try these ideas in your classroom. Where it’s not already evident, reflect on how to adapt an idea that targets one performance range for application to other performance ranges.

  • Try to communicate in the target language during all classroom activities. When giving directions or explaining activity procedures, model one or two tasks for students to help them understand the assignment. Check for comprehension informally as you proceed. For example, Ms. Garcia showed students how to fill in their graphs by drawing happy, sad, and “so-so” faces and providing written language examples. She also modeled how the class graph should be organized before letting students take the lead. While it may seem faster and easier to give directions in English, in reality, doing so breaks the atmosphere and removes an opportunity for language learning. If students themselves fall back on English, continue to respond in the target language to maintain that atmosphere. Although several times her students asked questions or elaborated in English when their ideas were linguistically too difficult for them, Ms. Garcia continued to respond in German.
  • To help students develop interpretive communication skills, design a reading plan for a text or for audio-visual material that leads students through previewing, skimming/scanning, and closer-look activities. Ms. Garcia designed a plan consistent with her school’s language arts process; she defined the stages as predicting, scanning, listening, and following along. Begin with a prereading activity that includes predicting, brainstorming, creating a graphic organizer, and/or interpreting visuals. Next, have students skim and/or scan the text to focus on what they understand. This kind of activity gets at meaning while keeping students from getting stuck on what they don’t understand. Ms. Garcia called this a “quick read” and asked students to “read like lightning.” Once students have a basic understanding of the material, choose how closely you want them to study the text. Ms. Garcia asked students to identify favorite sports in Germany and to compare the sports’ popularity in the U.S.
  • Give students opportunities to share their language proficiency with the rest of the school. Ms. Garcia’s students appeared on their school’s televised morning announcements with a skit they had produced. Look for events and venues that give your students the chance to present skits, announcements, or other materials to the school community.


World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages
The World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages create a roadmap to guide learners to develop competence to communicate effectively and interact with cultural understanding. This lesson correlates to the following Standards:

Communicate effectively in more than one language in order to function in a variety of situations and for multiple purposes

Interpersonal Communication

Learners interact and negotiate meaning in spoken, signed, or written conversations to share information, reactions, feelings, and opinions.

Interpretive Communication

Learners understand, interpret, and analyze what is heard, read, or viewed on a variety of topics.

Presentational Communication

Learners present information, concepts, and ideas to inform, explain, persuade, and narrate on a variety of topics using appropriate media and adapting to various audiences of listeners, readers, or viewers.

Connect with other disciplines and acquire information and diverse perspectives in order to use the language to function in academic and career-related situations

Making Connections

Learners build, reinforce, and expand their knowledge of other disciplines while using the language to develop critical thinking and to solve problems creatively.

Acquiring Information and Diverse Perspectives

Learners access and evaluate information and diverse perspectives that are available through the language and its cultures.

Communicate and interact with cultural competence in order to participate in multilingual communities at home and around the world

School and Global Communities

Learners use the language both within and beyond the classroom to interact and collaborate in their community and the globalized world.


Lesson Materials
Sports Questionnaire (PDF, 22 K)
Sample worksheets used by students to record their classmates’ sports likes and dislikes

Amy Garcia’s Additional Resources

Web Resources:
American Association of Teachers of German
The national organization’s Web site, which includes teaching resources

Germany Info
The German Embassy’s Web site, with information about German politics, culture and life, information for students, and more (Available in English and German)

Detailed information about the Olympics (Available in German only)

Background information on the various sports played in Germany (Available in German only)

Series Directory

Teaching Foreign Languages K-12: A Library of Classroom Practices


Produced by WGBH Educational Foundation with the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. 2003. 2016.
  • Closed Captioning
  • ISBN: 1-57680-731-2