In my family, we celebrate Christmas and what a joyous Christmas it was this year! I loved every minute of it! It was GO GO GO though so on the 25th at 11PM I woke up with a HIGH fever and chills and was in bed 90% of the day on the 26th! (That’s what I get for never resting I suppose)

Screen Shot 2019-12-27 at 1.02.52 PM

I am SO excited to blog about TRASHQUETBOL or TRASHKETBALL! It was one of my greatest takeaways from ACTFL this year! I didn’t get to attend many sessions but my favorite that I did see was by Andrea Schweitzer! Her presentation was about how we can “communicatify” and “vehiclize” traditional games to make them better suited for our proficiency based classrooms where communication and contextualized comprehensible input is the focus….

Her definitions of these two brilliant words were:

Communicatify: Make changes to shift the overall purpose of the game to that of communication as the means to achieve the overall goal of the game

Vehiclize: use the game as a vehicle for creating contextualized communication with your students (sort of like picture talk or movie talk etc.

Now, Trashketball is something she learned from Bryce Hedstrom. However, in the last few years she has transformed it into a game that provides more meaningful input while still keeping the elements of the game that makes it so appealing to students!

Screen Shot 2019-12-27 at 12.24.20 PM.png

Here is a great video of Andrea playing with her students in the way that she explained to us in her presentation.

I took all of Andrea’s ideas and then tweaked them to fit my style and my students. These variations are explained below.

  • I split the class into three teams
    • Since my class is set up in a horseshoe I just split the horseshoe into three parts and named each one a country name from last year
      • Panama, Peru and Paraguay
  • I called the question out and took the first hand I saw go up after I FINISHED asking the question
    • I didn’t call on hands that went up before I was done asking the question
  • If the person answered the question correctly I gave them the option of playing or passing (asking them in the TL “do you want to play or do you want to pass”)
    • This was important because many of the students wanted to answer questions but not all of them wanted to shoot the ball (people like me with little hand eye coordination would NEVER raise their hand if it meant they HAD to shoot and potentially (probably) let their team down)
    • If they chose to “pass”, my next question in the TL was “who do you want pass to?”

Screen Shot 2019-12-27 at 1.48.55 PM.png

  • I made a 3 point 5 point and 10 point line
  • I had a BIG ball, medium sized ball, and “fuzzy” tiny ball as options to play with
    • If they shot with the big ball they would get 1x the points
    • If they shot with the medium ball they would get 2x the points (from the line they shot from)
    • If they shot with the tiny fuzzy they would get 3x the points


  • Of course kids asked if they could “bounce” the ball in… I allowed this but…
    • If bouncing they could only do it from the 5 point line with the big ball
    • IF they made it in they received 50 bonus points
      • In the 10 times I played this with classes from Thanksgiving to Christmas break, two kids made it…. and there were
  • I displayed the sentence stem “Voy por” along with the question “tú vas por ___?”
    • Since these were not something they’d heard much before I wanted to make sure it was clear
      • I am going for ______ points
      • How many points are you going for?


  • I taught them the expression “suerte” or good luck!
    • As with ALL my classroom games I encouraged praise and positivity for their teammates as well as their competition.
      • When I heard them encouraging each other or yelling  positive remarks in the TL afterwards (“Good job” “excellent” “yay” “super” etc.) I gave each team bonus points
        • I always encourage OBNOXIOUS positivity 🙂


  • The next time we played trashquetbol, I gave each team 4 minutes to write as many questions as possible on sticky notes. If they came up with questions in English that I used (I would translate them to Spanish) I gave that team a bonus point. If I used a question that their team wrote in Spanish I gave them two points


They love love love this game. I had never played it the way that Bryce originally wrote it but I would imagine kids who have played it that way would love this novelty as well.

Here is a video of the first time I introduced the game… the day after thanksgiving… energy is low, English is high, but at least you can see how I set it up…

Here is another 3 minutes of gameplay:

I am super duper grateful to Andrea for all of the things I learned in her presentation. I often feel frustrated when I attend conferences and spend the whole time presenting because I feel like I’ll forever be the “same Annabelle” and never learn anything new for my students, so it is SO refreshing when I get to attend sessions like hers which give me ideas I can implement immediately!

I hope you’re enjoying your break!

Until next time,



La Maestra Loca

Bitmoji Image


  1. I love your write up on this, Annabelle! Thanks so much for sharing about it (since I don’t have a blog of my own). And I LOOOOVE your fun tweaks with the different ball options. More to talk about with them during game play. Such a great idea!! I personally like to give kids two chances to shoot so they can be a little more at ease about going for 10 or 5 points at first and then if they miss it (we can talk about it—in an encouraging way), they can redeem themselves by going for three on the second chance (which is usually only an arms-length away in my lay out). Thanks for always sharing innovative ideas and demo videos with us!! I hope you get lots of rest for the rest of your break and that you’re feeling better soon.

  2. I am so excited that you are coming to Houston in February. I don’t mind driving 3 hours just to learn from you. Excited!!!🤗

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *