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How to advance your World Cup lesson with Newsela

Laura Lewis
Dec 5, 2022

A colleague recently sent me an EdWeek article about a teacher, Elliot Barr, who used the World Cup to teach his students about politics and history. As billions of eyes are trained on the World Cup pitch, we couldn’t agree more that this tournament is an opportunity to explore all kinds of topics that are genuinely engaging and relevant for young people. Like Mr. Barr, Newsela is in the business of taking real world content and making it instruction ready for K-12 classrooms. We were inspired, so we created a set of texts that can be used in classrooms! 

Teachers can create a lesson about the World Cup using Newsela’s text set which has: 

  • Activities for students for before, during, and after readings;

  • 7 articles available at 5 reading levels on the past, present, and future World Cups, and; 

  • Project ideas for students to continue to learn about the history of soccer (or football, depending on where you’re reading this!), the history of the World Cup, and the ongoing tournament. 

We thought it might save teachers time to plan out activities for students, but teachers know their classroom best. Feel free to follow our guide or use the articles in your own lesson or activity plan! 

Examining Photos Before Reading

Before students dive into their leveled texts, we’ve provided photos of past World Cups and an “I see, I think, I wonder” chart toget them thinking about the texts they’re about to read. Students can also participate in a “Turn and Talk” to engage in discussions with their peers about the images they see. (For more photos, visit the World Cup 2022 text set.)

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Guiding Students During Reading 

As students read articles about the current controversies in Qatar or the 1950 World Cup (the year of the United States’ shocking victory over England), Newsela has provided two options to guide students through the texts:

  • Students can explore the ways the World Cup impacts people and answer a write prompt about how it can create unity and how this idea of unity has shifted over time. 

  • Students can read the provided articles to find the main idea and identify details that support the main idea. 

Teachers can also customize their own annotations and write prompts within the texts

Following up After Reading 

The World Cup Final isn’t over until December 18th, which means teachers have plenty of time to keep the fun going! Have students create a one pager about what they learned and present it to the class. Students can also conduct research on the different teams participating in the world cup and follow along with the tournament.

So, thank you Mr. Barr for the inspiration for this text set! The possibilities are endless, and we hope this helps teachers narrow down an approach to teaching the World Cup in class with vetted and leveled content for all students you can find here. Tell us how your lessons go on social media and tag @Newsela or share on the Newsela Community.   

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