How to Play Trashketball in Heritage Spanish Class

Sneak peek: The version of Trashketball I played with my heritage students.

recycling bin trashketball game

I play so many games with my L2 learner classes for vocabulary acquisition, but I find that I hardly ever play games with my heritage students. Sad!

That all changed when I taught my unit on Los errores comunes. Since we had a spelling list of words that students needed to memorize, we were able to play many different games. This was a nice change of pace in class!

One of the games we play in this unit is called Trashketball. There are several versions of this game floating around the internet. In this blog post I will explain the way I chose to play it with my heritage class. This game works well for spelling practice of any kind of vocab list. We also played this game to practice gentilicios in my Cultura por todo el mundo hispanohablante unit.


  • Loose leaf sheets of paper cut-in half (about 10 half sheets per student) even better, if you have a bin of old worksheets where the grades have been entered, and they’re now considered “trash…” Better to reuse old paper, than to waste new paper!
  • masking tape
  • trash bin or recycling bin
loose leaf paper cut in half for trashketball game


1. Place a trash or recycling bin somewhere in your classroom where there is plenty of room for gameplay.

recycling bin for playing game in heritage spanish class

2. Place three masking tape strips on the floor of your classroom at different distances from the trash bin. Label each of the strips different point amounts according to how far away they are. I chose to label mine 2 points, 5 points, and 10 points.

2 puntos
5 puntos trashketball set up
10 puntos trashketball set up

3. Cut loose leaf paper into half sheets. You will need ten half sheets per student.

The Set-up

trahsketball set up

1. Divide your class into two or three teams. It works best if you divide them up according to where they are located in the room (left side of room vs right side). To make it more interesting, have each team come up with a team name, and then write their team names on the whiteboard for scorekeeping. 

2. Pass out ten half sheets of loose-leaf paper to each student. They will also need something to write with.


 1. The teacher calls out a term from the spelling list. Each student then attempts to spell the word on their half sheet of paper.

trashketball game play heritage spanish class

2. Walk around the room and check each students’ spelling. If they spell the word correctly, crumple up their piece of paper into a trashketball and give it back to them. If it is incorrect, take the piece of paper back from them so they lose the ability to sneak into the trashketball line for that round. You can also save these spelling mistakes as data to review later in order to see what the common errors are.

crumpled up piece of paper spanish class game

3. The students who spelled the word correctly and received their paper back in a crumpled up trashketball will get a chance to shoot their trashketball into the trash/recycling bin in order to earn points for their team. As soon as they receive their crumpled up paper back from their teacher, they can get in line to shoot their shot from whichever line they choose. If they make their trashket, they put tally marks on the board for their team.

4. Once everyone that got it right has had a chance to shoot their shot, finish the round by writing the correct spelling on the board for the whole class to see.

5. Start the next round by calling out another word from the vocab list for students to spell on a new half sheet of paper. 

6. After ten rounds (or however many rounds class time allows), the team with the most points wins! 

**One fun thing that can be added in, is a super-round right at the end that includes the most difficult word on the list and the requirement that students can only shoot from the 10 point line.

spanish class game trashketball

This game is fun because there are a lot of variables to winning. Even if only a few students on a team get the answer right, they could potentially still win if they make a lot of trashkets. I love how anxious and excited students are while writing their answers, hoping desperately to spell it correctly so they get to shoot a trashket.

Note: You may find some students looking at someone else’s paper because they want to get a chance to shoot a trashket. I didn’t have time to police this as I was busy checking each students’ paper. This shouldn’t be an issue for the most part, but even if a student is blatantly cheating, at least they are still practicing how to spell the word correctly by writing it out! 


  1. Students cannot give their paper to someone else to shoot.
  2. All students should work together to monitor the points that students are putting up on the board.
  3. If it comes down to a tie, each team should choose one team member to represent their team to make a trashket from the furthest line. The first one to make it wins.

What would you call this game in Spanish? Comment below with your idea!

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how to play trashketball in heritage spanish class

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