Noël / Navidad Commercial Madness Explained

The Navidad / Noël Commercial Madness has become a very widely popular activity to do in the month of December.  I always get great questions about it and I know that it is an extremely well anticipated activity.  This post contains information about what it is, how to do it, my personal goals when I do it, and a giant list of engaging activities that can be done with the commercials.

What is it?

  • A bracket of commercials.  There is a bracket with 8 commercials (the Spanish half version and the full French version) and a bracket with 16 commercials (the full Spanish version).  
  • They are holiday commercials in French and in Spanish.  Finding commercials is the hardest part about making this. I always try to find commercials that represent diversity and several countries.
  • The commercials are compelling–most holiday commercials tell a story and convey a lot of emotion. 
  • The commercials also include culture such as the practices and products of holiday celebrations.
  • The commercials are an authentic resource which is always nice to use.
  • However, there is a BIG BUT!
  • Not all of the commercials are 100% comprehensible.  Some commercials are visually comprehensible but there is so much more to them.
  • So, I create many comprehensible input and acquisition driven activities to make them comprehended.  

How it works:

My bracket from a couple years ago in the hallway.
  • I like to print the bracket and the student packet for my students.  I also use the slideshow.  For me, the bracket is just a way to record the results.  Some teachers like to do a prediction activity with their classes and have students guess which one will win.  Do however you please.  I also just do one bracket for all of my classes.  Some teachers do a bracket for each class.  There is no nationwide voting.  
  • There are materials to create a Bulletin Board with the bracket.  I like to put mine in the hallway. I have no room in my classroom.  Other teachers and students see it in the hallway and ask me about it.  Mine is not very fancy but a lot of people get into it.
  • In class, watch two commercials each class
    • Watch one, do some activities, make it comprehensible
    • Then Watch the other, do activities, make it comprehensible
  • The Class votes for their favorite.  
  • The Winning commercial moves on.  
  • Please know that there is no one way to do it. 

My personal goals: These are my own goals for when I do it in my classes.

  • Provide comprehensible input
  • Students acquire some new language
  • Explore the culture of winter holidays in French/Spanish speaking countries
  • Provide compelling input
  • Use the authentic resources (the commercials) as a path for CI
  • **This is my goal number 1: Do something fun and exciting during the month of December**
  • Assess if you want to.  I don’t assess my students at all about the commercial madness but you can do some of the activities as assessments.  

Extension Activities: What you can do with the commercials:

  • ClipChat
  • Sequence events (write up important events in the target language and cut them up into strips.  Students have to put them in the logical order, either in groups or kinesthetically.)
  • Running dictation
  • Venn diagram  (hula hoops) compare two commercials or compare two people in a commercial, use hula hoops instead of on paper!
  • Freeze frame (teacher reads a sentence in the TL (an action from a commercial) and a group or the entire class freezes the action.)
  • Word cloud (create a word cloud from a commercial and students circle the word as they hear it when watching a commercial.  Or use it to talk about what happened)
  • Personalize! (use expressions and content from the commercials to ask personalized questions to students)
  • Screenshot sort (Print out screenshots from a commercial and students have to put them in the correct order)
  • Screenshot retell (students sit in a circle, put printed screenshots in the middle of the circle upside down.  One at a time, a student chooses a paper and tells what is happening in the TL.)
  • Drawing (Students can create an Instagram post of their favorite part of the commercial.  Or teacher can describe a scene in the TL and students draw it.)
  • Assessments (only if you want to)
  • Culture (Explore the culture of holidays and the places and companies of each commercial.)
  • PictureTalk
  • Cloze Activity
  • Comic Strip Reading
  • BINGO (from what you will see in the commercial.  Students make a 3X3 bingo grid.  Teacher prepares a list of items in the TL that are seen and not seen in the commercial.  Students write down one item per box.  Fill out the bingo sheet while watching.  This is for the first time watching!)
  • READING! (not much more powerful in language acquisition than reading, reading, and reading!  Especially compelling comprehensible reading about the commercials.)
  • GAMES! ( Kahoot, Gimkit, Blooket, Quizlet Live, GO Formative, Edpuzzle to name a few)
  • Take One Tab 
  • Running Crossword (like a running dictation but with the clues in the hallway)
  • Write and Discuss
  • Act out!
  • Cloze with icons
  • Match Screenshot with description
  • SLAP! (students have images from the commercial, teacher describes one in the TL and students race to hit/tap the correct image)
  • Story Listening (tell the story of the commercial in the TL while students draw)
  • Bunch of Hunches (predict what is going to happen)
  • Smashdoodle (teacher talks about the commercial in the TL while students create a large doodle of the various events and dialogue)
  • The Possibilities are E N D L E S S  !!


  1. I bought the French version but I’m a little confused about the ClipChat activity for the first commercial. Could you give more details, please? Thanks

    • Here is what I did: I used the screenshots and talked about them with the class. What do they see? Where are they? How do they feel? What are they doing? Etc. We then read version 1 of the reading and watched the commercial.

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