Category Archives: Grammar and Structures

French & Spanish Digital Writing Activity: Moving Verbs

Sometimes students know the meaning of verbs. Sometimes they know the forms. But, isn’t it great when they use accurate verbs in the correct context?

Put that together with a no-prep, time saving activity for you and it’s even more than a simple win-win.

Simply share these digital activities with students and they will move through a seamless process of identify meaning and forms and then putting it all together and writing their own sentences

This no-prep-for-the-teacher activity makes sure that your students don’t just master meaning and forms. They will combine these skills and write accurate and meaningful sentences on their own.

Take a look at the French version:

and the Spanish version:

 

French or Spanish Speaking Activity (Starting Point)

Your students can recognize and say the the words on various vocabulary topics.  They can do the same with adjectives and verb forms in a variety of tenses.

But, the challenge is finding opportunities for students to use these language elements in context that moves beyond simply saying them as individual words.  We need to support our students as they level up their proficiency and strive to create language beyond novice level.

That’s where this activity comes in.

Starting Point (Point de Départ / Punto de Partida) is a partner speaking activity that is quickly and easily adaptable to any proficiency level. If your students are at the novice level (words and phrases), then they can add one or two additional words.

If they are at a higher proficiency level they can create discreet or connected sentences with connecting words, adjectives, adverbs and other vocabulary to form more complex sentences. For the activities with verb forms there are question words along with each subject/verb pair to guide students in creating sentences.

Your students will be speaking non-stop in French or Spanish without even realizing it, because the object of the activity (aka game) is what they are really focused on.

You’re probably wondering how it works, so here you go…

  • This activity is done in pairs. Each player needs a pencil or pen that is a different color.
  • The goal of the activity is to score the most points by filling in the most boxes.
  • Player 1 begins by connecting any 2 dots. Before connecting the dots the player identifies the picture or prompt or says the verb forms on either side of the line.
  • Depending on the proficiency level of the class, the players can also be prompted to use the vocabulary words or adjective/verb forms to create more complex phrases and sentences.
  • If the player is not able to complete the prompt the turn passes and a line is not drawn.
  • When a player draws a line to make a complete box around a picture, prompt or subject/verb pair the player fills in the box and records a point on the top of the board.
  • Once all boxes are filled in the player with the most boxes wins.

So, your students know the vocabulary and adjective/verb forms, but  you would like them to use these language elements in context to create sentences. Problem solved with Starting Point (Point de Départ / Punto de Partida)….and no prep for the teacher at all.

 

13: Diving into Comprehensible Input with John Bracey

In this episode we talk all about comprehensible input (CI), which you will see is a useful approach in teaching and learning any language.

I am joined by John Bracey, a Latin teacher who uses CI very effectively with his students.  He also makes a strong case for all teachers to try out CI, including Latin teachers.

John speaks about…

  • his journey with CI and how he discovered it.
  • the linguistic benefits of CI. 
  • using CI to personalize language and connect with and validate students’ lived experiences.
  • what CI looks like in his classroom.
  • why Latin teachers should use CI.

Connect with John Bracey:

Follow wherever you listen to podcasts.

French & Spanish Digital Verb Form Activities

I have done a paper version of this activity, but now I do them digitally using Google Slides™.  Students are actively engaged in their language learning with these interactive digital squares verb form activities.

To complete the puzzles, students begin with a subject/infinitive from the number column and locate the correct form in the letter column.  They then find the corresponding square in the grid, such as 1E, 5G or 7B, and drag a red dot to it.

Each completed slide creates an obvious pattern that can be quickly graded by the teacher. There is an answer slide included with the solutions for each slide.

This video shows how to do the activities.

These digital squares activities can be used in class or remotely for:

  • Quick review
  • Activity for students who finish other activities early
  • Do Now (individual puzzles)
  • Homework (multiple puzzles)
  • Classwork (individual, group, station)
  • Substitute lesson plans

The activities are ready to go right away. All you have to do is share with your students.

French and Spanish Verb Form Magic Squares (Digital, Google Slides™)

What is that you hope to find when looking for resources?  Do any of these sound familiar?

  • Digital files that I can easily share with students
  • Activities that can be used in class, remote or hybrid
  • Little to no prep
  • Self-grading or easy to grade
  • Provides students with effective practice with polishing verb form knowledge

Digital magic squares activities using Google Slides™ check all of the boxes.

The right side of each screen has 16 subject/infinitive pairs and the grid has the verb forms that correspond to each pair. Students type the number of the subject/infinitive pair below the verb form.

When all numbers are filled in students can verify their answers. The total of the numbers in each row, column, and diagonal is 34. There are 4 puzzles in this activity, an answer slide and a vocabulary reference page.

Absolutely no prep needed. Just share with students. Useful for distance, hybrid, blended or in school learning and teaching.

Digital files, Useful in-class, Remote or hybrid, Little to no prep, Self-grading, Effective practice

Get your magic squares activities now and share immediately with students.

 

Digital French & Spanish Task Cards with Google Slides™

Task Cards are individual cards that offer students opportunities to engage with a particular topic in various forms.  There are different challenge or proficiency levels.  Task cards are useful because they provide opportunities for  easy differentiation.You may have used the paper versions of these in the classroom.  I created digital versions with Google Slides™.  They can easily be shared with students through platforms such as Google Classroom™.

There are 5 categories of prompts in each vocabulary task card set.  

Picture with choice of 4 words

Word with choice of 3 pictures

Fill in missing letters 

2 pictures, student writes words

Picture, student writes a sentence

There are 6 categories of prompts in the verb form task card sets.

1 Subject Pronoun, 4 Infinitives, student writes verb forms 

1 Infinitive, 4 Subject Pronouns, student writes verb forms

4 Verb Forms, student writes infinitive 

Sentence with Verb Missing, students chooses verb and writes form 

Subject Pronouns and Conjugated Verb, student completes sentence  Infinitive, student writes sentence

French & Spanish Learn, Practice, Apply Activities

I have written about lesson planning using the “Learn, Practice, Apply” sequence that I learned about from the teachers that I work with in Nicaragua.  I have found this simple framework very useful when planning lessons and activities in my language classroom.  I created Tab Books on a number of French and Spanish vocabulary and grammar topics that follow this sequence.  They are interactive and students enjoy assembling them and working through the process.

French & Spanish Learn, Practice Apply Activities

I reformatted the Tab Books into a no-prep, 3-page activity.  They begin with scaffolded notes so that students get familiar with the new material. Then they practice the material, and finally students apply the material in the last section. The “apply” stage is often left out when teaching new material. These activities assure that  students get to this stage in the learning process.

French & Spanish Learn, Practice Apply ActivitiesFrench & Spanish Learn, Practice Apply Activities

Lots of topics available from time, weather date, possessive and demonstrative adjectives to present and past tense verb forms, as well as conditional and subjunctive.

Digital Google Slides™ Activities to Focus on Foreign Language Verb Accuracy

This activity is an effective follow up and extension to comprehensible input activities.  Once students have seen (in writing) and heard verb forms in context the next step is to begin the process of producing language.  I like to use activities that show students various possibilities and have them choose the accurate form based on their interaction with the language forms.If you are moving away from direct instruction of verb conjugations try this out with students.  If they have had sufficient contextualized exposure to the verb forms and meanings you will likely see that students can choose the correct form based on what “sounds right.”  When this happens we know that they are progressing in their proficiency and moving toward accurate language output.

French & Spanish Digital Google Slides Activities French & Spanish Digital Google Slides Activities

Here is another way that includes the infinitive of the verb.French & Spanish Digital Google Slides ActivitiesFrench & Spanish Digital Google Slides Activities

I then take it a step further and have students write a sentence that show that they understand the meaning along with the form.  They have some question words to support the process.

French & Spanish Digital Google Slides Activities French & Spanish Digital Google Slides Activities

This activity is also useful when working with students in a PACE lesson, particularly in the co-construction and extension parts of the process.  Keep in mind that this is best used with students when they are detecting patterns with forms in an inductive (implicit) lesson, rather than deductive (explicit) lesson.

Deductive instruction is a “top-down” approach, meaning that the teacher starts with a grammar rule with specific examples, and the rule is learned through practice.

Inductive instruction is a “bottom-up” approach, meaning that the teacher provides examples of the structure in context and students make observations, detect patterns, formulate hypothesis, and draw conclusions

The inductive (implicit) approach focuses on meaning along with the forms  communicatively.  The deductive approach focused more (or maybe even only) on the forms. Brown (2007) reminds us that “While it might be appropriate to articulate a rule and then proceed to instances, most of the evidence in communicative second language teaching points to the superiority of an inductive approach to rules and generalizations.”

I have done these activities with Powerpoints with the entire class. You can take a look at some examples in the post.

I am also using digital activities more with students and now have them do this activity using Google Slides™ that can be shared directly through Google Classroom™ and students get their own copy. Ideal for distance learning, homework, in-person classes or blended, hybrid model.

Brown (2007).  Principles of Language Learning and Teaching.  Pearson Longman

Digital Tool to Support Foreign Language Sentence Creation

Students at the novice proficiency level typically speak and write in memorized chunks of language and phrases that they learn by memory.  As they progress in proficiency teachers can support their attempts at creating language on their own.  It is useful to guide them in finding their own ways to add on to the target language that they produce.  I find that one effective way of doing this is to begin by focusing on verbs that they know well and give them opportunities to use them in context.  First with various subjects and then by adding on to the verb phrases in ways that shows their understanding of the meaning of the verb.

Digital Tool to Support Foreign Language (French, Spanish) Sentence Creation

This activity is called Hidden Forms (Formes Cachées in French and Formas Escondidas in Spanish).  It is useful to use in PACE lesson as students engage in extension using the verb forms and structures that were introduced.  There is an added element of fun and strategy as students search for the correct verb forms in the grid.  Not necessarily the most communicative part of the activity, but I always think that students enjoy these small amusing elements and it has the added benefit of being done in the target language.

These Hidden Forms activities are all done in Google Slides and can be easily shared with students through platforms such as Google Classroom.  They work well whether as an in-class activity, homework or when doing distance or hybrid/blended learning and teaching.

First slide: There is a subject pronoun and an infinitive. Students write the correct verb form.Digital Tool to Support Foreign Language (French, Spanish) Sentence Creation Digital Tool to Support Foreign Language (French, Spanish) Sentence Creation

Second Slide: There is a grid with subject pronouns, infinitives and verb forms. Students find the subject, infinitive and verb form together from the first slide. They then highlight the boxes and “color in” the boxes with the fill color tool.

Digital Tool to Support Foreign Language (French, Spanish) Sentence CreationDigital Tool to Support Foreign Language (French, Spanish) Sentence Creation

Third Slide: Students write a sentence with each subject and verb form.

Digital Tool to Support Foreign Language (French, Spanish) Sentence CreationDigital Tool to Support Foreign Language (French, Spanish) Sentence Creation

Watch a video that shows how students engage with these digital activities.

Take a look at these Google Slides activities that you can copy directly into your Google Drive to share with students.

You can also see paper versions of these activities in this blog post.

Moving Student Foreign Language Writing from Novice to Intermediate

At the novice writing levels, students write with single words and lists initially, then move on to chunked phrases.

Novice Low/Mid:

  • green
  • apple, banana, orange
  • Josué
  • soccer, football
  • movies, restaurant

Novice High:

  • My favorite color is green
  • I like apples, bananas and oranges
  • My name is Josué
  • I play soccer and football
  • On the weekend I like to go to the movies and to a restaurant

As students move up to the intermediate proficiency level they begin to create discrete sentences on their own that move beyond chunked phrases.  This can be challenging for students because they are no longer relying on memorized phrases to chunk together.  We can help scaffold this process for students by supporting them in creating sentences.  Students often don’t knowhow to add details to a sentence to make it their own, particularly when writing.

Moving Student Foreign Language Writing from Novice to Intermediate (French, Spanish)

I have found that using question words with students is a simple and effective way to have students add details to their sentences that move from memorized, chunked phrases to discrete sentences that are created by the student.  The more they do this the more they will grow in confidence and begin to do it on their own when writing.

Here is an example of an activity that has been effective in showing students that they can in fact move up the proficiency ladder by creating their own sentences.  I call it “Staring with a Verb” (A Partir d’un Verbe, A Partir de un Verbo).

Moving Student Foreign Language Writing from Novice to IntermediateMoving Student Foreign Language Writing from Novice to Intermediate

I created these activities in Google Slides so that students and type their sentences directly in the slide and then submit the document when finished.  This is particularly useful when using Google Classroom and ideal during distance learning.

Moving Student Foreign Language Writing from Novice to IntermediateMoving Student Foreign Language Writing from Novice to Intermediate

Take a look at some possibilities: