Category Archives: Grammar and Structures

Make Logic Puzzles in Any Language

I’ve been workshopping how to make logic puzzles so that I can engage students in various vocabulary topics and language structures.  This is yet another way to provide students with opportunities to see and use language in context.  These logic puzzles also require a bit of critical thinking skills as they follow the logic and figure out the answers.

Make Logic Puzzles in Any Language or Topic (French, Spanish)

I spent some time coming up with the “equations” and templates so that I can just add in the topic vocabulary and write the clue sentences.  I decided to create 4 versions that increase in challenge level.

You can download your own templates and get to work creating your own logic puzzles for your students. The link below will make a copy of the Google Slide™ temples in your Google Drive™.  Just follow the equations for the clues and you will soon have logic puzzles using the specific content that pertains to your students.

Make Logic Puzzles in Any Language or Topic (French, Spanish)

How does it work?

  • There are 4 versions of the logic puzzles for increased challenge. The directions are in English, but can be easily changed to any language.
  • Begin by filling in the boxes in the top row and the column on the left. This can be names of people, pictures, anything.

Make Logic Puzzles in Any Language or Topic (French, Spanish)

  • Use the data “equations” to write sentences that lead students to follow the logic and figure out the answers. “=“ means a positive statement and “≠” means a negative statement.
    • 1. C ≠ 2
    • 2. B ≠ 4
    • 3. A = 2
    • 4. D ≠ 3
    • 5. C = 1
  • Using the example above:
    • 1. C ≠ 2 :  Mateo does not have a tablet.
    • 2. B ≠ 4 : Lucía doesn’t have a computer.
    • 3. A = 2 : Laura has a tablet.
    • 4. D ≠ 3 : Julia doesn’t have a pencil.
    • 5. C = 1 : Mateo has a notebook.
  • The checkmarks are there to make sure you are following the equations. When finished, be sure to delete the checkmarks and the letters/numbers above and to the left of the grid.

Make Logic Puzzles in Any Language or Topic (French, Spanish)

  • The last thing to do is to add question below where the students will find the answers in the grid.

Have fun with these and let us all know what you come up with.

Make Logic Puzzles in Any Language or Topic (French, Spanish)

Practice or Review Activity for Any Language Topic

I came across an activity on called Nothing Ventured.  The wheels started turning right away as I thought of the ways that it could be used in a language classroom.  There are lot of useful ideas on the Teacher Toolkit website, but they are not specific to language teaching.  No fear.  I got you covered.Practice or Review Activity for Any Language Topic from vocabulary to language structures. French, Spanish, English, Italian, German, Portuguese.

I got to work creating a template to use with my students in the target language.  I also put together templates in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German and Italian.  You can download them all here and it also includes the directions for the doing the activity in your classroom.

Practice or Review Activity for Any Language Topic from vocabulary to language structures. French, Spanish, English, Italian, German, Portuguese.

Practice or Review Activity for Any Language Topic from vocabulary to language structures. French, Spanish, English, Italian, German, Portuguese.

Practice or Review Activity for Any Language Topic from vocabulary to language structures. French, Spanish, English, Italian, German, Portuguese.

I chose the title The Die Decides for my take on this activity.  I’m always looking for ways to incorporate different materials and that little die can be used for so much.  I’m happy to have yet another way to put it to use.

The Die Decides is an interactive activity that can be used for almost any topic in your language class, such as:

  • practicing vocabulary themes
  • practicing language structures
  • assessing understanding after reading or listening
  • reviewing before an assessment

The teacher creates the questions based on the topic being covered.

How the activity works

  • Individual students, pairs or small groups each need a six-sided die and a “The Die Decides” sheet.
  • Players (individual, pair or group) roll the die before each question is presented either verbally or in writing. They record the number rolled in the “Die” column of their sheet.
  • The teacher says or shows a question (perhaps projected). Students discuss, if in pairs or groups, and write their answer in the “Answer” column of their sheet.
  • The teacher says or shows the correct answer to the question. It can also be part of the projection slides or simply written on the board. Students check their answer and determine whether they were correct or incorrect. The teacher should be vigilant to make sure answer are not altered.
  • If the answer is correct, players get the points that they rolled prior to the question being asked. If they are incorrect, they lose those points.
  • Students then update their total as they continue on with each question.
  • The player (individual, pair or group) with the most points after all the questions have been asked wins the game.

Students enjoy this activity and use so much language as they discuss possible answers, listen to and read questions and react to their points changing as they progress through the game.  Remember that you can download templates in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German and Italian.

Practice or Review Activity for Any Language Topic from vocabulary to language structures. French, Spanish, English, Italian, German, Portuguese.

Use Google Slides™ to Create Interactive Stacks

Once in a while I see a post on or tweet and it sparks a new idea.  Maybe I don’t do it the exact way that it was shown, but it gets the wheels turning.

This happed last week when I saw a tweet from Meredith White, a Spanish teacher in Georgia.  She shared a Google Slide™ tip and I got to thinking right away about all the ways that I could use it to engage students with their language learning.

Use Google Slides™ to Create Interactive Stacks (French, Spanish)

Essentially, Meredith showed that you can pile up text boxes and then have students work through the “stack” and move the boxes around the screen.

Here is the run-down of how to do it:

🖱 Click image
🖱 Duplicate as many times as you want
🖱 To turn those into a stack, select all images
🖱 Click arrange, choose left
🖱 Click arrange, choose top
✨ Now students can drag & drop from a stack.

And here is a quick video that shows how to do this and an idea that I came up with that uses the stack:

I hope this inspired you in the same way it inspired me.

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.