Task Cards are individual cards that offer students opportunities to engage with a particular topic in various forms. Each typically has a prompt or activity that students complete either individually or in pairs or small groups. There are usually different challenge levels as well. Task cards are particularly useful because they provide lots of opportunities for hands-on activities and movement in the classroom. They also lend themselves very easily to differentiation.
There are 6 categories of prompts in the verb form task card sets, prompts include:
- 1 Subject Pronoun, 4 Infinitives, student writes verb forms (cards 1-6)
- 1 Infinitive, 4 Subject Pronouns, student writes verb forms (cards 7-12)
- 4 Verb Forms, student writes infinitive (cards 13-18)
Subject Pronouns and Conjugated Verb, student completes sentence (cards 19-24)
- Sentence with Verb Missing, students chooses verb and writes form (cards 25-30)
- Infinitive, student writes complete sentence (cards 31-36)
These activities can be done in writing (response sheet included) or orally.
French Verb Form Task Cards
There are 5 categories of prompts in each vocabulary task card set. Prompts include:
- Picture with choice of 4 words (cards 1-12)
- Word with choice of 3 pictures (cards 13-18)
- Fill in missing letters (cards 19-24)
- 2 pictures, student writes words (cards 25-30)
- Picture, student writes a sentence with the word (cards 31-36)
French Vocabulary Task Cards
For additional ideas on using these French Task Cards see my previous post on 10 Ways to Use Task Cards in the Foreign Language Classroom.
Are you looking for new and inventive ways to make vocabulary and verb form/tense practice more engaging, communicative and proficiency-based in your foreign language class. Have you seen task cards popping up all over the Internet? They are getting more popular because they are a very effective way of accomplishing our goals for students. Task cards are particularly useful because they provide lots of opportunities for hands-on activities and movement in the classroom.
Here are some examples of task cards for the foreign language classroom:
There many ways to use task cards in the language classroom. Here are a few of my go-to activities:
- Warm-Ups (Do Nows): When they enter the room, students choose 2 or 3 cards and complete the prompt.
- Fast Finishers: Students that finish another activity early can choose a few of the cards and complete the prompts.
- Exit Ticket: Just before the end of class hand out a task card to each student and they respond to the prompt and hand it to the teacher (who verifies the answer) as they leave the room.
- Station Activity: Divide the cards up into different areas (stations) around the room put students into groups. Give student or group a task card response sheet. When groups finish the cards at the station, groups rotate to a new station.
- Scoot: Place a task card on each desk. Each student gets a response sheet. Students answer the question on the task card and then “scoot” to the next desk until they have rotated all around the room. Set a timer to complete the prompt. You can also put several cards on each desk for students to complete. They can either complete them all in one round or rotate back to that desk to complete the additional cards.
- Differentiation: Assign students specific cards that respond to their current abilities with the material.
- Back to Back: Give a pair of students the same task card to answer. They sit or stand with their backs against each other. Students read and complete the prompt at the same time when the signal is given to begin. This works best when answers are written on mini white boards. The first to answer correctly gets a point. This can be done with two big teams with one team member coming up to compete against a member from the other team, or in small groups of 3, with two students competing and one judging.
- Traditional Board Games: Combine the task cards with traditional game boards and have students complete a task card to be able to move.
- Quiz Games: Play games like Jeopardy and use the task card as prompts and questions.
- Interactive Bulletin Board: Put task cards on a bulletin board or around the room. Assign individual students 8-10 numbers. If done during class students can circulate and write the answers on a response sheet. This can also be done as a homework assignment.
El Camino/Le Chemin is an engaging and interactive speaking activity that students can do in pairs or small groups. Very quick set-up with no prep needed. Just print out the two pages that make up the game board and students are ready to go. Students can do this activity in groups of 2 or 3. Each player needs a game piece to move around the board. They can use a bingo chip, a coin or any object of similar size. One die is also needed for the activity.
All players start at “Début” or “Comeinzo.” Taking turns, each player rolls the die and moves the number of spaces rolled. The object is to land on the numbered boxes in the correct order (1-12). They can move in any direction, but they can’t use the same box twice in a turn. They can share a box with another player. The winner is the first player to land on square #12. The game can be made longer by having players return to “Début” or “Comienzo”and work toward #12 a second time.
Each time a player rolls the die and moves closer to the next number, he/she must say the verb, number, time, category word, etc. of the square he/she lands on. They can also be required to say a complete sentences.
You can download these activities here:
It’s one thing for students to learn verb forms, it’s another for them to know the meaning and be able to actively use them in a sentence. To help with this, I created these verb tense (form) and sentence writing activities that are interactive. I use Powerpoint to keep the process moving and engaging.
The teachers begins each slide with a single click that produces a number written in words on the bottom of the screen. Students find the digit in the grid and write the subject and correct verb form based on the column and row of the digit.
A circle appears and begins to disappear (20 seconds for the first 20 slides) during which time students write the subject and correct verb form. They can write this on a sheet of paper or on mini-white boards. The board is covered with a “Fin” square after 20 seconds.
A second click reveals the digit and the subject and verb so that students can verify that they found the correct number and the correct subject and verb form.
After practicing this activity on the first 20 slides, students can then write complete sentences on the next 20 slides by writing the subject, correct verb form and an answer to the question word that accompanies the infinitive. The timer on these slides is set to 30 seconds to allow more time to write the sentences. Students can then read examples of the sentences that they wrote.
The teacher is free to use as many or as few of the subject/verb slides before moving on to the subject/verb/question slides.
You can download over 25 versions of these activities in French and Spanish by clicking the links.
- Present tense (regular, irregular, stem-change, accent-change verbs)
- Past Tenses (preterit, present perfect, passé composé)
- Present progressive
- Simple future
- Reflexive Verbs
This fun and engaging speaking activity is a great opportunity for students to practice language structures. These activities focus on grammar points and are similar to the vocabulary activities in a previous post.
Students can do this activity in groups of 2 or 3. Each group needs a copy of the game board, one die, and 36 bingo chips.
Players take turns rolling the die twice. The first number is the vertical number and the second number is the horizontal number. The player locates the box at the intersection of the two numbers and says the correct form of the subject and verb in the box. For more of a challenge players can be required to use the verb form in a sentence. There are also possibilities for other grammar points such as adjectives, possessive and demonstrative adjectives.
If correct, the player scores the number of points in the box. Once a box is used the player covers the box with a bingo chip and that box can’t be used again. If a player rolls the die and the corresponding box is taken he/she forfeits the turn.
Play continues between players until all the squares are covered. The winner will be the player with the most points once the board is covered.
You can download complete version of these activities in French and Spanish on the topics listed below.
Spanish Language Structure Activities
French Language Structure Activities
- Regular Verbs
- Irregular Verbs
- Present Tense
- Past Tenses
- Future Tense
- Demonstrative Adjectives
- Possessive Adjectives
Proficiency and Fluency are the natural use of language that occurs when a speaker takes part in meaningful interaction and maintains communication despite inaccuracy. They often require negotiation of meaning and address misunderstandings.
Accuracy focuses on correct use of language and structures.
Activities in the foreign language classroom tend to fall into these two categories.
Taking the key words from these activity descriptions, we can see that Proficiency-Based Activities focus on meaningful communication, employ strategies to navigate unpredictable language, use language in context, and don’t use dictated structures. Accuracy-Based Activities focus on small amounts of correct language used out of context, use dictated structures and don’t focus on communication.
Where does this leave us, given that accurate language is needed to communicate in context? I believe that there is a place for both types of activities in the foreign language classroom. Traditional teaching methods have focused most attention on accuracy of language at the expense of proficiency and fluency. In the communicative language classroom instruction should provide a balanced approach that gives students opportunities to build proficiency, while at the same time tending to the accuracy of their language.
Students enjoy this communicative activity that gives them lots of opportunities to practice vocabulary and verb forms. This game is based on the classic French game Le Jeu de Sept Familles (The Game of Seven Families). The goal of the game is to collect the six cards (a half dozen) with the same name. The deck contains 7 “families” which are identified by 7 names in the vocabulary version or 7 infinitives in the verb form version. Each “family” has 6 members (6 pictures or the 6 conjugations of the infinitive).
Begin by distributing 6 cards to each player. The rest of the pile remains face down in the middle. Player 1 starts the game by asking any player if he has a card (picture or verb form) that he needs to complete a family (Half Dozen). The player may only ask for cards for a name that he has in his hands.
If the player asked has the card, he will give it to player 1. Player 1 will ask again. If the player asked does not have the card, he will say “Pioche” or “Recoge” and player 1 will take a card from the pile, and play will continue with the next player.
When a player collects all 6 pictures or all 6 forms of a verb, he announces it to the group and puts the cards down for everyone to see. When there are no more cards in the pile, the game continues without players picking up new cards. The player with the most names completed at the end of the game wins.
You can download full versions of these activities below:
Spanish Verb Forms
French Verb Forms
On Wheel Decide, teachers can type in the words that they want displayed on the wheel and on each click the wheel spins and lands on a random color. There are so many uses for this online tool. Fill in verbs and students write or say a sentence; type in vocabulary words and students write sentences or say a sentence in small groups or pairs; type in topics for pairs or small groups to use as speaking prompts; type in student names for setting up groups…so many possibilities
The teacher can even save the wheels that he/she creates for future use. It takes only minutes to create a wheel and you will be using it instantly. And the best part is that it’s free.
This is a fun and interactive activity that students play in a group of 2, 3 or 4. It is an inventive twist on classic memory. I call it “The Games Goes On.” You’ll see why. I typically do this with 20 pairs (40 cards total).
-Separate cards into two piles, picture cards and word cards (or subject/infinitive and verb form cards). On one side of the board, place the picture cards (or subject/infinitive and verb form cards) face down, one in each box, so that the numbers are covered. The remaining cards go face-down in a pile on the “cards” box.
-On the other side of the board, place the word cards (or verb form cards) face down, one in each box, so that the numbers are covered. The remaining cards go face-down on the in a pile on the “cards” box.
-Each player picks up two cards, one from each side of the board. If the cards match the player keeps them and adds up the points that were under the two cards and keeps a running total of points throughout the game. For speaking practice the player should say the word (or verb form) or use it in a sentence. If the cards don’t match they are returned to their spots and play continues with the next player.
-When a player gets a match he takes one card from each pile in the middle of the board and puts them (without looking at them) on the empty spaces and has an additional turn. This is the reason for the game being called “The Game Goes On”. This continues until the cards run out. Be sure to keep the words on one side of the board and the pictures on the other. The player with the most points after all the cards have been used wins.
You can download complete version of this activity below:
The new wave of communicative language teaching focuses more on fluency, which is a great improvement from the past, but my teaching experience and research have taught me that there is a place for activities that focus on fluency and activities that focus on accuracy in the foreign language classroom.
From time to time I like to have students engage in activities and games that focus on language forms, even if the focus is not as communicative as I may want. I have found that this is an important step in building the skills that students need to communicate. Some of these activities include Dice Games, Card Games, Spinner Games, Verb Form Games, and Powerpoint Games.
Here is my rational
Fluency is the natural use of language that occurs when a speaker takes part in meaningful interaction that maintains communication despite inaccuracy, and requires negotiation of meaning and addresses misunderstandings.
Accuracy, on the other hand, focuses on correct use of language and structures.
Traditional teaching methods have focused more attention on accuracy of language at the expense of fluency. In the communicative language classroom instruction should provide a balanced approach that gives students opportunities to build fluency, while at the same time tending to the accuracy of their language, so that incorrect (inaccurate) language forms are not fossilized