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 word. 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.
Take a spin of this wheel that I created to do a review activity with a 7th grade class.
This wheel is from an activity with Spanish verbs.
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
This is an interactive activity for students to practice verb forms in a foreign language. Download the powerpoint templates:
Begin by typing the infinitives and corresponding verb forms on the powerpoint template. Be sure to put the verb forms in the opposite direction so that line up when placed on top of each other. Then, print out the two verb sheets and the the puzzle image that you would like, and photocopy the subject/infinitive sheet onto the back of the image that you chose. Card stock is more durable, but regular paper works as well. And finally cut out the squares along the lines dividing the subject/infinitive pairs.
The templates have 10 images to choose from (5 famous paintings 5 landmarks). There are also two version of the verb puzzle that can be used with any of the images.
Students match the subject/infinitive to the correct verb form on the puzzle board and place the subject/infinitive on top of the verb form with the image side facing up. They continue until the image is complete.
Students can do this activity in groups of 2, 3 or 4. Each player gets his own card. 1 die is needed and bingo chips (or anything that will cover the die on the card). The object of the game is to be the first to cover all 12 dice on the card.
Player 1 rolls the die and chooses one of the two die with that number on his card and says the subject and correct verb form in the target language or identifies the image in the target language. If correct, he covers the die. Play continues with the next student. Once two of the same number are covered on a player’s card play will continue to the next player if the number is rolled again.
The first player to cover all the numbers on his card wins the round. Students then exchange their card with another player and play the round again.
These activities can be created in WORD or you can download complete versions below:
You can download full versions of these activities below:
Spanish Verb Forms
French Verb Forms
All that is needed for these activities is a deck of regular player cards and a copy of the reference page. Students can play in groups of two or three.
Once cards are dealt, payers flip over their top card. The player with the highest value (ace is low, king is high) locates the subject/infinitive or the vocabulary picture that corresponds to that card (3 of hearts, king of diamonds, 4 of clubs, 7 of spades, etc.) on the reference sheet and says the correct verb form or identifies the picture. For more of a challenge the students can be required to say a complete sentence with the verb form or vocabulary picture. He then takes the cards and adds them to his point pile. If there is a tie for the highest card, the winner of the round is the player who speaks first.
Once the deck is used up, all players count the cards that they placed aside and record their scores on a sheet of paper. All the cards are reshuffled and play continues.
The teacher can decide the end point. (Go through the deck two or three times, first player to 30, 40, 50, 60 points).
You can download French and Spanish of these activities here: