Category Archives: Grammar and Structures

Subject Pronoun Pictures for Foreign Language

I introduce these subject pronoun images early on so that students have a visual way to associate the subject pronouns in the target language.  I recycle these images in writing and speaking activities as well.  They can be used for any language.

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You can download the images HERE.

Foreign Language Verb Form Practice Activity for Pairs or Small Groups

Foreign (World) Language Verb Form Practice Activity for Pairs or Small Groups (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comA very interactive activity for student to practice verb forms.
After rolling the dice or spinning the spinner/top, players choose a square on the board that corresponds to the correct verb form. To score points, players need to fill in a square that is touching another square that is colored in and they mark the points on the bottom of the board.      Foreign (World) Language Verb Form Practice Activity for Pairs or Small Groups (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comI usually use different variations of the activity to keep students interested.
–Version 1–
Cut out the spinner shapes and place a pencil or match-stick through the center so that it can be used as a top. One spinner top has subject pronouns and the other has infinitives. You can also put a paper fastener in the middle with a paper clip attached to use it as a spinner.
–Version 2–
Students use the dice sheet. One die is needed and a first roll corresponds to the subject pronoun and second roll to an infinitive.
–Version 3–
Mix the first two versions and use one spinner and one dice sheet.

You can create these in a table using WORD.  You can also download these activities below:

Using Mind Maps to Learn a Foreign Language

Mind maps can be used to learn grammar and vocabulary.  They are also useful for organizing thoughts on a topic in the target language before engaging in a conversation or writing about a particular topic. Mind maps are maps of connections between  ideas that a student creates on paper with various colors and images or they can be created digitally.  Mind maps look like neurons and represent the schemata that is created in the brain as it attempts to connect concepts. It is a refection of how memory is created. learn-french-mind-map-christine-richsteiner

Each person draws a mind map in a different way. Some are clean and orderly, while  others seem to be pure chaos. Mind mapping is meant to represent individual thinking patterns.  Students can use colors, pictures or whatever they want to make their mind map understandable and useful to them.

Here is an in-depth article on how mind maps can be used effectively in foreign language learning.

Foreign Language Verb Form Card Game

In this game players are dealt 5 cards to begin and place a card face up on the discard pile that is either the same verb (any form) or the same form (Je/Yo/Io/Ich, Tu/Tú/Tu/Du, etc.-any verb) as the top card on the discard pile. When the card is placed down, the player must say a complete sentence in the target language using the verb form.

Foreign (World) Language Verb Form Card Game. (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comTo make it a little more interesting I also put special cards that a player can choose to play:

  • “arrêt” changes the verb
  • “sauter” skips the next player
  • “inverser” changes the direction of play
  • “+2” requires the next player to pick up 2 cards.

The first player to use all of his/her cards wins the game. A very interactive way for small groups of students to review verb forms and practice speaking in complete sentences.

Foreign (World) Language Verb Form Card Game. (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comYou can download full French and Spanish versions of this card game below:

Foreign Language Speaking and Writing Activity Using Powerpoint

Foreign (World) Language Speaking and Writing Powerpoint Activity (French, Spanish)

This is a great activity to get students saying (or writing) complete sentences in the target language that  demonstrate the meaning of the verb.  Powerpoint animation can be a very effective tool for these writing and speaking activities.

Here are two possibilities:

  • Students write sentences based on the subject and infinitive on each slide when a infinitive and a subject pronoun are revealed. Students also see 4 possible verb forms. An additional click can reveal the correct form for students to verify their answer and present a question word so that students can complete the sentence with an answer to the question word.
  • Another option is for two students to go to the board (where powerpoint is projected) and each one has a fly swatter. The activity begins just as the first activity, but in this version the first student to slap the correct verb form says a complete sentence with the correct verb form once the form is revealed and the question word appears.Foreign (World) Language Speaking and Writing Powerpoint Activity (French, Spanish)

These are fairly straight-forward uses of powerpoint animation.  You can also download complete version with 50+ slides here:

Foreign Language Sentence Writing Activity (Tactile, Concrete, Visual)

Foreign(World) Language Sentence Writing Activity (French, Spanish)

This activity helps students build sentences in the target language in a very visual, concrete and tactile way. Students cut out the individual words, assemble sentences and then write them. This is a great way to help with individual student problem areas (verb forms, word order, negation) in a very concrete way since the papers can be swapped out along with a concrete explanation.

These documents can be created in WORD or you can download several Spanish and French verb form versions below:

Foreign Language Verb Form Practice With Sentences

This activity gets students writing sentences with correct verb forms that demonstrates that they know the meaning of the verb and its various forms. Begin each slide with a single click that reveals the verb (infinitive) and 3 subject pronouns with question words. Students have 40 seconds (the line on the bottom of the slide disappears to show time passing) to write three sentences that include the subject, the correct form of the verb and the additional information based on the question word(s).  The next screen shows the three verb forms that students should have written so that they can check their work. The teacher then has students share their examples with a partner or with the class. This activity works well individually or in pairs. Students can write the sentences on small white boards or on a sheet of paper.

This activity can be done using Powerpoint animation.  Below are some complete activities to practice various French and Spanish verb forms.



Using Powerpoint to Practice Foreign Language Writing

This is a great activity that use powerpoint to get students writing  and practicing verb forms.  The teacher begins each slide with a single click reveals three number combinations.
Practice Foeign (World) Language Vern Forms and Tenses with Powerpoint (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comThe first number is the subject and the second number is the verb. Students then have 30 seconds (the triangle disappears to show time passing) to write the three subjects with the correct form of the verb. An additional click shows the three subjects with the correct verb forms so that students can check their verb forms.  Here is an example of a French writing activity.
French Activities:
Spanish Activities:

Language Puzzles to help Students Understand Verb Tenses

verb_tensesThis activity presents a made up language. Students look at examples of how verbs show tense and must decipher what words puts a verb in the past, present, or future. This is a great exercise to help students understand the abstract concept of verb tenses. By using an artificial language students will be able to create phrases in the past, present, and future without resorting to grammar rules. You will find yourself referring back to exercise throughout the year as students struggle with understanding verb tense. This great for a language arts class or any foreign language class.   You can download a full versions of this activity here.

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Imperfect and Pretertite/Passe Compose Writing Project

I do a unit every year that  guides my  students through the writing of five personal paragraphs focusing on the Preterite/Passé Composé  and the Imperfect Verb Tenses. I  give guidelines for peer editing, self-editing, tense distinction and a rubric for grading the final copy of the writing assignment. There are twenty pages total and a table of contents to help students stay organized during the writing process. I typically give the entire packet at once,  but the sections can also be given out individually.

You can download the full versions of this project here: