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.
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.
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 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.
This is a fun and engaging way for students to practice verb forms or any type of vocabulary. I call this shipwreck (Naufrage, Naufragio, Hǎinàn-海难, Schiffbruch, Naufragium). The board has 1oo squares, you can use fewer or more depending on the level of your students.
In the example below there are subjects and infinitives in each box. Students play against an opponent and choose a box. He then says or writes the correct verb form. The example below has the student put the verb in the past tense in French. If the opponent agrees that it is correct, the player gets to color in the square with his color, then it is the opponent’s turn. If the opponent does not agree with the response the teacher is summoned to verify. If the answer is not correct the player loses that turn. When a player gets three boxes in a row of his color he gets a point, which is recorded on the bottom. Each play has a different color and employs a blocking strategy to try to prevent the opponent from getting three boxes in a row. This works well with vocabulary (students either translate or use the word in a sentence) or adjective/adverb forms as well.
You can make these activities in a WORD Document or you can download these activities that are ready to use:
In an effort to try to cut down on the number of drafts that students need to write, particularly when the language issues are in the areas of spelling, accent placement, verb forms and adjective agreement, try using this approach. Give the students the topic in advance of an in-class writing assignment along with the prep sheet (see example below). The prep sheet is for student use and reference during the writing assignment in class. The left hand side has room for brainstorming and outlining, while right hand site has spaces for nouns, verbs in the infinitive, verb conjugation tables and any other grammatical or mechanical language element that students need to focus on. Students then write in class and use this sheet, which they have completed on their own based in the topic. This information is essentially what students will need to reference when working on additional drafts that the teacher has corrected. This approach has students notice and reference on their own and will most likely make an additional draft unnecessary. Try having students write on a topic with and without this type of sheet and see how the student work is different. The grammar topics on the right side should reflect the topic and what the teacher wants the students to use while writing.
This handy reference for students has verb forms on both sides. I photocopy it on card stock (two-sides) and cut it into strips so that students can put it in their books, usually in the lesson we are currently studying. My students really like having this easily accessible reference so that they don’t always have to go looking through their book for verb forms when speaking and writing. The example below is for beginning/intermediate students, but more advanced students would benefit from more advanced verb forms and conjugations.
This handy reference can be made in a WORD document by making columns or text boxes. You can also download them completed in French and Spanish here: