Activities That Work /
A. Activities for grammar point and spelling

Synopsis prepared by Lee Risley

Back to Table of Contents:
A. Activities for grammar point and spelling.
1. Adjectives.
2. Commands.
3. Demonstratives.
4. Object pronouns.
5. Possessives.
6. Prepositions.
7. Spelling.
8. Verbs.

1. Adjectives.

96/10 From-> odunn <>
Subject: teaching comparison

I would like to share an activity that my students enjoy when we learn
comparisons in Spanish. this can be done with comparative and
superlative as well as the "" and as many (much)

You need to make 3 sets of posters. Mine are simply 8.5 X 11 paper in
three different colors. the lettering should be large enough to be seen
by all in the class. Use either a dark marker or if you use a computer,
about a 48 font size. In a corner label each set: 1a, 1b, 1c, 2a, 2b,
2c, etc. Here are a few examples:

1a. I am 1m 95cm. I'm very tall.
1b. I am 1m 93cm. I'm tall.
1c. I am 1m 96cm. I'm very very tall.

Nouns can be compared and with at least some of the sets, make two
people the same.

2a. I have 10 friends. I'm popular.
2b. I have 10 friends. I'm popular also.
2c. I have 15 friends. I'm very popular.

Sensitive adjectives like fat, pretty, etc. can be used but should refer
to some fictitious person like my aunt Zelda.

3a. My aunt Zelda is fat. She weighs 110 kilos. 3b. My aunt Gertie is
fat. She weighs 125 kilos. 3c. My aunt Viola is fat. She weighs 130.

4a. My cousin is pretty. She is Miss Apple Festival. 4b. My cousin is
pretty. She is Miss Illinois. 4c. My cousin is pretty. She is Miss

Don't forget the irregular adjectives:

5a. I am a very good student. I get As and Bs. 5b. I am an excellent
student. I get As. 5c. I am a good student also. I get all Bs.

I have 2 million dollars. I'm rich.
My IQ is 185. I'm very intelligent.

You get the idea. Depending on weather you are including superlatives or
not this will require 2 or 3 student volunteers. They stand in front of
the class and display a set to the class. After the rest of the class
members have had a chance to read the signs, call on people or ask for
volunteers to make comparisons.

Example: Tonya volunteers and then says aloud. "Mark is as popular as
David but Tom is the most popular of the three."
Beth volunteers and says aloud. "David's cousin is prettier than Mark's
cousin but Tom's cousin in the prettiest of all.

As I said the students have always enjoyed this activity and often the
situations are very comical ans when the center of the basketball team
shows a sign reading "I measure 4' 8", I'm short.

Note that if this is being done as a re-entry activity in a more
advanced class it can be made more complicated by requiring other
expressions such as: David's aunt is fat but "the one of" Tom ... Here
we are not only forcing a "the one of expression" but also possession -
The aunt of David ...

Oliver Dunn


97/04 From-> Tamara Faust <>
Subject: Re: modern languages games

I use a lot of games in my classroom and modify the material by level. I
have a packet of game information I'll bring home from school tomorrow
and post. Until then, try this version of baseball:

1. Divide the class into two teams. I use how they are seated as there
batting order.
2. Draw a home plate, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd base on the board along with
team names for score keeping, and outs to keep track of errors.
3. The team that goes first is up to bat. I am the pitcher. I ask a
question (This could be anything! Recently I used past participles of
irregular verbs) If the batter answers correctly put an X on 1st if not
it is one out. After three outs the other team is at bat.
4. The next batter that answers correctly advances to first and advances
the other batter to 2nd. (It therefore takes 4 students to score 1 point
and each batter after that scores for their team)
5. I put on a score cap of 5 runs per at-bat to prevent a run-away.

I hope this helps. Now that I've read it , it appears more difficult in
print that it seems.

Good luck and Play Ball!!

Tamara Faust

2. Commands

97/10 From-> Barbara Law <p_blaw@K12.MEC.OHIO.GOV>
Subject: Commands idea

I have an activity where I have silly things written on cards in Spanish
with the infinitive. Students volunteer to give the commands and select
a card (unseen) then pick a student (who hasn't gone yet ) to perform
the action. Things like:

Sit in the trash can.
Put a pencil on your nose. (they always think "in" automatically!) Kiss
the teacher's hand.
Take off your shoes.
Draw a dog on the chalkboard.
Yell "I love Spanish!"
Sing "Row, row, row your boat"(or other song everyone is sure to know)
Hug (another student of their choice).
Change seats with______ (another student). Bring us some toilet paper
from the bathroom. Dance (the Macarena)! (Oh, the embarrassment!) etc.

You can probably think of your own. The kids love it!

Barbara Law


97/10 From-> Michelle Moyer <>
Subject: Re: Commands idea

Depending on your classes, you can also give them the same kind of
activity they did in middle/elementary school to practice following
directions: a series of commands (usually slightly strange), the last of
which is something like "put your name on your paper and hand it in.
Don't do anything else."

The last time I taught commands (2 years ago), I had 3 Spanish II
classes (the year we did commands at that school). In 2 classes, I knew
that any teasing a kid who didn't follow directions got would be
good-natured; in the third, they had a tendency to be nasty to one
another, so I made all the commands written, eliminating the "loud"

A sample list of commands (in English) might be:

Read all the directions before you do anything else. Draw a square on
your paper.
Draw a circle inside the square.
Write down three <L2> words that start with the letter "B." Clap your
hands three times.
Get up, write your name on the chalkboard, and go sit down. Yell "I am
the best. I'm number one."
Ignore all the previous commands. Write your name on your paper and turn
it in.

I tried making a couple of lists of commands, some longer than others,
so that the kids couldn't just watch what the better students were

It doesn't take that long to do this, and my kids always like it. This
is after we've done activities like a lot of the ones mentioned here.

Michelle Moyer


97/10 From-> Kathleen Bulger <>
Subject: Commands

I am just doing some commands with level 2 and I say that I am the
"dictator" and they have to do what I say......then I change it around
and tell them that they get to be the dictator of the class. I give them
a situation like: My house is dirty....they say "CLEAN the house " or
"The grass is very long"--"Cut it" get the idea.....I use the
vocab. that is current and they love to tell me what to do. So now I have
to think up more situations for which they can make commands. Well, that
is my 2 centavos. . . . .
Kathleen Sweeney Bulger


97/10 From-> Aparna <aparna@NETROPOLIS.ORG>
Subject: Command activities

Here's one short activity I read in a book which I always do :

Give the students this little puzzle to solve :

0 0
0 0 0
0 0 0 0

The above diagram (with 10 counters) has to be changed into the diagram
below (ie reversed) but you can ONLY move 3 counters.

0 0 0 0
0 0 0
0 0

(the top diagram is a triangle the second diagram is an upside down
triangle - I hope these diagrams have come out correctly!)

If any of the students solve it they have to explain the solution in the
target language to the other students. If nobody solves it then you have
to explain.

eg. Look at the bottom line
Take the counter on the extreme right.
Place this counter on the second line on the extreme right. Look at the
bottom line again.
Do the same with the counter on the left. Finally take the counter on
the first line. Think! Where do you have to put it?

Another activity using commands is cookery. As a homework assignment you
could get them to make something simple (even an exotic sandwich eg
chocolate banana and cornflakes sandwich)and they bring it to school and
explain to the others how to make it ( in the TL of course).Students can
then taste the various dishes (that's the best part!).

Aparna <>


97/10 From-> Deb Duarte <>
Subject: Re: Commands

For Span III classes, they have to teach something that takes 6 or more
steps. They have to turn in an advance copy so I can make corrections,
then they get a few days to learn and then they have top present. THere
must be a hands on something. We have learned to do everything from play
the sax to tying one's shoes to making a bat house to making a
peanut butter notes.



97/10 From-> Nicholas McLellan Vincent <>
Subject: Re: Commands

One activity I have done and will do again with my EFL students in
Mexico is to write recipes ... and prepare the food (usually out of
class) there are a lot of concepts in writing how to make lemonade, from
precise clear instructions to order. The students have been from grade 3
primary to grade 10 in Mexico

Nick McLellan
Instituto de Ciencias, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico


97/10 From->
Subject: Re: Commands (fun activity)

For years I have had my students do a "Treasure Hunt" to practice

To do this, you must have administrative approval to let students wander
the campus/building the day of the actual hunt. Here in California, we
have open-air campuses, but I also did this in a 3-story enclosed
building in Illinois!

1) Take students on a "tour" of your school. As they walk (silently)
they choose 5 different locations where they would like to hide clues,
and write down the exact location on a notepad they are carrying.

2) Students then write clues such as: "Exit the classroom and turn left.
Walk to the end of the hallway and turn right. Clue #2 is on the door of
the chemistry lab.", etc.

3) Students turn in their clues and I check them for
accuracy/comprehensibility. I do this because if they're really bad,
someone else may not be able to follow them!
Students need to write 6 clues in all. Clue #6 MUST send the searcher
back to your classroom. The clues are then written on individual slips
of paper or index cards.

4) The day of the treasure hunt, each student brings his prepared clues
and a candy bar or other treat. I ask them to mark their clues and candy
with a "code" - usually their initials. That way, if there are 2 clues
in one location, they'll know which one to take.

5) The first half of the period, they place clues IN THE ORDER THE
SEARCHER WILL TRAVEL TO FIND THEM. Insist on this. They will make a
mistake otherwise! Clue #1 goes in a shoebox. The candy is hidden in a
specific place named in clue #6. I give the students a strip of masking
tape to secure their clues.

6) As soon as everyone has returned from placing clues, I allow them to
choose someone else's clue #1 and they take off. I have an extra prize
for the first one back with all 6 clues in hand. As they search, I keep
the original copy of the clues they have turned in. That way, if a clue
has disappeared, I can read it to them by checking the "code" and they
can continue.

This is a really fun activity. We traditionally save it for the fall of
Spanish 3 as a treat, but I have even done it with level 1 students. We
have no trouble completing it in a standard 55 minute class period. The
only glitch was that one year, students taped clues to the principal's
license plate. She left for the Rotary meeting in the middle of the
period and was stopped by the local police. Luckily, she has a great
sense of humor!

Shari Kaulig


97/10 From-> Debbie Fowler STJ <>
Subject: Re: Commands (fun activity)

>For years I have had my students do a "Treasure Hunt" to practice commands.

Several of us in our department have conducted similar activities in
first or second year, only we have the students tape record their sets
of directions. Then the others use their Walkmans (with permission of
course) to listen to and follow the directions. It's a good idea for the
teacher to listen to the tapes before the students do to screen out
egregious errors.

Debbie Fowler


97/10 From-> Liz Klem <>
Subject: Re: Commands

When I used to teach commands in a unit the kids turned the classroom
into a town complete with street signs, places of business, homes,
police station, library, a pool, a beach, even a school (groan) on signs
hanging all over.

We started with the basic directional commands but went on to situations
like "I'm hungry" to elicit "go to the restaurant or grocery store"
along with how to get there. This got to be pretty creative, fun and
worked well. After practice, I would put situations on cards for the
kids to pick and they had to act out their dilemma and solution. Of
course some liked to try to get their friends "lost." As a culminating
activity a few years ago groups wrote out directions to various
locations in school (and back) for another group to follow. I had to
recruit adults to accompany the groups for security reasons, also to be
sure only Spanish was spoken. The teachers had a great time and thanked
me and the kids for the trip. The principal was more reserved, though,
and told me that I should have included directions in English for the
adult. He was not impressed with what the kids accomplished but I though
it was a success and the kids were proud. They wrote a journal paragraph
afterwards and felt they learned a lot.


3. Demonstratives

97/12 From-> Yves Marcuard <Yves_Marcuard@PDS.K12.NJ.US>
Subject: Re: demonstratives

I don't know if this will help, I just made it up today; my middle
schoolers love to play games, so I made up a quick version of MasterMind
(remember the game with the color pegs?):

I made a handout with pictures of vocab items from the current unit (one
item/ group of items for each form of "this," masculine, feminine,
plural). For instance in French a pencil (un crayon) an eraser (une
gomme) a few books (des livres). The whole set of pictures is repeated
four times on the page. Each student chooses secretly one of each from
several sets (the pencil from set#1, the books from set #4, the eraser
from set #3, for instance). Work is in pairs: the partner in the game
tries to figure out which ones the first student chose, by pointing to
the sheet and making a guess: "This pencil, these books, this eraser?"
Reply: "No, you got one/two/none right, try again" Students proceed to
the right combination, meanwhile they have added up dozens of
repetitions. Reverse roles with the partner, change partners, make it
more or less competitive and of course adapt the number of items and of
sets to your language requirements. Can be played in larger groups, too,
I guess.



97/12 From-> Mary E Young <>
Subject: Re: demonstratives

Can you set up a scenario where the kids have several different items to
choose from (varieties of pastries, clothing, seats/drinks/magazines/entrees
on an airplane, etc.) Have them act out mini scenarios where they want to
get one of the items, but the provider has to ask which one. The first students
can identify by saying "this one" and pointing, or by saying, "this cookie", etc.



97/12 From-> Richard Lee <>
Subject: Re: demonstratives

It struck my mind that this is one good example where some notions about
language teaching become problematic. Except for the gender question,
the structure of demonstratives in French isn't really that different
from what the student experiences in English. In Spanish, however, there
aren't just two demonstratives for each number and gender, but three,
and the meaning distinction doesn't parallel anything that the student
might anticipate. "Este" (this) presents no problem, but the distinction
between "ese" and "aquel" isn't something that the student will
intuitively focus on, since the distinction doesn't exist in English.

I have heard it related to "persons" as in first person, second person,
third person (paralleling subjects and verbs), relative distance, etc. I
approach it from a system I worked out which I refer to as "zones of
proximity", but however you approach it, there is significant concept
that must be learned by the student in order to use demonstratives
correctly, and in my mind, this argues against the one-size-fits-all
approach that the "standards" have been promoting, at least in my
experience. All languages do not require the same focus, even when they
are in the same general family, and each one has areas which demand
attention, which may either be so simple as to not be a problem, or
perhaps not even exist as features in another language. I have heard the
idea promoted that Japanese and Latin, for different reasons, should be
treated differently under the standards, and perhaps German, but that
Spanish and French should fit into the same mold. I just find that this
exhibits a tremendous linguistic naivete on the part of those who are
trying to train this mule to run as a thoroughbred.

By the way, this observation should not be taken to reflect in any way
on Mary's response. It just triggered a thought that has been lurking in
the back of my mind for some time.


4. Object pronouns

97/09 From-> Pat Kessler <>
Subject: Re: Object pronoun games

>I have received so many good ideas in the month since I have been on this
>listserve I thought maybe you all could come through again with some ideas.
>I am teaching object pronouns to my level 2 classes---we are on block
>scheduling and 84 minutes of regular drill work and worksheets will kill us
>all. Do any of you have any games, paired activities etc that could help me
>out? Thanks
>Dot Raviele

Block scheduling is great for class projects.

1. Get a supply of old magazines, some butcher paper, glue, scissors and
markers. The students cut out pictures and create sentences to go with
them. For example - a picture of a man (Carlos), a ring (el anillo) and
a woman (Marta). Sentences would go as follows: 1. DO & IO in noun form:
Carlos le da el anillo a Marta. 2. IO pronoun & DO noun: Carlos le da el
anillo. 3. DO & IO pronouns: Carlos se lo da. The get to work through
the progression and correct word order for nouns vs pronouns, but don't
really think that they are doing "grammar" because they get so involved
in their pictures and creating creative sentences. I tell them they need
to include a variety of pronouns - not just the "l-" ones.

2. Create 2 sets of index cards with all the direct and indirect object
pronouns written on each set (one pronoun per card- use different
colored cards or colored markers to differentiate IO & DO). You also
need a length of washline and some clothespins. Have one member from
each team stand in front of a separate section of the washline with a
set of the cards in front of them (on the floor). The teacher says a
sentence in the target language using DO & IO nouns. The students need
to clip the correct pronoun forms in proper order to their section of
the washline. The first one finished correctly earns a point for their
team. If you have a magnetic chalk board you can purchase large clips
with magnet backs that will work just as well as the clothesline.

Pat Kessler


97/09 From-> Stephanie Campbell <>
Subject: Re: Object pronoun games

>I am teaching object pronouns to my level 2 classes. Do any of you have
>any games, paired activities etc that could help me out?

For direct object pronouns in Spanish 2, we play "Go fish" (vete a
pescar). (Thanks to Connie Vargas for the idea.) Each student is given a
"deck" of 16 "cards" with pictures of articles of clothing on them
(these are actually the picture worksheets I prepared for level 1 to
teach clothing; 16 pictures on a page; cut the page into 16 separate
papelitos). First I review the clothing vocab with my Spanish 2
students. Then, two students playing as a pair have to combine and mix
up their two decks together into one stack. Each player starts with five
pictures; the rest of the stack is to be drawn from as needed. The
dialog goes something like this: ?Tienes el vestido? No, no lo tengo.
Vete a pescar....?Tienes la falda? Si, la tengo....?Tienes los
calcetines? No, no los tengo. Vete a pescar. Etc.

For direct and indirect objects, I gather a large amount of diverse
items -- some singular, some plural, some feminine, some masculine.
(E.g. sing. masc.: un lapiz, un perro (toy), un hueso (real [clean]);
sing. fem.: una mascara, una toalla, una pera (de plastico), una foto;
plur. masc.: unos frijoles, unos zapatos, unos lentes, unos calcetines;
plur. fem.: unas flores (de plastico), unas pelotas de tenis, unas
plumas. Etc.) About half the students are given an object (or plural
object). They approach a student who doesn't have anything, and the
following dialog ensues (having been duly modeled be teacher &
volunteers first):

?Quieres la pera?
?Me la das??? (acting real excited)
!Si, te la doy!

Now the holder of the pear goes off in search of someone else to offer
it to. Of course the direct object pronoun keeps changing, while the
ORDER of pronouns (indirect, direct) gets hammered into their little
heads by virtue of the repetition.

Stephanie Campbell


97/09 From-> Liz Klem <>
Subject: Re: Object pronoun games

I make up sentences using some silly elements such as Elvis, flowers,
car, my uncle, letter, the ugly cat, give, send, lend etc, whatever, in
as many variations as possible. But I limit the vocab. Then I make up
cards with separate elements of the sentences (why there is a limit),
including infinitives and little cards with endings. In class the cards
are handed out to groups, usually one group verbs, one with nouns, one
with pronouns, etc.

We start with the sentence in full with no pronouns. The kids line up in
front with the sentence. Next I substitute pronouns one at a time.
Finally we use the double object pronouns. Each time they read their
sentence out loud. Then on to the next sentence. It can get tedious but
the practice with substitutions and word order is great and the kids
really help each other out. Making the sentences a bit weird gets us
through cheerfully.


In case that wasn't clear--

Elvis sends the flowers to my uncle.
He sends ---------------------------
He sends them to my uncle.
He sends him the flowers.
He sends him them.

and so on...


97/10 From-> "Gipstein, Mara R" <>
Subject: Re: Object pronoun games

Dorothy and list,
I wanted to let everyone know what a great game this is to use in class.
It was a big hit with the class I'm doing my teaching practicum class
with. A few suggestions for anyone who wants to try this. Get JCrew or
LL Bean to send you a free catalog because they have all sorts of
closing in the catalogs and they display many of the clothing items
separately (meaning they are not on models so you don't have to cut off
body parts). My teacher goes to fabric stores and asks them to save
their catalogs for her (they usually throw old ones out) for their
pattern catalogs and they have all sorts of clothes in them, however
they are lacking in men's clothing items. Good luck to anyone who wants
to try them. I also suggest you laminate them if that is possible.
Thanks again!-


On Sun, 21 Sep 1997 19:12:34 -0700 Stephanie Campbell
<> wrote:

>Dorothy Raviele wrote:
>>I am teaching object pronouns to my level 2 classes. Do any of you have
>>any games, paired activities etc that could help me out?

5. Possessives

97/09 From-> Helga Hilson <>
Subject: Re: possessives

If in doubt, always go back to the old Battleship. Have two grids (the
smaller the easier, obviously), then fill in a variety of ships (if you
don't know how this works, write back, I don't want to go to great
length and time to explain this if you know how). Then, instead of
having ABC on one side and #s on the other, put down any nouns that you
are learning right now (I am reviewing and supplementing animals for
example, but clothes etc work well too), and pronouns or (people)
nouns/names on the other. So if on one side is a dog, and on the
corresponding side is "ich", you would "shoot" by saying: mein Hund,
etc. Good luck, helga

Helga Hilson

6. Prepositions

97/08 From-> Cherice Montgomery <>
Subject: McDonald's Beanie Baby Preposition Activity

>What is your McBeanie preposition activity? Is it something easily
>shared? My students were crazy about Beanies last year. We used Derby
>as our hall pass since we are the Mustangs. Since my daughter has a
>complete set, and I have to teach prepositions........ : )

I collected a classroom set of McDonald's Beanie Babies (although any
kind of small, stuffed animal would work--it was just that the Beanies
were so cute and so popular with the kids) and placed them in various
locations around the room (on top of the desk, under the chair, etc.).
On the day that I presented prepositions in Spanish I, I introduced each
animal: "Look! What is that? It is a duck. Repeat, class: It is a duck.
Where is the duck? The duck is ON the desk. Repeat class: The duck is ON
the desk." I continued by introducing each animal and locating it in
conjunction with another animal or in relation to a classroom object:
This is a platypus. Where is the platypus? The platypus is CLOSE TO the
duck. Then, I would show the opposite by moving the animal away from the
duck and finished by distributing the animal to a student who
volunteered to hold it.

After all of the prepositions I wanted to cover had been introduced, I
revealed posted pictures of the beanie babies (taken from the McDonald's
sack and enlarged) along with their names in Spanish and asked those who
were holding animals to try to throw the animals into a little box all
at the same time (all the seals, all the fish, etc.) from their seats.
Of course, they all landed in various places--so I asked students to
tell me where the seal--the specific one to which I was pointing--was
located (as many options as possible): "The seal is under the chair,
behind the fish, to the right of the lamb, between the lamb and the
bull, etc." I would give the animal to whichever student could answer my
question about where it was located correctly and distributed other
animals to students who gave additional options. This motivated students
to participate so that they could hold an animal. Finally, I distributed
the remaining animals, and we used them for TPR activities: Put your
little animal behind your back, under your chin, in front of a friend's
face, behind your friend's back, around your friend (students had to
move to do this, of course), etc.

To conclude the lesson, we played the game that was on the side of the
McDonald's sack which I had altered, expanded, translated into Spanish,
and xeroxed for each group of students. Basically, my version of the
game showed pictures of Beanie Babies with dialog boxes coming from
their mouths arranged in a circle with a large space in the middle. On
their turn, students put their Beanie Baby in the center of the paper
and used it as the spinner. They had to perform the command located in
the dialog box to which their animal's nose was pointing. Each dialog
box contained a silly command such as "Sing the first three lines of the
ir/ser song in Spanish with your animal ON your head" or "jump around
the room one time with your animal BETWEEN your knees."

In my college classes, we took a walk outside the building, turned left
and put our animals behind our backs, went straight and exchanged
animals with the person behind/in front of us, threw animals over the
cars to one another, walked around the cars with the animals on our
heads, shoulders, etc.

When they took their quiz over the prepositions, the sheet had pictures
of the animals located in various groupings and students were required
to tell me where each animal was located.

Students really enjoyed getting out of their seats and being silly. I
was surprised that even the adult college students mentioned the
activity as one of their favorites, stating that it was really helpful
in their end of the year teacher evaluations.

Cherice Montgomery

7. Spelling

95/09 From -> Duveen Penner <>
Subject: Re: activities that work

Here's a really easy activity that I use with my beginning students when
they are learning the alphabet and how to spell. I always find that the
kids can memorize the alphabet very quickly, but that it takes a lot
longer until they can actually "spell!" To help them get used to hearing
words spelled in German, I set up the following "situation":

I explain (in English) that each one of them has been transplanted to a
German-speaking country for a year as an exchange student. They are
living with a host family. The host "Mutti" (Mom) is very nice, but is
always terribly busy. She frequently asks you to run errands for her;
this involves going to a particular store to purchase 4-6 different
items. Too busy to sit down and write out a list, she dictates the list
to you. Since you are still learning German, she has to spell each word
for you.

At this point, I tell students that they will need a piece of paper that
they can keep track of for the next 5 days (quite a chore for some of my
just-turned-7th-graders!). They will use this paper to write down all of
their shopping lists.

Then I tell them (still in English) what kind of store we are going to
first - it's usually the grocery store. And that's the end of the
English! I then "turn into" the host Mutti - she's a very animated,
fun-type person... and I proceed to explain what I need from the store.
For example: "Tja! Gehst du mal fuer mich einkaufen? Ach mei... was
brauchen wir denn ueberhaupt. Ach ja, Joghurt! 4 Becher. Joghurt!
J-o-g-h-u-r-t. Und dann noch Milch. Einen Liter? Ja, einen Liter Milch!
Du isst ja Cornflakes so gern, oder? Dann brauchst du natuerlich Milch.
Das schreibt man M-i-l-c-h. Und...und...und... was noch? Ach,
Hackfleisch! Wir wollten heute abend Hamburger grillen ...."

(ďOK. Youíll go shopping for me? Hmm...what do we really need? Well,
yes, Yogurt! 4 Containers. Yogurt! Y-o-g-u-r-t. And then more milk. A
liter? Yes, one liter of milk! You like to eat cornflakes so much, donít
you? Then naturally you need milk. Thatís spelled m-i-l-k. And
...and... and.. what else? Ahh, hamburger! We want to grill hambergers

Continue in this conversational tone (lots of miming!) until you've
"listed" 5-6 items and the students have written them down. Ananas is a
great thing to include on the grocery list, because all the kids think
that they are buying a banana!

Anyhow - when you're done with your list, show them the correct spelling
of the words. Students check their own papers. Then see how many items
they figured out! This is fun, because if you choose the right words and
mime a lot, the kids are amazed at what all they can understand - even
if it is only the first week of class.

I usually send my first-year students to the following stores:

grocery store
hardware store
office/computer supply store
a Drogerie

I always use this as an opening activity, and I always close the class
(as they are walking out the door) by telling them where they will be
"going" tomorrow. Students are amazed at how their spelling/listening
prowess improves over the course of the five days.

I can't believe such a quick and simple activity took so long to
explain! My students always seem to enjoy it. Hope someone else can use
the idea.

Duveen Penner


95/09 From -> Laura <>
Subject: Another activity that works

Just to follow up on Duveen Penner's idea of spelling out items on a
shopping list, etc. One contextualized activity I saw for French is
having students in pairs. The situation is: one student is making
reservations for other people, the other student (the travel agent) must
confirm spelling.

Now, since this is done in the first week or so of class, students don't
have to do the 'making reservations' part of the conversation. They can
just work in pairs with a list of French names (provided by the
teacher). The travel agent must ask: Comment ca s'epelle? (Sorry, I
can't spell French; this means "How do you spell that?) and the other
student must spell out each name, while naming the accents properly. (I
imagine this would work for German and Spanish as well)

I experienced this as a student of French and I enjoyed this activity!


8. Verbs and conjugations

95/03 From-> Lucia Daubresse <>
Subject: Re: 'Activities That Work'

The version I have been using which is REALLY fun, is a game called
Heart Attack. Use it for verb forms.

Write the subject pronouns on the board - je, tu, il, nous, vous, ils -
vertically. Then, sit students in rows of 6 facing the board. Make
vertical lines to separate each team's area, with a piece of chalk each.
Then write the tense you want.
At your signal, they have to take turns running to the board and writing
the verb form in the sequence of the pronouns. If someone makes a
mistake, the next player may correct it, but cannot write another form.
The winner is the team to finish first, with all correct. (To avoid
accidents, the next player can only leave his/her seat when the previous
player has sat down).

When I do this, I play a few turns with the books open, for warm up,
then we play only with people screaming verb forms... WARNING: this game
is very physical and loud - great to wake up your classes on a rainy

Lucia Daubresse


95/04 From->
Subject: Re: In a conjugation rut.

One activity/game that my students enjoy is called "Dodge Bomb." I got
this idea from another teacher. On an overhead you make up a grid of
boxes numbered 1-25 (5x5) Across the top you put the five verbs to be
practiced, down the side you put the subjects. The students call the
coordinate numbers and give the correct answer. For example, #3 may be
the coordinate for "hacer" in the yo form. Each box has a symbol (as yet
unknown to the students) or is blank. If it is blank, they get one
point. If it has a flag, they get two points, and if there's a star,
they get three. If, on the other hand there is a cherry bomb, they lose
a point, if there are two cherry bombs they lose two and if there is an
atomic bomb, they lose all their points. I place the symbols on a photo
copy and draw them on the overhead with a marker after the student gets
the answer. If the student gives an incorrect answer the coordinate is
left open for someone else to pick. It is strictly a game of chance
since you can give the correct answer and still lose a point but the
classes seem to enjoy the anticipation of finding the bombs. Actually,
an atomic bomb can help you if you are in the negatives since it would
bring you back to zero. It's also fun if one team is very far ahead,
they can lose it all in one fell swoop, giving the other team a chance
to catch up.

Another activity you can do if your students like to sing is sing the
preterit forms to "La cucaracha." It works best with two syllable verbs
and is particularly good for irregulars. We start by one student calling
a verb, e.g. hablar and we sing "hable hablaste hablo hablamos
hablasteis hablaron" and then I point to someone who has to quickly yell
out another verb, e.g. "tener' and we sing the second half of the chorus
"tuve tuviste tuvo tuvimos tuvisteis tuvieron". I have found that when a
student can't think of a form, if I start singing "cante cantaste..."
they can think of the rest.


95/04 From-> Sharon Powers - Alpena <>
Subject: Re: In a conjugation rut.

I have used "La pregunta del di'a" for hs classes, and now in jr college
as a daily warm-up drill. The question is on board when students arrive.
Best questions use current lesson grammar and vocabulary. I ask question
of 1st student and then direct that student to ask it of 2d, etc. They
use and hear singular forms. I then ask 3d person plural of class, they
answer collectively in 1st plural. This goes quickly for my current very
small class (used it randomly for large classes). I work in questions
which will be asked orally on lesson tests.

Three fun mnemonic devices for irregular preterit stems: 1. Draw cat
(pus-) sitting on inner tube (tuv-) - it's a big super tube (estuv-)
floating in a bowl of soup (sup-) - it's alphabet soup with letters
P-U-D, A-N-D-U-V floating in bowl (pud-, anduv-).

2. Draw a "killer vine" (vin-) which has picked up a bucket of icecubes
(hic-) and a ring of keys (quis-).

3. A Disk Jockey (dij-) is conducting music (baton in one hand)
(conduj-), which translates sheet of music (traduj-); and arrow points
to foot because he's trudging along while conducting music (traj-).

The third came from a student when I had lamented a lack of device for
'j' stems the day before. Got a lot of feedback from 2d through 4th year
students that these 'pics' stayed with them.

Sharon Powers


95/04 From-> "Dr. Lucinda Hart-Gonzalez (Cindy H-G)" <LHART@VMS1.GMU.EDU>
Subject: Re: In a conjugation rut.

One tip that's been working with my daughter in Spanish --
We tend to think of conjugations as paradigms and to practice them with
person/number substitution, etc.

Another approach is to focus on a single person/number form and "get the
feel" of it, even toss in new verbs and get that inductive application
to new material going. Then do the same with another person/number,
total focus till the verb ending (I assume you're talking a language
with endings) becomes equivalent in the students' ear/mind to a pronoun.
THEN try mixing it up between two or more very solidly learned
person/number forms to introduce the idea of alternating depending on
the subject.
You can do that in drills or in story-telling or dialogue, etc.

Cindy H-G

Follow up:

I mentioned things like story- telling. The idea is to get the ending
sounding like/feeling like a subject pronoun. With my daughter I usually
take her favorite hangout or some such activity and ask her (for 1st
person): What did you do? Who did you see? What did you say? (This gets
at Ye Olde 2nd per. question 1st per. answer dilemma which so confuses
1st language learners when they start out, but then starts to REALLY
sound like pronouns). For 3rd sing.: Who was there? What did s/he say?
Who was s/he with? etc. And on and on. We've also taken verbs out of her
schoolbook and I've had her string them together in a story using them

When the form seems stable, I then ask her how she would say ____ with a
verb she knows but hasn't conjugated. I do this esp. with irregular
verbs that fall in classes. As I've said many a time on the list, I'm
not agin grammar drills when the purpose is to learn forms, as in this
work on irregulars. But my point in the one-person-number focus was to
get away from the form focus of paradigm drills and to associate the
form with the person/number meaning, to make it take on the equivalence
of a pronoun by using it.


95/04 From-> Sharon O'Neil <>
Subject: Re: In a conjugation rut.

This is a common strategy in older Latin textbooks which call the
practice "synopses." The student is asked to give all first person
singular forms (in each of six tenses) of a verb. I have to admit that I
was hesitant about doing some of these very grammatically oriented
exercises at first -- I spend a lot of time writing contextualized
activities for my students -- but some of my students have told me that
these grammar-translation type activities work well for them. I am an
eclectic. What works, works. Some students learn well by doing these
"synopses." Others need more communicative-based contextualized
activities. We need to teach all of our students and accept that they
all learn differently.

Sharon L. O'Neil


95/04 From-> Kay LeComte <>
Subject: Re: In a conjugation rut.

>Does anyone have any new ideas for practicing verb conjugations...

I divide the class into groups of 3-5 students and inform them we are
having a verb relay in the next class specifying chapters or
distributing lists as appropriate. For the relay, the chalk board is
divided into sections for each group. We line up chairs at the front of
the class for teams to use while competing. (Avoids tripping over legs,
etc.) If you have a large class, you will have to rotate groups two or
more at a time.

Call out an infinitive and tense. One member only from each group runs
to the board and writes the infinitive and all conjugations, spelled
perfectly, of course. If there is an error, group members may speak up
at the risk of helping the competitors, too. Or, the first player can sit
down and allow another team member to correct the errors - losing time.
Only one team member is allowed out of their seat at a time! Violations
reap a 5 second penalty. The first team to complete the verb correctly
earns points towards some sort of culturally appropriate prize, usually
food or coupons for local French bakery. We play 10-20 minutes or so.
The students seem to enjoy the break and tend to collaborate learning
verbs and detecting errors made by other teams. If you have a large
class, you can enlist student referees with master lists and have more
competitions going on at once.

Beware - this is usually not a quiet game!

Kay LeComte


95/04 From-> Lauren Rosen <>
Subject: In a conjugation rut-Reply

Here's one you could try that I have used in Spanish but you have to be
very clear on instructions. It is just like Dominos.

Each student receives a sheet of regular 8.5x11 paper. The paper already
has a grid on it. The grid is drawn in the following manner : evenly
spaced draw 3 vertical lines. The two outside lines should be solid and
the inside one should be dashed. Also draw evenly spaced dashed lines
horizontally down the page. You may have up to 10 dashed horizontal
lines depending on how big you want the squares to look.

Now that they all have a grid, have them cut the paper in half
vertically along the dashed line in the middle. Only on the middle line.
Have them then fold the paper vertically along the solid line. They will
have 2 sheets they can fold.

Now looking at only one half of the folded sheet they should randomly
list subjects. Any subjects they can invent and all students will have
different ones. When finished with subjects they should flip the sheet
over to the blank side and list conjugated forms of various verbs. These
will also be random.

When finished They should cut the sheets along the dashed lines only.
They will now have various pieces that will have a random subject next
to a verb that won't match it. For example it may have "you" II "reads".
Put students in groups of 4 and have them play dominos matching there
verbs to someone else's subject, and so on.

The set up sounds complicated but it really isn't. Once they have done
it once you can have them do it for homework the night before you play
the next time. A couple of things to look for/be very clear on, is that
the verbs should be conjugated and that they aren't meant to match the
subject on the other half of the sheet. The matching comes when working
with your group.

Hope it helps end the monotony.
Lauren Rosen


95/04 From-> Sharon O'Neil <>
Subject: Re: In a conjugation rut.

>Sharon, What you describe in your Latin books, writing out the 1st person
>sing. form in all six tenses is NOT what I was talking about. That would be
>very decontextualized and while it would make the student familiar with the
>form, it would not make them familiar with the meaning. I mentioned things
>like story-

Well, of course you can adapt it by using context. It depends upon what
you are focusing on. I generally like to make my exercises contextual,
but there are some students who have found that doing synopses out of
context works for them as well.

Sharon O'Neil


95/04 From-> Heather D. Frackiewicz
Subject: Re: In a conjugation rut.

I have used a Battleship game with quite a bit of success for verb
conjugation. You print out a grid (use a spreadsheet program for best
results), and place 7 or 8 different verbs in each of the squares across
the top of the grid. Label the squares down the side of the first column
with various subjects- pronouns as well as nouns and proper nouns. Then
let the kids use the grid as a battleship board- rather than saying "A2"
they would say "il va" etc. If the person guessing gets the conjugation
wrong and the other person knows it, they can say "miss" even if they
have hit a ship. It's so much easier to explain if the participants have
played Battleship! I have used it in all levels of French and Russian,
and the kids loved it - it was very far from torture!

"Stupidity is brief and straightforward, while intelligence is tortuous
and sneaky" - Ivan Karamazov

Heather D. Frackiewicz


95/04 From-> "Gilda M. Oran" <>
Subject: Re: In a conjugation rut.

Hi there !

I just returned from the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign
Languages where I presented a session on Dynamic Learning. Many of the
components for this come from Cooperative Learning, so you may know some
of the ideas already.

One GREAT!!! way to practice conjugations is to do a structure termed as
"Line Up". This involves sequencing of any type of information.
In this case, we write the various forms of the conjugations on separate
cards and students cooperate to determine the order in which they go.
This can be done at the front of the room, on a bulletin board (as a
learning center, for example), or even with small pieces of paper at a
student's seat (or in small groups). To involve more students, I add
pronouns for them to "Pairs Match" the corresponding verb...and more !!!

Gilda Oran


96/03 From-> Stephanie Campbell <>
Subject: Present Perfect Game: The Compiled List of Questions

Two weeks ago I requested questions in the present perfect for a game.
Here is the compiled list of questions, preceded by the set-up for the
game, which by the way can be used to reinforce any tense or structure
you want to use it for. Many thanks to Silvia Vazquez Gomez de Alloway,
Sonia J. Wall, Rebecca Block, Cindy Kendall and Danette Mora for their

Divide the class into groups of five. For each "round," one
representative from each group sits down in a row of chairs at the front
of the class. (These kids must be instructed to be "estatuas" and
refrain from giving any signals to anyone with body language.) Ask the
groups to guess, "de estos estudiantes, cuantos han hecho tal y tal
cosa." When each group has written down its guess, on the count of tres
all the students among those seated who can answer the question
affirmatively stand up. Each group that had guessed the correct number
gets a token for their correct answer.

The questions: DE ESTOS ESTUDIANTES, ?CUANTOS...(o, ?a cuantos...)

han visto tal y tal pelicula?
se les han perdido alguna vez su reloj?
han tocado un instrumento musical en un concierto? han conocido a una
persona famosa?
se les han robado alguna vez su bicicleta? han leido tal y tal libro?
han leido un libro escrito por tal y tal autor? han ido a tal y tal
han comprado _____?
han roto _____?
han dicho una broma esta semana?
han abierto la puerta por su novio/a esta semana? han estado en _____?
han comido pozole mexicano?
han visitado una piramide de alguna tribu? han ido a Disneylandia (u
otro lugar parecido)? han tomado agua fresca de sandia?
han escrito cartas romanticas?
han estado enfermos de gripa este mes?
han llegado tarde a la clase de espanol? han visitado otro pais (en
general, u otro pais especifico)? han viajado a un pais donde se habla
espanol? han vivido en un apartamento?
han recibido una carta durante esta semana? han estado alguna vez en el
han recibido mas de 20 dolares de regalo? han participado en _____?
se han acostado a las dos de la manana alguna vez? han sido miembros de
un equipo que gano un campeonato? han tenido que lavar los platos en
casa esta semana? han ido alguna vez al museo de (whatever museum you
have in your city)? han comido paella (enchiladas, flan, etc.) alguna
vez? han esquiado (en la nieve, en el agua) alguna vez? han visto una
pelicula en espanol?
han sacado una "A" en una clase este ano? han trasnochado (han pasado
toda una noche sin dormir)?

Please send more if these inspire you! (off-list, to

Stephanie Campbell


96/05 From-> "Jeffery M. Forney" <>
Subject: Re: stem changers

I have students conjugate verbs for 40 minutes and they love it.

I call it "Pass the paper"

I put them in rows/teams of 6 so that there is one student per verb
form.(I, you, he/she etc.)

I give them a piece of paper on which each student writes a portion of
the conjugation and them passes it to the next who writes the next
portion until the whole conjugation is finished.

The first team to finish the conjugation correctly wins a point(can vary
depending on the difficulty of the verb)

WARNING: This is very noisy. The kids get excited. Yes, excited over
verb conjugations. I've tried to be brief. Let me know if you want
further explanations.

Jeff Forney


96/06 From-> Beverly Maass <>
Subject: Review for commands & verbs

I wanted to review all the commands and verb tenses with my L4 class
before they departed so I went through my files looking for ideas. There
is a clapping/rhythm game that is used in elementary school which worked
well for what I wanted. Perhaps some of you remember the activity, which
I have subsequently called Ritmo with the L4 class. Groups of students
sit in a semi-circle or circle, and someone is assigned to be the head of
the line. Groups of 12-15 work best, and in a larger class two groups
could be used.

A clockwise rotation is used, and in front of each student I put a card
with an infinitive. The card must be propped up so that everyone can see
the word. Oh, before beginning Ritmo I reviewed all the commands in
Spanish (formal, familiar, informal etc.) with the class.

I hope that you can understand the following directions. To start, the
students tap or beat their hands on the desk top two times, then clap
their hands together two times, and then snap the right hand once and
then the left hand once, and then the round is repeated again and again.
On the first finger snap the leader (could be the head of the line)
gives the command of the infinitive of the card in front of him on his
desk. On the second round of taps/snaps the leader names another
infinitive, and the students who has that card must give the correct
command when the round came again. Thus the student who was called
upon next becomes the caller. The objective is to get to the head of the
line and stay there as long as possible.

If a beat is missed or the wrong answer is given when a student is
called upon, he/she must go to the end of the line and everyone moves up
a seat. The students constantly try to get out the individuals above
him/her out so that they can move up.

Practice a few rounds first. My class loved the game, and they kept
speeding up the rhythm. Whenever there was a break in the game for the
shifting of seats, I would change the command to be used from informal
negative to vosotros to formal affirmative, etc. or I would pass out new
infinitives. The beauty of the activity was the constant changing of the
commands and the fast thinking that had to be done. Eventually I would
call out a change of commands as the game was being played.

Another time we did Ritmo with verb tenses only I would call out a
different subject and tense as the game went along. This was an
immediate hit with my L4 class and they felt that it improved their
commands and verb tenses. Best of all this was all done in Spanish. No

If you have any questions, email me off line.



96/06 From-> Gene Foldenauer <>
Subject: Ritmo

For years I have used the" ritmo" game in my Spanish classes to review a
variety of topics, with one twist. When the students really master one
"ritmo" they start to lose interest so I change the ritmo to make the
game more challenging and also more fun for the students.

Gene Foldenauer


96/12 From-> Mary Megias <>
Subject:  Idea

Re. ideas for middle-schoolers and verb conjugations: Try doing a
"chain" drill using a ball (I use one that is a 2" globe) or one of
those rubbery "balls" with spikes (think they're called swoosh balls!)

The objective is to say the conjugation of a verb over and over, till
everyone has a turn. I begin by saying, "Yo.....hablo!". Then, as I
throw the ball to the student #1, I say, "tú.......(he/she says)
hablas!" I then say, "Ud....' as student #1 throws it to st. #2 who
(hopefully) says, " habla". And so forth around the room.

What happens is that everyone is listening carefully as the pronouns are
matched with the verbs and the pattern of the conjugation begins to sink
in. I usually switch verbs once we go around the class.

There are lots of combinations to this activity. Sometimes the ball is
thrown at random rather than in order. Yes, sometimes a student will
"overthrow" a ball but we have fun. This is also a great "re-entry"
activity if you have 5 mins. at the end of a class. It's good as a
transition activity, too.

Mary Megias


97/01 From-> Shannon Fineout <>
Subject: Re: Verb games-HELP!


My students have played a verb relay game that is fun, is educational,
and takes very little preparation.

1. Compile a list of verbs. Decide which tense the students will
2. Divide students into groups of 5-6. Students need to sit in rows.
They may not use notes or books. They may not orally communicate with
each other during the game.
3. In the first round, the students in the first desk of each team will
be given a piece of paper. Teacher will orally give an English
4. 1st person writes the target language infinitive and passes the paper
back to the second person. Second person writes 1st person conjugation
and passes paper back to 3rd person in the row, who will write the next
verb form. Paper gets passed back to each team member who writes the
next form, until the verb is conjugated. If a person does not know the
correct form, he may simply pass the paper back to the next person.
5. Each person may also correct ONLY the previous verb if it is in error,
and may only add ONE new form. That prevents the smart kids from doing
the whole verb.
6. The last person to complete the verb must run it up to teacher, who
scans for correctness. If it is not correct, teacher gives it back, and
students must pass it through the row until the error is found. The
first team with a correct verb conjugation wins the point. 7. With each
new verb given, the paper is rotated to begin the verb with the next
person in the row, so that the same person is not writing the same form
of the verb.

Make sure that there is space for the last person in the row to run the
paper up to the front. It will also be obvious as to who has not
studied--they will always be passing the paper without writing!

I hope this doesn't sound too complicated--it really is quite easy.
Please e-mail me off list if you have any further questions.



97/01 From-> Diana Kozlen <>
Subject: Re: Verb games-HELP!

>I am a beginner French 2 teacher and my students are pulling their hair
>out at the amount of verbs they need to learn and the quickness they are
>supposed to be learning them. I was wondering if anyone out there uses
>any verb conjugation games and/or fun/interesting activities with their
>students that help the students learn as well as enjoy the verbs. Any
>suggestions are greatly appreciated!

To teach irregular verbs in Spanish, we sometimes play "patty cake".
Each student has a partner.. With both hands on top of thighs you say the
verb in its infinitive form in Spanish. Then clap hands together and say
the meaning in English. Going right hand to the partner's right hand
they say the yo form of the verb, then clap hands together. Then
touching left hand with partner the tu form, then clap their own hands
together . Then touching both hands to partner they say the usted, el,
ella forms hitting each others hand three times consecutively, then clap
their own hands together. The right hand to right hand they say the
nosotros form, then clap, then left hand to left hand the vosotros form,
then clap. Then both hands together the ustedes, ellos, ellas forms
three times in a row. I don't do this every single time I teach verbs,
but the kids get a kick out of it every now and then. The trick is just
getting them to learn the motions until they can do it smoothly without
thinking more about the motions than the verbs they are conjugating. You
can use it for any tense you want to stress. Just an idea....

Diana Kozlen


97/01 From-> Walsh Cindy <>
Subject: Re: Verb games-HELP!

Hi, I use a verb relay game. It's difficult to explain, but if you take
the time to explain and demonstrate to the students, they love it! They
learn too! I was being observed by the principal today. She decided to
come to a different class than I had planned. When the kids heard she
was coming, they asked if they could play "the game." It's kind of new
to them. I said sure (why not let them show some enthusiasm when being
observed?) I think she enjoyed the game. The kids were rather
rambunctious but the activity was controlled and interactive.

Count class off into the number of groups you have space for at the
blackboard. I usually 3-4. It works best with 6 on a team. If you have
to have more, it works also. I do it with a class of 28, and it works

Have students quietly line desks up in rows facing the board, each desk
pushed right up to the back of the chair of the desk in front of them.

The rules are: They have to remain seated. Only the person at the board
should be up at the board. The person in the front starts the round,
every body else moves up one seat and SITS. The relay, just like a
running race, passing off the chalk to the next person, the person who
just played moving to the back of the line. The first team finished--all
in seats with hands up--receives one extra point that round.

On the board you list as follows:

V  (for verb)
S (for subject)
P (for present tense)
S (for a second subject)
P (for present or any other tense they know)

Play begins with the first person in each row going up to the board. You
tell them the verb in the TL. They write the verb and it's English
translation. When finished they hand the chalk off to the next person on
their team. They go up and put down a subject pronoun, then they pass
the chalk off, go to the back. The next person goes up and conjugates
the verb using the subject from the previous player. The play continues
until the final conjugation is finished. The last person, "the
corrector" corrects their team mates answers, puts the chalk on the
ledge and sits in the first row. Every body raises their hands. That way
you know which team finished first.

The you lead in correcting the work on the board, team by team. I ask
the class to say "oui ou non" so that they are correcting and not me.
Make faces if they goof, etc. They love when you ham it up. Write the
number of correct responses above the work, add one point for the first
team. Play another round. We usually play to 21. Try it. It can be scary
at first because everybody is moving. It takes some getting used to. The
kids get really excited. I have to warn them that we won't play if they
get too noisy. No shouting from the seats is allowed. The winning team
gets a point coupon or Jolly Rancher. Sometimes they opt for the candy
instead of the points!

Have fun. I enjoy it. Could game before a verb quiz or major test as a
review. I used it today when we had shortened classes because of snow
and not everybody was in classes.



97/01 From-> Mary Young <>
Subject: Re: Verb Games

I have a couple:
Do you know how to play Battleship? You use a grid -- I put verbs down
one side and a variety of subjects across the top, like this:

                je      tu      on      nous    vous    ils     mes parents ...
ARRIVER                                                         X
ENTRER                          X       X       X
TOMBER          X       X
MONTER                          X

Please imagine the vertical and horizontal lines for the grid. The X's
are 3 sizes of boats (1 square, 2 squares, or 3 squares). Each player in
the pair X's out a given number of each kind of boat without showing his
partner. The partner tries to find out where the "boats" are by -- you
guessed it -- giving the conjugation of the verb (horizontal line) for
the subject (vertical columns). When you say "je suis tomb=E9" I'll tell
you it's a hit, because I have part of my boat on that square. When you
then guess "tu es tomb=E9" I'll say it's sunk, because you have guessed
all the squares for that boat. When you guess "nous sommes descendus"
I'll say it's a miss because I have not placed a boat over that square.
I don't use boats--I use whatever fits the current vocab.

You can run off a bunch of grids and have kids fill them out together
with whatever verbs you want to do.

Another one requires colored dice. I assign a value to each side of the
die : 1 = je; 2 = tu; 3 = on; 4 = nous; 5 = vous; 6 = ils. The die
of the other color (predetermined) is similarly assigned 6 verbs (or
various tenses/moods of a particular verb, in which case provide another
way to pick verbs, such as draw a card or teacher call out the verb...)

In teams of 2, 3 or 4, students take turns rolling the dice. The roller
gives the conjugation that is called for. The person to his left checks
for accuracy (from notes, the text, or a reference of some kind). The
person to the left of the checker writes what the roller said (that is
something I can collect and it helps keep everybody on task.) Points can
go to the one(s) with the most correct conjugations as play keeps moving
around the group.

Occasionally I move furniture so teams can line up 10 feet away from the
board for a verb relay. I announce an infinitive. #1 in line runs to the
board, writes the infinitive, runs back to tag #2. #2 runs up, writes a
subject and its verb in an appropriate place, runs to tag #3 who goes up
to write a second subject and its verb, then runs back. #4 has seen a
mistake, so she can go up and correct an error on the board--but that's
all. #5 continues the conjugation, etc. until the verb is fully
conjugated. The team raises hands and I call a stop. I check the verbs
and give points to the first team to correctly complete the conjugation.
If there are errors, I restart play and we continue this way til some
team gets it right.

The best part of the relay is the peer teaching that goes on in line
waiting for their turns. It's noisy and they get pretty excited. You can
require that no one talk to the person at the board, or let them spell
in French from the line (that is noisy).

You have already used TPR, Pictionary and charades, I'll bet.

Chain stories based on the verb written on a slip of paper that each
student has drawn from a bag.

Grouping and categorizing are good. Have students brainstorm in small
groups under a topic such as "Things you do on vacation" "Things a pilot
does" "Things a thief does"... Preselect a couple of verbs in each
category. When groups report out they get points for the verbs they
wrote that no one else thought of, plus bonus points if they got the
verbs you preselected. I can't wait to see what other games come up on
the list. Thanks for bringing this up.

Mary Young


97/01 From-> Bodle <>
Subject: Re: Verb games-HELP!

One game I've used to help students review verbs is Battleship. You make
up a grid with the verbs on one axis, and the subject pronouns (out of
order!) on the other. Each student draws in their ships (I usually have
them draw in three or four), and his/her partner takes turn shooting by
saying the correct form of the verb at the intersection of the two axes
(I looked it up!) Of course you have to tell them that if they speak in
English they lose their turn--or if their opponent catches them in a
mistake, they also lose their turn. . . . but the students seem to enjoy

Jean Bodle
Fairbanks Alaska


97/01 From-> Ziperman Robin <>
Subject: Re: Verb games-HELP!

Someone already mentioned the dice game where you assign a number 1-6
to each subject pronoun and a number 1-6 to a verb. The students roll
the dice twice and then they conjugate depending on the numbers they
roll...Je regarde, Nous etudions. I see this as pretty limited. But you
can add to this by asking students to work with each verb separately,
and assign one die (?) the pronouns or names or combos of the pronouns
and names and the other die gets the end of a sentence using vocab that
you want them to practice. Make some of the subjects negative, put a
(ne) after it. Or make them have to ask a question. After they have done
this with several verbs, then give them one list of subjects and one
list of verbs and have them roll and make complete sentences or
questions. You can have them keep score by simply adding the numbers on
the dice. Give out stickers to whoever wins. You can have them write
down and turn in the part where they created the sentences. I never
spend more than 4 minutes per verb. I put it on an overhead and just
move them right along.

Other fun stuff is found in the books : Cantiques, Rythmes, et Rimes by
Lonnie Dai Zovi. It exists in Spanish too as Cantos, ritmos y ? Anyway
it's published by Vibrante Press, 2430 Juan Tabo, Suite 101,
Albuquerque, NM 87112. It's a book and a cassette. There are verb
"songs" as well as many other areas addressed. It's uneven, but there
are certainly several worthwhile ideas inside.

Robin Ziperman


97/01 From-> Steven Langlois <etienne@LON.HOOKUP.NET>
Subject: Re: Verb games-HELP!

Dianne (and anyone else who would benefit!)

Sounds like you need to run the "verbal Olympics." This works for any
grade and is a sure proof fun way to practice and learn verbs! It has
been used by literally hundreds of French teachers across Canada and the
United States. The example uses -ER verbs but you can use any verb, any
tense. Here it is in a nut-shell:


HOW THE GAME IS PLAYED: The teacher stands in front of the game, and one
student stands on each side of the teacher with chalk in hand, ready to
write. The teacher spins the wheels (the smaller wheel first) and moves
away from the board so the students get a clear view. When the wheels
stop spinning, the arrows on the board will indicate what pronoun and
what -ER verb is to be used. The students then race to write a complete
sentence on the board. The student who completes the sentence first wins
a point for her/his team or moves on to the next round if you choose to
make an elimination tournament. The suggested format for an elimination
tournament would see the winning student have to win the best two out of
three games before moving on to the next round. Suggested prizes for the
winners are a loony for GOLD, a quarter for SILVER and a penny for
BRONZE (Canada only).

The recommended format for the VERBAL OLYMPICS is having small groups of
students represent different countries, and creating some sort of point
system to accommodate such an arrangement.

MATERIALS NEEDED: two pieces of bristol board, scissors, markers, ruler
(metre-stick) and two fan-clips

Take one bristol board and cut out two circles (one about the size of a
small pizza and the other the size of a small plate) making sure they
are perfectly circular. The larger circle is where you will place the
-ER infinitives, the smaller circle is for the pronouns. Using the meter
stick and a black marker, carefully mark off eight evenly shaped pie
slices on both circles (this can be accomplished by drawing a line to
cut the circle in half and then making half out of that half, and so on;
meaning you will have drawn four straight lines across the circle). Poke
a hole exactly in the middle of the circles for the fan-clips. Prepare
the other bristol board by writing a title on the top, locating the two
places you wish to attach the wheels and marking the arrows on the

The completed VERBAL OLYMPICS wheel board should be laminated if
possible. [Remember: laminate the bristol board and the two wheels
separately!] Place the game on the chalkboard, leaving space at both
sides of the board for the "challengers."

Steven Langlois


97/01 From-> viviane levy phys fac/staff <levyr@MEGAHERTZ.NJIT.EDU>
Subject: Re: Verb games-HELP!

Chere Dianne,
First, the "old fashion" verb sheet.
In each level of French (1,2,3), I have made up a "verb sheet", divided
according to the number of tenses taught at that level, I punch holes,
and students have to keep track of stack of a different color with
names or pronouns - You can do a lot of things with that. You could show 2
cards in front of the class and have students give the forms, i.e.
Je finis/ . Or, as they come, the cards are face down and they pick one
from each pile (from each column, like a Chinese restaurant) they sit
down, and have to make up an interesting sentence (in 2 or 3 minutes)
that they will say out loud - i.e. Je finis le chapitre.

Other things, could be, all the students stand, you start a chain with a
certain verb; they each have to give the appropriate form, in order,
then you keep of giving them another verb, and they keep going - the
student who gives an incorrect from sits down - eventually you are left
with a handful, so you can make it harder - or else you have 2 or 3
winners -

ALWAYS BE READY FOR A LITTLE PRIZE, whether it is a bonbon, chocolat,
pencil, or a "coupon" - that's what they love !!

I also use a Koosh ball - all the time - so, you could quiz them by
throwing the koosh ball, or they also could pass it to the next person
and same thing as above, give the forms in order.

Bonne continuation - juste quelques idees de New Jersey!!

Viviane Levy


97/01 From-> Verdoner Daisy <>
Subject: Re: Verb games-HELP!

This works for me:::

Verb Dice game;

on a 3 x 5 index card, i have a column with the personal pronouns, or
names. On the other side, a column of verbs ( example to follow) I
provide each group with a pair of dice ( 2 different colors)

ROJO                            BLANCO

1. Yo                           1. comer
2. Tu                           2. hablar
3. Elena                        3. practicar
4. Paco y Yo                    4. vivir
5. Paco y tu                    5. escribir
6. ellos                        6. estudiar

NEXT: One person rolls both dice and comes up with 2 numbers...2
ROJO, 6 BLANCO SO, he has to make a sentence using TU and ESTUDIAR. ...
Tu estudias para el examen. VARIATION: You may have a card with only one
verb on the top, and sentence "enders" on the second column.

1. Yo                           1.  con Maria
2. tu                           2.  mucho por telefono
3. el/ella                      3.  con el Sr. Alvarez
4. nosotros                     4.  con mis amigos
5. ellos                        5.  mucho en la clase
6. ellas                        6.  no....mucho

Actually, I start with the second format when first presenting verbs,
and then go on to the first one later.

What I do is have several cards with different verbs, give one to each
group of 4, and every 3-4 minutes, I tell them to exchange cards with
another group, and thusly, they rotate around..

I hope it's not too confusing... let me know. Daisy

Daisy Verdoner,

>I am a beginner French 2 teacher and my students are pulling their hair
>out at the amount of verbs they need to learn and the quickness they are
>supposed to be learning them. I was wondering if anyone out there uses
>any verb conjugation games and/or fun/interesting activities with their
>students that help the students learn as well as enjoy the verbs. Any
>suggestions are greatly appreciated!


97/01 From-> Didier Bergeret <
Subject:  Re: Verb games-HELP!

>Regarding the game battleship, how do you teach the students to say "Hit,"
>"Miss" or "Sunk"? Just wondering what words everyone uses. Thanks, Pam

In French, these would be, respectively, "touché", "dans l'eau" and

Didier Bergeret


97/01 From-> Jennifer Jo Schafer <>
Subject: Re: Verb games-HELP!

I teach 1st semester French at the university level. This week for
review day before the 1st exam I turned the class over to my students
(gulp!), dividing them into groups and assigning each group a grammar
point to present to the class formally and then through an
activity/game. I was pleased with the resulting creativity! The
following are 2 ideas they made up (I can't take any credit
here...)--the 1st is a verb game that can be adapted to any level, and
the 2nd practiced possessive adjectives.

On the board draw a tic-tac-toe grid. In each box write a subject
pronoun (the students put these in English since we haven't done
stressed pronouns moi, toi, lui, etc. yet. I think stressed pronouns
would be ideal, though. Especially in an immersion-oriented program such as
we have.) Then they taped index cards over each box. On the front was a
number 1-9 and on the back a verb in the infinitive form. The class was
divided into 2 teams: Xs and Os. On their turn a team chose a # & gave
the French subject pronoun + the correct form of the verb. I added that
each time a team representative had to write the answer on the board and
the opposing team could call mistakes to capture the box (also, the rep.
had to be a different student each time). Correct answers were rewarded
with an X or an O just like in tic-tac-toe.

This group divided the class into teams of 2-3 students. Each team had
an 11x14" posterboard divided into 6 squares with one of the possessive
adj. forms mon, ma, ton, ta, son, & sa (in random order) in each. Then
each team received a packet of small flash cards with:

possessive adj. (in English) + noun (in French)

such as:
MY maison
HER affiche
YOUR stylo

Everyone was given 3 min. to match as many cards as they could with the
correct French pos. adj. This was also a good review of gender.
At the end of 3 min., teams stopped and flipped over the flash cards on
their boards. The correct pos. adj. was written on the back of each card
so groups could quickly and easily self correct. The team with the most
points won. (And these presenters were gracious enough to bring a prize
for the winners!)

This activity certainly has the potential for a variety of applications...

Merci a tous pour les bonnes idees!

Jenn Schafer


97/01 From-> Wolfgang Hirsch <>
Subject: Re: Verb games-HELP!

In German you would say: "getroffen", "daneben", "versenkt"

Wolfgang Hirsch


97/01 From-> Cheryl Adams <>
Subject: an alternate version of Battleship.

What I do sometimes is I have the kids write a vocabulary word in the
squares instead of a ship, one letter per square.

If their opponent misses, they say "nada" ("rien") If they get the
square, the person says the letter of the alphabet that is in the
square. (good way to practice the alphabet.) The word is "sunk" when the
opponent can give the MEANING OF THE WORD IN ENGLISH.

Say one of my words is "viernes"
If my opponent guesses the box with "v" in it, I say "v" If he or she
guesses a blank, I say "nothing" Even if he or she gets "v" "i" "e" "r"
"n" "e" and "s" It's not sunk until he or she says "Friday" Similarly,
they can sink the word on "v" if they guess correctly.

Just something else interesting to try. My junior high schoolers love
this game.

Cheryl Adams


97/02 From-> Irene Moon <>
Subject: ? on Battleship Game

I have just created the grid for battleship to review verbs and after
reading several explanations of how to play, I'm a bit confused. Would
appreciate having some clarification.

Here's what I've done so far: My grid has 8 pronouns vertically down the
left and 14 rows horizontally across the top. I understand that I
can call off the appropriate verbs to use on the top. We'll be reviewing

Question 1: Do all the students put the verbs in the same order across
the top? (probably easier to ck.? and easier to hit battleships etc.))

Question 2: Do the students fill in the grid with the appropriate verb
form ahead of the game? (I would think so, but not one of the
instructions mentions this)

Question 3: How does one monitor to see that in fact the forms are
correct? I can envision a student calling out " se lava" and the partner
having "se lavan" and saying "no" so the partner doesn't get a point for
his correct form.

Question 4: How do you have each partner keep track on his grid of
"hits" to the square or "misses" (I assume there can be misses if the
wrong form is given?)

What does the winning partner receive?
Do you collect the grids to review?
Are these the words you use for: "HIT"..."Pegado"
What's the word for a "miss"? or don't you need it?

Irene Moon


97/03 From-> Carol Feige <>
Subject: Re: Game techniques for classroom exercises

Here are two "games", one that really IS a drill and one that works for
"higher-level thinking skills", that I have used.

1. COMPETICION This is basically a race to see which team can get the
most correct answers in one minute. Use it to drill conjugations or
vocabulary items. I have modified a drill someone shared and turned it
into a game.

First, make a set of prompt cards. I used 12 X 18" drawing paper sliced
into strips 3 X 18". Write large enough to be seen well from a distance
of at least six feet. The prompts can be vocabulary to translate or
subject/infinitive for the students to conjugate. If you have a generic
set of common verbs, you can use them for all tenses, but I usually
focused on the verbs new to the lesson. Have around 30 - 40 cards so
that they don't repeat too often, yet will be repeated for students who
need to see them a few times.

Second, set up the room. I have the whiteboard blocked out with the team
numbers. Then there is a row of four chairs in the center of the room
facing the board. A podium or table is in between the board and the

Third, set up the teams and scorers/turners. Students are is in teams of
three or four. (Since I have mostly classes of 36 seated in rows of
four, I go by row for the teams.) One person from the next team in the
rotation will be the scorer and another will be the turner. That way the
job keeps moving around the room, more have a chance to become involved,
and no one can manipulate (by turning too slowly, etc.) the outcome too

Fourth, play. I have a timer which is set for one minute. The turner
shows the first prompt to the team member at the left when I call
"Empiecen!" The student then says his answer. I, standing behind the
team (This gets them to talk louder and more clearly since it only
counts if I hear it.) say either "si" or "no." At at "si" the scorer
puts a tally mark on the board. At a "no" from me or "no se" from the
player, the turner shows the same prompt to the next person. Only when
all team members have had a chance is the prompt turned over. Each new
prompt is shown to the next team member after the last answer. This
eliminate the chaos of the whole team trying to answer at once or only
the first player getting a chance. The play is over when the timer goes
off. Then the turner and scorer sit down with the rest of their team to
take their turn and a new scorer and turner from the next team move in.

This can go fairly quickly once the students have the rules down. Many
of my athletes really like it for the competition. Even the less skilled
students can take part without too much embarrassment, sometimes even
coming up with difficult answers when under the stress of the situation.
I usually give the team with the most correct answers two premios and
the second team one premio each. If there's a tie and time, I'll allow a
tie-breaking round. If not enough time is left, I just award premios to
all the winners. Since the first team is at a disadvantage, I circle the
room in different directions each time we have a Competicion.

2. CATEGORIES This game was first presented by Sandra Scherf, I believe,
and I made a couple modifications. Essentially, it is a contest to see
how much vocabulary the students can remember and fit into appropriate

I think Sandra had them do it with teams like relays running up to the
board to write the words. Sorry, I learned this so long ago that the
details are blurred. Each member could write one word or correct one
word from the previous ones written by the team. I couldn't take the
noise of screaming teens and confusion with our large class sizes, so I
modified it to either a sitting or, even better, a silent sitting game.

First, I made answer sheets. The sheets have a column labeled "Category"
with lines and then a numbered column next to it with blank lines. At
the top there is a space for all of the team members' names.

Second, the teams sit in groups of four facing each other. They are not
to look at the other teams.

Third, the game begins. I call out a category such a food, feelings,
time, etc. The person with the tally sheet writes the category and one
entry. Then she passes it to the next person who writes one entry. I
tell them to look at the previous ones since there can be no repeats and
a misspelled word doesn't count. They can rewrite the word correctly or
put in a new one. Each person must write an entry. I expect to see four
different "handwritings" in even rotation on the answer sheet. When I
call out a new category, no more may be added to the previous one. The
person with the paper writes the new category at that point and begins
the new category. The teams turn in the papers at the end, and the one
with the most correct answers receives premios. Having numbered spaces
and the categories listed makes it easier to score.

To make this silent, I simply say that they can't talk. Anyone speaking
causes their team to lose 5 points from the team score. That means they
can't help a team member who is stuck, but I sometimes just need
silence!!!! I require that each person has to touch the paper, and that
the paper keep rotating person by person around the team

Well, I hope these aren't too complicated to set up and run. They really
work to help students remember specific points. Also, best of luck in
your first teaching assignment!

Carol Feige


97/04 From-> Elaine Winer <>
Subject: I like people who...

Have you ever played "I like people who...? Make a big circle with the
desks. Have one desk less than students. Student without a desk is "it".
On a chair in the center place cards that will be drawn. Today we played
the game to practice the imperfect in Spanish. The person in the middle
says..."Me gusta la gente que....era gorda. Everyone who was fat has to
leave his/her desk and run to an empty one. Whoever is left out is "it"
and picks the next card. Some other examples were "I like people
who...watched Sesame Street, went to ___grade school, went to bed at
8:00, ate peanut butter. When we ran out of cards the students made up
their own and they were good! Can play anywhere from 10-20 minutes. Lots
of fun and I think they have a little better idea how to use the
imperfect. In first year simply describe people...I like people who have
red hair, study Spanish, play soccer, etc. Plan a quiet activity to
follow or plan it for the end of the period!


97/09 From-> Marilyn Mathanson <>
Subject: Re: Conjugation activity

Try a relay race. I line my kids in rows of 6 if possible, otherwise 5.
I shout out a verb and the 1st person of each row is to write the "yo"
person of the verb and pass it to the person behind (who writes the "tú"
form) etc., etc. The last person has to rush it up to me. Their team
will get one point for being first, one point for each correct answer
and one point if the whole verb was conjugated correctly. For the 2nd
round, the papers are passed to the 2nd person in the row. They are now
the ones to write the "yo" form and pass it back. I tell them they're
not allowed to correct errors, talk or turn around. If this doesn't make
any sense to you - please write me off line.



97/09 From-> Susan Shelby <>
Subject: Re: Conjugation activity

I play the dice game frequently. Get the kids in groups of 4 - 5 and
give each group 2 different colored dice. (you can actually use a marker
to color them if you have to). Say you have a red and a white dice. The
red die is for the subject pronoun (je, tu il or yo , tu ella etc) 1 =
je 2 = tu 3 = il / elle etc. The white die is for the verb. Give them
six verbs to start practicing with. (1 = hablar, 2 = ...don't know any
other spanish verbs, sorry! I'm a French teacher!) Have them take turns
rolling the dice. Let's say they roll a 2 red and a 1 white. They have
to conjugate the verb "hablar" in the "tu" form. If they get it right,
they get 3 points (1 + 2).

If they roll doubles and get it right, they get those points PLUS get to
roll again. The good thing is that you can go around and just listen
without having to correct, because the rest of the group has to do the

I usually set my timer for 7 minutes or so, and I change the verbs in
the middle. When the timer goes off, the person with the most points in
each group gets a few bonus points, and the overall class winner gets a
no homework coupon or something special. The kids really like it. It's
great when you've got a bunch of irregular verbs that they keep mixing

Susan Shelby


97/09 From-> Bernardi <>
Subject: Re: Conjugation activity

A game I play with the students that is strictly for conjugating verbs,
not communication is "pase el verbo". The students get in rows with
their desks and each row is a team. I have a paper that has a table on
it with yo, tu, ella etc.. in random order and at the top a place for
the infinitive. (Does that make sense?) Then, I call out the infinitive
either in English or Spanish and the first person writes it and passes
the verb paper to the person behind them. They write another form and
pass the sheet again. The last person in the row brings it back up to
the first person. As soon as it's gone through everyone the last person
checks it and runs it up to me. I spot check it and if it's wrong I give
it back to them and they have to find the mistake. The first row to get
them all right gets a point. I start with a different person each time,
so a different person brings it up. I have to warn you though the kids
really get into it and it can get a little rowdy, but they love it.

I don't know if my explanation is clear, so e-mail me if you want more
clarification. It works with any verbs in any forms. It's really good
with irregulars.

I hope this helps
Anne Bernardi


97/09 From-> Vanessa Peterson <>
Subject: Re: conjugation activity

Megan, all of my classes love the following game. I have two bells with
different pitches. Each team gets a bell. I call out a verb and a
subject. The person with the bell on each team either answers or passes
the bell to the next player. It keeps them all listening and it is very
fast paced. Only the person with the bell can answer, the bell must be
passed to each player in turn, no one can tell someone else an answer,
once you ring you must answer. If you can't get two bells, you could use
another object that they must pass from hand to hand then raise when
they want to answer. This game works great with all sorts of review

Vanessa Peterson


97/09 From-> Billie-Renee Knight <>
Subject: Re: Conjugation activity

I do an activity my classes call the verb relay. I do use the
chalkboard, but I think a large piece of butcher block paper or two
would work just as well. Divide the class into teams. I usually use two
or three. They line up and I give them a verb and a tense and they run
up to the board and start conjugating. Each student can write one form
of the verb or correct a previously written form (never both) and then
runs the chalk or marker back to the next student in line. The object is
to get all six verb forms, in order, on the board, spelled and
punctuated correctly. While the activity is in progress, there can be no

I use this at all levels (I teach Spanish 1 - 5) and it works well for
me. Our other Spanish teacher dislikes it because she doesn't like
having the students out of their desks.

Billie-Renee Knight


97/09 From-> Mary E Young <>
Subject: Re: Conjugation activity

This idea was given to me years ago by Rose Decarlo of Palm Springs. I
have used it very successfully every year since then. She called it
"Verb Relay".

This works with a blackboard -- are there any in your room? If not, get
some butcher paper from the supply center (a lot), double it, post it on
the walls and use markers. Double check to see that the ink doesn't go
through to the wall!

This also requires room for kids to form lines in front of the
board/butcher paper. We move the furniture out of the way to have room
to line up.

Form teams. Section off the board/butcher paper for the teams. Have
students line up in front of these sections, behind a designated line.
Give a chalk/marker to the first person in each line. On your cue,
person #1 goes to the board and writes the infinitive of the verb you
gave them (DONNER, for example). I have them draw a big conjugating "T"
under the infinitive because that's the form we practice.

They run back and hand the chalk/marker to person #2, who waits behind
the designated line, runs up and writes one form of the conjugation
(vous donnez) in the appropriate place in the "T". They run back, hand
the chalk/marker to #3, and so on. If #3 makes a mistake, #4 can correct
that mistake, but that's all. #5 can continue with the conjugation. This
takes close monitoring.

When a team finishes they all raise their hands and shout "Fini".
Everything stops while I check. If there are mistakes play resumes for
everyone. Usually another team will win if there were errors.

I have them keep score on their assigned area of the board, above where
they are working.

The kids tutor each other while they are in line waiting to go to the
board (peer teaching at its most frantic) and they get pretty excited.
It can get loud.

I always have a few girls who don't want to run (high heels,
overdressed, hate to sweat, bad knees...) I want them to get the
practice, too, so I allow them to sit out as long as they are writing
the conjugations themselves (completely) on a paper to turn in at the
end of the game. I don't want to punish them (I hate to sweat, too) but
I want them to have the practice.

Have fun with this -- I hope you can work out a way to do it. My classes
(all levels) get very enthusiastic in this game.



97/09 From-> "FLTEACH Moderators: Jean & Bob"
Subject: Re: Conjugation Activity

A few days ago (17th Sept)I wrote about the ball game - for NUMBERs and
other activities. I also use this game for verb conjugations. Students
throw the ball around and conjugate. For example, one student throws the
ball and says "Je parle" then the student who catches it throws it to
someone else and says "Tu parles" etc. The same rules apply as for the
number ball game but in addition if a student mispronounces a
conjugation then they're also out. They love it! You don't need a board
and everybody is involved.



97/09 From-> Pat Kessler <>
Subject: Re: Conjugation activity

I do this activity at the board - but it could be done on paper. With an
equal number of students sitting in rows hand out a sheet of paper to
the first person in the row. this paper has as many verbs are there are
student in the row. Along with the verbs is the subject form to be used
in the translation (trabajar - tu; bailar - yo; comer - ellos; vivir -
usted, etc) The first person in each row needs to conjugate the first
verb. They pass the paper to the second person who checks the first
answer for errors and then conjugates the second verb. The third person
now gets the paper and checks the first 2 answers and conjugates the
third verb, etc. The first group completed holds their paper up to be
checked. You could do several rounds of this activity.

Pat Kessler


97/09 From->
Subject: Re: Conjugation Activity

My students love to play a "musical chairs" game. I write 30 or so
fill-in-the blank sentences with the infinitive given but not
conjugated. I then tape one question to each desk. Students number 1-30
on a piece of paper. As I play music, they walk around the room. When I
stop the music, they must sit in a desk and conjugate the verb of the
sentence on the desk where they are sitting. For instance, if they sit
in #22, they must conjugate that verb next to #22 on their paper. I
allow them to answer only about 20 of the questions. They must remember
where they sat before, because the winner is the person with the most
correct forms, so if they repeat a seat they have wasted a turn. At the
end of the game, we go over ALL the sentences and I then see who got 20
correct verbs, who got 19, 18, etc. I don't do this often, but it's a
good "Friday" game when they're tired and crabby. I also play the "verb
pass" games, but I like this one because the verbs are used in context
instead of in isolated forms.

Shari Kaulig


97/09 From-> Cherice Montgomery <>
Subject: Conjugations

How about battleship?

Use a grid on a half sheet of paper

verbs on top:     hablar   comer  vivir   pensar   hacer, etc.

subject pronouns
down the side:


Melisa y Megan





Juan y yo


To play, they will need 2 copies of the gameboard, one on which to place
their ships (they do so by conjugating the verb correctly for the space
in which they want their ship) and on which they can mark Xs for hits
and Os for misses called by their partner (partner calls the coordinates
by conjugating the verb for that space orally). The other gameboard will
be used to mark their Xs and Os as they attempt to locate their
partner's ships.

Cherice Montgomery


97/09 From-> Marilyn Thayer <>
Subject: Re: Conjugation Activity

My students love to play a "musical chairs" game. I write 30 or so
fill-in-the blank sentences with the infinitive given but not
conjugated. I then tape one question to each desk. Students number 1-30
on a piece of paper. As I play music, they walk around the room. When I
stop the music, they must sit in a desk and conjugate the verb of the
sentence on the desk where they are sitting. For instance, if they sit
in #22, they must conjugate that verb next to #22 on their paper. I
allow them to answer only about 20 of the questions. They must remember
where they sat before, because the winner is the person with the most
correct forms, so if they repeat a seat they have wasted a turn. At the
end of the game, we go over ALL the sentences and I then see who got 20
correct verbs, who got 19, 18, etc. I don't do this often, but it's a
good "Friday" game when they're tired and crabby. I also play the "verb
pass" games, but I like this one because the verbs are used in context
instead of in isolated forms.

Marilyn Thayer


97/09 From-> Carmen J Kumm <>
Subject: Re: Conjugation activity

I like to use Tic Tac Dedo de Pie. you make a tic tac toe chart. then
you put 3 pronouns at the top and 3 verbs down the side and to get the x
or o they have to put the correct for of that verb in the box. If there
is a mistake, the other team or person can "steal" the box. Hope this

Carmen J Kumm


97/09 From-> Jan Brown <>
Subject: Re: Conjugation activity

Try the "dice game." It is a good way to practice 6 verbs and 6
subjects. On a transparency number in red six subjects and number in
blue six verbs that you want to practice. On sets of dice use a
permanent marker to "dot" red on one die and blue on the other. Once set
of dice will be fine for a group of four. Each person rolls the dice and
determines orally the conjugation of red subject. blue verb. Add the
total points and move on to the next person in the group. The winner in
the group has the highest points and wins a "dulce/bon bon". My kids
really like this game!

Jan Brown


97/09 From-> Andy Turausky <>
Subject: Re: Conjugation activity

I do verb relays. The class is divided into two teams. Each team has a
container filled with infinitives (each team has the same verbs.) The
first student from each team takes an infinitive (on a slip of paper)
from the container, runs to the board and conjugates it as quickly as
he/she can. I give a thumbs up or down. If it is correct, the student
runs to the back of the room to deposit the word in another container.
If it is wrong, the verb is put back in the "pot". The first student
goes to the back of the line and the second student takes over, etc. The
first team to complete all the infinitives wins "el premio
gordo"...usually a Chupa Chup.

If you have neither black nor white boards, perhaps you could get some
butcher paper.



97/09 From-> Liz May <>
Subject: Games for verbs

Megan wanted some other game ideas for verbs.

Debbie Mensinger at New Smyrna Beach High, Florida gave me a grid, six
by eleven blocks (this could work for Latin noun declensions as well
using a 10 X 11 grid). You will also need several pairs of dice (I got
mine from a thrift shop.).

Across the top number 1-6, (the possible outcomes of rolling one die)
and type the six pronouns: yo/je, tu/tu, el ella Ud./il elle on, etc.
(or nom., gen., dat., etc.).

Down the side enter the target nouns or verbs, numbered 2-12 (the
possible outcomes of rolling two dice).

Competition consists of either two players or two teams. They race to
fill their cards first in order to relay them to the teacher for

One team or player first rolls one die, indicating which category across
the top he will work in. He or she then rolls the pair of dice
indicating which verb or noun to conjugate or decline.

If a player rolls the combination of a square that has been already
solved, they get one shot at another square then the play is turned over
to the opponent. A lot of the rules can be modified and some you may
have to make up as you go along. I didn't get a full set of instructions
so you can play a practice round or two with a colleague to work the
kinks out and develop your own creative twists.

I hope your students like Verb Yhatzee. Mine do.

Lizzy May


97/11 From-> Nilsa Sotomayor <>
Subject: Re: Dice games

Dear Shannon,

I use the small plastic dice and use permanent thin sharpie pens to
write on them.
Through the years I have made up several sets. Students work in pairs.
They can use 2-3 dice a pair. For examaple: One die will have all the
pronouns on them, the other die will have verb (ar,er,&ir verbs, or just
ar verbs etc, or stem changing verb, reflexive verbs, etc., etc.) and
the third die can have the tenses or directions of what to do (presente,
preterito, futuro or pregunta, oracion, mandato, etc.)

EXAMPLE I throw all three dice. 1st die= ella, 2nd die=llorar, 3rd die=futuro
I then say "Ella llorará"

ANOTHER EXAMPLE:  1st die=Ud.  2nd die=bañar  3rd die=pregunta
I then say:  "Se baña Ud.?

I usually ask my students to say what the dice ask, then write it down.
The second student takes his turn and does the same. I usually time this
exercise and give them 10 minutes to get as many said and written. I
collect the papers. Then I give them points on a quiz, participation
points, candy, pesos or a coupon.

Remember that the level 1 students you may use 2 dice--one with the
pronouns and another with the verbs. Level 2-3 students can go on to use
the different tenses, etc.

To keep organized, I put my die in zip-lock baggies. One bag has all the
dice with the pronouns, one with verbs, one with stem-changing verbs,
one with irregular verbs, one with tenses, etc., etc

This is one way you can use your dice. I hope this helps.

Hasta luego,
Nilsa Sotomayor


97/11 From-> Connie Vargas <>
Subject: Re: Dice games

When the practice is over, I go to each group and give the appropriate
reward to the high point person. No dice, no reward. Works.


Michele B. Grund wrote:

>A question about Dice . I do use them to practice verb conjugation btw, and do
>use # dice (someone on the list shared the idea last year)...Anyway, What do you
>do about dice that are stolen? I have all 26 of them in a tin, and one day I did a
>count and 2 were missing. I know they are just dice, but I paid for all of them with
>my own money. Any suggestions/ideas about how to avoid this in the future? I
>told all of my students that until the dice are returned , we will not use the dice
>again. It's been about a dice :( Michele


97/11 From-> Lilian Ortega <>Organization: Mars Hill
Subject: Re: Dice games

I only have 2 very big dies in my class(a black and a red one) made by
my self, I use them to work with irregular verbs in Spanish and what I
do is : I divide the group into three or four teams (3-4 ss each),and we
play one team against the others. They have to decide who is responsible
for writing the sentences in each team, but it has to be a different one
each time. Then on the board I write a list of pronouns in red (6) and a
list of verbs (6) in black. Every team has a chance to throw the dice ,
what they have to do with the number of each dice is look at the list on
the board and take the correct pronoun and verb (according to the
colors) and to come up with a sentence and the minimum number of words
is given by both dices.

ie. 3 RED= el/ella   4 BLACK = poder

In this case they have to write a sentence using these cues and the
sentence must have at least 7 words.

I have to stay in the middle of the three or four teams so the have the
same opportunity to reach me and show me their sentence, I check it and
the team that has no mistakes in spelling or grammar or vocabulary is
the one who gets the point. The goal is to get at list 5 points.
Of course you can use a different criteria to decide who the winner is.



97/11 From-> "James C. May" <>
Subject: Re: Dice games

<<What do you do about dice that are stolen? I have all 26 of them in a
tin, and one day I did a count and 2 were missing. I know they are just
dice, but I paid for all of them with my own money. Any
suggestions/ideas about how to avoid this in the future?>>

I also have had dice stolen. I now have a student follow me with a piece
of paper. He/she writes down the name of the person I give the dice to.
This person must give me the dice back. When he/she does, I cross out
his/her name. This can really be annoying. I have had to rethink the way
I distribute dice, whiteboards and markers because all have been stolen
in the past.

James C. May


97/11 From-> "Susan J. Mitchell" <>
Subject: Re: Dice games

>I also have had dice stolen. I now have a student follow me with a piece of paper.
>He/she writes down the name of the person I give the dice to. This person must give me
>the dice back. When he/she does, I cross out his/her name. This can really be annoying.
>I  have had to rethink the way I distribute dice, whiteboards and markers because all
>have been stolen in the past.

I have not had dice stolen, but I did decide to use the idea of having a
binder to put work in when a student is absent so that when he returns
he can get it from the binder. This has been wonderful and a great way
to organize this type of stuff. Well, the binder and its contents
disappeared off my desk one day about two weeks ago and has not
returned. I share a classroom with another teacher and I remember the
binder being there when I left the class at the end of the 3rd block.
When I returned at the end of 4th block, the binder was gone. for the
life of me I can't imagine why someone would steal this at all. I have
asked all my students if they have seen it and have even asked the class
that is in there during the 4th block. This is the third time in 8 years
I have had something of which I paid money for stolen. I do not trust
leaving anything anywhere anymore. The more exasperating thing is that
there was a bunch of work I needed to return to a student who was absent
when I handed these items back. She wants her work back and I can't
return it to her now. She knows what has occurred and it upsets her too
that someone would steal like this........

Susan J. Mitchell


97/11 From-> David Bebbington <BEBBINGTOND@BrandonSD.MB.CA>
Subject: dice games

At an in-service I attended last year, the presenter suggested that we
use dice for oral communication. Although it's a very simple idea, the
suggestion was that students work in small groups, each group having one
dice. On the front board, the teacher ( with input from the students, if
desired) writes 6 topics.....the weirder the better sometimes. Each
student then roles the dice and then must talk for a specified time on
that topic (usually 1 minute maximum). The other students listen, i
student keeps time. The object is to keep talking. I work on a ticket
system to reward "good" behavior and this ties in very nicely. Students
can earn tickets, redeemable for "effort" marks at the and of the month,
by succeeding in the task, or by asking questions of the speaker.

I usually have my students start each class with a journal write in
French. They receive a ticket for getting straight to work and at the
end of each month for how much they've written...4 tickets per page.
Right now, for a perfect mark each month a student must earn 80 tickets.
Sometimes I substitute the oral dice activity. It works well.

Dave B.


97/11 From-> Cynthia Karmik <>
Subject: Re: Reply - Dice games

I use dice games a lot in my classes. I do pronouns/verbs. Here's what I
do: On a overhead projector I have two columns:

        dado rojo       dado verde
        1. Yo           1. cansado/a
        2. Carlos       2. triste
        3. Tu           3. enfermo/a
        4. Uds.         4. alegre
        5. Ana          5. nervioso/a
        6. Ellos        6. ocupado/a

                ESTAR=to be

Let's say a student rolls a red 5 and a green 3. The student looks at
the board to see what their categories are. The student who rolled the
red 5 and the green 3 would then say "Ana esta enferma." If the students
in the group agree the sentence is correct, the student who rolled gets
"ocho puntos" (5 + 3 = 8). We used this particular "juego de dados" when
my SP1 classes learned to say how they feel using the verb ESTAR. This
type of game is also a good tool to throw in some culture, which seems
to be left on the backburner sometimes. You can use this with any verb,
adjective/noun agreement, clothing/colors, etc. In this one game (above)
my students used numbers, colors, and agreement. My students play in
groups of 2-3 students with one pair of dice per group. If a student
rolls doubles, he/she gets to go again. If a student does not say the
correct answer, he/she loses the points. My students really like it. I
hope I didn't ramble too much!! If you want me to send you a copy of the
dice games I have made up, just give me your address.

Buena suerte,
Cyndi Karmik


97/11 From-> Marilyn nathanson <>
Subject: Re: Dice games

Regarding the question of "missing dice" - I give small prizes to the
winners of each game ("point" pesos or suckers) - and give them to the
winners when they hand me their dice.



97/11 From-> Cathy Bunge <>
Subject: Re: Dice games

I made my own dice. I bought one-inch wood blocks from a local wood
supply shop. I think they were only 15 cents each. I have 15. I figure
one for every two people, and two when they're playing in groups of 4.
On each side of each die a put a colored dot from the office supply
store. In the middle of each dot I wrote with permanent marker a
numeral. Around the edges of each side I put a pronoun. In this way one
set works for everything. I know this will upset many, but sometimes we
don't use "vosotros." If time is short, I tell them it's "wild" and can
stand for any number or pronoun they need it to be.

I use the dice all the time. Sometimes I just have them work with a
partner and roll the dice to practice a verb or verb form. I also have
"spinsters" , spinners with removable faces which I bought through
Carlex, that I use in conjunction with the dice. In this way they can
spin a verb and roll a pronoun, etc. I also have a multi-purpose game
board I use with these. They may have to give the correct object
pronoun, or the color in the correct form to match a noun, etc.

A game they really love I made out of two book covers, turned over and
taped together, divided into four sections. On these sheets I write a
verb in each section. These are put on the floor. The students roll the
die onto the paper, and they must give the correct form of the verb
according to which pronoun they rolled and which verb the die landed on.
I made sheets with blanks for the forms of the verbs. The first person
with all forms of all verbs correctly filled in is the winner. This is
where the wild card can come in handy.



97/11 From-> Candi Van Dyke-Sherwood <>
Subject: Re: Dice games

If you want to keep using them over and over, you can put numbers on
them. You then make an overhead of worksheet of two columns. One column
has subject pronouns and the other has different verbs. Students roll
one die for the subject and one for the tense. Or if you only have one
die, the first roll is for the first column and the second for the
second column. You can also just choose one verb and use the subjects as
column one and put cultural topics, vocab., or verb tenses for the
second column.(See examples)

        Column One   Column Two     Column Two-Culture   Column Two-Tense
        1. yo         1. un reloj pinata          1.  Future
        2. ella       2. una falda  2.las maracas        2.  Present Perfect
        3. Ud.        3. un vestido 3. el amate          3.  Preterite
        4. Nosotros, etc

This activity works well in groups. I usually tell the students how many
rounds they must go. One round is when all the people in the group have
rolled. You can also have them translate the sentences into English.
Buena Suerte!

Candi Van Dyke-Sherwood


97/11 From-> Norma Y LaVoie <>
Subject: Re: Dice games

In CT, we have Lotto, Play-4, Foxwoods etc., but in the classroom we are
not allowed to use dice because it's GAMBLING! Just wanted to pass that

Norma Y LaVoie

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