French Verb Race Games

French Verb Race Games

For French teachers and groups of friends who practice French together.

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VERB RACE – TEACHER LED

Divide the class into three teams so that each student gets to go up to the board several times.  Have teams 1, 2 and 3 sit in groups so that each student clearly knows who plays before and after him. You may wish to allow them to change spots from time to time so that they’re not consistently playing against the same person who may or may not be a “better” player.

Object of the game:  One student from each group goes up to the board with a dry erase marker or chalk in hand. As soon as all 3 students are lined up at the board, the teacher calls out a subject pronoun and the infinitive form of the verb to be conjugated in the appropriate tense. Everyone can keep trying to write the correct answer until someone gets it right or one minute has passed.

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Answers are written on each card to help you, the teacher, keep track of what is going on since this game moves fast.

Once you have called out the subject pronoun and infinitive to be conjugated students can start writing. The first student who correctly writes the conjugated verb on the board earns a point for his team. Students keep track of their team’s points directly on the board where everyone can see them.  Important:  The spelling of the verb must be perfect and that includes accent marks.

VERB RACE – ALTERNATIVE – STUDENT LED GAME

All of the rules are the same as above, but in this version of the game you get to choose a student to call out the subject pronouns and infinitives. The answers are written on the game cards, so I think this is a FANTASTIC way to get a student who usually doesn’t see a lot of success in conjugations involved in the game without feeling like a failure. If you choose a “weak” student to moderate the game everyone wins. He or she will learn the verb conjugations during the game and you, the teacher, will be able to move around the room and keep things calm. You can also help the student decide who has finished writing his answer first so that if anyone gets bent out of shape it will be YOUR “fault” and not the student moderator’s fault.

This should be a fairly quiet game, but students can get very excited and end up making a lot of noise if they don’t understand the rules before starting.

Rule 1: Team members are NOT allowed to speak AT ALL while the game is in action. However, the students who are seated while one of their teammates is at the board playing ARE ALLOWED to write down what they think the correct answer is and show what they’ve written to each other. This is a good form of cooperative learning. If anyone speaks, their team loses a point.

Rule 2: If the teacher can’t see what you’ve written on the board because you are standing in front of it, that’s your fault even if you finish writing first. You MUST STAND either to the right or left of where you’re writing so that your answer can be seen.

Rule 3: Be ready to GENTLY take the marker / chalk from your teammate’s hand as soon as he gets there to hand it to you. Walk quickly to the board, but DO NOT RUN. Running will lose a point for your team.

Rule 4: You do not HAVE to write the subject pronoun on the board. All you have to write is the correct conjugated form of the infinitive called out. This will save you time in the race.

Rule 5: You MAY keep trying to find the right answer if the first one you write is not correct. Everyone can keep trying to write the correct answer until someone gets it right or one minute has passed.

Rule 6: No pushing and shoving – No knocking markers or chalk out of other students’ hands – Be careful with whiteboard markers as they are fragile and get damaged easily – No throwing yourself into your desk or chair when hurrying back to your seat.

PLAY AS A WHOLE CLASS

There is a powerpoint version of this verb race game in the zip file that you will download. The powerpoint version does not include the answers. You may choose to play this game as a whole class rather than having students come up to the board. Use this version if you want a quieter and less hectic activity. The object of the game remains the same.  Here is what’s different:

  1.  Project the powerpoint so that all students can see.
  2. Either have students work in pairs, small groups or individually.
  3. Option A for pairs or small groups: Have students work on individual whiteboards, but they can’t hold them up to show them to you and see if their work is correct until you say “Montrez-les-moi!” At that point all students hold up their whiteboards and you tell them OUI or NON as to whether they’ve got the correct response or not. Those who got the correct response get a point and they keep track themselves. Only use one whiteboard per group.
  4. Option B for individuals: Have students work individually and write their answers on the student response sheet included. Move along at a pace that is reasonable for all students. When you’ve finished you can have students exchange papers to check work or turn in the answer sheets to you.

PLAY SCOOT

You can play a fun game of SCOOT with these cards if you just put a few of them on each desk, give each student a response sheet and have them scoot around from desk to desk writing their answers. Ring a bell after the amount of time you think is sufficient for them to write all of the

answers and have students move along to the next desk. Each card is numbered 1-75 and students write their answers accordingly on the response sheet.

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2 Comments

  1. Hi Jennifer Crespin, I really appreciate this blog post. I am a student teacher studying at Simon Fraser University. I am taking a Designs for Learning French class and will be visiting Halifax, Nova Scotia to study French in the month of July. In British Columbia, we have gone through a curriculum redesign that focuses on experiential learning. Although I do believe that as a teacher it is my responsibility to create meaningful experiences in my classroom that explore culture and language, I value the fundamentals and like how these games turns verb conjugation into fun and collaborative group/class activities. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Hi Jennifer, Thanks for taking the time to leave your nice comment. I also believe that it is our responsibility as teachers to make learning fun and interesting. Even verb conjugations don’t have to be dry! Good luck in Nova Scotia in July 🙂

      Reply

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