Outside activity, no prep

With the weather warming again, my students are begging for some “verbiball” action.

Remember making a circle with friends and volleying a ball around? It’s as simple as that, except that we practice conjugations as we do it. I say the infinitive and they volley the ball randomly around the circle, saying the forms of that verb each time the ball is hit.

I insist that everyone say all forms, not just the person hitting the ball. A handful of the students know the verbs better than others, but after a few rounds, everyone knows them better.

I’ve created a competition between class periods. Once a conjugation is completed, they count the hits of the ball (in the target language).  I keep track of the highest… 2nd period has made it to 27 and they are trying to beat that total. This helps encourage participation because I stop the ball during the conjugation if I don’t hear them saying it.

It looks like this:
Students are in a circle. (With a large group, one stands in the middle to “assist”.)  I say “ser” because we are practicing preterite irregulars. Students begin volleying the ball around, trying to keep the ball in play (not letting it get away or hit the ground). With each hit, the entire group is saying the next word: fui, fuiste, fue, fuimos, fuisteis, fueron, one, DOS, tres, cuatro…. Until the ball gets away from them or hits the ground. If they miss the ball before finishing the verb, they start it over -the counting doesn’t begin until the verb is completed.

With lower levels, I have used this to practice numbers and letters as well.

I’ve done this activity with 30 minutes left in class and I’ve done it with 10. It’s very versatile.

I’ve also done an indoor version using a balloon, but ultimately I’ve decided to reserve this game as an outdoor treat.

Please let me know if you try it out and any variations you find useful.


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