Wednesday, October 24, 2012


When student teaching, I learned a really cool game called avalanche that helps students practice their verb tenses.

You split the class into teams of 6 or 8 kids (I try to stay away from 7 because each person ends up getting the same subject) and put them into rows, facing the board.

You call out a verb.  The job of person 1 is to run to the board and write the infinitive and the definition.  They take the marker and hand it off to person 2.  Person 2 then runs to the board and writes the je form and conjugates it (je = I).  Then they hand it off to person 3, who then goes to the board and writes the tu form.  This continues until all six forms have been written.

Example ( would normally be on the board)

However...if at any point a student gets something wrong, you erase EVERYTHING (all while screaming "avalanche! avalanche!" that has been written.  Then, the student who was next in line (so not necessarily person 1) starts over.  This is even if they mess up the last form.  I usually count accents as well.   

Example that would warrant an "avalanche"


The winning team is the team that gets to the end correctly first.  This game works best when you have a whole list of verbs or when learning a specific tense.  I recommend writing out the verbs you are using first.  In the heat of the moment while judging 3-4 teams, it is easy to forget if they formed that form correctly.

A tweak that someone recommended to me was not avalanching them right away.  Instead of writing the next form on the board, the next person in line could fix a previous person's error instead, and then hand off the marker (so you are still wasting a turn to fix the error).  The only time you'd avalanche is if the person AFTER the person who wrote the 6th form says "yes it's all good!" and it's not good.


  1. I was looking for an explanation of this game to use in my French class. Thank you for sharing!