Games! We all love them. But who has the time? Here you’ll find the perfect excuse: Spanish-language learning inside a game. We call this Binder Battle or Verb Volley, a two-person verb game where the rules are either already familiar or easily learned. The focus is on what we call the “Super Six Infinitives” — estar, ir, poder, querer, ser, and tener.
The Super-Six Infinitives are not the same as Terry Waltz’s Super Seven Verbs; although, it’s easy to see a relation. All six infinitives are in the Super-Seven Verbs list. However, around 2005, I started coming at these verbs from the perspective of the infinitive first, and thus far, this has been pretty successful. Students learn to think about their own language and grammar in a new way. And, if students learn nothing else, we try to get these six infinitives into them in as many tenses as possible. (We also leave off “hay” because it’s easy to pick up in isolation and is not often conjugated in all “persons.”)
- Super-Six Verbs:
- Spanish Subject/Personal Pronouns:
This download includes the simple but pivotal vocabulary of Spanish subject/personal pronouns and the Super-Six Infinitives, as follows:
- yo, tú, él, ella, usted, Ud., nosotros, nosotras, vosotros, vosotras, ellos, ellas, usteded, Uds.
- estar, ir, querer, poder, ser, tener.
What’s Included / Alternate Title
In addition to the two Battle Binder verb boards, or “battle boards,” one which includes and one which excludes vosotros(as), a separate page includes optional game pieces and useful vocabulary for playing.
For anyone who prefers different language or vocabulary, the download also includes two alternately titled boards, again one with and one without vosotros(as). To match the “Verb Volley” boards, alternate vocabulary is also included.
The download ends with charts for the Super-Six Infinitives in the following tenses and moods: Conditional, Conditional Perfect, Future, Future Perfect, Future Perfect Subjunctive, Future Subjunctive, Imperfect, Imperfect Subjunctive (Both), Negative Imperative, Past Anterior / Preterit Perfect, Past Perfect, Past Perfect Subjunctive, Positive Imperative, Present, Present Perfect, Present Perfect Subjunctive, Present Progressive, Present Subjunctive, Preterit.
Game play is similar to the popular game involving battleships. Each game is limited to two players, but multiple games can be played in a learning environment.
This game can be adapted for virtually any tense and/or learning level; although, basic reading skills and the ability to speak and hear are required.
How to Play
Players: Two (2)
Goal: Find all the opponent’s verb boxes first
- If reusing the boards, print four copies of the boards per game. If not reusing the boards, print as many copies as desired as “single-use” boards.
- When using binders and sheet protectors, you can skip this step if desired. Otherwise, set a sturdy object, such a large dictionary or book, in the middle of a hard surface, such as a table or desk.
- If reusing the boards, either laminate or place them in clear sheet protectors or clear, gallon plastic bags.
- Set one board flat on the table/hard surface and one vertically. Plastic sheet protectors in two binders work well, but when using another method, you can clip the vertical board to the book or dictionary in the middle of the table.
- If using sheet protectors (etc.), try dry-erase markers. You can also use creative objects for the flat board, such as candy, toys, miniature figures, chocolate, etc.
- Mark or place seven (7) objects on seven (7) boxes on the flat/horizontal boards as the “verb targets.”
- Take turns calling out a subject/personal pronoun and the conjugated form of one of the Super-Six Infinitives. For example, a player would select “yo + ser” and then say YO SOY.
- If the player conjugates the verb correctly and utilizes the correct subject/personal pronoun, the other player checks his or her board to see if the conjugation is a “hit” (¡TOCADO! or ¡HUNDIDO!) or a “miss” (¡AGUA!) and then calls it out. For verb volley, the terms would instead be ¡PUNTO! and ¡RED! or ¡FUERA!
- To avoid repeating conjugations/boxes, the player who called out the conjugation can, if desired, mark the vertical board according to whether the shot was a “hit” or a “miss.”
- Play shifts to the next player after every turn.
- Repeat the process until one player finds all seven (7) of the opponent’s verb boxes/conjugations.
Ideas for Use
This Binder Battle / Verb Volley game is perfect for substitute days, review activities, and quiet-learning centers or when asking students to memorize a new tense or mood, etc. In classrooms or environments where students are expected to keep their own binders or folders, students can leave these pages in sheet protectors in their notebooks and use them anytime they have extra class time, need to review, or are getting ready for quizzes. They also make perfect grab and go file-folder games. Have another idea, a comment, or a question, we’d love to hear from you!