Memorization can be tedious, so why not make it easier? These Spanish verb dice, which can be matched with the pronoun dice on this page, are designed to create repetition in a fun way. In addition, you can use them as a replacement for flashcards, or you can create competitive teams, partners, or groups.
The “Super Six”
Have you ever noticed how often words or phrases are repeated in speech and writing? Speakers of many languages use just a few hundred vocabulary words and around ten or so verbs much of the time, and Spanish is no exception.
While frequency lists vary depending upon statistical computation methods, Spanish-language frequency lists like the Real Academia Española’s (Royal Spanish Academy‘s) and Professor Mark Davies’ Spanish linguistic corpus (here and here), represent excellent reference points for where to focus memorization activity.
Below is a list of the infinitives in this verb pack and the number where they appear on Davies’ 2006 list of most common Spanish base words (lemmas):
- Estar (17)
- Ir (30)
- Poder (27)
- Querer (57)
- Ser (8)
- Tener (18)
Out of all Spanish words on Davies’ lists, including nouns, adjectives, and adverbs, the six verbs in this pack appear in the top 57 words. That means they appear in speech and writing constantly. Moreover, they appear early and often in Spanish textbooks, readers, classroom activities, and even in Spanish children’s programming. That’s why we call these verbs the Super Six Infinitives / Los super seis. (Not to be confused with but obviously similar to Terry Waltz’s Super Seven.) You get a lot of bang for your memorization “buck” with these.
Included Verb Charts
In order to facilitate easy use and scalable learning, this verb pack includes the following charts: 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.
Ideas of Use
Save time by asking students to cut and tape or glue the dice together themselves. The dice are designed with tabs that are the precise size of most brands of double-sided tape, but glue on the tabs or even one-sided tape on the outside can be used.
If you keep a basket or bucket handy, you can use these dice again and again. Or, you can use them as a “grab and learn” activity. Here are some more ideas:
Vocabulary Card Replacement
Whether memorizing for the first time, studying for a test, or reviewing, verb dice can take some of the tedium out of drills. The randomness of rolling prevents students from memorizing based on the order or features of their vocabulary cards.
The more advanced the students, the longer and more complicated this activity can be. With the included verb charts and our free subject pronoun dice, students can work on different tenses with very low prep.
Adapting to Personality Types
While not all students enjoy competitive games, some students learn better when in competition or when they can interact. You can partition this activity by student preferences. For example, students who prefer to work alone can do so; students who enjoy working with a friend can pair off; and, students who want to create a game can form teams.
Quiet Learning Centers
Leaving sets of these dice accessible allows language learners to redeem the time when they finish other activities early, when their teacher or parent is occupied, or when they simply need to switch mental gears. Occasionally rotating this and pronoun dice at learning stations ensures that students are constantly cycling through and reviewing important parts of the “core” of the Spanish language, no matter which tense they are learning!
Combining these Spanish subject-pronoun dice with the below download of super-six infinitive dice allows students to make a game of verb drills.