I love making French games for the classroom, because we all love to have fun in French class, right? I’ve had times where my students were bored with the grammar we were doing. Sometimes, they just don’t think it’s as fun to conjugate verbs as I do.
If you feel like you want to mix things up a little bit, playing some new games is always a fun way to get kids engaged and excited to learn. All of the sudden, practicing verbs or learning new words feels new and fun for students.
Learning CAN and SHOULD be fun! Here are a few engaging French games for the classroom to help keep your lessons fresh and fun!
Here are some ways to successfully use French games:
1. Include movement.
Kids learn more when moving, and they will definitely be more awake. Use TPR, have them act out verbs as you call them out, play charades, do white board races, create skits, or role-play. Do anything that is interactive and incorporates movement in the classroom!
My favorite French games for the classroom for movement:
One of my favorite French games for the classroom is SCOOT! Cut out the cards, tape one on each desk, and have students move from desk to desk answering questions. I give my students 30 seconds per desk, then call out Scoot! (In French, we say Filez!)
When students hear Scoot, they move to the next desk and continue until they have completed all of the questions. The kids love it because they are not sitting, and the movement helps students stay focused. It is great for practice anytime you want to review and have fun!
Here’s what my Avoir and Être Scoot game looks like.
2. Stock up on supplies at dollar stores.
You can find playing cards (great for practicing numbers), dice, game pieces, foam blocks, miniature clip boards, timers, and fly swatters.
I have bought flash cards for colors and numbers, and these can make fun learning centers for middle school or can be incorporated into a lot of games for high-schoolers.
I also love push lights! You can use these as buzzers for games (except they don’t buzz, so there is less noise). You can make French games for the classroom out of just about anything!
3. Don’t feel pressured to bring technology into every lesson.
Yes, my classes love to play trivia games with their buzzers, and they think it is so fun to see race cars zoom across my Smartboard, but they also love good, old-fashioned board games.
My students particularly love board games, because they are a great, non-threatening way to get beginners to speak. Students play in groups of 2-4 and create sentences using the vocabulary depicted on the board. Because they get to practice in small groups, they are willing to test out their new vocabulary.
It’s easy to make it more challenging, too!
If you have advanced learners, you can ask them to also talk about what they do in the place shown or say how often they go there. Make it really hard by combining the two! Want to differentiate even more? You can turn board games into French grammar games by requiring students to use a certain verb tense.
These French games for the classroom are great for vocabulary.
This requires wipe-off boards and dry erase markers. I like to do this with verb conjugations. I divide the class into 4 quadrants (teams) and give them a verb to conjugate.The first student to raise his/her board with the correct answer wins a point for the team.
If you cannot decide who was first, you can give a point to the top 2 teams. If it is too hard to determine, no point is given. Play continues until you have practiced the verbs you want to practice.
2. Board races
Students practice vocabulary words, spelling, or verb conjugations in teams at the board. Requires no prep, but some students may feel shy about coming to the board. If you have students who are shy, you can allow each student 2 passes, and they can pass the marker to another student on their team.
3. Jacques dit…
This is probably one of the easiest French games for the classroom to play. You can do this anytime you have an extra 5-10 minutes. It’s great for reviewing verb vocabulary, and we also love to play this when learning body parts.
I call it “Jacques dit…” Give the kids instructions (Jacques dit…place your right hand on your head). Students should only follow the instructions if the instructions are preceded by Jacques dit…If they follow the instructions but you didn’t say Jaques dit… they are out and have to sit down. The last remaining student wins.
4. French vocabulary slap
This is my students’ favorite game by far! They get so competitive as they race to find the words that they don’t even realize how much they are actually working!
This is best played in groups of 4-5. Print out your unit vocabulary words in large font. I use a font of about size 32 and I typically do 20-25 words at a time. Cut them out and have students place them face up on their desks or the floor. Make sure all students can see and reach all vocabulary words.
Make it fair!
While playing, I have them start with their hands on their heads, but you can also have them put their hands behind their backs. Call out the definition or translation and the students swat the word and leave their hands there.
The student who finds and swats the word first will keep the word. Continue until you have done all of the words. The student who has the most words wins. Here’s a version from my store for food vocabulary that includes over 75 word cards, over 75 image cards, and 8 editable cards for you to add your own terms.
5. Swat it!
This version is played in two teams (or four if you want to rotate). Write the words on the board and have the students swat the correct word with a fly swatter. Two students come to the board at a time. The student who swats the word first wins a point for her/her team.
I hope one of these French games for the classroom is helpful and saves you planning time!