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Verb Conjugations (German)

Context for this Lesson


Topic: Verb Conjugations in German
Purpose: To review conjugations of present tense verbs in German
Prior Knowledge: Conjugation of present tense regular verbs haben/gern, and school subjects

  • one small ball
  • one beach ball, or other ball that has clearly delineated sections (such as a soccer ball) labeled with different school subjects
  • whiteboard/chalkboard and writing utensil for it

Name and Motion
Everyone stands in the circle. Each student gets an index card with a school subject written on them, in both German and English. These will be the students’ new “names.” Have players introduce themselves to the group by saying their new German names plus a movement that will help the class remember that word. The group mimics each name and repeats the motion. Continue until everyone is introduced.
As an extra challenge, break the students into smaller groups (8-10). Have the first person repeat their name and action. The second person says the first person’s name and action plus their own. Continue until the last person repeats all the words and actions of their group. Students seem to enjoy racing each other’s groups, too!


Verb Conjugation Review
Have two empty verb charts drawn on the board. Appoint one student volunteer as scribe. Start with “haben." Facilitator uses ball to “call” on people in class to fill out conjugation of verbs (I, you, he/she/it, we, you, they). Every time the student receives the ball, they tell the scribe what to write in the appropriate section, and throws the ball to the next student. Once the haben chart is completed and reviewed a few times, review how to use gern with haben. Then erase the charts.
Three Ball Toss
Push desks back, if possible, have students stand in circle (or go outside). Facilitator starts with ich habe gern ______, using the beach ball with sections containing school subjects. Whatever subject the student sees on the ball when they catch it completes that student’s sentence. Facilitator throws ball to student next to her, and the student continues the conjugation with du hast gern _______. The student then tosses the ball to the next person who gives the er hat gern phrase. The ball is tossed around the circle until the conjugation is complete. Repeat the procedure until the students have a pattern and rhythm established. Once the students have the pattern down, let the ball be tossed wherever a student wants to throw it.
Challenge: Instead of using just one ball, let the students toss around a couple of balls—one to review simple conjugations and the other to create complete sentences.


Describe: What did we do today?
Analyze: What was hard about our activities? Easy? Did they help you cement the verb conjugations?
Relate: How might you use these verbs in conversation? How might we apply this activity to other parts of learning a foreign language?