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French Verbs

Teacher Guide by Bridget Baudinet

Find this Teacher Guide and more like it in our World Languages Category!

Student Activities for French Verbs Include:

No French course is complete without considerable emphasis on verb conjugations. All language students are likely quite familiar with the repetitive conjugation charts that make up many practice assignments. Add variety to your lessons by incorporating storyboards into your assignment rotation. Storyboards may take a bit more time than written conjugations, but the visual they provide can help students better grasp the grammatical concepts. Each storyboard encourages individual creativity and makes students eager to share their work and practice oral language skills.

By the end of this lesson your students will create amazing storyboards like the ones below!




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The five lessons below are just a sampling of the many lesson variations storyboards allow. Feel free to add or subtract squares in each assignment. Most of the assignments can also be adapted to other verb tenses to suit beginning or advanced students. Require the passé simple, for example, instead of the passé composé, or the plus-que-parfait instead of the imparfait.

Allow students varying levels of artistic freedom to meet your time constraints. For some assignments, you may want to give your students leeway to create new scenes for each square. For others, you may prefer that students repeat a scene for an entire column or row, making small changes to illustrate grammatical changes. For these repeated images, remember to use the “Copy Cells” function at the bottom of the Storyboard Creator. This makes replicating scenes quick and easy, allowing your students to create visually engaging scenes without eating up too much class time.


Essential Questions for French Verbs

  1. What is the difference between the passé composé and the imparfait?
  2. When and how do tenses shift in complex sentences with multiple clauses?
  3. How do reflexive pronouns change the meaning of a verb?
  4. How are regular verbs conjugated in the present tense?
  5. What opening clauses trigger the use of the subjunctive?

French Verbs Lesson Plans, Student Activities and Graphic Organizers

Regular French Verb Conjugations


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Every language student will need to practice conjugations as part of their study. Why not use storyboards to make the task more interesting? For younger students, the visual storyboards provide can help solidify the relationship between each pronoun and its conjugations. Seeing two characters in the “ils” square, for example, reinforces the concept of “they”.

Ask students to use a storyboard chart to practice conjugating regular verbs. The sample chart provided uses the present tense, but you can easily adjust this assignment to fit any tense.


-ER VERB-IR VERB-RE VERB
JEJe regarde la télé.Je rougis.J'attends l'autobus.
TUJean, tu regardes la télé.Jean, tu rougis.Jean, tu attends l'autobus.
IL / ELLE / ONIl regarde la télé.Il rougit.Il attend l'autobus.
NOUSNous regardons la télé.Nous rougissons.Nous attendons l'autobus.
VOUSMadame Souberous, vous regardez la télé.Madame Souberous, vous rougissez.Madame Souberous, vous attendez l'autobus.
ILS / ELLES Ils regardent la télé.Ils rougissent.Ils attendent l'autobus.

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


For this activity, you will practice conjugation of French verbs in the present tense. Use the template to choose a regular -er, -ir, and -re verb to conjugate for each of the six French pronoun categories. Design a simple image to illustrate the verb for each pronoun, then write a simple sentence below the image. For the verb “regarder”, for example, you might use the same image of a TV being watched all the way down the column, while simply changing the characters and sentences to suit the pronouns. Refer to the sample storyboard as a guide.



(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





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French Imparfait / Passé Composé


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Have students use storyboards to practice distinguishing between the imperfect and passé composé by setting up two-column comparisons. This format can help students identify a number of differences between the two tenses, such as sustained action vs. finite action, or habitual action vs. one-time events. For this sample activity, the chart is set up to display an ongoing action interrupted by a one-time action. The storyboard images will help students envision the scenario and concretize the grammatical rule.


IMPARFAITPASSÉ COMPOSÉ
Je courais…
I was running…
quand un réverbère s'est heurté contre moi.
when a lamp-post ran into me.
Samuel passait l'aspirateur sur le tapis…
Samuel was vacuuming the carpet...
quand quelqu'un a sonné.
when somebody rang the doorbell.
Élodie dormait…
Élodie was sleeping...
quand sa mère l'a appelée.
when her mother called her.

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


Practice using the French imparfait and passé composé in this two-column storyboard activity. In the left column, describe and depict an action in the imparfait that is ongoing (ex. She was drying her hair...). In the right column, depict and describe a finite action that interrupts the ongoing action (ex. when the phone rang). The interrupting action should be conjugated using the passé composé. Below each image, include an English translation of your French text. Show your clear understanding of this concept by completing three rows depicting three different interrupted scenarios. Use the sample storyboard as a model.



(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





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French Reflexive Verbs


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Storyboard images are a great way to teach students the difference between reflexive and non-reflexive verbs. The images help visual learners identify a clear difference between the different versions of the same base verb. Have beginner students practice depicting and describing scenarios using common, everyday reflexive verbs, or have more advanced students demonstrate the difference between verbs that change meaning in reflexive form. Make the assignment more complex by requiring use of the verbs in a tense other than the present.


Common French Reflexive Verbs

  • se laver
  • se sentir
  • se reveiller
  • se peigner
  • se taire
  • se faire mal
  • se coucher
  • se brosser
  • se coiffer
  • se raser
  • se reposer


French Verbs that Change Meaning when Reflexive

  • agir
  • aller
  • appuyer
  • attendre
  • demander
  • lever
  • marier
  • mettre
  • passer
  • trouver
  • occuper

ReflexiveNot Reflexive
Antoine se lave les mains.Antoine lave la voiture.
Maman se couche à dix heures. Maman couche le bébé à sept heures.
Je me suis cassée le bras.J'ai cassé le vase.
Nous nous sommes trouvés à l'entrée d'un labyrinthe mystérieux.Nous avons trouvé un vieux coffre et une clé dans le labyrinthe.

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


For this activity, you will choose four reflexive verbs that can also function as non-reflexive verbs. In a two-column storyboard, you will depict a reflexive usage of the verb in the left and a non-reflexive usage on the right. Below each depiction, include a sentence describing the image and correctly employing the verb.



(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





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“Si” Constructions in French


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Just as in English, complex sentences in French often require a combination of different verb tenses. To master the French language, students must learn the particular patterns expected in various sentence combinations. The storyboard assignment below allows students to practice constructing complex sentences beginning with “si”. The template below includes headings indicating the tenses students should employ. Increase the difficulty of the assignment by removing the tense labels in the right-hand column, forcing students to determine the second tense on their own. This assignment can also be completed substituting “quand” or “lorsque” for “si”.


Si...présent......futur
Si les oiseaux mangent les miettes...Hansel et Gretel ne retrouveront pas le chemin.
Si...imparfait... ...conditionnel
Si j'avais un million de dollars...j'achèterais un château.
Si...plus-que-parfait......conditionnel passé
Si j'avais étudié cette semaine...J'aurais réussi à mon examen ce matin.

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


Put into practice your knowledge of French verb tenses in sentences beginning with “si”. When “si” means “if” in French, it automatically creates a complex sentence consisting of both a dependent clause and an independent clause. When the tense of the dependent “si” clause changes, so does the tense of the independent clause. Demonstrate your understanding of these changes by completing the storyboard template below.

In the left column, write a clause beginning with “si” in the tense indicated and use storyboard graphics to depict the clause. In the right column, complete the thought with a clause in the appropriate tense and an accompanying image.



(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





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French Subjunctive Constructions


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The many emotions that the storyboard characters can display provide a fun way to study the French subjunctive. Character poses with happy, sad, angry, and shocked faces make easy and entertaining depictions of common subjective sentence starters, such as “je suis content que…” or “nous sommes tristes que…” Use these character poses to start off sentences, then have students finish them with an appropriate use of the subjunctive. In order to ensure that the use of the subjunctive is evident with all pronoun forms, specify that students use only -ir, -re, and irregular verbs. Students can have fun inventing their own creative sentence endings!


DEPENDENT CLAUSE MAIN CLAUSE
Je suis choqué que...les licornes ne soient pas réelles.
Je suis triste que...les gens me haïssent.
Je pense que...la crème brûlée est superbe!
Je ne suis pas sûr que...la porte soit fermée à clé.
Je suis fâché que...le lapin détruise mes fleurs.
J'espère que...je trouverai de l'amour un jour.

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)


For this assignment, you will practice using the subjunctive/indicative with some common dependent clauses that express emotion, possibility, or certainty. To do so, you will create a two-column storyboard following the specifications below.


Left Column
Choose six different facial images for the same character. Place the character in six different squares, choosing a different facial expression in each square. Below each face, add an appropriate dependent clause, such as “Paul est triste que…” or “Je suis content que…” At least one of your clauses should necessitate the indicative.


Right Column
Complete the thought expressed in the left column, using the subjunctive when appropriate. Finish the assignment by depicting the sentence meaning in the storyboard square.


Consult the sample storyboard as a model.



(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)





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•   (English) French Verbs in Context   •   (Español) Los Verbos Franceses en Contexto   •   (Français) Verbes Français en Contexte   •   (Deutsch) Französische Verben im Kontext   •   (Italiana) Verbi Francesi in Contesto   •   (Nederlands) Franse Woorden in Context   •   (Português) Verbos Franceses em Contexto   •   (עברית) פעלים בצרפתית בהקשר   •   (العَرَبِيَّة) الأفعال الفرنسية في السياق   •   (हिन्दी) संदर्भ में फ़्रांसीसी क्रियाएं   •   (ру́сский язы́к) Французские Глаголы в Контексте   •   (Dansk) Franske Verb i Kontekst   •   (Svenska) Franska Verb i Kontext   •   (Suomi) Ranskan Sanat Kontekstissa   •   (Norsk) Franske Verter i Kontekst   •   (Türkçe) Bağlamda Fransız Fiiller   •   (Polski) Czasowniki Francuskie w Kontekście   •   (Româna) Verbe Franceze în Context   •   (Ceština) Francouzské Slovesa v Kontextu   •   (Slovenský) Francúzske Slovesá v Kontexte   •   (Magyar) Francia Igék Kontextusban   •   (Hrvatski) Francuski Glagoli u Kontekstu   •   (български) Френски Глаголи в Контекста   •   (Lietuvos) Prancūzų Kalbos Veiksmažodžiai Kontekste   •   (Slovenščina) Francoski Glagoli v Kontekstu   •   (Latvijas) Franču Valodas Vārdi Kontekstā   •   (eesti) Prantsuse Keele Sõnad Kontekstis