Verb Wall Option

Grant Boulanger shares an idea about verb walls, one that I don’t endorse but that others might want to explore:


As you know, I was involved in immersion education for a long while. My daughter is in second grade in a local Spanish immersion school and I was recently there for conferences.

I looked up and smacked my forehead. There, on the wall, were hi-frequency verbs. But, not listed by frequency. Not listed by 3rdperson singular. Not listed by infinitive. Listed by TIME! Here’s the basic format – an 8 x 4 column table which I’ll try to recreate here for publishing on the blog. But note I’ve also included a doc for you to view:

SER / to be

Ayer                  Hoy                      Mañana

Yo                         era                      soy                      voy a ser

Tú                          eras                     eres                    vas a ser

Él/ella                  era                      es                         va a ser

Nosotros/as      éramos              somos                vamos a ser

Ellos/ellas           eran                    son                      van a ser

I noted that both the formal You (Ud.) and the Uds (you guys) forms were not there. When I inquired, the teacher said, simply, that these are both forms that were unnecessary to post. They aren’t used frequently enough in their setting.

I also noted that the verbs, all hi frequency verbs, were conjugated in the past tense that would be most frequently used. The preterite was used for verbs like decir – to say/tell, while the imperfect was used for verbs like querer – to want. Logical.

I’ve been using the verb wall posters from Scott Benedict’s site, But, only in the present tense (WHY? I DON”T KNOW!) I’m going to adapt these over spring break. It will be a better support for kids when navigating between and among tenses.


Ben again: My comment is that some teachers will think that this is too much information to post on the wall. But, if it can be laser pointed to at each use, it may be useful for some teachers. I prefer to indicate tense with gestures, personally, with the thumb over the shoulder for anything in the past and a two finger curve move of the hands out from the body for the future. My concern is that in order to do this processing the kids would have to leave the sound/unconscious processing/right brain/focus on the message and not the language realm to go into the realm of vision/conscious/left brain/focus on the words realm, but that is just my opinion and preference. I don’t think that the kids would get those tenses and I would like to see how it works in those classrooms where this is used. This is a good example of how wide and powerful this method is. Some of us may really get some mileage out of this idea, others not. It wouldn’t be the first time this has occurred with strategies in comprehension based instructional methods, and that is just fine. We take from this work what we want, since we are all individual teaching artists.



6 thoughts on “Verb Wall Option”

  1. I tried this out with French 2. Just jotted a verb on the board. It was probably a little sloppy, okay, it was sloppy. I asked them if they found it distracting. I was surprised that many of them did. I will try again with a tidier presentation. With that said, I think French 3 may appreciate this. Interesting, Grant. It may be that it ends up being more interesting to me than to them!

    1. I also have no wall space but I will try to make a PP of at least the verbs I am PQAing. I have a feeling that the upper levels may appreciate this more – it’s the time that all the input allows them to see the patterns that you were talking about in the Petit Prince reading.

  2. It looks too much like a conjugation chart and the word “conjugation” is unofficially banned from my classroom.
    Maybe I do something like this though . . . I have those Super 7 verbs and their English translation, those verbs I use all the time, in 3 columns (most frequent past tense, second person present, and first person present) on my front whiteboard. These are the words I use in every story that we are in the process of acquiring. I tell the story in the past, I ask the actors questions in the tú form, and they respond in the first person. This way, I just laser the word I am using if I don’t think the kids have it yet. My board looks cluttered, but the focus of the class is never on the words on the board, rather, it is on the people in the room. I don’t think the kids stress those words on the board, because they know I don’t test them on the individual words and they know I will always laser point if there is any hint at all that someone isn’t understanding me.
    For all other tenses I use finger indication gestures for the subject pronouns and the verb tense. Sometimes I add the target structure verbs to the 3 columns. I would love to eventually not need the 3 columns of the Super 7 on the board, but that is not likely since my younger grades receive so little instructional time and need that extra visual support.

  3. I would love to participate but I have absolutely no wall space in any of the three rooms I teach every day. I will follow the development of this with curiosity, though, because maybe one day I will (have wall space).

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