What’s all this about a #verbathon?

I teach English in France to 11 to 15 year olds. I have three hours a week with each class.

For two hours a week we are doing exciting project work where all kinds of skills and learning can be seen.
Visit our virtual classroom to find out more.

For the third and final hour we are working and playing with the #verbathon which on twitter looks like this.
We down tools on the project work and team up for some individual and team challenges. Based on this:

A list of 100 irregular and commonly used verbs built into phrases in association with various auxiliaries, modals and varying sentence structures. 

Comparatives, questions and modals all jostle together in these 100 phrases built around the English language’s most common and yet so irregular verbs.  Even #growthmindset vocabulary has been built in. Every week using game play and strategy, students discover, rediscover, manipulate and create new phrases and structures around these verbs.

I usually have around 24 students per class. In 6 teams of 4 we play eyes-front wholeclass games that rely on team work and individual responsibility which guarantee spaced repetition and retrieval of the #verbathon verbs until, at the end of the year, 24 students can recognise, use, manipulate and invent new phrases with these most irregular of verbs.

Team scores, individual scores and whole class scores cross over and bump into each other in a fantastic inter-class spreadsheet that make success and progress very public and inter-class competition rather feisty. Scores from Duolingo and other platforms are even factored in. Nobody is afraid to make mistakes, everyone has a go, and everyone moves forward.

And strangely, everyone in my classroom loves Fridays 🙂 Even me.

Other games will be added in here. Watch this space and follow our adventures on twitter http://www.twitter.com/pjkirrage

Tools for managing the class, the teams, individuals and scoring

Click through these slides above to see how teams are managed and scored.

#verbathon verb list

Dowload / print the numbered list of verbs  here in order that students can keep them in their workbook.

#verbathon individual, team and class scores

This spread sheet enables real-time scoring on the whiteboard (Click to open in new window).

  • Individuals can receive points which are added to the team score.
  • Points can go directly to teams for a team effort.
  • Class scores are totalled and compared for inter-class competitivity.

Quick Quiz Sheets / Whole Class Written Trace Sheets

Whichever team is playing, whichever student is answering ALL pupils must right down at least the phrases from the first round. Further rounds and future games will be based on these phrases. This ensures spaced repetition and retrieval which is the raison d’être of the #verbathon.


Click here to get this as a printable document

Pupil picker                             Verb picker


#verbathon TriOminoes

Open the dominoes in a new page as a printable sheet.

These TriOminoes require students to match a #verbathon verb in a present tense phrase with the same verb in a past tense phrase.

The first time teams use the TriOminoes (I’ve printed and laminated 6 sets, 1 per team) I have them simply reproduce the patterns from the above slideshow – which I photocopy – in order that they can get used to how they work. The symbols help pupils find the TriOminoe they’re looking for (a green triangle with a smiley face, for example).

Later they can be used as a stopwatch speed activity: first to finish / how many in three minutes etc.

Blockbusters for #verbathon

This video presents the very first UK episode of Blockbusters from 1983. It is an amusing way to present the rules of the game in class.

Click on the above image to download and open the interactive Powerpoint with instructions for playing the game in class. (Instruction begin at 2:05 minutes). I will be adding sound effects and the celebratory music and effects to the interactive Powerpoint and printable verb cards. Meanwhile here’s the jingle:




Pick-a-Brick Games


I bought these numbered blocks on Amazon here

Here are three more game ideas for Pick-a-Brick

R.P.M. (Random Phrase Machine)

I need to make these explanations clearer, but flick through the slide to get the idea of this game. Students have to make there RPM and points can be given for the smartest, most colourful etc.

#verbathon Verb Room 101

Open this room in a seperate window for your VR Headset

Use the menu (or in VR, look at the menu next to your feet) to change seen and vocabulary choices.

Students can explore this room in virtual reality using a virtual reality headset.
To see how we use Virtual Reality in the classroom please visit www.CollegeMariaCasares.fr/cmcvr

Connect 4 #verbathon

Read throught the above slides to see how the game works then click here to open modifiable version for projection and manipulation on the interactive whiteboard.


#verbathon Freeway (Under construction)