Clapping Verbs

Purpose:  to help students practice irregular verb forms so that they become an automatic part of students’ language

Preparation Time:  5 minutes

Materials:  none

Preparation:  prepare list of irregular verbs to be practiced; the list is for the tutor’s or teacher’s reference only; start with a relatively small number of verbs and add on as proficiency increases.


1) Set up a regular 4-beat rhythm: clap hands twice, then click fingers twice.  Students

only speak during “clicking” time, so clapping time is opportunity to think.  Allow for

practice time, so students will be comfortable with the rhythm and the process.  You can

also start very slowly, to give students time to get used to the pattern.

2) The teacher starts by calling out the infinitive of a verb on the first set of finger clicks.  In time with the rhythm, the first student in the sequence calls out the simple past form, and the second calls out the past participle.  If there is an error, repeat the infinitive and the next two students try to make corrections.  Continue repeating the infinitive until the forms are all correct.

3) The teacher then calls out another infinitive and the pattern continues around the “circle”.


  • Try choral repetition instead of individual responses.
  • For advanced students, keep adding more verbs.  Mix in regular verbs to challenge them.
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