Whiteboard Memory

A black silhouette of a man's head with a blue brain inside and three question marks above

Purpose:  To practice recognizing and correctly using irregular past tense verbs

Preparation Time:  5 minutes    

Materials Needed:  A whiteboard, a list of 6-10 irregular past tense verbs. For example: go-went, have-has, buy-bought, make-made, take-took, see-saw, think-thought, drive-drove


  1. Prior to the lesson, create a numbered grid with 12-20 squares. Write the list of verbs and irregular past tense forms on the grid in a random order. This will be the answer key that only the teacher can see.
  2. On the whiteboard, draw the grid but do not write the verbs in the squares. Put a number in the corner of each square.
  3. Divide the class into two teams. The first team selects two numbers from the grid. As they select each number, write the corresponding verbs from the answer key in the boxes.
  4. Ask the teams if the verbs are a match. If they are the present and past tense of the same verb, the team gets a point and the verbs are left written on the board. If the verbs are different, erase them and the next team takes their turn.
  5. Students are not allowed to take notes during the game. They must try to remember where the verbs are located on the grid.
  6. The team that has found the most matches at the end of the game is the winner.

Expansion: After a team gets a match, they must say or write a sentence that uses the past tense verb correctly. If their sentence is not correct, the other team is given the chance to say a sentence and steal the point.

Note: This game can be played to practice other irregular grammar constructs, such as plurals (mouse-mice), past participles (know- known, write, written), and homonyms (write-right, there-their, one-won).

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