I created the game “Un Minuto Loco” as an engaging way to help my high school students learn verb conjugations. Students race to conjugate as many verbs they can within the time limit, similar to mad minute math drills.
But isn't drill and kill bad for students?
The pendulum is in Foreign Language pedagogy is swinging away from drill and kill to more contextualized language learning, right?! So games like this would be pointless, correct?
While I VERY much believe that language learning should be applied, contextualized, and relevant, I also believe that older language learners (beginning in the teen years) DO benefit from some simple memorization.
Take a personal example... Back when I was in high school, as a native English speaker, I spent many useful hours memorizing SAT vocabulary words which I still use TODAY! Sure, I learned some of those words through authentic experiences reading books, listening to TV, and my parents. But the drill and kill method also was helpful in the end. Years of cognitive science research has shown again and again that repeated exposure can be an effective way to encode new content in your brain. This is especially true when it comes to simple language, like new vocabulary words and verb structures.
Should you drill and kill with conjugation games non-stop? NO! Consider using activities like this as a simple warm up or closure activity. From my own experience, games like this are a great way to engage students and motivate them to learn.
What other teachers think…
“I loved this activity and I believe that it really helped my students. It seems as though they get it like never before!! Thanks so much.” ~Anne G.
“This is genius! The students are already used to doing minute drills in math… Now I do them every day with your organizers. Wonderful formative assessment tool. Thanks!” ~Darla F.
Check out all my Minuto Loco races in my Teachers Pay Teachers store, and my Minuto Loco Menu lists every race I currently have.