Song for Teaching Irregular Preterites:  Jackie Dubay - (Download this helpful hint as a PDF , Download an mp3 of Jackie singing the irregular preterite song)

Great Way to Introduce Irregular Stem Verbs in the Preterite Tense

Introducing the Irregular Stem Verbs in the preterite tense is one of my favorite lessons.  I use a song, learned from one of my own high school teachers, to introduce this lesson.  The song is to the tune of 10 Little Indians and lists 11 irregular stem verbs in the yo form.

I start out the lesson by introducing the song piece by piece.  I have students sing each piece back to me.  I will go on to the next piece, have students repeat after me, and then go through the two pieces together.  Sometimes I will point to students individually to recite back from me what they hear.  I do all of this before I give the students the handout.  After about 5-7 minutes of this, I will finally give students a handout with the song on it, and we will sing it all together so that they can look at the words.

The handout in the file above has the song typed out and requires students to list the original infinitive of the irregular stem yo form and the definition of that infinitive.  We go through this together.  Then the right side of the paper we go through the guided notes explaining these verbs and how they are conjugated.  My guided notes section is designed to be done after students have already learned the irregular preterite conjugations of ser, ir, dar, and ver.  If the order of your lessons is set up differently, I have also provided a handout without these notes.

Over the next couple classes we spend about 5 minutes practicing memorization of the song, in addition to our normal practice and review.  On the 4th class, right before the quiz is administered, students are given an “extra credit opportunity” to recite the song from memory (they are told about this when the song is first introduced).  Students who volunteer and are successful earn 5% extra on their quiz.  I find that this is a great incentive for students to learn the song, which in turn helps them greatly on the quiz.  I usually have at least a handful of students that will recite the song from memory, and often these students don’t even really need the extra credit that they earn.  I am pleased to see how well all of the students do overall on this concept.

Additional information