Learning Numbers in French

We use numbers every day as we shop, play games, discuss times and dates, and interact with each other. In order to be able to function in a second language, it is important to master using numbers.

While learning numbers in French is really just a matter of memorizing them, there are many ways to make the process fun and enjoyable. The secret to mastery is to make sure the numbers are practiced out of order. Let me explain why.

As a French teacher, I have encountered many students who can count like wildfire, but have no idea how to identify a number out of order. Attempts to do so usually involve rapid counting. This can take some time when the number is over fifty!

Practice Numbers Out of Order

The good news is that there are many fun ways to ensure that numbers are drilled randomly. You can use a deck of number cards, either shuffled, or laid out face down in a grid to play Concentration. For Concentration, players turn over cards two at a time, saying the numbers out loud. If the cards match, two eights, for example, that player keeps those cards and gets another turn. If two non-matching cards are turned over, the cards are returned to their face-down position and play proceeds to the next person. You must try to remember where all the cards are hidden in order to turn over matching pairs. The object is to finish the game with the most number of cards.

You can write numbers on pieces of paper, draw them out of a hat and say them in your second language. Do this first one at a time, then two at a time to add them, then two at a time to multiply them, as you learn higher numbers.

Bingo is a great game to practice numbers randomly. Preprinted Bingo cards feature a 5 by 5 grid with a random selection of numbers from 1 to 15 in the B column, 16 to 30 in the I column, 31 to 45 in the N column, 46 to 60 in the G column, and 61 to 75 in the O column. The center space is usually free. A caller randomly chooses the numbers and the first player to get five in a row wins. There are many variations on this game available.

Change the Way You Count

Counting by twos, threes, fives, and tens is another great way to get students thinking about their numbers. Do you save your coins? Count your nickels and dimes in French. Are you practicing your times tables? Count by threes, sixes, or sevens.

There are many possibilities to have fun and gain mastery of this important subject. Remember, counting is a great way to learn your numbers initially, but in order to truly master them, you must practice them out of order.
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