Do your students struggle with the past simple tense?
Do you want to make your teaching more effective and fun?
So do I. I want to teach my students to form and use the past simple tense in English, but I have failed so many times that had got a bit desperate. When we learn the past tense of regular verbs, my students always seem to understand it perfectly, but then they fail to use it in the future. I have been trying different activities for years but to no avail.
But this year it seems that I finally hit the bull eye. I started with audio-oral drills, but they were not effective enough. However, when I added the video element, everything changed. My students started to use the grammar correctly and I could stop my futile explanations.
In this post, you will find a set of my video activities and a nice speaking drill to help you teach this grammar too. Try it out and you will see whether it works for you too.
Regular verbs – affirmative sentences
First, explain the grammar. I have been using the following presentation. There is a slight drawback, as the presentation is in Czech, but it may serve as an inspiration for you.
Then play the video and ask the students to put the sentences into the past simple tense. The students might hesitate for the first two or three sentences, but they soon get it and start to produce the sentences.
In the second half of the video, students only hear the sentence in the present tense, and their task is to turn it into the past simple tense.
The trick of effective teaching is spaced practise. You need to play the video in several lessons and you have to return to it from time to time.
Regular Verbs – negative form
Once again, I start with a short explanation.
Then I play the following video and the students try to make the sentences negative. I am happy to say that they very quickly get the basic idea and use it without any problems.
Once again, do not forget that you have to play the video in several consecutive lessons.
Regular verbs – speaking activity
First, play display the following vanishing drill activity. Students read the text and gradually various words vanish but the students still have to read the whole text.
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Then seat your students in pairs. Each pair gets a set of the following cards. They place the cards face down on the desk. One of the students take a card and the other student asks them the questions from the drill. The first student uses the verbs from the card and answers the questions in the past simple tense. Once they answer all three questions, students swap their roles.
After four or five minutes, I move to the last slide of the presentation to make it a bit more difficult for my students.
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