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Past tense of regular verbs

It has been known that people remember grammar rules best if they come up with their own explanation. Therefore, the teachers should try to design their teaching activities in such a way that they will help students create their own rules.

It is not easy. I have been trying to do this for twenty years and I am still pretty far from being good at it. However, recently I have been rather successful with a method which I call colourful teaching. My students like it and their test results are much better than before.

In this post I would like to share a set of activities to teach the past tense of regular verbs. There is one worksheet showing how students should form the past tense of the regular verbs and one worksheet showing how to form the negative in the past simple tense.

Spelling of the past tense

Print the following worksheet in colour. You need one column for each student (there are two columns on one page).

Students first study the examples at the top of the page. Then they try to exploit the colours and complete items 1-4. Check their answers and explain any problems. Then students complete items 5-9. Once again check students’ answers.

Now the students try to complete the rest of the worksheet. Check their answers but do not elicit the rules. If they ask you, you can give them your rules, but do not push it. It is important that students make their own understanding of this grammar.

To test their knowledge, you can use the following test in the subsequent lesson.

If you feel that your students need an explanation anyway, you can find a nice infographic here.

Forming negatives

The following worksheet works similarly as the one above but this time students learn to form negatives in the past simple tense.

Print the following worksheet in colour. Once again each student needs one column and there are two columns on one page.

Once again, students study the examples and then complete items 1-4. Check students’ answers and ask them to do items 5-9. Check their answers again and explain any problems the students might have encountered.

Then students complete items 10-16 and you check their answers again.

If you feel that you need to give an explanation anyway, you can find the explanation how to form the negative in the past simple tense here.

Video Practise

To give my students a chance to practise the past simple tense of regular verbs in English, I created the following video.

The video works in the following way. Students hear a sentence in the present simple tense and their task is to try to transform the sentence into the past simple tense. After seven seconds they hear and see the correct answer.
In the second part of the video, students just hear the sentence and they have to form the past simple tense.

The following video works in a similar way. Students watch and they try to form the negative form.

Online Practice

If you would like your students to practise the grammar online, you can try the following page.

This exercise is a part of a site ajfun.eu. On this site you can find a set of online exercises, which are design as homework. Your students can fill in the exercise and send the result to you. If you would like to receive their results, contact me at rotreklzdenek(at)gmail.com.

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One Comment

  1. Thank you for such a great job!! It will help me to get students engaged in activities on past simple.

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