Textbooks often don´t offer enough speaking practice.
If the book is good it gives you two speaking activities per unit and nothing more.
Then the teacher has to search high and low to find some more.
To make the search shorter, I share three speaking activities you can use to practise the past simple tense. In these activities, your students will use regular verbs, irregular verbs and questions in the past simple tense.(more…)
Do your students struggle with the past simple tense?
Do you want to make your teaching more effective and fun?(more…)
Some students find it difficult to learn all the forms of the past simple tense. The following worksheets will help them learn this grammar easily.
Autonomous students are intrinsically motivated, willing to take responsibility for their own learning and aware of their preferred learning strategies.
I have already shared many materials to teach the past simple tense here. You can find activities to teach irregular verbs, a great post on teaching questions in the past simple tense and a post on teaching negative in the past simple tense. However, this post is different. Here, I would like to share a set of activities where students can practise the past simple tense in an entertaining and creative way using the poem Michael Rosen Rap.(more…)
I remember the times in my teaching career when I dreaded teaching questions. I especially hated the questions in the past simple tense. After my explanation, students got confused and they often failed to produce even the most basic questions.
Fortunately, the situation has changed. Nowadays, I look forward to teaching this grammar. I have developed a set of activities which help my students learn the grammar easily and they form the questions correctly and without thinking much about it.
In this post, I would like to share with you the activities which work very well for me and my classes. You will find a great original rap with comprehension questions, and a simple video called Grammar Point, where the grammar is explained and practised. I hope you will find this post useful.
Questions in the past tense – RAP
I start my lesson with the following RAP song. I hand out the following worksheet and I ask my students to answer the questions:
As you can see the worksheet contains five copies of the same worksheet. Print it out and cut it into five pieces. Play the Rap song at least twice and ask the students to write their answers to the questions. Explain that it is enough to write just one word.
Once I check the students’ answers, I always ask my students to rap along and learn the poem by heart. It is not difficult.
To get the pronunciation correct, students can copy the rap or they can follow the recording in American English, which you can hear below:
(Recorded by Christie Baarns. You can order her services at https://www.fiverr.com/christiebaarns/record-a-pro-voice-over?funnel=636d1dd1-8a9e-4ea1-8178-093ac3d4002b She provides great services.)
Now it is time to explain the grammar. It is much easier now, as the students know the 12 examples given in the rap. I play the following video for my students:
I stop the video after the explanation and I hand out the following infographic which explains the grammar and I clarify the grammar in students’ MT, if necessary.
Once, I am sure that the students understand the grammar, I play the rest of the recording. There is a grammar challenge. Students hear a sentence but part of the sentence is difficult to hear. Their task is to ask about the missing information. The video provides 7 seconds for their answers. Then they will hear the correct answer.
Questions in the past tense – Speaking
To practise the grammar, students need to use it in real-life conversation. I love using Clock Speaking. The questions are divided into four sections and there is a time at the head of each section. Tell the students to find a different partner for each time. Then say what time it is and students have to work with the partner they have arranged. They ask the questions and answer them.
Past simple is one of the most important English tenses. Scott Thornbury once wrote that he would sacrifice all the perfect tenses and other grammar if he could teach past simple properly. I agree with him, because if the students could you this tense, then I would probably forgive them everything.
Basic English grammar rules – infographic
To teach all the basic English grammar rules about the past tense I use the following mind map.
Basic English grammar rules – online quiz
I believe that it is critical that students know the irregular verbs. Here you can find two games to learn and practise the verbs. You cannot master the basic grammar rules without some memory work and a lot of practice. To play the games, click the download link and open the downloaded file in Adobe Reader. Then click on the game and enjoy.
During the week more activities on Past simple tense are coming. Watch out for them.
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