3 Activities to Practice the Simple Past

What communicative activities have you used to help students gain accuracy and comfort with the simple past? My two basic level students (see YT playlist) have been practicing the future with will and be going to. After this, I plan to shift to the simple past. Since we’ve already practiced was and were, I’m actually…

The Trick to Telling a Good Tale: Simple Past or Simple Present?

One of my recent online exchanges centered around the choice of verb tenses for telling a story. Do we narrate an event in the present or the past? The learner who raised this question had just learned about the use of the simple present to make a narrative seem more exciting and real, as if…

Hopes and Wishes: Practice with regular verbs in the past tense

One of the challenges of the past tense is learning the pronunciation of the -ed endings of regular verbs. With basic students in mind, I offer a timely activity about hopes and wishes. If you choose to make use of it in January rather than December, you can easily modify the questions at the end…

Highly Irregular: An activity to practice the past tense of irregular verbs

In a recent YouTube lesson on verb tenses, I decided to review the forms of the simple past. The series targets intermediate and advanced students, so one might question the depth of my review, which includes the spelling and pronunciation rules as well as practice with some irregular verbs.  However, I’ve seen and heard upper…

First and Last: A speaking activity

About a year ago, I posted a speaking activity called “Firsts” for upper level students. Allow me to offer another activity that could be used with both upper and lower level students. I call it “First and Last”. I find it timely for such activities as 2010 is drawing to a close, and we’ll soon be welcoming…