Keivan Teimoorian Keivan Teimoorian

Past Simple and its common time expressions
A1, Beginner level


In this lesson, students learn about the construction of the past simple tense in English and they will be able to make correct sentences via common time expressions. Postcards will also be introduced.


No materials added to this plan yet.

Main Aims

  • Grammar: to present and practice past simple form of the verb "to be" in the context of talking about their recent and further past, particularly holidays

Subsidiary Aims

  • Vocabulary about past time expressions. Scan reading ti find specific information, speaking


Warmer/Lead-in (3-5 minutes) • To set lesson context and engage students

The teacher greets the class and asks the students if they like traveling and what places they like traveling to. The teacher asks most of the students and listens patiently for answers. The teacher listens carefully for what the students might say about the past, but does not correct or introduce past time expressions at this stage. -Do you like traveling? -Do you travel out of Istanbul/Turkey?

Lead-in (3-4 minutes) • To present some very common time expressions about the past

The teacher makes a timeline by writing the word "today" on the WB and writes the date on it. He then elicits the word "yesterday" by pointing to the left side of "today". The teacher repeats the same work for "the day before yesterday". The teacher may also write the words tomorrow and the day after tomorrow to make the activity more interesting and tangible for the students. The teacher then drills the words in the class.

Lead-in 2 (4-6 minutes) • To draw students' attention to more past time expressions.

The teacher gives Ss a handout with a diagram on it. Students work in pairs to put the words in the diagram by sorting them from past to now: today yesterday two days ago last week last month last year two years ago ten years ago. The teacher then asks ss to stick the expressions on the WB. The teacher then drills (group and individual repetition).

Scan reading a small postcard (6-8 minutes) • To present the first examples of the verb "to be" in the past

The teacher introduces the students to a postcard through realia/visuals and elicits what they think it is and why people use it. The teacher then gives the students the text of a postcard written by someone on holiday. Students are asked to scan the text and write the name of places in the right time category. Students then check their answers in pairs. Teacher then gives them the answers.

Grammar Presentation (8-10 minutes) • To present Past simple Tense of the verb "to be"

The teacher uses the examples in the postcard and draws a table on the WB. He then elicits answers to complete the columns according to the sentences in the postcard. subj. verb place time I was in BUYUKADA yesterday. We were in CAPALI CARSI three days ago. I wasn't at the hotel last weekend. Question Forms: Was Martin in Istanbul last week? Yes he was / No, he wasn't. Were you at the hotel last weekend? Yes, I was / No, I wasn't. Anticipated problems: 1. Students may not be familiar with places in other cities so they can't focus on the grammar. S: T uses Istanbul for the subject of the postcard. 2. Ss might make sentences with the time expression at the beginning of the sentence by habit. S: T gives a model sentence himself and tell ss that it is also correct.

Controlled Practice (3-4 minutes) • To concept check further and prepare students for free practice

The teacher gives ss a handout with gaps in the sentences. Students are asked to complete the gaps with was / wasn't / were / weren't. Teacher then asks then to check their answers in pairs and then gets a whole class feedback by asking them to be A and B. Anticipated Problem: The activity may sound mechanical. S: T asks ss to roleplay at the end to check the answers in the class.

Pronunciation Practice (2-3 minutes) • To clarify the weak and strong pronunciation of was and were, also in negative forms.

The teacher gives ss a handout in which they have to mark the pronunciation of the past verb of "to be" either short or long. They check their answers with the T. Anticipated Problem: 1. They may not be able to pronounce them correctly, particularly the weak students. S: T drills carefully at the end. 2. Students are not expected to know the adjectives "weak" and "strong" S: T replaces them with "short" and "long"

Free Practice (4-5 minutes) • To practice and produce easy sentences using the past simple form of "to be"

The teacher gives the ss the last handout with places and time expressions written on them. He then asks ss to work in pairs and make sentences about themselves. I was in Istanbul last week. Me and my family were in Izmir last summer. Anticipated Problems: Some students may make mistakes as it is the first time making such sentences. S: The T monitors closely and takes notes or corrects immediately.

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