Matthew Smith Matthew Smith

Use of the Past Simple
Elementary level


in this lesson Students learn about the use of the past simple in the context of people who have done great things in the past. After setting the context through visuals and a short quiz about 5 people who have done great things in the past, Students will do a short exercise using the past simple to practice and text their knowledge. Students will then look for examples of use of the past simple in a text about Nelson Mandela they had read earlier. The teacher will then clarify the meaning and form by using marker sentences from the text and the pronunciation by a listening and drilling. Students will then complete the same controlled practice exercise again to test their understanding as well as further controlled practice in the form of a peer reading.


Abc Gap Fill Handout Past simple verbs
Abc Quiz History Makers
Abc Find the verb Exercise
Abc Peer Dictation Exercise Handout
Abc Answer Key Gap Fill
Abc Answer Key Peer Dictation

Main Aims

  • To provide clarification and practice of the past simple tense in the context of history makers

Subsidiary Aims

  • To provide specific information listening and reading practice using a text about past events in the context of history makers


Warmer/Lead-in (5-6 minutes) • To set lesson context of history makers and engage students

Write "History makers" on the whiteboard and display 5 images of the History Makers in the quiz on the board. Briefly discuss who they are and find out what the ss know about them. Briefly clarify meaning of "scientist" and "explorer" if needed. Ss to do quiz in groups of 3 or 4. Read out answers highlighting use of past simple language.

Controlled Practice exercise as a test (5-6 minutes) • To gauge students' prior knowledge of the target language

Mention Nelson Mandela was a history maker and refer back to the reading ss did in the previous class. Show the exercise and ask ss to insert the correct verb from the table in its past simple tense form in the gaps. Tell students to work alone. Monitor closely while ss are doing the exercise to see what they do or don't know. Once finished, ask ss to turn their papers over and let them know that we will look at the answers later in the lesson.

Teach the meaning, form and pronunciation of the target language. (15-20 minutes) • To clarify the target language focussing on areas where students had difficulty in the first test stage

Refer ss to the Mandela story again and ask them to work in pairs to underline the sentences containing the regular and irregular verbs listed in the find the verb exercise. Elicit the marker sentences or similar sentences from the ss as WC feedback and write them on the whiteboard. MEANING - clarify the meaning - refers to events that happened at particular times in the past. Draw timeline on the whiteboard. CCQs - did it happen one time in the past or many times ? Do we only use the past simple for distant past or can it be a more recent event ? give everyday life example to clarify e.g. I met most of you on Monday. FORM -Ask ss to work in pairs to do part B of the exercise. Clarify sub + verb + object on whiteboard. Elicit regular and irregular forms and different "ed" endings. Clarify form is the same for I, you, We ,They etc. PRONUNCIATION - Play listening exercise for regular verbs. Model and drill pronunciation of started /ID/, worked /T/ and one syllable and finished and mark problem sounds on whiteboard. Play second listening for regular verbs - model and drill became, forgot, left.

Test #2 -Gap fill exercise (5-6 minutes) • Check students' use of the target language again and compare with the first test

Ask ss to go back to the gap fill exercise they did earlier. Elicit a couple of answers as WC feedback. Handout an answer key.

Semi-controlled practice (13-15 minutes) • To provide students with practice of the target language and reading and speaking for accuracy

Identify ss as A or B. Show the Peer Dictation text. Ask ss to fold it down the middle when they get the text and As to complete the past simple verbs in the Ghandi story and Bs the Pankhurst story. Monitor. When ss finished put As and Bs together in pairs and ask them to open up their papers. Get a strong student to come to the front and demonstrate instructions. Ask As to read their story to the Bs one sentence at a time and Bs to write in the gaps the past simple verbs and vice versa. Some WC feedback from a few pairs on both stories and hand out answer key.

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