Kevin O'Grady Kevin O'Grady

Lesson 5 - Past simple (was/were)
Beginner level level


In this lesson, students will learn about the past tense of "to be" (was/were) within the context of how is today, how was yesterday (which was the weekend) and what was it like in certain famous years. Guess the year.


Abc Beginner Course Book
Abc Handout 2 - Gap fill exercise
Abc Whiteboard
Abc Audio Recording Text

Main Aims

  • To provide review of Review and present the simple past tense of to be (was/were) in the context of What was it like on the weekend? At other points in time in life?

Subsidiary Aims

  • To provide accuracy and fluency speaking practice in a Conversation in the context of the weekend and time periods in the students life.


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

Welcome the students and have each student write their name on the whiteboard on the right side and pronounce their name. See sample whiteboard mark up attached.. With a marker, write today's date on the top left of the whiteboard and elicit the following sentences. I am in Besiktas at British Side. The weather is _____. I am with the students. You are in class with me. We are in class. Write yesterday's date on the top right of the whiteboard and elicit the following sentences. I was in Rumeli Hisari. It was sunny. I was with friends. We were at a cafe for breakfast. You were not with me.

Exposure (6-8 minutes) • To provide context for the target language through a text or situation

Teacher. Find what words are different in each sentence. Give students and example. Ask one student to come to the whiteboard. Put a tickmark over I, and x over was and tickmark over in. Get student to do tickmarks and x for I am in. (Gesture) In pairs, Students you will have 3 minutes to complete the task. ICQ - Working together or on your own? How many minutes? T-S 1 min Students work on task and teacher monitors . S-S 3 min Teacher - Gesture to students to come forward in pairs and put the marks on the sentences. T-S 1 min Students come in pairs to whiteboard to mark the responses and each student to read the sentence and check pronunciation. S-SSS 3 min

Highlighting (4-5 minutes) • To draw students' attention to the target language

Erase the whiteboard and write down underneath 10 December - present and under 9 December Past. Write down first three subjects I, You, She and Elicit others from the students. T-S S-T 1 min Select students to write the present tense of to be for the subjects. S-S 2 min Put a question mark beside the subjects for past simple of to be. Elicit the ones the students would know from the text. What do you think it might be? Highlight that are becomes were and is becomes was. Am and was is the only exception. S-T 2 min TEACHER - PRESENT ALSO THE NEGATIVE FORM AND QUESTION FORM.

Clarification and controlled practice (8-10 minutes) • To clarify the meaning, form and pronunciation of the target language with controlled practice

Teacher. Show students Handout 1. Sheet with sentences missing in the table. Work on your own for a 4 minutes to complete the table. Example : Was I in Rumeli Hisari yesterday? I was in Rumeli Hisari yesterday. I wasn't in Rumeli Hisari yesterday. T-S 1 min. ICQ's How many minutes? Alone? Students complete task individually S 4 min Teacher to monitor progress. Teacher: In pairs, check your answers with a partner for 2 minutes. S-S 2 min. Teacher - Pick one student to read the question and ask them to pick the pair to read the positive and one to negative pair. Once they are done, they can pick the next pair (or student if only a few students) to read the next row's responses. S_SSS 3 min

Semi-Controlled Practice/Gap-Fill with verbs (and listening task) (8-10 minutes) • To concept check further and prepare students for free practice

Teacher - Look at this sheet with 12 sentences. Take a few minutes and fill in the blanks with the correct form of the verb to be (Was/Were and Is/Are). Work on your own. First question - I blank sad am sad it is Monday today. Write "Am". ICQ's T-S 1min Students work individually for 2-3 minutes. Teacher to monitor progress. Option 1 - Have a friend record their voice to read the responses to Q1-6 and Q7-12 as two voice recordings and play back for the students. S 3 minutes Check with your partner that you have the same answers. REPAIR THE STUDENTS Two minutes. S-S

Free Practice (8-10 minutes) • To provide students with free practice of the target language

Students to discuss in pairs their own responses to questions about the weekend. Take turns saying the statements and reading questions. Can demonstrate with a strong student to read the questions to the teacher for Q1-6. T-S 1 min S-S 4-5 minutes. Teacher to monitor for responses using to be. Students can continue to discuss about their childhood taking turns with questions 7-12. S-S 4-5 minutes.

Wrap up and Extra task if students finish early (5-5 minutes) • Wrap-up

Teacher to provide feedback is students are making common errors in the free practice. T-S 2-3 min Play Name the Year. Teacher reads questions with clues and ask students to respond. Barack Obama was president of the US Popular songs were Call Me Maybe and Somebody that I Used to Know 21 Dec was to be the last day of the world. The Olympics were in London, England. Can you guess the year? Answer - 2012. Make one for your birth year and see if your partner can guess the response. CAN ALSO BE OPTIONAL HOMEWORK.

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