Sara Sara

The past simple of verb to "be" (was & were)
Elementary students level


In this lesson,Ss learn about "The past simple of verb to be" in the context of an American tour of Mount Rushmore.Start the lesson with a "guessing game" to generate students' interest to the topic.Then the initial task they will listen to a track and fill in gaps.After that they read the text again to highlight the target language.Then clarify the big 3 (MPF) on the board.Finally,there is a controlled practice and a freer one.


Abc pictures of the four presidents
Abc "Match the names with surnames" handout
Abc "Information gap " handout from New English File - Elementary book p 112, 109
Abc text handout
Abc WB analysis
Abc handout activity from "Teaching English Grammar" : Jim Scrivener

Main Aims

  • To practice the grammar of (was & were) in the context of an American tour of Mount Rushmore.

Subsidiary Aims

  • To provide practice in speaking in the same context.


Warmer/Lead-in (0-5 minutes) • To set lesson context and engage students

Set up the classroom / chairs for a pair work. Ask the students to work in pairs,give the students photocopy of the pictures from the lesson (5A) "Who were they"? and ask them to predict who these characters are. Why are they here ?.Encourage the students to discuss,asking CCQS in order to make sure they understand."Are you going to discuss in pairs or alone? What are you going to do ?" One minute to discuss,observe the students during the discussion.Feedback by choosing one or two students and ask about his/her opinion.Then an activity to generate more interest, "guessing game".Put the handout in chest way and elicit from them what they are going to do,the paper is fold so they will not allow to see the other part of the paper.Give ICQS here."this handout is folded so you can't ...........the other part.They work individual for one minute or less.Observe them and give a feedback later if they mispronounce anything. After finishing,tell them to unfold the paper to check their answers.

Exposure (0-5 minutes) • To ensure Ss are comfortable with the text before exploiting it for language.

Ss will be exposed to the target language unconsciously in this task.Tell the Ss that they are going to listen to a track and then "fill in gaps" for one or two minutes .Make sure that they understand what they are going to do.Play the tap (5.1).Ask them if they want to listen again. check in pairs,after they have finished.Check the answers with them.

Highlighting Language (0-5 minutes) • To draw the students' attention to the target language of the lesson and to focus on in the next stage.

Ask Ss to read the text again and underline "every past sentences". CCQS :Are you going to write something? What are you looking for ? Ask them to work alone and then check with their partner. Give them two minutes,and then see what they have come up with. Give content feedback; get one student report to you what the other has said.

Language Clarification /Language Focus (0-10 minutes) • To clarify the TL in terms of meaning,pronunciation,form.(MPF) .

Clarify the TL through a guided discovery by involving the students to discover the rules by themselves. Ask the Ss to read the sentences then write them on the board.Clarify the big 3 (MPF), begin with the meaning,elicit from Ss that this state is in the past. Asking CCQs to convey the meaning.Draw time line and put the tense in the past. After teaching the meaning, teach the form of past simple "be";Affirmative,Negative,Yes/No questions,Wh - questions and Short answers. Then teach pronunciation,weak forms of was/were,and the stress one.Drilling backwards pronunciation."back chaining" as to pronounce the last syllable,the students repeats and then continues,working backwards from the end of the word to the beginning.

Controlled Practice (0-10 minutes) • To provide practice using the TL with a focus on developing accuracy.

Tell Ss that they are going to do an activity.Divide them to Student A & student B.The activity is to fill information gap.Student A ask student B and complete the empty blanks.Make sure that every student understand the activity.Then check the answers with them.

Freer Practice (0-10 minutes) • To provide students with practice of the task language and practice speaking for fluency as well.

Tell Ss that they will do another activity that is to" write for fluency".Write up some sentences starters on the board(I was born in........, When I was a baby I was .............,My parents were born in..............,My teachers were ............,When I was young my grandmother was ..........,At school I was ........,On my last birthday I was.................. .Then talk through and write up endings for the sentences that are true for you . Erase the endings and tell the Ss to write true sentences about themselves using the sentences starters , and if they could also add new sentences of their own. Ask them to check with their partners and tell each other about their own life.Give feedback of what the students wrote about.

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