Alexa Alexa

The past tense of be
A1 level


In this lesson, students learn about the past tense of be through guided discovery based on describing past events. The lesson starts with a vocabulary about times before today. This is followed by a grammar explanation where students identify the structure. Finally there is some controlled practice and free practice.


Abc Student's book, page 88
Abc Student's book, page 89
Abc Board
Abc Student's book, page 143
Abc Notebook

Main Aims

  • Tell someone about an event
  • Describe your past activities
  • Talk about your weekend

Subsidiary Aims

  • To provide practice of the past tense of verb to be in the context of past events


Warmer/Lead-in (5-10 minutes) • To set lesson context and engage students

The teacher writes on the board sentences using the past tense of be and some past tense expressions. Then asks the students about what the phrases are expressing. Students identify the meaning and relate it to the verb to be in present.

Exposure (10-15 minutes) • To provide context for the target language through a text or situation

Students observe the vocabulary on page 88, and repeat it after an audio in order to get the correct pronunciation. To check comprehension, the teacher asks questions about the days before. Then students listen to the audio about decades and centuries, they repeat it as well.

Highlighting (5-10 minutes) • To draw students' attention to the target language

Students do the listening comprehension. First they read in low voice the years provided for the activity, then they proceed to listen and circle the year they hear. Teacher explains that in English years are usually divided into sets of two digits.

Clarification (10-15 minutes) • To clarify the meaning, form and pronunciation of the target language

The teacher focus the use of the target language along with the past tense of verb to be. Guided by the teacher, students read the grammar box, The teacher writes on the board some examples with blanks for the students to fill with the correct form of be, the teacher elicits some students.

Controlled Practice (10-15 minutes) • To concept check and prepare students for more meaningful practice

In pairs, students take turns asking each other the questions on the grammar practice from page 89, using the information provided. They write down the sentences they form for the answers, then they share it with the group to compare answers, and verify if they are correct.

Semi-Controlled Practice (15-20 minutes) • To concept check further and prepare students for free practice

Students work individually on page 143, activity 1, in order to practice the correct use of "was" and "were" according to the subject of the sentence. Teacher checks the activity individually.

Free Practice (15-20 minutes) • To provide students with free practice of the target language

The teacher writes on the board several questions about past events using the past form of be. Students answer the questions individually, and then interview their classmates. Finally they share their results with the whole group.

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