Alexandra van den Heever Alexandra van den Heever

Grammar - Past Simple, Nelson Mandela
Elementary level


In this lesson, we will be looking at the past simple through the context of famous people and talking about their history.


Abc Activity 4b
Abc Activity 6

Main Aims

  • To show students how the past simple is used through the context of a historic leader

Subsidiary Aims

  • Reading - gist and scanning a reading for specific information


Lead-In/Setting Context (3-4 minutes) • To introduce students to the topic and activate schemata

Project an image of Nelson Mandela. Ask the students what they know about him. If they do not know much, say that he was the president of South Africa. To introduce the word "president", write Erdogan is the president of Turkey on WB. Obama is the president of the United States. Nelson Mandela was the president of South Africa.

READING #1 (5-7 minutes) • To have students gist read and confirm predictions

Students will be given a HO of the reading If they do not come up with much during the lead-in task , they will be asked what the title implies about Mandela's life - "From Prison to President". They will be shown a picture of a jail and a picture of him as President. President will be explained if it wasn't elicited in the lead-in. Then they will skim the reading to see if their predictions are were correct. If it has already been elicited that he was the President, we will skip right to the skimming to confirm predictions.

GRAMMAR #1 (8-11 minutes) • To introduce students to the past simple through the context of the reading

Students will be instructed to find the past simple of the words in the wordbank in the reading about Nelson Mandela. We will do the first one together. I will draw a chart with two columns. One will be called "base verb" and the other will be called "past simple", and I will write the proper form of the verb in each. I will also mark which are regular and which are irregular. I will elicit from the students what the ending is for regular past simple verbs, in case they already know it. Students will be instructed to complete the rest of Activity 4a. They will scan the reading for the past simple forms of the bare infinitives, and compare with a partner. While they are doing the activity, I will write the rest of the bare infinitives on the board, and then monitor. Early finishers will come up to board and write the answers in the chart. Then we will check together, and I will explain that the past simple is used to talk about the past and we know exactly when things happen. As an example, pick "started", draw a timeline and saw that we know that Mandela started university in 1938. I will ask CCQ's about the spelling of the past simple verbs.

GRAMMAR #2 (7-10 minutes) • To clarify the past simple

The students will be instructed to look through the chart and answer the questions in Activity 4b on their own. Then when they are finished they may work with a partner to check their answers. I will explain the rules for the past simple and how the endings change. I will elicit from students what answers they got and what they observe about the past simple form. We will work on pronunciation on the words, especially the ones with difficult consonant clusters.

GRAMMAR #3 - Controlled Practice (5-7 minutes) • To give students a chance to practiced what they have learned about the past simple

I will explain that for Activity 6, students must decide which verb goes in the blank, and use the past simple form of the verb. They will work in pairs and then we will go over the answers together. I will ask if the verbs are regular or irregular.

SPEAKING - Freer Practice (5-8 minutes) • To give students a chance to use past simple in a conversation with other students

Put students into groups of three. Students must take time to talk about their favorite person from history or their favorite famous person, and use the past simple to tell their group what they know.

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