(Elementary ESL – 4th or 5th grade)

I. Title: The past tense


II. OBJECTIVE: To understand and use the past tense, to know the form of the regular and irregular past. Students will be able to use the past tense to tell about states that happened in the past, and form questions using the past tense.

II. MOTIVATION: In teaching the past, students will be given the chance to tell about themselves, they will be given different kinds of activities to help them learn about the past and how to use them in everyday activities. Some of these activities will be in the form of a game to foster learning and motivate students.


DAY 1 – Review of some verbs related to present and past tenses to remind students of the form of the simple past.


1.Questions – Students first will be asked simple questions related to actions that happened in the past by using certain adverbs. (E.g. yesterday, last night. Last week, etc)


EX. Questions to warm up the class. (1) What did you do after school yesterday? (2) Did you play football last week? (3) How was the weather yesterday? (4) Did you enjoy your weekend?

(The teacher writes the verbs on the board, the form of the verbs will be marked, so that students will notice that (-ed) is the marker of the past tense).

(1) I studied math. (2) Yes, I played football last week, or yes I did. (3) It was rainy.

(4) Yes I enjoyed my weekend)

2. Physical Response – Some students will be asked to perform certain activities and after they finish, their classmates will be asked to tell about the activity they saw.

Ex. Student A. will be asked to walk in the classroom.

Teacher: will ask about A’s activity

Student B.: will point out to A. and say (A) walked in the classroom.

(Students will practice this exercise with different activities)


3. Teacher input – The teacher will explain that the past tense is used to tell about states completed at a certain point of time in the past. The teacher also will point out that (-ed) is the marker for the past tense. (Irregular verbs will be explained later).

4. Homework assignment – Write about yourself:

Think of a time you were late. Write sentences about what happened; use verbs to tell about the past.


DAY 2 – Pronunciation of (-ed) endings:

It will be explained to students that (-ed) ending has three different pronunciations:

/t/, /d/, /id/.


It will be explained to the students that certain sounds we produce come from our mouth and we call them (voiceless sounds), but other sounds come from the throat we feel vibration in the neck while we produce these sounds and we call them (voiced sounds).

((-ed) is pronounced as [t], [d] ,[id] sounds according to the letter comes before it whether it is voiced or voiceless one).

Student practice producing sounds - The teacher will write a number of letters on the board, and will ask students to produce these letters loudly while they are putting their fingers on their necks so that they can feel the vibration on their necks.

Ex. k,s,f,v,n,p,sh,b,etc .

2- Oral practice - The class will be divided into three groups, each group will be representing certain sound of the three. The results of each group will be written on the board after the time of the game is up so that the class as a whole will be able to examine the sounds loudly. The teacher will draw a chart on the board to write every verb in the column it belongs to.

Ex. Group A is group [t] sound

Group B is group [d] sound

Group C is group [id] sound

(The game has a time limit of 7 minutes)

Each group will be asked to write as much number of verbs as it can that ends with the sound it represents. Then the teacher will ask each group to say its verbs loudly and the teacher will fill each verb in its column.









3. Teacher input – Teacher will explain that [t], [d], [id], are sounds of (-ed) not markers of the past.


Review of the (-ed) ending and its pronunciations.

Students will be given an exercise (fill in blanks). On their notebook they have to change the verb in the brackets and give the correct pronunciation of that verb.

Ex. (1) The girl ______ in the bark (play)

(2) The class ______ to go to the museum. (decide)

(3) Mary ________ the party. (miss)

(4) The thief _______ the bank. (rob)

2. Oral practice – At the beginning, the teacher will try to ask about the past form of some irregular verbs, and in return, the student who knows the answer will raise his/her hand and answer.

(It is like a quick revision)

(1) What is the past form of go? Buy? Get? See? Etc…

3. Teacher in put - As it was explained so far the past is formed by adding (-ed) to the simple verb, but there are a lot of verbs do not take (-ed) form in the past tense. We call these verbs irregular verbs because they don’t follow one pattern. Students will be given a list of irregular verbs to read, and there will be some activities to help them learn these verbs.

Think and Write – Students will be given a set of examples with underlined verbs, students will be asked to state whether the underlined verb is in the correct form or not by circling on a (T) true or (F) false letters.

EX.A. (1) Costed is the past tense of cost. (T) (F)

(2) Teach is an irregular verb (T) (F)

(3) Sang is an irregular verb (T) (F)

EX.B. Students will be given a set of verbs they will be asked to put one line under the regular verb and two lines under the irregular ones.

John drew a beautiful picture.

The dog broke the window.

The boys came early to school.

Mary played tennis.

5. Student practice- Students will be given a puzzle to fill in with the irregular past.

(see attached, pg. 1of 1)

DAY 4 – Creating questions using past tense

1. Teacher in put- Teacher will explain that we use past tense in questions to ask about

things happened and completed in the past. The teacher also will explain to the students that we use the past form of (do) which is (did) to ask in the past, and with (did) we use the verb in the simple form, but when we answer we convert the verb into the past form.

(we will do some examples together)

EX. (1) Did you drink something before class?

Answer: Yes, I drank some coffee.

OR: Yes, I did

(2) Did you study for the exam?

Answer: Yes, I studied for the exam.

OR: Yes, I did.


2. Guided oral practice – class will practice by converting teacher’s statements into questions.

EX. Teacher: I explained this point before.

Student A. : did the teacher explain this point before?

Student B. : yes, she did (or) she explained it before.

Teacher: I wrote the example on the board.

Student A. : did the teacher write the example on the board?

Student B.: Yes, she wrote the example on the board.


Negative questions – using the previous exercise to negate the statement.

EX. Student A. : did you see the movie?

Student B. : No, I didn’t ( or) I didn’t see the movie.

3. Summing up – students will be expected to use the past tense form both the regular and irregular forms, to ask questions in the past, and to know the spellings of the (-ed) ending.



1. Understanding and Using English Grammar 1999 by Betty Schrampfer Azar.

2.Language 1989 by Scott Foresman.

3.World of Language 1990 by: Betty G. Gray, Marian Davis, and Nancy Nickel Ragno.

4.Teaching English As A Second Language,1969 by Mary Finoccbiaro.