Past simple: Questions with the verb to be
This lesson focuses on deepening students' understanding of the past simple tense by helping them form questions using the verb to be. To begin with, they will learn the basic was and were constructions before progressing onto Wh- questions. By the end of this session, students will be able to ask more detailed questions about past events.
The lesson plan starts with a boardwork example that demonstrates one effective method for presenting this aspect of the past simple. Students will then participate in several of low-resource grammar and writing activities. To reinforce their learning in an interactive way, we end with a fun classroom game that applies these question forms in a playful context.
Use of the board
The students review different structures for forming questions using the past simple and verb to be.
Start off by giving a very basic past simple statement and attempting to elicit how we change the sentence to make a question. After that, move onto the visualisation of how we form questions that begin with was or were, the colour-coded text gives you an idea of what you should be attempting to elicit. Next cover a few examples of short answers, elicit one for each example you put on the board. Finally, demonstrate how we can combine these structures with question words to form more complex and interesting questions. If possible, compare and contrast with the L1 of the class.
The students complete a gap-fill exercise then create past simple questions that would have prompted each response.
A writing activity where students prepare a list of questions that can be used to ask someone about their last vacation.
For this follow-on speaking activity, students will take turns interviewing each other about the last holiday they went on.
The students will answer a few questions from the teacher about what they learned from their interview.
Students will interrogate two suspects of an imaginary crime to look for holes in their story.
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750+ Low-prep classroom activity ideas
1100+ Printable ESL flashcards
160+ ESL lesson plans
8 Distinct language levels
Offline access through the TEFLHandbook app
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