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Past Tense Verbs


Language Arts  


2, 3  

Title: Past Tense Verbs
by Gladys Ullstam

A.  Lesson Goals
In this activity, students will:
– understand that verbs can tell about actions that happened in the past
– understand that -ed can be added to many verbs to make them tell about the past
– distinguish between present and past forms of verbs

B.  Instructional Materials
This activity requires the following resources:
-Photographs of the students showing them at a younger age.
-When I Was a Little Girl (Boy)  written by the teacher.
-This book should include a photograph on the front of the teacher as a child.  In the book, the teacher should include stories of her/his childhood.  All the verbs in the book should be in the past tense. The book is written in the following pattern: When I was a little girl (boy), I…

  • Chalkboard and chalk
  • Chart paper and marker
  • Action cards – teacher made.  These will be picture cards that show the each of the following actions:  kiss, kick, jump, climb, fold, sew, and walk.
  • Verb cards – verbs written on index cards that have either a present or past tense
  • Two boxes – one labeled past, the other present

B.  Introduction

Before reading the book, the teacher should point out that this is a book written by her/him.

The teacher reads the book to the students.  After each page, the teacher emphasizes what I did in the story, using and stressing the past tense of the verb.

C. Body
After reading the story, the teacher turns to each page in the book and asks the following question: What did I do here? The teacher lists the answers (past tense verbs) on the board.

Teacher: What did I do here?
      Student: You played on the beach.
Teacher:  I played?
Student: Yes
Teacher writes the word played on the board

The teacher explains that the listed verbs tell about an action that happened in the past.

The teacher displays student’s baby pictures one at a time. Each student is then asked to explain what she/he did in the picture.  The teacher is looking for the student to use past tense verb forms.  As the answers are given, the teacher adds these past tense verbs to the board.

The teacher explains that all these verbs listed tell about actions that happened in the past.  The teacher gives several (4-5) examples comparing and contrasting present and past tenses of verbs.

Teacher:  I said that  I played on the beach
when I was a little girl.  What if I wanted to
talk about me playing on the beach right now?
How could we say this?
Student:  You play on the beach.
Teacher: Right!  I play. (the teacher writes play on the board under played).

Explain that played ends with -ed to tell about something that happened in the past.

Teacher repeats last two steps several times, until the students seems to understand the concept of adding -ed.

The teacher presents the action cards to the students one at a time.  As she holds up the cards, the teacher will ask students to name the present and past tense of the action.  These will be listed on chart paper under appropriate headings.

The teacher will then hand out the verb cards.  Each student is then asked to come forward and place their card in either the Past Box or the Present Box.

E.  Assessment

The teacher will assess the students through observation and analysis of classroom discussion.  In the last step of the lesson, as students come forward to place their verb card into the appropriate box, the teacher can watch for accuracy.

As a follow up to this lesson, the teacher may chose to do a class book based on When I Was a Little Girl (Boy).  Each student would be asked to finished one of the following prompts and illustrate a picture that will go with it.

When ______ was a little girl, she _________________.
When ______ was a little boy, he _________________.

The past and present boxes may continue to be on display.  As students encounter verbs, the teacher could encourage students to write these on index cards and place them in the appropriate box.

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