23 Nov 2021

Working on the Past Simple at A1 Movers

On the A1 Movers grammar and structures list in the A1 Movers Handbook, the Past simple positive, negative and question forms, as well as short answer forms and contractions appear on the list of grammar and structures.

On the A1 Movers wordlist, There are 67 irregular verbs. Of course, most of these verbs are extremely common words in Englishcome, go, see, sing, for example.

Spontaneous opportunities to feed in (teach?) irregular past simple forms.

Sometimes, young learners will want to tell you about their weekend.

e.g. Julian:  ‘Teacher, I go to the cinema and see a great film.’

There is no communication problem here, we can understand what Julian is telling us, can’t we? This is  a perfect moment to ‘feed in’ the past form of the verbs when we reply:

Teacher:  ‘Oh, Julian, you went to the cinema and you saw a great film!  Brilliant!’

Often, past simple irregular verb forms can be learned like this, almost as individual vocabulary items.

Discovering the rules

What is helpful I feel, is for students to be introduced to the rules for forming the past simple with regular verbs. We could do this by showing them some contextualised examples.

e.g. I love dancing. Yesterday, I danced for fifty minutes. Then I cooked lunch with my family. After lunch, we watched some funny cartoons.

And then guide them to try and work out the rule themselves. Like the activity below, for example.

Reinforcing the knowledge

There are lots of ways we can do this. If your students like colouring, you could do this activity with them.

After this activity, students can use this sheet to add more irregular verbs.

Or, what about a maze to get through – by using the irregular verbs squares? You can download a copy of this here.

Find your way across the irregular verbs

You could play this game again, but this time, all the verbs are in the infinitive – they have to think about how the verbs change to form the past simple. Reinforcing that explicit knowledge!

And practising the verbs doesn’t have to be sitting down or keeping still!

Actions please!

Clap once for regular, twice for irregular!

Move to the right of the classroom for regular, left for irregular.

Stick or write verbs onto small, soft balls (e.g. ping pong balls – thank you Julie Cruz for this suggestion!), or write verbs on pieces of paper and learners scrunch them up to make a ball and throw them into the regular or irregular basket.

If you can think of any more action games to practise these verbs, please share them in the chat below!

I hope you find this post useful. And if you’d like the full list of the A1 Movers irregular verbs, with some helpful grouping according to patterns, you’re welcome to download it here. For more ideas on working on grammar with young learners, you will find some more suggestions here in this post.

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