TEFL Classroom Activity: Practicing The Past Simple In Speech

img_06711.jpgI learned this fun activity for revising the past simple at a teacher’s meeting some time ago:

Bring in a number of objects that can be connected with some activity or verb. Lay them out on a desk – or divide them between groups if you have a lot. The topic is “What the teacher did last weekend”: first, students construct some sentence connected to each of the objects, using the past simple, and then they predict whether or not you did that last weekend. So, for an envelope, they might write/say “Katie wrote a letter last weekend.” Depending on their level and ability, you can decide if you want them to actually write or if it’s enough to just say the sentences. Be warned: if you choose some interesting objects, be prepared for some creative predictions!

The competition element of it is this: they have to check how accurate their predictions about you are. But should they just read out their positive or negative sentences? Of course not – they have to form questions to ask you. While doing this, they can keep track of how many times they were correct and the group with the most correct predictions gets to spend the next weekend with you. Or not.

Generally I’d use this for Elementary or lower-level Pre-Intermediate students. You can adapt this to the future, for practicing “going to” for plans, and perhaps even for other tenses (and possibly for higher levels), though you’d have to select the objects and set the context more carefully.