"You talk as if a god had made the Machine.. Men made it, do not forget that. Great men, but men. The Machine is much, but it is not everything. I see something like you in this plate, but I do not see you. I hear something like you through this telephone, but I do not hear you. That is why I want you to come. Pay me a visit, so that we can meet face to face, and talk about the hopes that are in my mind."The machine stops - 1909 - Forster

Thursday, January 19, 2012

How to make students "digest" the Past Simple



  1. from 20 to 25 students beginner level ( possibly aged 12-13 )
  2. at least 100 biscuits decorated with chocolate  ED
  3. a blackboard or IWB

Prep Time

45 minutes


Tell students you have both GOOD news ans bad news.
Ask them what they want to start with ( for a better result make them choose the first option ).
Elicit verbs in the infinitive. Write just the GOOD ones on bb (  if they say "eat", "sleep", "go"...make a sad face and say "sorry, that is bad news" ). When you have a lot of them displayed on the blackboard, tell them to close their eyes. 
Explain they're going to learn how to form the past tense. Point out the fact that it's going to be hard work and 
 that their brains need a lot of sugar to take in the information.
After some "reflection" time, invite them to open their eyes. Show them the box with the biscuits.

Enjoy the smiling faces.
Make them understand they have to "eat" the Past Simple in order to "digest" it.
Serve the biscuits which can't be eaten until a lot of class drilling has been done.
At this point, in pairs, students eat and speak, repeating the verbs with the correct ending pronunciation and with their mouth full. :)

Next, pass to the bad news ( the irregular verbs with their forms to be studied by heart )

Homework for the following  lesson : digest the Past Simple.


I thought this could be an example of good practice......

1 comment:

teacher chiara said...

Wow, great, great, simply great!
I used your idea of the board games and some of the sts created great games. I'll write a post soon. And now this idea .... I'm going to take it too! Even though I have to ask my head mistress the permission to give sts food in the classroom. I'm going to try!
Thanks for sharing all these ideas!