How do I teach the simple past covertly?

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How do I teach the simple past covertly?

Unread postby edna » 23 Oct 2007, 02:06

Hi Lucy,
I have a problem in how to present a 15-minute lesson plan for introducing simple past. I am in a teachers course and I was asked to design a lesson in wich grammar is covert. My objective is to introduce affirmative sentences using regular and irregular verbs. My idea is to use Robin Hood for setting a context. I´m going to show some visuals: the first visual is Robin Hood, the second is a forest, the third is Robin Hood hunting, the fourth is Robin helping people, the fifth is a robber, the sixth are spears and the seventh is Robin hood riding a horse. I need to introduce four regular verbs and two irrregular. (Live, hunt, help, rob, fight and ride) At the beginning I will introduce Robin Hood. Then I will show students the verbs I mentioned but in their infinitive form. Students will match the verbs to the visuals by sticking them below each visual. After that, I will start to tell the story and introduce a first sentence in past (orally and in written form). E.g. "This is Robin Hood. He lived in a forest" then I will try to elicit the rest of the verbs and let students to make the mistake with irregular verbs. The reason is to make them noticed irregular verbs have different pronunciation and spelling in past. After that, I will write some gap sentences students will fill in. Volunteers pass to the board. Everybody checks. This is the end of the introductory lesson.
I don´t feel enough convinced with this lesson. What do you think? Can suggest me another idea(s)for teaching covert grammar?

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Can you help with a lesson plan for covert grammar?

Unread postby Lucy » 27 Oct 2007, 11:59

Dear Edna,

I think your lesson plan is excellent. I’m surprised you’re not convinced by it. I think you have produced an excellent lesson plan to introduce the simple past in a covert way.

I will just make a few suggestions: you don’t mention what level the students are at. As you are introducing the simple past, I guess they are a low level. If they are beginners or elementary, I suggest that you input some vocabulary when you are introducing Robin Hood. For example, I think the students will be able produce the language “He robbed from rich people”; but they might not have the language to produce a sentence with fight and hunt. If you think this is the case, you will need to introduce the vocabulary needed.

If the group are studying the simple past for the first time, I suggest you tell the complete story in the past and then ask them to help you reconstruct the story as a group. I think they need to hear your example before they can do it themselves.

I would also omit the written form during the first telling of the story; this will allow them to hear the pronunciation and get familiar with the language before they see the written form.

You might also like to spend some time on the different spellings and pronunciation of ed endings; e.g. hunted and lived are not pronounced in the same way; robbed has a double “b”. If you don’t have the time, this could be the focus of a later lesson.

All the best,


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