Guiding Your Students Into  the Past Tense  Original post April 2021

Hi there!

Today I would like to share with you an easy but effective  "3 Step Guide"  to introduce your students into the world of the Past Tense, but without having them to learn lots of new Past Tense verbs first.

Before we begin, I put a bunch of "time words" on the board, such as: YESTERDAY, 2 DAYS AGO, LAST FRIDAY, LAST WEEK and THIS MORNING and only briefly explain their meanings. (I use caps because they are easier to read from a distance)

These are the 3 steps I follow...

STEP 1:     First we play DEALER'S CHOICE using only  Yes, I did / No, I didn't  questions.

Q. Did you watch TV yesterday?

Q. Did you read a book last week?

Q. Did you do homework 2 days ago?

Q. Did you eat curry and rice last Friday?

 During the first few games I often check if they understand the questions... 

STEP 2: We play FIRST OUT 

This time the students have to make the questions themselves. And as in step 1, everybody answers with "Yes, I did" or "No, I didn't". But this time we use the border colors and each color has a "time word" assigned to it.

Once I think they're ready, we go to the final step...

STEP 3: In the last step I introduce the Past Tense forms of the verbs they already know: watched, played, ate, drank, went, studied etc. (I just put them on the whiteboard and we go over them one by one for pronunciation and meaning)

Then we play FIRST OUT again. But this time the students have to use the new Past Tense verbs in their answers:

Q. Did you watch TV yesterday?

A. Yes, I did. I watched TV yesterday.

A. No, I didn't. I watched TV 2 days ago.

A more advanced answer: 

Q. Did you watch TV yesterday?

A. Yes, I did. I watched TV yesterday. I watched "Doreamon" yesterday.

A. No, I didn't. I watched TV this morning. I watched YouTube videos yesterday.

You can also do Q&A pair work with your students before they go to the 3rd step. This way they get a chance to talk about the past, using Present Tense verbs, while internalizing all the Time Words...

Q. Did you go to school today?

Q. Did you watch TV yesterday?

Q. Did you study Japanese last Monday?

Q. Did you read a newspaper last week?

Although I use LMQ as my main teaching tool, I also have the students often do Q&A pair work so they can freely adjust their questions and answers as they see fit. The  most important  is that the students "own" the language, as opposed to "borrow" the language from the teacher....

That's it for now!  Thanks for stopping by and till next time.