Past simple and past continuous

28th October 2020 E Up 5 U 2, L 2

Warm Up: A kinetic run ‘n’ write exercise. I will say a simple sentence in the present tense; students have to write the past tense. Class can be split into two or three, depending on size, each with a different colour marker.

You act in a play / I ride an elephant / She win a competition / He read a big book / We learn English /

In English, we often talk about what we were doing at some time in the past.

For example:

Drinking Coffee Can Be Good for You, but a New Study Suggests There's a  Limit - EcoWatch

Last night I was in a café drinking coffee.

We show past tense by

1 a word or words that show the past e.g. Last night, yesterday, this morning

2 the past tense form of the verb e.g. I am = I was / he is = he was

Then we use a continuous verb to say what someone was doing i.e. verb+ing (playing, reading, working)

Young man playing guitar sitting on bed at home. by BONNINSTUDIO - Guitarist,  Home - Stocksy United

Last night he was in his room playing guitar.

Bowdon Preparatory School | Independent School for Girls, Altrincham

Yesterday she was at school writing in her book.

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Last week they were at a party singing songs.

How did the children feel ? They felt …

Now we can use past simple and past continuous:

When I came to class, the student was sleeping.

Fostering Curiosity in the Classroom: "What Percentage of Animals are  Insects?" |Education & Teacher Conferences

When I called my sister, she was studying insects.

Looking at the stars images on Favim.com

When I found my friends, they were looking at the stars.

Now … Your turn

When I found my friends, they were …

You Pick Strawberries - Carandale Fruit Farm
Identify Trees With Our Tree ID app - Woodland Trust - Woodland Trust
Indentifying Trees
Finding Tracks in the Snow! — Birches School

To make your English more interesting, we can change the word order:

When I found my friends, they were collecting leaves

They were collecting leaves when I found my friends

NOTICE: no comma in the second sentence

Change the word order:

When I found my friends, they were identifying trees

When I found my friends, they were picking strawberries

When I found my friends, they were finding animal tracks

And, yes, I DID ride an elephant

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