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Unit 15: All about the past

Day one: My favorite play activities


  • Students will be able to comprehend information about playing with friends.
  • Students will be able to discuss their favorite childhood games and toys.
  • Students will be able to respond in short paragraphs to various questions about childhood activities.

Setting the Stage (5 minutes)

Teacher has set up a display of childhood toys, board games, and photographs on a table in the front of the room. Or, Teacher has prepared a poster board with photographs and designs related to childhood toys, childhood friends and childhood activities. Teacher asks students to react to this display with comments or questions.

Input (25 minutes)

Teacher begins to tell a story about a fictional character. (The story is to be told in the past tenses.) Teacher leads a discussion with students, who choose the following:

  1. name of character
  2. place where character lived as a child
  3. family members of character
  4. gender and names of childhood friends of character
  5. personal childhood qualities of character (for example, generous, playful, quiet, bothersome, energetic, artistic)
  6. places where character and friends liked to play as a child
  7. games character and friends liked to play as a child

Teacher introduces the following vocabulary by writing on board or overhead projector both the vocabulary word and its translation. Teacher provides this vocabulary as options for the creating the storyline. Students will choose which vocabulary to include in the story.

  1. a variety of toys
  2. a variety of household pets
  3. places where children play (park, school yard, beach, playground, etc.)

Teacher writes on board or overhead projector the elements of the story the students help to create, so that students can comprehend the information visually. Teacher constantly repeats the information and checks for comprehension by asking a variety of questions about each new element of the story. Questions include yes/no and who/what/when/where/why prompts.

Guided Practice (20 minutes)

Activity One

Teacher makes 10 statements about the story the students have created. Teacher asks students to show a "thumbs-up" for statements that are true and a "thumbs-down" signal for statements that are false. Teacher then asks for several volunteers to come to front of classroom and make statements about the story and classmates are to signal thumbs-up or -down.

Activity Two

Teacher provides a blank filmstrip to each student. Or Teacher can model how to create a mini-book with a blank sheet of paper. Teacher provides blank paper and pairs of scissors to students to create the mini-book.

Teacher retells the story and asks students to draw the elements of the story on the filmstrip or in the mini-book.

Independent Practice (10 minutes)

Activity One

Students share their filmstrip or mini-book with several classmates. This allows for much repetition of linguistic elements that reinforce the ability to describe past events. Teacher encourages students to use two to three sentences or mini-paragraphs to describe each scene of the illustrated story.

Activity Two

Teacher has prepared in advance some written questions. Students write their responses to the questions.

  1. Did you play with blocks as a child?
  2. Did you and your friends play in a local playground when you were little?
  3. What kinds of things did you like to collect when you were young?
  4. What kind of pet did you have?
  5. Were you a trouble-maker as a child? If yes, what did you do to make trouble?

Once students have answered the questions in writing, they are to get up out of their seat and walk around the classroom and ask the same questions of 3 other classmates.

Closure (2 minutes)

Teacher collects all student work for evaluation for a grade or for class participation credit.

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