Grade: Elementary
Subject: Language

#1361. Past Tense Verbs

Language, level: Elementary
Posted Tue Nov 7 06:06:08 PST 2000 by Jackie Gillo (
Indiana University of Pennsylvania, United States
Activity Time: approximately one hour
Concepts Taught: TLW: correctly identify past tense verbs within a sentence correctly add an ed to the end of a wor

Language Arts: Past Tense Verbs
Instruction time = one hour


This lesson is designed to introduce students to past tense verbs. The students have ample knowledge of verbs. They have already studied verbs and the concept of verbs in the present. The students know that the verb is the action of a sentence and that all sentences must have a verb. Also, the students know when the action of a verb is in the present.

The students are aware that a complete sentence structure must contain a verb. They are able to consistently identify verbs in a sentence. The students have written sentences using verbs in the present and were able to identify the action of the subjects they have written about.


1. TLW be able to correctly identify a past tense verbs within
a sentence.

PI: After reading Hilburt The Halibut the class will discuss the verbs in the story. Using the overhead projector and a copy of the story on a transparency the class will look at the verbs and identify all the past tense verbs within the story. As a review we will also identify any verbs in the present tense.

2. TLW Understand that ed can be added to many verbs to make them past tense. They will be able to apply this knowledge by correctly adding ed to the end of a verb, making it past tense.

PI: After the students have been presented with the rules for adding ed to the end of a verb in order to make it past tense they will apply their new knowledge to the sentences that the teacher has written on the chalkboard.


Book Hilburt the Halibut (or another short story that contains a lot of past tense verbs).
Overhead projector
Copy of Hilburt the Halibut on a Transparency (or book that you are using).
Chalk Board
Verb Cards
Story When I Was a Little Girl/Boy (written by teacher)
Pictures of each student at a younger age doing an activity
Construction paper
2-3 word rings


1. You can change many verbs into the past tense form by adding ed to the end of the verb.

2. Verbs are words that tell an action. Past tense verbs tell that the action happened in the past.


A. Introduction and Motivation

The teacher reads the students the story Hilburt the Halibut. The teacher will place emphasis on the past tense verbs within the story.

After the story the class will have a discussion about activities that they have done in the past. As the children talk about these past events the teacher can point out the past tense verbs that the students are using in their oral language. The teacher will write the verbs on the chalkboard. Once the teacher feel confident that the students understand the concept of past tense verb she will explain to them that at the end of the lesson they will be using the pictures of themselves to create a class book titled When I was a Little Boy/Girl.

The teacher begins the lesson by reviewing verbs and present tense verbs. She/He then asks the student about the story they just hear and about the verbs within the story. The teacher then will explain the concept of past tense verbs. The class will go over the story again using the transparency and the overhead projector. As the class is going through the story the teacher will ask the student to point out the past tense verbs, as they do this she/he will circle the verbs.

The teacher will write 3-5 sentences on the board leaving a blank space where the verb belongs. She will have verb cards on the chalkboard beside the sentences. The verb cards will be both the past and present tense of a verb. Students will be asked to come to the chalkboard and place the correct form of the verb in the blank spaces of the sentences.
Ex. We __________ the cars.

I __________ a cake.

I know you __________ hard for the test.

Next the teacher will talk about the way the verbs on the verb cards end. They all have the ed ending but what else is different she/he will prompt the students.

Now is the time that the teacher will explain the rules for adding ed to the end of a verb in order to make it past tense.

Add ed to most verbs (looked, talked).
Drop the e and add ed to verbs that end with e (smiled, danced).
Change y to i and add ed to verbs that end with a consonant and y (carried, studied).
Double the consonant and add ed to verbs that end with one vowel and one consonant (dragged. Stopped).

After looking at some sentences with verbs that associate to each of the rules the teacher will give the students a worksheet in which they will have to apply the rules and add a verb to sentences. As the students are working on the work sheet the teacher will walk around the classroom in order to make sure the students are performing the task correctly. She/He will give any added guidance that is needed.

If necessary the teacher will do more class instruction and write additional sentences on the chalkboard for the student to complete as a class.

As a reinforcement activity the students will create a class book titled When I was a Little Boy/Girl. The teacher will begin this activity by reading a story that he/she has written him/herself titled, When I was a Little Boy/Girl. All of the verbs in the book will be past tense. The book will include a story about the teacher as a child and will contain a picture of her/him.

The students will paste the pictures of themselves on a piece of construction paper. Each student will write at least one sentence about the activity they are doing in the picture. The sentences will begin with when I was a Little Boy/Girl; the students will finish the sentences using verbs in the past tense.

C. Closure

To close this lesson the teacher will review the rules for making a verb past tense. She will also review verbs in the present tense. As the teacher is reviewing he/she will also have the students give examples.

After the review is completed each student will individually read the When I was a Little Girl/Boy sentence that they have written. The students will point out the past tense verb that they have used in their sentence. After each student has read his/her sentence the teacher will collect them explaining that they will be laminated and put into a class book titled When I was a Little Boy/Girl. Each student will have an opportunity to take the book home and share it with his/her family.


A. Student assessment

The students will be assessed through observation. The ability to correctly insert the correct form of a verb into a sentence. They will also be assessed by the worksheet they have completed and by the quality of the sentence they have written for the class book, When I was a little Boy/Girl.

This is a sample of a story the teacher could write
When I was A Little Girl

When I was a little girl my dad and I went on a camping trip. One day he come to me and said, "I decided it would be fun if me and you would go camping. A few days later we packed up the car and set out on the trip. We needed gas, my dad stopped at the first gas station he seen and pumped gas into the gas tank until it was full. After diving four two hours we arrived at the campsite. We pitched the tent first and then we unpacked the rest of our camping gear. After we had all the gear placed where it belonged we explored the camping area. We discovered a stream nearby, dad said; the stream would be good for fishing. We hurried back to our campsite and gathered our fishing gear. When we returned to the stream we settled and began to fish. We baited our hooks and threw in the lines. We snagged five fish in the first hour and then we headed back to our tent. Once we arrived back at the tent it was time to build a fire. I gathered up firewood and my dad started the fire. We cooked our fish on the open fire and when they were done we gobbled them up hungrily. Soon night had fallen and it was time for sleep. As I snuggled into my sleeping bag I anticipated what the rest of our camping trip would be like.

These are a few sentences that might be on a work sheet (I asked questions about the content of what we are studying in other subjects)

Change the underlined verb into a past tense

Galileo invent the telescope.
Galileo love science.
Galileo study the stars with his invention.
Galileo worry that people would make fun of him.