Cops n` Robbers (simple past tense practice)
This is a game I borrowed from a colleague. Changes would be needed for teachers who are alone: for assistant teachers or teachers with assistants, this is for you! These two games served as activities for learning the regular and irregular simple past tense verbs.
First I went to the class late, knocking on the door. I then said "It`s the police: open up!" When they opened the door I told them that someone in the class was in trouble (insert lots of body language here): someone had robbed the bank last "such and such" day. I then questioned the other teacher, who modeled the main irregular verbs "ate," "went," and "woke up" (or "got up.") We had the students repeat the target sentences and checked for understanding.
Then we had them write in their notebooks everything they did on "such and such" day. To help them I prepared a bilingual list of about 30 regular and 30 irregular verbs, in both present and past forms (I`m not bilingual, but my fellow teachers are.) I culled this list from their books and added some others: this took about 30 minutes for each list from the time I opened the book to the time I finished copying- a long time yes, but well worth it.
So then the students wrote their "alibis," I corrected, and a few days later at the next class we played another cops n` robbers game. When I corrected their "alibis" I had selected some of the stories` details and wrote them down. They would be the robbers.
We separated the class into cops and robbers. From the robbers` side I chose one student. I went to the cops and told them the details. They then had to form a question from the details. For instance, "The robber went to the library at 12. After that, the robber ate lunch at McDonald`s." I prompted them into making easy questions to ask a the robber`s side by saying "Did you...?" and the students formed the rest of the question. This is necessary in a multi-level class and to give them the knowledge that they will using not just English, but PERFECT English. After they found the robber we switched sides.
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