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In this lesson students will continue to practice using the past simple tense with some common irregular verbs.

IMPORTANT: This lesson should be taught after the Past Tense Activities - Irregular Verbs: Part 1.

Lesson Procedure:

Warm Up and Maintenance:

See our "Warm Up & Wrap Up" page.


Review and Practice:

1. Review past tense irregular verbs – play "Flashcards washing line"
In your last class your students learned 12 past tense irregular verbs – let’s start by reviewing these.

You’ll need some string or rope (a washing line) and 12 clothes pegs (you can also use large paper clips). String the rope across the classroom so it is at head height. Take the 12 flashcards from last lesson (wake up, eat, drink, go to school, sing, swim, star jump (we’ll use this for "have fun"), go home (use for "come back home"), ride a bike, do homework, put on, sleep) and hold up the first card. Elicit the verb and the past tense version (e.g. "wake up – woke up") and peg it onto the washing line. Continue with all of the other 11 flashcards.

NOTE: You can also use the flashcards past regular verb flashcards from the previous lesson "Past Tense Activities - Regular Verbs" (the flashcards are play with friends, paint a picture, walk in the park, watch TV, jump in puddles, play games, kick a ball, dance)

Review past tense irregular verbs – play "Flashcards washing line"

Next, place your students into 2 teams and form 2 lines in front of the washing line, with each student standing behind the other. You will therefore have two students at the front of their teams. The idea is for those two students to race to the washing line and grab a flashcard, but only using their mouths! They then race on to the other end of the classroom. The winner will score 1 point for their team. Start by shouting out two verbs in the past tense (e.g. slept and rode) and the first 2 students race, grab one of those cards in their mouths and race to the finish. They should then replace the card onto the line again. The next two students race for 2 new verbs, and so on, until everyone has had a turn. It is a really fun activity!

2. Sing "What did you do Yesterday?"
We learned this song last in the last lesson so let’s sing it again as a fun review. Start by eliciting the gestures and then have everyone do the gestures as they sing along.

Sing "What did you do Yesterday?"

(download MP3 here)

We also have a video that you can stream in class to sing along with (Internet connection required):

What did you do Yesterday?


New Learning and Practice:

3. Teach 4 more irregular verbs
Get everyone to sit down. Stick the 12 irregular verb flashcards randomly onto the board. You will now teach 4 more verbs using a combination of actions and flashcards: give – gave, write – wrote, read – read, run – ran. Start by looking at the first flashcard, but don’t show it to the class. You are going to do the action and everyone has to shout out the answer:

  • Teach 4 more irregular verbs give – gave: hold out hands and give things to students (e.g. pens, crayons, books, etc.)
  • write – wrote: write on the board or a piece of paper
  • read – read: read a book, turning the pages
  • run – ran: run on the spot

As you elicit / teach each verb, stick the card onto the board and write the forms under the flashcard (e.g. give – gave) and chorus 3 times.

4. Do "Flashcard drill fun"
Do "Flashcard drill fun"You should now have 16 cards on the board. We are going to practice drilling these cards using fun methods. It is important to keep it fast pacedand use a variety of methods so the drilling doesn’t get boring. Start by pointing at a card and saying the infinitive form of the verb - and get your students shouting out the past tense form, for example:

Teacher: (pointing to a card) eat.
Students: ate
Teacher: (pointing to another card) swim.
Students: swam

Continue at a fast pace and get faster and faster, making a game of it. Next, play some variations of the drill, such as:

  • say each verb in different voices (low, high, loud, quite, monster voice, singing voice, etc.) and students have to reply in the same voice.
  • split the class into 2 teams. The teacher points at a card – team A says the infinitive form and team B says the past tense form.
  • students all stand up. Each time the teacher points at a student to say the past tense form. If s/he gets it correct s/he can sit down.
  • students all close their eyes. The teacher removes a card and then says "Open your eyes!" – the first student to shout out the missing card (in both infinitive and past forms) wins a point for his/her team.
  • students must do gestures as well as shout out the past tense form of each verb.

5. Sing the "Past Irregular Verbs Song"
The first time you play the song, put up the flashcards in order on the board or use the "Past Irregular Verbs Song" song poster. Quickly elicit the vocab. Play the song and sing along doing the gestures, as described below in Gestures and activities for "Past Irregular Verbs Song". Play 2 or 3 times.

Sing the "Past Irregular Verbs Song"Lyrics for "Past Irregular Verbs Song"

La la la la la la - La la la la la la

Verse 1:
wake, wake, wake - woke, woke, woke
eat, eat, eat - ate, ate, ate
drink, drink, drink - drank, drank, drank
go, go, go - went, went, went

La la la la la la - La la la la la la

Verse 2:
sing, sing, sing - sang, sang, sang
swim, swim, swim - swam, swam, swam
have, have, have - had, had, had
come, come, come - came, came, came

La la la la la la - La la la la la la

Verse 3:
ride, ride, ride - rode, rode, rode
do, do, do - did, did, did
put, put, put - put, put, put
sleep, sleep, sleep - slept, slept, slept

La la la la la la - La la la la la la

Verse 4:
give, give, give - gave, gave, gave
write, write, write - wrote, wrote, wrote
read, read, read - read, read, read
run, run, run - ran, ran, ran

La la la la la la - La la la la la la
La la la la la la - La la la la la la

(download MP3 here)

Gestures and activities for "Past Irregular Verbs Song"

The song is quite fast so it may be difficult for students to keep up with gestures - you can either just have everyone sing along (using the song poster) or doing gestures as well. The 4 verses are sung twice - the second time the past tense verbs are only whispered, so here students can shout out the correct words.

  • wake - woke: stretch and yawn
  • eat - ate: pretend to eat with a spoon
  • drink - drank: pretend to drink
  • go - went: walking on the spot and waving goodbye
  • sing - sang: arms outstretched in a singing position
  • swim - swam: pretend to swim
  • have - had: wave your hands in the air while smiling (meaning "have lots of fun")
  • come - came: walking up to and knocking on an imaginary door (meaning "come back home")
  • ride - rode: do a cycling motion
  • do - did: pretend to write (meaning "do homework")
  • put - put: pretend to put on a pajamas top and button it up
  • sleep - slept: do a sleeping gesture
  • give - gave: hold out hands pretending to give a present
  • write - wrote: pretend to write
  • read - read: pretend to read a book
  • run - ran: run on the spot

We also have a video that you can stream in class to sing along with (Internet connection required):

Past Irregular Verbs Song

6. Read classroom reader "Mr. Upside Down Man's Busy Day"
This reader follows on perfectly from the song and helps to reinforce the new vocab with a fun story. Before class, download and print off the reader "Mr. Upside Down Man's Busy Day". Start by pointing to the picture of Mr. Upside Down Man on the cover and elicit/teach the phrase "upside down". Then, as you go through each page, point to the different things Mr. Upside Down did yesterday and elicit the past tense verbs, as well as eliciting what is strange about each activity he does, for example:

Read classroom reader "Mr. Upside Down Man's Busy Day"Teacher: (pointing at the picture on page 3) What did Mr. Upside Down Man do here?
Students: He drank!
Teacher: Yes, that's right. What do you think he drink yesterday morning?
Students: Coffee? Tea? Hot milk? Hot chocolate?
Teacher: Let's check ... (reading) ... "Then I drank a nice, hot cup of tea". So he drank tea! And what is strange about the way he drank his tea?
Students: He drank his tea upside down!
Teacher: Yes, he did! Silly Mr. Upside Down Man!

Continue through the story, eliciting the key vocab. Get the students really involved in the story by asking lots of questions (e.g. about the different objects in the pictures, etc.).

After reading the story, give out a reader worksheet to each student and have everyone write the missing verbs in the blanks. Then go through the answers as a class.


Alternatively, watch our video version of the reader (Internet connection required):

Do the "Past Irregular Verbs 2" worksheet

7. Do the "Past Irregular Verbs 2" worksheet
Give out the worksheets and have everyone match up the pictures with the verb forms by writing numbers in the boxes. Circulate as everyone is working away, and ask lots of questions (e.g. What’s this?, Did you ride your bike yesterday?, etc.). When everyone has finished, go around the class asking everybody to tell you some things they did yesterday.

8. Play "Pass the cards"
This is the same as pass the parcel but with flashcards instead of a parcel. Sit everyone in a large circle (or for really large classes, in a few circles). Give everybody a verb flashcard – give out all of the irregular verb cards first and then use the regular verb cards if you have more than 16 students. Play some music (such as the song from this lesson or a previous lesson) as everyone passes the cards around the circle. Suddenly stop the music. Students should use the card that they are holding to make a sentence, such as "Yesterday, I read a book". If you have a small enough class, each student can say the sentence to the teacher. For larger classes this will take too long, so have students say the sentence to a person sitting next to them. Then start the music and continue passing the cards, stopping from time to time to say sentences.

Play "Pass the cards"

9. Make a poster picture story
To finish the lesson, your students are going to make a simple story called "My Day Yesterday" using pictures – and create a poster with it. You will need a large sheet of paper (e.g. A3) or construction paper / card for each pair of students, as well as lots of old magazines, catalogues, newspapers, etc. You’ll also need scissors and glue. It is worthwhile making an example before class so you can show students exactly what to do.

Make a poster picture storyPut your students into pairs and give each pair a sheet of paper or card. On the board write "My Day Yesterday" and get everybody to write this at the top of their sheet. Then tell everyone they are going to stick on pictures of things they did yesterday and write sentences. Model this by taking a magazine and finding a picture (e.g. someone riding a bike), then cut it out and glue it to your sheet. Under the picture write "Yesterday, I rode my bike".

Now, leave everyone to get on with the activity. Circulate and help out with vocab – it is fine for your students to use pictures requiring different verbs from the one learned in the last few lessons (e.g. skiing, cook, etc.) – it is a chance to teach students new verbs! Give students around 10 minutes to create their posters.

Make a poster picture story

Finally, have each pair in turn hold up their posters and tell the class what they did yesterday. You can pin the posters to the walls – this can be used for a review activity in your next lesson!

Wrap Up:

1. Assign Homework: "My Day Yesterday" worksheet. Students will have to write about what they did yesterday.  This task may not be straight forward for everyone so it is worth modelling – hold up the sheet and fill in the blanks with your own answers to show what to do.  An example answer is as follows:

I woke up at 7 o’clock.
I ate toast and jam for breakfast.
Then I went to school.
After school I came home.
In the evening I watched TV
and I did my homework
and I read a book.
For dinner I ate pasta.
I went to bed and I slept all night.

2. Wrap up the lesson with some ideas from our "Warm Up & Wrap Up" page.

Print Outs / Worksheets:


  • tag
    wake up

    wake up

  • eat


  • drink


  • go to school

    go to school

  • sing


  • swim


  • star jump

    star jump

  • go home

    go home

  • ride a bike

    ride a bike

  • do homework

    do homework

  • put on

    put on

  • sleep


  • give


  • write


  • read


  • run



Songs & Readers:

Additional materials:

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  1. To view and print a flashcard or worksheet click on the thumbnail image.
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  3. print= British English version - click the flag to open and print. Click the thumbnail image to see the US English version.
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