Here’s a fun, no prep 15-minute activity that gets students writing and speaking simple past tense sentences. Use this lesson to help students learn English grammar and vocabulary or as a review to check accuracy. I’ve used this English lesson with great success with high beginner+ students, from elementary to university.
ESL Video Lesson
The purpose of this video lesson is to get students to produce simple past tense sentences that describe the actions in a video. There are two basic patterns: sentences with a negative form and a positive form.
Step 1 Review Basic Grammar
On the board, write a few word prompts. Ask students to produce orally two past tense sentences for each prompt. Here is one example:
- John – eat – apple
- John didn’t eat an apple.
- John ate an apple.
Step 2 Introduce Video
Provide a simple introduction. Students will see many different actions. After the video, they will describe what happened.
Don’t say much about the video title Unsatisfying; check comprehension after watching.
Step 3 Watch Video
It’s about 70 seconds long.
UNSATISFYING from PARALLEL STUDIO on Vimeo.
Step 4 Pair Work
Ask students to work in pairs and remember as many actions as possible; they write once sentence to describe each action.
Step 5 Stop and Start
Play video again and pause after each completed action. Ask students to shout out a descriptive sentence.
Step 6 Writing
Ask students to write one complete and accurate sentence for each action. They may need hints to remember the actions. Display or write this list on the board.
- teddy bear
- vending machine
- golf ball
- pinball machine
- gas pump
Step 7 Stop and Start Again
Play video one last time. Stop and start for each separate action. Ask students to shout out full and proper descriptive sentences.