06: Past tense

Year 2 Guided Grammar Lessons #6

This is Lesson #6 of a unit of 10.

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Teacher Slide

Objective: grammar

To understand, identify and apply the past tense, including the past progressive form of the verb.

Objective: writing

To explore when the past tense is used in writing and apply this to the pupils’ own writing.

Terminology for pupils:

tense, past tense

In the previous lesson we talked about 'tense'. Does anyone remember what tense is?

Below are some sentences written in the present tense. What would happen to them if we wanted to write them in the past tense?

  • The children love painting pictures.
  • She sings in the school choir.
  • We go home at 3:15.

Today we will be looking at verbs in the past tense.

  • A verb in the past tense usually has the letters -ed at the end, but not always. (For example, I loved the food that you made; We wrote a story.)
  • The past tense is used when we want to talk or write about things that happened in the past (For example, I walked to the shops yesterday.).

Sometimes, the spelling of the verb changes completely when we put it into the past tense.

  • bring > Last week I brought some treats to school.
  • eat > Yesterday I ate my sandwich.
  • sleep > I slept for eight hours last night.

What do you notice about the sentences shown below?

  • He was playing games all day long.
  • We were walking through the rain for hours.

Here we have two verbs!

The first verb in each sentence (was and were) is in the past tense, and it is followed by another verb that has -ing on the end. This allows us to talk or write about things that happened for a while in the past.

Can you think of some other examples, describing what you did last weekend?


Can you create a sentence using a verb in the past tense for each of these pictures? For example,

  • He ate the cake.

Can you then write a sentence using a verb in the past tense followed by a verb which has -ing on the end, for each of these pictures? For example,

  • He was eating the cake.

Take a look at this sentence, from the last lesson:

  • She raced through the jungle.
  1. What do you think is the difference between She raced through the jungle and She was racing through the jungle?
  2. Which version do you prefer, and why?

Now let's think about writing.

Can you write a story which uses verbs in the past tense?

What three things have you learnt about the past tense of verbs?


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