How to Teach 'Expressing Past Events' in Form One

How to Teach 'Expressing Past Events' in Form One

Welcome to UNIT 18.0 

PREVIOUSLY: In Unit 17.0, we covered the sub topics: "Expressing feelings"  in Form One; ""Expressing Past Activities" " in Form One; "Expressing point of view" in Form Two; and "Writing speeches" - Part 1 & "Writing speeches" - Part 2 in Form Four.

IN THIS UNIT 18.0, we will cover the sub topics: "Expressing past events" in Form One; "Talking about future plans/activities" in Form One; "Reading and obtaining general information" in Form Two; and "Writing curriculum vitae (CV)" in Form Four.

IN THIS UNIT 17.1, we will start covering the sub topic "Expressing past events" in Form One.

Sub Topic: Expressing Past Events
Periods per sub topic: 8
Class: Form One

In the previous Form One sub topic, "Expressing past activities", we discussed that everyone has the past to tell especially in terms of narrating various past activities. Yes, of course we tell or narrate various activities we did in the past. However, in this sub topic, we will be in the same course but we will concentrate on talking about the past events.

In this sub topic/lesson, the student should be able to narrate past events.

This stage is about the preparation of the teacher before undertaking the lessons of the particular sub topic. These are all activities, procedures, materials, teaching aids, and games prepared by the teacher for teaching a sub topic:

  1. Putting heads together: Introducing the topic/lesson properly. Organising how students will be able to get to know what is the topic/lesson about. It is where teacher makes sure that students are going to be in his/her train. It includes brainstorming and familiarisation of the topic/lesson with the students.
This makes students stay together with the teacher. It is at this stage students can understand what is going to be discussed in the particular topic.
In this sub topic/lesson; the teacher will start the sub topic with brainstorming with the students on the type of past events they will learn in this sub topic. The teacher will also explain to students the difference between activities and events. The difference between an activity and event is that activity is the daily undertaking while an event is the planned activity that only happens in a particular place and time. The teacher can also prepare some oral questions to guide the students understand the sub topic/lesson:
  • What is an activity?
  • What is an event?
  • What is the difference between going to the shamba and going to the birthday party?

Now, the students will understand that an activity is the daily task and it is not necessarily planned and an event is not the daily task and it needs to be planned.

  1. Preparation of Materials. A teacher has to decide on the teaching/learning materials he/she is going to use.
In this sub topic/lesson, a teacher will have to prepare a variety of texts on past events especially those on account of various past events. The stories about what happened may be found on the internet sites, and newspapers. These texts or stories should be about the past events like birthday parties, send offs, football matches, entertainment concerts, graduation ceremonies, wedding ceremonies, or inauguration events.

  1. Target Practice. Show them/Guide them to the practice of the functions of the sub topic. A teacher has to show or guide students to the target practice of the grammatical functions of the sub topic.
In this sub topic/lesson, teacher will guide students to practice narrating past events on how to write past events by using simple past tense and by using various forms:
  • Yesterday we went to Ashura's birthday party.
  • Last week we went to Uncle's Welcome party.
  • Yesterday I watched a football match.
  • The send-off party for my sister was very good.
  • My sister got married last month.
  • Last week they closed the school.
  • Yesterday there was a wedding ceremony.
  • The Minister of Education opened the Project
  • Students attended President's Inauguration ceremony.
  • Our family attended the music concert.

  1. Context-Based Practice. A teacher leads students to the discussion on how the target grammatical functions practised earlier can be applied or integrated into the contexts and situations. The students are guided by the teacher to apply the learnt skills in relevant contexts and situations like school and library.
In this sub topic/lesson, the teacher will use situations and contexts like school, home, stadium, market, town, conference hall, concerts, and street to help students learn more interactively in meaningful contexts and social settings in which various events occur.

  1. Vocabulary Building Practice. At this time, teacher discusses with the students on the vocabularies and phrases to apply in the already mentioned contexts and situations.
In this sub topic/lesson: The most commonly applied vocabularies are: simple past tense verbs and the vocabularies about various events such conferences, stadiums, parties, graduations, ceremonies, etc.

Guide the students to the full sub topic/lesson procedures, activities and games for better understanding of the sub topic by following these activities:

ACTIVITY ONE: Brainstorming. Brainstorming the sub topic/lesson through oral questions with answers, pair works, and group discussions of all important concepts to get students on track.

In this activity, the teacher brainstorms with students on the meaning of the terms activity and event as well as their similarities and differences. Also the teacher should brainstorm with the students on how these past events are narrated. The oral questions are also important in order to set the good mood and feeling of the sub topic or lesson as follows:
  • What is an activity?
  • What is an event?
  • What is the difference between going to the shamba and going to the birthday party?

Also the teacher can ask students to tell what they saw or experienced when they attended various events:
  • What happened at any birthday party you attended?
  • Have you ever attended a wedding ceremony?
  • When did you attend the graduation ceremony?
  • When was your last time to attend send-off party?
  • Have you ever attended inauguration party?

As the students explain these moments, they will be narrating the past events by using past tense.

ACTIVITY TWO: Teacher's Demonstration. Teacher's application of his/models or examples so as to bring the topic/lesson and the students into the real or common sense of the topic/lesson.

In this activity, the teacher takes his time to demonstrate to students by expressing his/her past events to students using meaningful contexts. Here the students are expected to listen to the ways how a particular past event is narrated by the teacher. This teacher's narration can be spoken by the teacher and later be written on the board for students to scrutinize the text more closely.

The Teacher's Model
The following text is about what happened during one football event:

In our District, football Bonanza is conducted yearly. Last year's Bonanza was very competitive. All teams were effectively prepared. Our Karema Football team was well prepared as well for this annual Bonanza. The team won all the matches and qualified to the Final. More exercises, cooperation, and commitment were the sources of that success. Our Sports teacher, encouraged the players to give everything they have for their team;
"This is our time to show who we are", Sports teacher told the players. "We can win this game because we are always capable", he added.
At the Final Day, the match between our team and Ikola Secondary School team was the most thrilling final of all the time. No team had scored a goal for the first 45 minutes. The two teams were very powerful and determined. The fans were cheering all the time. The Sports teacher and other teachers of both sides found no time to have their seats. They all stood up to do anything for their teams.
When the Second half of the game started, both teams played cautiously each trying to score the winning goal. Up to the 90th minute, no team had scored a single goal. The referee and other match official added 3 minutes of extra time. Again, these minutes never produced a goal. Unexpectedly, everyone at the playground was stunned. There was a corner kick at our rivals. It's when our team forward took that corner kick and it went straight to the net. It was during the last seconds of the three added minutes. The players enjoyed the moments with their Sports teacher, other teachers and the students. Five seconds after the referee started the game; he blew his final whistle at last. Our team had won the Bonanza already! That's how we won last year's District Football Bonanza.

ACTIVITY THREE: Students' Demonstration. Showing students how models like that of a teacher can be applied by them. Here students need to be guided on how to use given expressions, structures, vocabulary, and phrases or similar ones.

In this activity, students have to be guided by the teacher to discuss their past events in groups. The teacher asks students to brainstorm about the particular past event of their choice. Since the beginning of this sub topic/lesson, they must have learned the kinds of events and how they are narrated or expressed.
In their groups, students have to write the event they have chosen by using proper past tense verb forms. Later in the Activity Four, after writing the particular past event, each group has to present before the class for others to listen and say something about their work by using guided questions from the teacher.

Note: The teacher should encourage the groups to write short texts of the past events just for the sake of learning and time limitation. Longer writing assignments can always be given last during after lesson assessments.

ACTIVITY FOUR: More Sub topic's/Lesson's Activities. Taking/leading students to the real situations or contexts where they can apply what they have mastered. Here speaking, reading or writing activities are involved.

In this activity, the teacher has to assign each group the task to narrate their written past events in class. After presentations, other groups can participate in asking the questions by using teacher's set questions. In other words, each group should be assessed by other groups or students by checking if:
  1. It has used good English grammar.
  2. It has correctly applied past tense verb forms
  3. It has discussed the genuine past event

ACTIVITY FIVE: Winding up the topic/lesson. Here teachers summarise the topic/lesson by emphasizing the importance of the sub topic/lesson and suggesting other related aspects of the sub topic/lesson.

In this activity, the teacher has to sum up the lesson by encouraging students to learn how to express past events to others and encourage them to use appropriate past tense verb forms when talking about various past events in their life.

ADDITIONAL ACTIVITY: As a teacher, what other activity can be applied in this sub topic/lesson? You can always drop your alternative activity or activities to this article so as to improve teaching and learning of English Language (OLE).

For more on which Tenses are used to express ‘Past Activities’, click the following links:

Ask students to think about the places they live. Are they quiet all the time? Obviously not. Their home places are not quiet because there are always some events taking place somewhere. The teacher should ask students that the societies we live have plenty of events. And when these events are gone, people tend to narrate or express them to others that are why they should learn how to express these past events in English language properly.

A teacher should design an evaluation for students by using appropriate assessment tools like oral questions or assignments so that to see if the student is able to narrate past events. The students should be able to write an account of events that happened in the past.

Assessment #01: Group work.
In groups, write a short text on what happened in any special event of your choice. Present it to the class.

Assessment #02: Pair works
In pairs, write the short dialogue story on what happened in any event of your choice. Make a conversation between two characters only.

Assessment #03: Individual work.
Ask students to narrate what happened in the past focusing on the day they started Standard One in Primary School, or generally, narrate what interesting event happened during their whole Primary School years. Other areas where events may happen are birthdays, weddings, graduations, rallies, public holidays, religious holidays, and demonstrations.

Note: You can give students more individual works, pair works, and group works to facilitate their interaction and understanding of the sub topic or lesson. As English language teacher you have to give students more works to do. Because language is meant to be largely spoken and written, the teacher should rely on written exercises and notes. Instead students have to learn English language by vigorously exercising individually, in pairs, and in groups.

Our societies, cultures, and tribes are filled with a lot of events that students should know. These events are very important for students to understand because they are the part of their life and history. The teacher has to encourage students to learn how to express these past events in English language.

NOTE: These stages explained above are not necessarily covered in a single lesson of single or double period. Remember that this is the guide for teaching the whole sub topic which has periods ranging from 6 to 20. So, the teacher's task is to divide these stages according to the total number of periods for a particular sub topic.


Title: “Form One English Language Notes with Grammar, Exercises and Key Answers”
Edition: 1st (2022)
Format: PDF
Size: 2.16 MB
Pages: 242
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Emmanuel Kachele

Emmanuel Kachele is a founder and Blogger of KACHELE ONLINE Blog, an educational blog where 'O' Level English - 'OLE', 'A' Level English (ALE) and other related teaching and life skills are shared extensively. This is an online center for all Tanzanian Secondary School English Language students and teachers (Forms I-VI) and all interested English Language learners and teachers worldwide.

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