Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, K-3

In the BrainPOP ELL movie, The Thief Walked In (L1U6L1), Ben tells Moby about the strange experience he had when he arrived home from school the day before. In this lesson plan, adaptable for grades K-8, students practice the past simple form of regular verbs.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Categorize past simple verbs according to their end sounds.
  2. Retell the events of the movie using a list of verbs.
  3. Collaborate on a team project to creatively demonstrate and teach a spelling rule.
  4. Make up a collaborative story in the past.



arrive, decide, happen, visit, scare, shout and other regular verbs.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Listen to the Sounds. When we add -ed to verbs, it sometimes sounds like d (as in arrived); it sometimes sounds like t (as in looked); and it sometimes sounds like id (as in needed). Below are verbs that the students have learned in previous BrainPOP ELL movies in Level 1. As you pronounce each verb in its past simple form write it on the board in one of three columns according to its ending sounds (d / t / id), but do not identify the categories. After a few examples, ask the students to identify the categories. Continue pronouncing and adding verbs until students are able to identify the end sound patterns. Challenge students to test their conclusions by having them identify which column to put the remaining verbs in. /d/ sound: loved, washed, happened, played, smiled, cheered, lived, opened, listened, remembered, cleaned. / t/ sound: liked, asked, looked, helped, talked, touched, worked, stopped, thanked, jumped, practiced, guessed, walked, cooked. /id/ sound: needed, wanted, waited, hated, visited, started.
  2. Categorize the Sounds. Leave the three-column chart from Activity 1 on the board. As students watch the BrainPOP ELL movie The Thief Walked In (L1U6L1), have them write down every regular past tense verb they hear/see. You can also assign the task as homework. Tell students to put the verbs in the appropriate columns according to their ending sounds. With the list of verbs still on the board, ask students to retell the events of the movie using the image of The Thief as a prompt.
  3. Tell a Story. After students retell the story of the movie, ask the class to make up a new story. Start the story by providing the first sentence. For example, I heard a terrible noise outside last night. Instruct them to use the simple past tense as each student adds a sentence to the story. Write the story on the board, chart paper, or interactive white board, as the class creates it. When the story is complete, you can use it as an LEA activity (Language Experience Approach). Read it together as a class, and use their story to practice vocabulary and language, such as circling all examples of the past tense verbs.
  4. Demonstrate the Spelling Rules. The past simple form of regular verbs has different spelling rules. The four spelling rules are listed below. After reviewing the rules, assign one rule to each small group of students. Each group must decide on a way to demonstrate, teach, and give examples of their spelling rule. Encourage them to be creative with their demonstrations. You can provide some examples, such as a poster, a quiz, a game, a PowerPoint presentation, a cartoon, a mini book, a skit, a song, a poem, etc. Through their demonstration, they must explain the rule and provide examples, including exceptions to their rule. While every student is responsible for researching, finding information, and contributing ideas, you may want to assign roles to each group member, based on their strengths, or have the students divide up tasks according to roles they choose.Spelling Rules of Regular Past Simple Verbs1. With most regular verbs, we simply add -ed to the base form.For example: happen = happened.2. With verbs that end in e, we add d.For example: smile = smiled, arrive = arrived.3. With verbs that end in a consonant and y, we drop the y and add -ied.For example: try = tried, carry = carried.Exception: if there is a vowel before the y, we leave the y and only add -ed.For example: play = played.4. With one-syllable verbs that end in consonant-vowel-consonant (cvc) combinations, we double the last consonant.For example: stop = stopped.Exception: With two-syllable verbs, we double the last consonant if the stress is on the last syllable.For example: admit = admitted.But when the stress is on the first syllable, we just add -ed.For example: listen = listened.

Extension Activity

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly. This is a popular children's poem and song that's full of examples of regular past tense verbs. You can find many versions of it on YouTube, and the words are available on the Internet. Before singing it with the students, they can do a Cloze activity, create a poster, create their own books with the words and illustrations, or even act out a skit.

BrainPOP ELL Movies
I Was Shy (L1U5L3)
Happy Birthday (L1U5L5)
Who Had the Keys? (L1U6L5)

BrainPOP Movie

BrainPOP Jr Movie
Beeps Tenses